740.00116 European War 1939/1453

The American Representative on the United Nations War Grimes Commission (Pell) to the Secretary of State

No. 15862

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a series of recommendations to the various governments adopted by the War Crimes Commission May 16, 1944.

It was the opinion of the Commission that a very large proportion of the offenses committed by the Axis Powers would not be discovered until after the liberation of the occupied countries.

It seemed reasonably obvious that a very large number of the accused would get away to Germany with the retreating forces. This would be especially true of government officials. It is believed that among those whose offenses will be discovered, or against whom suitable cases can be built, will be members of the S.S., Gestapo, etc. For this reason it was believed by the Commission that it would be a [Page 1320] good idea to have a round up of such people, so that they would be available if needed. I know that this is a common proceeding in the ordinary police administration.

The Commission, therefore, makes the enclosed recommendations to the various governments, trusting that they will be accepted.


Herbert Pell

Document No. C.21, 18 May, 1944: Recommendations to the Governments Adopted by the War Crimes Commission on 16 May, 1944

Measures to Ensure Capture of War Criminals

1. The mere establishment of lists of persons presumably guilty of war crimes, by building up and preparing complete cases and dossiers containing the proof of their guilt, can never suffice completely—though this was the original basis for the work of the Commission.

Those Governments in particular, whose territories are completely or almost completely occupied by the enemy lack the machinery, personnel and the necessary information.

Although they may cover a certain number of cases, they can not adequately deal in this way with the mass-criminality now existing in their countries. This first task should, however, be continued, and at the same time other means should be applied.

If those who have committed major crimes are not to escape punishment, all persons who have held a responsible position in the occupied countries or in the army or military or police organisations should be available, immediately after the armistice, to be examined upon any crimes which may have been committed in their sector or command.

2. For this purpose the governments, through their national offices, should compile and communicate to the Commission when they think it expedient, lists of all enemy civil and military persons in authority in each occupied district, including Gauleiters, Governors, Chiefs of the S.S., Chiefs of the Gestapo etc., with as complete particulars as possible regarding these persons’ identity and some of the more important crimes committed in the provinces, districts, towns or camps where they are or were in authority. The surrender of these persons by the enemy at the moment of the armistice may be demanded.

3. It is particularly necessary that on the conclusion of the armistice the military authorities should put and keep under control all persons whom they find to have been members of the S.S. or the Gestapo.

4. Analogous measures are recommended as regards other Axis Powers and satellites.