Pauley File

Memorandum by the Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality (Jackson) to the United States Representative on the Allied Commission on Reparations (Pauley)91

Re: Draft of Instructions.

A part of this draft affects the trial of war criminals. Section 4 from this point of view is open to serious objections.

Section 4 d provides that “compulsory labor service should be required only from war criminals and individuals definitely determined by appropriate process to be members of the Gestapo, the S.S., the Sicherheitsdienst 92 der S.S., leaders of the S.A.,93 or leading collaborators, supporters of and participants in the Nazi party or administration”.

This subjects persons to compulsory labor service for mere membership in these organizations. That would make it farcical to conduct [Page 1217]trials concerning the conspiratorial character of those organizations or the guilt of their membership. The only purpose of a trial is to determine whether these organizations are of such a structure and character that membership should warrant punishment. All of this is prejudged by the instrument in question. 4 d should not go farther than to read substantially as follows:

“Compulsory labor should be required only from convicted war criminals and that for the period and in accordance with the conditions of their sentence.”94

Beyond this, it is not my business what may be done about reparation through use of labor. But as I said to you, I think the plan to impress great numbers of laborers into foreign service, which means herding them into concentration camps, will largely destroy the moral position of the United States in this war. As Harriman pointed out to us, the treatment of this labor is bound to be “appalling” by American standards. In a year or two, there will come drifting out of Russia tales of oppressive treatment of this labor, which I fear will be all too well-founded, and which in my judgment will arouse sharp condemnation by American sentiment, with serious results to those who have favored it. I feel sure that President Roosevelt’s commitments at Yalta95 did not contemplate the sort of thing that is now being considered. What the world needs is not to turn one crowd out of concentration camps and put another crowd in, but to end the concentration camp idea.96

Respectfully submitted,

Robert H. Jackson
  1. Original of this memorandum in Ambassador Pauley’s files is attached to a covering note by Mr. Jackson, dated May 14. It was transmitted to Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau by Mr. Pauley with the suggestion that it be taken up in the Informal Policy Committee on Germany. The memorandum also bore the notation that it was concurred in by Samuel I. Rosenman, Special Counsel to President Truman, who had been delegated previously by President Roosevelt to inquire into the procedure of trial of Nazi war criminals; for documentation on this subject, see pp. 1151 ff.
  2. Security service; intelligence and counter-intelligence agency of the SS.
  3. Sturmabteilungen, Nazi Storm Troops.
  4. For text as finally approved on May 18 by President Truman, after further discussion by the Informal Policy Committee on Germany with Justice Jackson and Mr. Pauley, see instructions for the U.S. Representative on the Allied Commission on Reparations, May 18, p. 1222.
  5. See Conferences at Malta and Yalta, pp. 979 and 983.
  6. Marginal notation reads: “I concur—/s/ Samuel I. Rosenman.”