The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State
My Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to your memorandum addressed to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dated October 24, 1944, with which you enclosed a copy of a note from the British Embassy and the text of a proposed warning to Germany1 designed to safeguard United Nations prisoners of war from mistreatment or murder in a chaotic or desperate Germany.
It is noted that the Department of State, though doubting the efficacy of such a statement, interposes no objection to its issuance.
You will recall that in the winter of 1943–44, in connection with a reported German threat of reprisals against captive British and American airmen, the President approved statements intended for issuance at the appropriate time by the United States and British Governments. In the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the appropriate time for such issuance would be only after it has been determined on the governmental level that there is concrete evidence of the Germans’ purpose to take action. However, now would be the appropriate occasion for communicating the above statements, appropriately adapted to the situation envisaged by the British, to the British Government. In view of the fact that the British have also referred this matter to the Soviet Government, it is considered that these statements should also be referred to that Government.
These statements have accordingly been adapted as indicated above, and are enclosed herewith. It is recommended that you secure the approval of the President to their communication through diplomatic channels to the British and Soviet Governments at this time.
Upon receipt of notification that the enclosed statements have been communicated to the British and Soviet Governments, it is proposed [Page 698] to reply to the Representatives of the British Chiefs of Staff along the lines of the enclosed memorandum.2
Fleet Admiral, U.S. Navy
Chief of Staff to the
Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy
- Memorandum of October 24, 1944, not printed; for text of the British note of October 19, 1944, enclosing text of proposed warning, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. i, p. 1258.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Insert here the reference to the threats or acts of the German Government or authorities which are the occasion for the issuance of this warning. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- Insert here the reference to the threats or acts of the German Government or authorities. [Footnote in the original.]↩