WASHINGTON (Aug. 21)
President Roosevelt today issued a formal statement warning the Axis nations against atrocities committed on the civilian population in occupied countries. He emphasized that the invaders will have to pay for their “barbaric crimes” and slaughter of innocent civilians.
“The Government of the United States has been aware for some time of these crimes,” the President’s statement said. “Our Government is constantly receiving additional information from dependable sources and it welcomes reports from any trustworthy source which would assist in keeping our growing fund of information and evidence up to date and reliable.
“The United Nations are going to win this war,” the statement continued. “When victory has been achieved, it is the purpose of the Government of the United States, as I know it is the purpose of each of the United Nations, to make appropriate use of the information and evidence in respect to those barbaric crimes of the invaders, in Europe and in Asia. It seems only fair that they should have this warning that the time will come when they shall have to stand in courts of law in the very countries which they are now oppressing and answer for their acts.”
Referring to a previous statement which he made on October 25, 1941, in which he condemned the Nazi executions of innocent civilians in the occupied territories, President Roosevelt said that he was issuing today’s warning in response to a communication which he received through the Secretary of State from the Allied Governments of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Luxemburg, Norway and the French National Committee in London, calling his attention “to the barbaric crimes against civilian populations which are being committed in occupied countries, particularly on the continent of Europe.”
According to this communication, the President said, acts of oppression and terror in the occupied territories have taken such proportions and forms as to give, “rise to the fear that as the defeat of the enemy countries approaches, the barbaric and unrelenting character of the occupational regime will become more marked and may even lead to the extermination of certain populations.”
Asked at his press conference today if he had heard the sentiment reported to have been expressed by members of Governments-in-Exile that they wanted “only one week” to dispose of those responsible for the acts of the invaders, President Roosevelt replied that the sober judgment of everyone concerned was in favor of considered judicial process.