740.00116 European War 1939/1224: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

39. From the American members of the London Political Warfare Coordinating Committee. With reference to the Department’s instruction concerning the relation of the Kharkov trials to the Moscow [Page 1199] Declaration,28 at the meeting of the London Political Warfare Coordinating Committee on December 24 (see my 8992, December 24, 11 p.m.29). The American members were informed by their British colleagues that the Department’s view was that the Kharkov trials are outside of the sphere of the Moscow Declaration and that the Russian and British view was that the trials were within the sphere of the Moscow Declaration. At that time after considerable discussion it was agreed that the terms of reference of the Committee did not permit it to decide questions of policy or to interpret a declaration such as the Moscow Declaration or to determine the relationship between the trials and the Declaration, its function being limited to agreeing on propaganda directives in times of emergency. Furthermore, the Committee was without a Russian representative.

For this reason the Committee as a whole agreed to refer what was considered a question of policy to the two governments for decision.

With reference to the Department’s 8267, December 31, 7 p.m.,30 the American members of the Committee feel that it would be useless to bring up the matter again in the Committee until such time as some decision has been arrived at between the governments concerned. Pending some decision on the part of the governments concerned, the American members of the Committee will be guided by the Department’s views that it seems both unnecessary and undesirable for it to be stated publicly that the Kharkov trials come either within or without the Moscow Declaration.

The Embassy can of course, if so instructed by the Department, take up the matter with the Foreign Office.

Please instruct.

Please inform Chiefs of Staff and OWI.31

  1. For explanation of the issuance of this Declaration of German Atrocities at the Moscow Conference, see the Summary of the Proceedings of the Twelfth Session of the Tripartite Conference, October 30, 1943, 4 p.m., Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. i, p. 679. The text of the declaration is printed ibid., p. 768, and in A Decade of American Foreign Policy, Basic Documents, 1941–49 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1950), p. 13.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1943, vol. iii, p. 852.
  3. Ibid., p. 853.
  4. Office of War Information.