Justice Jackson's Report to the President on Atrocities and War Crimes
(June 7, 1945)
MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
I have the honor to report accomplishments during the month since
you named me as Chief of Counsel for the United States in prosecuting
the principal Axis War Criminals. In brief, I have selected staffs from
the several services, departments and agencies concerned; worked out
a plan for preparation, briefing, and trial of the cases; allocated
the work among the several agencies; instructed those engaged in collecting
or processing evidence; visited the European Theater to expedite the
examination of captured documents, and the interrogation of witnesses
and prisoners; coordinated our preparation of the main case with preparation
by Judge Advocates of many cases not included in my responsibilities;
and arranged cooperation and mutual assistance with the United Nations
War Crimes Commission and with Counsel appointed to represent the United
Kingdom in the joint prosecution.
The responsibilities you have conferred on me extend only to "the
case of major criminals whose offenses have no particular geographical
localization and who will be punished by joint decision of the governments
of the Allies," as provided in the Moscow Declaration of November
1, 1943, by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier
Stalin. It does not include localized cases of any kind. Accordingly,
in visiting the European Theater, I attempted to establish standards
to segregate from our case against the principal offenders, cases against
many other offenders and to expedite their trial. These cases fall into
three principal classes:
1. The first class comprises offenses against military personnel of
the United States-such, for example, as the killing of American airmen
who crash-landed, and other Americans who became prisoners of war. In
order to insure effective military operation, the field forces from
time immemorial have dealt with such offenses on the spot. Authorization
of this prompt procedure, however, had been withdrawn because of the
fear of stimulating retaliation through execution of captured Americans
on trumped-up charges. The surrender of Germany and liberation of our
prisoners has ended that danger. The morale and safety of our own troops
and effective government of the control area seemed to require prompt
resumption of summary dealing with this type of case. Such proceedings
are likely to disclose evidence helpful to the case against the major
criminals and will not prejudice it in view of the measures I have suggested
to preserve evidence and to prevent premature execution of those who
are potential defendants or witnesses in the major case.
I flew to Paris and Frankfort and conferred with Generals Eisenhower,
Smith, Clay, and Betts, among others, and arranged to have a representative
on hand to clear questions of conflict in any particular case. We also
arranged an exchange of evidence between my staff and the Theater Judge
Advocate's staff. The officials of other countries were most anxious
to help. For example, the French brought to General Donovan and me in
Paris evidence that civilians in Germany had beaten to death with wrenches
three American airmen. They had obtained from the German Burgomeister
identification of the killers, had taken them into custody, and offered
to deliver them to our forces. Cases such as this are not infrequent.
Under the arrangements perfected, the military authorities are enabled
to move in cases of this class without delay. Some are already under
way; some by now have been tried and verdicts rendered. Some concentration
camp cases are also soon to go on trial.
2. A second class of offenders, the prosecution of which will not
interfere with the major case, consists of those who, under the Moscow
Declaration, are to be sent back to the scene of their crimes for trial
by local authorities. These comprise localized offenses or atrocities
against persons or property, usually of civilians of countries formerly
occupied by Germany. The part of the United States in these cases consists
of the identification of offenders and the surrender on demand of those
who are within our control.
The United Nations War Crimes Commission is especially concerned with
cases of this kind. It represents many of the United Nations, with the
exception of Russia. It has been usefully engaged as a body with which
the aggrieved of all the United Nations have recorded their accusations
and evidence. Lord Wright, representing Australia, is the Chairman of
this Commission, and Lieutenant Colonel Joseph V. Hodgson is the United
In London, I conferred with Lord Wright and Colonel Hodgson in an
effort to coordinate our work with that of the Commission wherever there
might be danger of conflict or duplication. There was no difficulty
in arriving at an understanding for mutual exchange of information.
We undertook to respond to requests for any evidence in our possession
against those listed with the Commission as criminals and to cooperate
with each of the United Nations in efforts to bring this class of offenders
Requests for the surrender of persons held by American forces may
present diplomatic or political problems which are not my responsibility.
But so far as my work is concerned, I advised the Commission, as well
as the appropriate American authorities, that there is no objection
to the surrender of any person except on grounds that we want him as
a defendant or as a witness in the major case
3. In a third class of cases, each country, of course, is free to
prosecute treason charges in its own tribunals and under its own laws
against its own traitorous nationals-Quislings, Lavals, "Lord Haw-Haws,"
and the like.
The consequence of these arrangements is that preparations for the
prosecution of major war criminals will not impede or delay prosecution
of other offenders. In these latter cases, however, the number of known
offenses is likely to exceed greatly the number of prosecutions, because
witnesses are rarely able satisfactorily to identify particular soldiers
in uniform whose acts they have witnessed. This difficulty of adequately
identifying individual perpetrators of atrocities and crimes makes it
more important that we proceed against the top officials and organizations
responsible for originating the. criminal policies, for only by so doing
can there be just retribution for many of the most brutal acts.
