WASHINGTON (May. 18)
The State Department today announced that the address on Germany by U.S. Assistant High Commissioner Benjamin J. Buttenwieser which was rejected by the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League at its convention in Chicago last Sunday will be delivered before the Foreign Policy Association in New York tomorrow. The State Department also announced that it would mimeograph and distribute the speech.
The Washington Post and the Washington Evening Star today published editorials severely criticizing the Anti-Defamation League for not permitting Mr. Buttenwieser to deliver his speech. The Post argues that the League could have heard Mr. Butten-wieser’s views and then rebuked him. The Star says that "Mr. Buttenwieser’s censors have no reason whatever to be proud of their act."
The speech advocates leniency toward the Germans and claims that Nazism in Germany "has been destroyed never to rise again." At the same time, Mr. Buttenwieser admits that there are former Nazis in many public positions in Germany, including school teachers, policemen, high state officials as well as businessmen holding important posts.
Asserting that not all of these former members of the Nazi Party "were devils," Mr. Buttenwieser says that "it is neither possible nor desirable to try to keep 7,000,000 former party members–and, with their dependents, probably 25,000,000 people–outside of the community or outcasts from it." He claims that the major war criminals were tried at Nuremberg and before special U.S. military courts at Dachau.
BUTTENWIESER ARGUES AGAINST BARRING FORMER NAZIS FROM STATE EMPLOYMENT
Mr. Buttenwieser takes issue with those who suggest that the U.S. policy on the eradication of Nazism and measures to prevent its reappearance have been woefully weak. "There are," he says, "Americans and Germans who feel that, in the face of the fiendish crimes committed under the Hitler regime, unparalledled in the annals of history, our measures were all too weak and compromising in ferreting out and punishing those who had any part in those barbaric ravages."
Terming this view "extremist," Mr. Buttenwieser says that if stronger measures were taken by the U.S. occupation forces to eradicate Nazism, it would "merely have been allowing the predatory law of the jungle to prevail." The U.S. Assistant High Commissioner expresses the belief that "in the spirit of forgiveness" as well as "with a constructive view to the future," it was far better "to err on the side of fairness and leniency rather than arbitrariness and ruthlessness."
Insisting that "it is proper to have former Nazis, who have been tried and either acquitted or found guilty and served their sentences, function wherever their skills and ability permit," Mr. Buttenwieser argues that keeping them from earning a livelichood would mean punishment over and beyond what was stipulated by legal procedures. "Such punishment," he says, "would simply mean to create an atmosphere of revenge in which a people could not reform themselves."