International Conference on Military Trials : London, 1945
Summary Record of Two Informal Gatherings of British and American Delegations June 21 and 24, 1945
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On Thursday, June 21, 1945, at the invitation of the British, an informal gathering of the United States and British representatives was held.

Sir Basil Newton, of the British Foreign Office, advised that the Provisional Government of France had accepted the conference invitation for June 25 and would send Henri Donnedieu de Vabres as their Representative(1) and that, although the Soviet Government had come to no decision, it was hoped that they would attend and that their delegate would depart from Moscow on June 23.

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, Attorney-General of the United Kingdom, suggested as the basis for discussion a list of defendants consisting of Goering, Hess, Ribbentrop, Ley, Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Frick, Keitel, Streicher, and Kaltenbrunner. It was agreed that this list should be considered and that the United States would propose additional names later. The United States, it was stated, had not reached a consideration of cases against individual defendants but had engaged in obtaining general proof necessary against all leading Nazis with the expectation of selecting defendants in the light of evidence so obtained. There was general discussion of the best methods of proof in view of the difficulty and novelty of the case and of the possible sources of evidence to be explored.

The policies to be followed by the respective countries in the return of prisoners requested by the governments of occupied territories for trial at the scene of their crimes were discussed at some length.

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe stated that the British hoped that international trials would commence at the beginning of September. He referred to the pending elections and said that he had no doubt that, in the event a Labor government were chosen, it would adhere to the plans made by its predecessors at this Conference. He suggested Munich, in the United States Zone of Germany, as an appropriate place for trial, partly for its psychological value as the birthplace of the Nazi party. Mr. Justice Jackson suggested that the choice depended chiefly on facilities that could be made available and undertook to investigate the suitability of Munich. All agreed that the trial should be held on the Continent, probably in Germany, and all agreed that, if in Germany, it should be held either in the British or in the American zone of occupation.

A similar gathering took place on Sunday, June 24, at which Sir Basil Newton advised the meeting that the British Ambassador in Moscow had reported that Soviet delegates would attend the Conference but that they had requested that the meeting be deferred from June 25 to June 26. It was agreed that the British Embassy at Moscow should be notified that the British and American Delegations acceded to the Soviet request.

Sir Basil further informed the session that the French had decided to send as their Representative Judge Robert Falco of the Cour de Cassation, to be assisted by Professor Andre Gros, French member of the United Nations War Crimes Commission.

There was an informal discussion of the amendments that had been proposed by the British to the American draft and of the points raised in the aide-mgmvire handed to Mr. Justice Jackson by the Counselor of the Soviet Embassy at Washington [X]. Pending arrival of the other delegations, it was agreed that a committee would attempt to reconcile such differences as there were between the British and the American viewpoints in a joint draft of a protocol but that no commitment should be made by either Delegation on any point that was to come before the Conference.

A joint draft of a protocol was thereafter prepared by a committee, which showed how satisfactory reconciliation could be accomplished on all differences between the British and American viewpoints. This draft was not circulated, however, and was not the subject of discussion in the four-power conferences, and, as it was largely repetition and only in the nature of a working paper of the two Delegations, it has not been set forth.

(1) France was represented at the London Conference by Judge Robert Falco. Back

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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