740.00116 EW/5–1545

Judge Samuel I. Rosenman, Special Counsel to President Truman, to the Acting Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Grew: As you know, I participated with Mr. Stettinius in San Francisco in the presentation to the British, the Russians and the French of proposals with respect to the prosecution of the German war criminals. Each of the participating representatives has referred our proposals to his own capital for instructions. Though the urgency of the matter appeared to be appreciated by all, some delay must necessarily be anticipated before an agreement is reached on all the points that are involved.

One of the elements in our proposal is that each of the four nations designate a representative to act as its chief of counsel in the preparation and presentation of charges. Mr. Justice Jackson is already at work on our behalf. In many respects, the preparation of the charges is the most difficult part of the task, calling as it does for the examination of all the evidence that has been collected and the adoption of measures to obtain such further evidence as may be necessary for the purpose.

It would greatly facilitate the advancement of the enterprise if the other nations involved would follow the example of the President in designating Justice Jackson by promptly appointing a representative with responsibility comparable to Justice Jackson’s for the preparation of the cases. It would thus be possible for the four chiefs of counsel to undertake immediately the consultation and organization that will be necessary if cooperative action is to be achieved, as contemplated in the Moscow Declaration and as the present proposals of the United States explicitly provide.

I therefore suggest that a note be transmitted to the British, the Russians and the French calling attention to our proposals already submitted to their representatives at San Francisco by me, and stressing the urgency of getting the preparatory work under way at the earliest possible time. The note should advert to the President’s appointment of Justice Jackson to represent the United States in this endeavor and suggest the desirability of similar designations by each of the other nations involved.79

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This suggestion was approved by Mr. Stettinius with whom I discussed it in San Francisco. For your information, I attach a copy of the Executive Order appointing Justice Jackson and also of the draft agreement submitted in San Francisco. The designation of representatives is provided for in Article 22 of this draft.80

With kindest personal regards,

Very sincerely,

Samuel I. Rosenman
  1. An instruction along the lines suggested by Rosenman was sent to the American Embassies in London (No. 4014), Moscow (No. 1114), and Paris (No. 2217), on May 21. It suggested that the respective governments send representatives to Washington to proceed with the negotiations. (740.00116 EW/5–2145) In his reply, telegram 5143 of May 23, Ambassador Winant reported that the Foreign Office agreed that the matter was urgent and suggested that the proposed negotiations could be carried out in London more expeditiously (740.00116 EW/5–2345).
  2. Not printed.