The British Embassy to the Department of State


It is understood that, under arrangements made between the British and American authorities in Germany, the German Foreign Office archives at present at Kassel and Marburg may in due course be transferred to the British Zone of Germany.

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His Majesty’s Government would like meanwhile to reach agreement with the United States Government on responsibility for, and access to, these archives in that eventuality.

Firstly, they hope that the United States Government will continue to share the rights of His Majesty’s Government in these archives just as His Majesty’s Government have hitherto shared the United State Government’s rights in them and that they will continue the present exploitation on an Anglo-American basis.

Secondly, they propose acceptance by His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government of the principle that access should be granted to other Allies and that access should not be restricted to documents related to war crimes, which were the principal subject of the first three paragraphs of the State Department’s Aide-Mémoire of October 11th.

Thirdly, they propose that His Majesty’s Government should reply to individual applications for access from other Governments by a statement that the archives in question are the joint interest of His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government and that the request would be considered on this basis. Before granting access His Majesty’s Government would then consult the State Department or the United States authorities in Germany in each case.4

His Majesty’s Government consider that the fact of their having custody and control of administration of these archives would enable them to safeguard any documents which they or the United States Government wish to reserve from outside inspection.

As regards reciprocity, there are, so far as His Majesty’s Government are aware, no equivalent political documents in the other Zones of Germany. Any views the State Department may care to express on this aspect would, however, be welcome.

  1. In a communication four days later the Embassy stated that this procedure was intended to apply also to requests for the release of copies of documents (840.414/10–3045).