The United States Commissioner, United Nations War Grimes Commission (Hodgson), to the Secretary of State
[Received September 13.]
Sir: I have the honor to transmit the following document for the information of the Department:
Document C.145 (1), 29th August, 1945.
Summary Recommendations Concerning Japanese War Crimes and Atrocities.
Reference is made to Commissioner’s Despatch 196 and Embassy’s cable 8298 of August 16 and Department’s cable 7493 of August 31.10
Document SFEC I, which is the draft basis of discussion, was considered preliminarily by a Special Committee appointed for that purpose on August 13th. H. E. Dr. V. K. Wellington Koo was elected chairman of the Committee. The committee adjourned its consideration of the document until August 16th, with the view of finally adopting proposals and presenting them to the Commission for adoption at [Page 912]a special meeting of the Commission to be held on August 17th. At my request this plan was abandoned and the committee’s meeting was postponed until August 21st. Thereafter, I again proposed postponement of action and the committee’s meeting fixed for August 21st was cancelled. When I was informed that a meeting of the committee would be held on August 27th, I opposed this action upon the ground that the committee should wait until the final surrender terms were made known and the Commission could act with knowledge of such terms. Furthermore, that most of the recommendations in the draft basis of discussion had already been incorporated into general recommendations, such as documents C–52(1) and C–122, which were as applicable to the Far East and Pacific as to Europe. However, Lord Wright and his assistant Mr. Oldham insisted that the document be considered at a meeting to be held on August 27th and the former called the meeting and placed the subject on the agenda. Both appeared to fear criticism unless the Commission acted and the latter intimated that he was acting at the instance of his Government. In the absence of instructions from the Department, I did not feel justified in formally moving for a postponement at the meeting of the committee held on August 27th or of the Commission held on August 29th. After revising the draft it was adopted by the Committee. It was reported to the Commission on August 29th by H. E. Wellington Koo who moved its adoption.
Paragraphs I to III of the enclosed document concern general policy, while the balance of the document relates to the mechanics of placing the policy recommendations into execution.
The first three paragraphs are an adaptation of the principles stated in the Moscow declaration of November 1st, 1943. These principles have been followed by the Commission throughout its existence, and were formally adopted in document C–52 (1).
Paragraph IV is generally the same as document C–122. There are certain amplifications and changes, the noteworthy ones being incorporated into subparagraphs d, e, f and h.
Paragraph V was substantially modified by the committee. The last two sentences of the draft were deleted upon my motion so that the ten Governments mentioned in the draft will not be entitled to appoint prosecutors should the recommendation be favorably considered by the Governments.
Likewise, paragraph VI was radically revised by deleting most of the details concerning the proposed International Tribunal. These details, at my insistence, were left to the discretion of the Supreme Commander to be taken care of by rules.
It will be noted that the recommendation contained in paragraph VI gives no proportion for the representation on the tribunal. Thus, [Page 913]its members may be appointed in any proportion which the Supreme Commander believes advisable. Inasmuch as the recommendation provides for a five member court and ten Governments are named, in my opinion the Supreme Commander may select them from the forces of the mentioned Governments in any proportion.
It will also be noted that in subparagraph (b) or Paragraph VI it is recommended that the law to be applied should be “generally” the law in respect to crimes against peace and crimes against humanity defined in the Inter Allied Agreement.11 This wording was suggested by Ambassador Koo.
The note of the Secretary-General otherwise explains the document.
Lt. Col., JAGD, AUS