The Canadian Embassy to the Department of State
The Canadian Government would appreciate knowing whether the United States authorities would approve an arrangement whereby particular Far Eastern War Criminals now in the area controlled by United States Forces, accused by Canadian Military Authorities of serious war crimes against Canadians, would be tried and punished by United States Military Courts, Canadian military personnel participating, where requested by the United States authorities, in the prosecution. Under United States proposals military courts can only be convened by States now in occupation of areas formerly dominated by Japan. Moreover, under War Crimes Regulations (Canada) Canadian Military Courts can only be convened by senior officers in Command of forces and, since Canada has no occupation force in the Far East, no Courts could be convened in that area. If the United States authorities agree, an officer of a rank not less than [Page 395]Lieutenant-Colonel could be sent to Tokyo to exercise the following powers and duties:
- To assist in the collection and collation of further evidence of atrocities against Canadians;
- To assist in providing the United States authorities with such available evidence from Canadian sources as may be considered of value to them;
- To request the United States Military authorities to convene Military Courts under their respective regulations for the trial of particular persons within their jurisdiction against whom, in the opinion of the appropriate Canadian military representative, a prima facie case of War Crime against a Canadian has been established;
- To assist in the prosecution of Canadian cases if so authorized by the appropriate United States authority;
- To act in general liaison with United States War Crimes Offices in the Far East.
It would be understood, moreover, that the Canadian Military representative referred to above would be empowered to request from the United States authorities the trial only of persons charged with, or suspected of, having committed a violation of the laws and usages of war, whose alleged criminality has resulted in the death or a permanent disability of a Canadian National, or a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, or whose offence against Canadians is, in other respects, considered to be of a most serious nature.
The United States War Crimes authorities in the Far East, under the proposed arrangement, would of course be entitled to determine whether or not a prima facie case has been established to their satisfaction in any particular instance and to decide whether or not a court should be convened. It is not expected that the number of requests for trial would be large.