740.00116 PW/1–1746: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan)1


110. Urtel 154, Jan. 17.2 Depts note of Oct 18 requested nomination of five Soviet judges for appointment by Supreme Commander to such war crimes tribunals as might be found necessary in connection with proposals of the paper attached to the note entitled Policy of the United States in regard to apprehension and punishment of war criminals in Far East. This paper available Moscow as Far Eastern Advisory Commission paper no. 7, Oct. 24, 1945. Note of Nov. 20 [21] requested comments on paper and inquired if nominations were being made. Note of Jan. 33 abandoned request for nomination of a panel of judges and requested urgent nomination by Soviet Govt, of judge and associate prosecutor for prompt constitution of International Military Tribunal and Prosecution Section.

Answers to urtel 154 as follows:

Functions of International Prosecution Section are preparation of a list of defendants in the principal trial to be charged with crimes against the peace, drawing of indictment, preparation and presentation of the case before tribunal.
2 and 3.
Keenan was designated by President in Executive Order signed Nov. 294 as “Chief of Counsel in the preparation and prosecution of charges of war crimes against the major leaders of Japan and their principal agents and accessories”, and thereafter was appointed by MacArthur as Chief of International Prosecution Section at Supreme Commander’s headquarters.
It is understood Associate Prosecutors who are present in Tokyo will participate in drawing up final indictment and the list of defendants to be approved by Supreme Commander.
Travel arrangements underway to bring associate prosecutors to Tokyo as quickly as possible.
Procedure as to agreement at Govt level on list of defendants and on the indictment to be prepared by Prosecution Section and aproved by Supreme Commander has not yet been determined.
No official decision as to whether court proceedings will be entirely in English.
Dept’s note of Oct 18 requested that judges to be designated should have command of English. French and Dutch have indicated they expect their Govts to nominate judges and associate prosecutors who will have knowledge of English. It is therefore expected English will be working language in preparation of the case and all informal colloquies among judges.

  1. Repeated as No. 62 to Tokyo for Mr. Keenan.
  2. Not printed; it asked for additional data (740.00116 PW/1–1746).
  3. See note of December 28, 1945, to the Australian Legation, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. vi, p. 988.
  4. No. 9660; 10 Federal Register 14591.