Over a month ago the United States proposed to the United Kingdom,
Soviet Russia and France a specific plan, in writing, that these four
powers join in a protocol establishing an International Military Tribunal,
defining the jurisdiction and powers of the tribunal, naming the categories
of acts declared to be crimes, and describing those individuals and
organizations to be placed on trial. Negotiation of such an agreement
between the four powers is not yet completed.
In view of the immensity of our task, it did not seem wise to await
consummation of international arrangements before proceeding with preparation
of the American case. Accordingly, I went to Paris, to American Army
Headquarters at Frankfort and Wiesbaden, and to London, for the purpose
of assembling, organizing, and instructing personnel from the existing
services and agencies and getting the different organizations coordinated
and at work on the evidence. I uniformly met with eager cooperation.
The custody and treatment of war criminals and suspects appeared to
require immediate attention. I asked the War Department to deny those
prisoners who are suspected war criminals the privileges which would
appertain to their rank if they were merely prisoners of war; to assemble
them at convenient and secure locations for interrogation by our staff;
to deny them access to the press; and to hold them in the close confinement
ordinarily given suspected criminals. The War Department has been subjected
to some criticism from the press for these measures, for which it is
fair that I should acknowledge responsibility. The most elementary considerations
for insuring a fair trial and for the success of our case suggest the
imprudence of permitting these prisoners to be interviewed indiscriminately
or to use the facilities of the press to convey information to each
other and to criminals yet uncaptured. Our choice is between treating
them as honorable prisoners of war with the privileges of their ranks,
or to classify them as war criminals in which case they should be treated
as such. I have assurances from the War Department that those likely
to be accused as war criminals will be kept in close confinement and
Since a considerable part of our evidence has been assembled in London
I went there on May 28 with General Donovan to arrange for its examination,
and to confer with the United Nations War Crimes Commission and with
officials of the British Government responsible for the prosecution
of war criminals. We had extended conferences with the newly appointed
Attorney General, the Lord Chancellor, the Foreign Secretary, the Treasury
Solicitor and others. On May 29, Prime Minister Churchill announced
in the House of Commons that Attorney General Sir David Maxwell Fyfe
had been appointed to represent the United Kingdom in the prosecution.
Following this announcement, members of my staff and I held extended
conferences with the Attorney General and his staff. The sum of these
conferences is that the British are taking steps parallel with our own
to clear the military and localized cases for immediate trial, and to
effect a complete interchange of evidence and a coordination of planning
and preparation of the case by the British and American representatives.
Despite the fact that the prosecution of the major war criminals involves
problems of no mean dimensions, I am able to report that no substantial
differences exist between the United Kingdom representatives and ourselves,
and that minor differences have adjusted easily as one or the other
of us advanced the better reasons for his view.
The Provisional Government of the French Republic has advised that
it accepts in principle the American proposals for trials before an
International Military Tribunal. It is expected to designate its representative
shortly. The government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
while not yet committed, has been kept informed of our steps and there
is no reason to doubt that it will unite in the prosecution. We propose
to make provision for others of the United Nations to become adherents
to the agreement.
The time, I think, has come when it is appropriate to outline the
basic features of the plan of prosecution on which we are tentatively
proceeding in preparing the case of the United States.
1. The American case is being prepared on the assumption that an inescapable
responsibility rests upon this country to conduct an inquiry, preferably
in association with others, but alone if necessary, into the culpability
of those whom there is probable cause to accuse of atrocities and other
crimes. We have many such men in our possession. What shall we do with
them? We could, of course, set them at large without a hearing. But
it has cost unmeasured thousands of American lives to beat and bind
these men. To free them without a trial would mock the dead and make
cynics of the living. On the other hand, we could execute or otherwise
punish them without a hearing. But undiscriminating executions or punishments
without definite findings of guilt, fairly arrived at, would violate
pledges repeatedly given, and would not set easily on the American conscience
or be remembered by our children with pride. The only other course is
to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as
dispassionate as the times and the horrors we deal with will permit,
and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear.
2. These hearings, however, must not be regarded in the same light
as a trial under our system, where defense is a matter of constitutional
right. Fair hearings for the accused are, of course, required to make
sure that we punish only the right men and for the right reasons. But
the procedure of these hearings may properly bar obstructive and dilatory
tactics resorted to by defendants in our ordinary criminal trials.
