740.00116 PW/8–1545: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

8279. From Hodgson.

“Lord Wright, Chairman of War Crimes Commission, informed me on Aug 14 that he believed that Commission should immediately [Page 908]prepare and adopt list of major Jap war criminals responsible for plans and policies which resulted in war crimes such as attack on Pearl Harbor. He deplored lack of information and said that at meeting of Commission to be held on Aug 15 at 3 in afternoon he intended to move that name of Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, be placed on Commission’s list of Japanese war criminals.96 He said that it was urgent that this action be taken immediately. However, he desires views of US Govt in this regard and while he made no promises he indicated that he would give those views great weight and might be governed accordingly. I feel that he is acting at instance of Australian Govt. Instructions are requested on the proposed motion and the views that should be given to Lord Wright.

Lord Wright also inquired whether the US Govt has prepared a list of the major Jap war criminals mentioned above. He said that it would be of great assistance to the Commission if the US would transmit such a list for adoption by the Commission at an early date for he feels that it is urgent that Commission take action. He is greatly disturbed over this situation and extremely anxious that US submit such a list. Information is requested in this regard.

Throughout conversation Lord Wright indicated that he desired to follow views of US Govt and was very anxious to receive them. He urged me to request instructions and information and said that while I might not be free to divulge any instructions which might be received, my vote on his motion would give him a lead as to the action which US believed the Commission should take.

Commission will probably adopt recommendations concerning investigation, apprehension, trial and punishment of Jap war criminals at special meeting of Commission to be held on Aug 17.” [Hodgson]

After reading this message (No. 8279) which was brought to the Embassy Tuesday97 of this week for forwarding, I at once got in contact with the FonOff and asked that it intervene to prevent Lord Wright carrying out his suggestion to call a meeting in order to put the Jap Emperor and other Japs on the list of war criminals. The Four Powers were waiting at that time to get the reply from Tokyo announcing the Jap surrender.

Please read Embassy’s 8280, Aug 15 from Hodgson in which Wright states he does not propose to list the Emperor’s name and said he would await US action.

Winant
  1. See telegram 8280, August 15, 6 p.m., from London, infra.
  2. August 14.