Armistice Terms Will Demand Surrender of Nazi Hangmen, Roosevelt Announces
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Armistice Terms Will Demand Surrender of Nazi Hangmen, Roosevelt Announces

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President Roosevelt, in an official statement issued today, announced that one of the basic demands in the armistice terms of the United Nations will be the surrender by Germany of Nazi ringleaders responsible for the mass-executions of innocent civilians and for other atrocities in the Axis occupied countries. A commission to investigate the Axis war crimes against civilians will be organized by the U.S. Government in cooperation with the Government of Britain and other nations, the announcement said.

The President’s announcement was commented upon later in the day by Under-Secretary of State Sumner Welles, who indicated that the commission would be organized in the near future but that the place where it will meet has not yet been decided upon. Asked whether Hitler would be among the criminals who will have to be surrendered to the United Nations for punishment, Mr. Welles said that the answer to the question was almost self-explanatory.


The Under-Secretary of State also declared that the United States would consider very favorably any proposal of the Mexican Government to join in a protest to Vichy against the projected deportation of Jewish and non-Jewish political refugees from France to Germany in exchange for French war prisoners. He added that no such invitation had yet been received from Mexico.

“Every step possible is being taken in accordance with the immigration laws to bring refugee children from France to this country,” Mr. Welles also disclosed. He refused to specify the number to be brought here, except to say that the suggested figure of 1,000 is inaccurate. “Every citizen of the United States views with the utmost sympathy the desperate situation of the unfortunate children left destitute in France by the deportation of their parents to Germany. The United States Government has already protested vigorously against the deportations.” He added that many private persons and foundations are taking the greatest interest in the work of bringing the children here.


The text of President Roosevelt’s statement reads: “On Aug. 21 I said that this government was constantly receiving information concerning the barbaric crimes being committed by the enemy against civilian populations in occupied countries, particularly on the continent of Europe. I said it was the purpose of this government, as I knew it to be the purpose of the other United Nations, to see that when victory is won the perpetrators of these crimes shall answer for them before courts of law. The commission of these crimes continues.

“I now declare it to be the intention of this government that the successful close of the war shall include provision for the surrender to the United Nations of war criminals. With a view to establishing responsibility of the guilty individuals through the collection and assessment of all available available evidence, this government is preparing to cooperate with the British and other governments in establishing a United Nations commission for the investigation of war crimes.

“The number of persons eventually found guilty will undoubtedly be extremely small compared to the total enemy populations. It is not the intention of this government or of the governments associated with us to resort to mass reprisals. It is our intention that just and sure punishment shall be meted out to the ringleaders responsible for the organized murder of thousands of innocent persons and the commission of atrocities which have violated every tenet of the Christian faith.

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