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SOME explanation concerning the minutes and documents of the London Conference for the establishment of the International Military Tribunal seems fitting.
The minutes set forth herein are transcriptions of my stenographic notes of what was spoken in English at all sessions except a preliminary one on the morning of June 26. The exact text of all statements by the Soviet Delegation and of many by members of the French Delegation is that of an interpreter, but in each instance in the minutes it is attributed to the person whose statements were being interpreted. Preliminary exchanges before taking up the business of the day and matters of transient interest, such as discussion of the time to which adjournment should be taken, were not recorded.
The Conference was informal throughout, and its sessions were private. It took place around a large square table, each nation's delegation being allotted one side. There were no prepared speeches, and the Conference took the form of general conversations in which sometimes a gesture or a nod of the head took the place of spoken words.
As the conferences were immediately followed, or in fact overlapped, by preparations for the Nuernberg trial, it was not possible at once to transcribe these notes, except such as were needed in the course of negotiation. The minutes have not been submitted to the French, Soviet, or British Delegations for verification or editing. Our own editing has been done only in the interest of accuracy as to statements by all delegations and not in any effort to polish informal modes of expression.
As the conversations make frequent reference to documents before the Conference, they would be scarcely intelligible if the documents were not also before the reader. The general rule has been to include only documents that were circulated among the delegations and to include all documents that were so circulated, regardless of which delegation originated them. It has not been thought advisable to reproduce the many and repetitious writings that did not get beyond the stage of being working papers of the American staff. Certain preliminary documents formed the background of the meeting. Although some of them, such as the Cabinet memorandum for President Roosevelt's guidance at Yalta, and Mr. Justice Jackson's report in June 1945 were American rather than international documents, their influence in initiating and shaping the negotiations seems to require their inclusion.
In general, the documents are arranged in chronological order. Documents developed and distributed during the Conference are set forth at the place considered most convenient for the reader, generally preceding the minutes of the meeting in which they were discussed. Such documents as are included are set out in full unless otherwise noted.
From time to time certain events outside of the Conference entered into or influenced discussion or action in the meetings. Brief notes are inserted to supplement the information in the record on such events. Notes also are supplied where it has seemed necessary to show the relation of a particular document to the course of negotiation.
ELSIE L. DOUGLAS
Secretary to Mr. Justice Jackson
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