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Wilson Asked in Commons to Query Erhard on Limitations Statute

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Prime Minister Harold Wilson was asked in the House of Commons today whether he could discuss with West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard the German Government’s plan to allow the statute of limitations on prosecution of Nazi war criminals to take effect on May 8. The question was asked by a member of his own Labor Party, Mrs. R. Short, “Do you think,” she asked, “that, when you meet the Chancellor shortly, you could remind him of the worldwide concern regarding these proposals.”

The Premier, non-committal on whether he would put the question to Chancellor Erhard, recalled that West Germany as asked all governments to bring forth any evidence in hand regarding war crimes, Noting that the German statute of limitations is to expire soon, he said: “It has been indicated that, if evidence was produced, it might be necessary to extend this period.”

Meanwhile, today, a strong delegation representing not only Jewish leaders but also prominent British non-Jews conferred here with Hesso von Etzdorf, German Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and requested that the Bonn Government extend the statute of limitations on prosecution of war criminals as “a moral and political” necessity. The Ambassador, reportedly “sympathetic” to the delegation’s views, said he would refer the request to his Government.

The delegation included Alderman Sebag Montefiore, chairman of the Anglo-Jewish Association’s external affairs committee; Lord Monair, former president of the International Court of Justice; R.N. Carvalho; and Judge Neville Laski; Neville Pollack, educational officer of the Council of Christians and Jews. Letters from prominent non-Jews supporting the stand against letting the cut-off date on prosecution of Nazi war criminals go into effect were handed to the Bonn envoy. Among the signers were Baroness Asquith; Sir Henry Dale, vice-president of the Anglo-German Association and holder of the German Order of Merit; Prof, George Caplin, another recipient of the same West German honor; and Sir Harold Nicholson.

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