740.00116 European War 1939/1350: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Harriman ) to the Secretary of State

824. Moscow papers for March 11 devote the two inside pages to a statement by the State Commission for the Investigation of German Atrocities45 concerning documents and orders of the German Government and the German High Command with regard to the extermination of Soviet prisoners of war and civilians. The statement consists of six parts as follows:

Secret Nazi directives regarding the extermination of Soviet citizens. This section states that according to preliminary data the Germans killed about two million Soviet civilians in addition to a large number of prisoners of war in Soviet territory occupied by them.
Preparation for the mass extermination of Soviet prisoners of war and civilians. This section describes black lists of Soviet citizens [Page 1206] prepared by the German secret police who were marked for systematic extermination by special commandos.
Plans for the extermination of Soviet workers and Soviet intelligentsia. This section lists eight classes of Soviet citizens who were designated for the special attention of the security police.
Attempts of German Fascist murderers to hide their crimes. This section describes the measures taken by the Nazis to conceal their work of extermination and to destroy the evidence thereof.
The Nazis criminally trample on the rules of international law and the laws of war. This section presents evidence that the Germans denied prisoners of war and non-combatants the rights accorded them by international law.
The Nazi Government and the German military command, the organizers of the monstrous crimes, must be brought to account. In this section the statement names the Germans principally responsible for the executions and states that they must bear severe punishment for their crimes.

Photostatic copies of a number of the secret German documents on which the statement is based are also published.

All papers devote their editorials to a discussion of the statement.

Full text follows by airmail.46

  1. The Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union by ukaz of November 4, 1942, had formed an extraordinary state commission for ascertaining and investigating the offenses of the German aggressors and accomplices. The creation of this commission had been reported by the Secretary of Embassy at Kuibyshev in telegram 982, November 5, 1942, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, p. 473.
  2. Not printed.