International Conference on Military Trials : London, 1945
British Memorandum of May 28, 1945
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Note: On May 22, Mr. Justice Jackson, at the direction of President Truman, left for Europe to organize the gathering of evidence through American military and other channels, to confer as to progress toward an agreement for international trials, and to discuss trial preparations with American military authorities and with the French, British, and Soviet officials who would be concerned with such trials.

Discussion with French Foreign Minister Bidault en route to Paris resulted in assurances that the Provisional Government agreed in principle with the American plan and would promptly name a representative to engage in negotiation of a definitive plan and to conduct the prosecutions.

In London Lord Chancellor John Viscount Simon stated that the United Kingdom Government had become convinced of the desirability of proceeding along the general lines outlined in the American proposal. At a meeting with Attorney-General Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, Treasury Solicitor Sir Thomas Barnes, and Patrick Dean of the Foreign Office on May 28, the following memorandum of British proposals for amending the agreement as proposed by the United States at San Francisco [IV) was handed to Mr. justice Jackson.

A call made upon Soviet Ambassador Gusev in London gave no information as to the Soviet attitude.


Dated 3rd May 1945


Paragraphs 4 and 5:

Omit paragraph 4.

Substitute for paragraph 5:

"5. The United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union in the Declaration issued at Moscow November 1, 1943, after providing that those responsible for atrocities, massacres and cold-blooded mass executions in occupied countries should be sent back to the countries in which their abominable deeds were done in order that they may be judged and punished according to the laws of these liberated countries and of the free governments which will be erected therein, went on to provide

"that the above declaration was without prejudice to the case of major criminals, whose offences have no particular geographical localization and who will be punished by joint decision of the Governments of the Allies.

"This Agreement is entered into in order to establish the necessary measures for bringing to justice the major criminals referred to above, their principal agents and accessories, and all other offenders who are not sent for trial to the countries in which their atrocities and crimes were committed."

I [Sir David Maxwell Fyfe] have omitted the last 21/2 lines as many "minor" criminals will be tried at any rate by the occupying powers in Germany and not sent back.

Substitute for Paragraph 6:

"6. The parties to this Agreement agree to bring to trial, in the names of their respective peoples, the persons referred to in Article 5 for their responsibility for the following criminal acts:

1. Violation of the customs and rules of warfare.

2. Pursuing a systematic policy for the purpose of dominating Europe by a war of aggression and in the carrying out of that policy.

(1) Initiating and making attacks on other countries in violation of International Law, treaties or assurances.

(2) Resorting to war as an instrument of national policy."

Paragraph 9: "held" for "deemed".

Paragraph 12:

(1) Omit "Such notice may be actual or constructive".

(2) Omit "physically present before the tribunal". Refer in (b) to right to call evidence.

Add to Article 12:

e. Participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or enterprise, including a plan or enterprise aimed at the domination of another country, which involves the commission of any of the foregoing criminal acts.

Paragraph 14:

Make clear what is meant by "proffers of proof"

Paragraph 15 and later paragraphs:

"Inter-Allied" for "International".

Paragraph 16:

Clear up the meaning of majority when the Court consists of four.

Paragraph 17:

Refer to other enemy countries. Leave out "masters and other".

Paragraph 20:

Is the Control Council the right body

International Conference on Military Trials : London, 1945
Report of Robert H. Jackson, United States Representative to the International Conference on Military Trials : London, 1945
International organization and conference series; II
European and British Commonwealth 1
Department of State Publication 3080
Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1949

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