Nor should such a defense be recognized as the obsolete doctrine that
a head of state is immune from legal liability. There is more than a
suspicion that this idea is a relic of the doctrine of the divine right
of kings. It is, in any event, inconsistent with the position we take
toward our own officials, who are frequently brought to court at the
suit of citizens who allege their rights to have been invaded. We do
not accept the paradox that legal responsibility should be the least
where power is the greatest. We stand on the principle of responsible
government declared some three centuries ago to King James by Lord Chief
Justice Coke, who proclaimed that even a King is still "under God
and the law."
With the doctrine of immunity of a head of state usually is coupled
another, that orders from an official superior protect one who obeys
them. It will be noticed that the combination of these two doctrines
means that nobody is responsible. Society as modernly organized cannot
tolerate so broad an area of official irresponsibility. There is doubtless
a sphere in which the defense of obedience to superior orders should
prevail. If a conscripted or enlisted soldier is put on a firing squad,
he should not be held responsible for the validity of the sentence he
carries out. But the case may be greatly altered where one has discretion
because of rank or the latitude of his orders. And of course, the defense
of superior orders cannot apply in the case of voluntary participation
in a criminal or conspiratorial organization, such as the Gestapo or
the S.S. An accused should be allowed to show the facts about superior
orders. The Tribunal can then determine whether they constitute a defense
or merely extenuating circumstances, or perhaps carry no weight at all.
3. Whom will we accuse and put to their defense? We will accuse a
large number of individuals and officials who were in authority in the
government, in the military establishment, including the General Staff,
and in the financial, industrial, and economic life of Germany who by
all civilized standards are provable to be common criminals. We also
propose to establish the criminal character of several voluntary organizations
which have played a cruel and controlling part in subjugating first
the German people and then their neighbors. It is not, of course, suggested
that a person should be judged a criminal merely because he voted for
certain candidates or maintained political affiliations in the sense
that we in America support political parties. The organizations which
we will accuse have no resemblance to our political parties. Organizations
such as the Gestapo and the S.S. were direct action units, and were
recruited from volunteers accepted only because of aptitude for, and
fanatical devotion to, their violent purposes.
In examining the accused organizations in the trial, it is our proposal
to demonstrate their declared and covert objectives, methods of recruitment,
structure, lines of responsibility, and methods of effectuating their
programs. In this trial, important representative members- will be allowed
to defend their organizations as well as themselves. The best practicable
notice will be given, that named organizations stand accused and that
any member is privileged to appear and join in their defense. If in
the main trial an organization is found to be criminal, the second stage
will be to identify and try before regular military tribunals individual
members not already personally convicted in the principal case. Findings
in the main trial that an organization is criminal in nature will be
conclusive in any subsequent proceedings against individual members.
The individual member will thereafter be allowed to plead only personal
defenses or extenuating circumstances, such as that he joined under
duress, and as to those defenses he should have the burden of proof.
There is nothing novel in the idea that one may lose a part of or all
his defense if he fails to assert it in an appointed forum at an earlier
time. In United States war-time legislation, this principle has been
utilized and sustained as consistent with our concept of due process
4. Our case against the major defendants is concerned with the Nazi
master plan, not with individual barbarities and perversions which occurred
independently of any central plan. The groundwork of our case must be
factually authentic and constitute a well-documented history of what
we are convinced was a grand, concerted pattern to incite and commit
the aggressions and barbarities which have shocked the world. We must
not forget that when the Nazi plans were boldly proclaimed they were
so extravagant that the world refused to take them seriously. Unless
we write the record of this movement with clarity and precision, we
cannot blame the future if in days of peace it finds incredible the
accusatory generalities uttered during the war. We must establish incredible
events by credible evidence.
5. What specifically are the crimes with which these individuals and
organizations should be charged, and what marks their conduct as criminal?
There is, of course, real danger that trials of this character will
become enmeshed in voluminous particulars of wrongs committed by individual
Germans throughout the course of the war, and in the multitude of doctrinal
disputes which are part of a lawyer's paraphernalia. We can save ourselves
from those pitfalls if our test of what legally is crime gives recognition
to those things which fundamentally outraged the conscience of the American
people and brought them finally to the conviction that their own liberty
and civilization could not persist in the same world with the Nazi power.
Those acts which offended the conscience of our people were criminal
by standards generally accepted in all civilized countries, and I believe
that we may proceed to punish those responsible in full accord with
both our own traditions of fairness and with standards of just conduct
which have been internationally accepted. I think also that through
these trials we should be able to establish that a process of retribution
by law awaits those who in the future similarly attack civilization.
Before stating these offenses in legal terms and concepts, let me recall
what it was that affronted the sense of justice of our people.
Early in the Nazi regime, people of this country came to look upon
the Nazi Government as not constituting a legitimate state pursuing
the legitimate objective of a member of the international community.
They came to view the Nazis as a band of brigands, set on subverting
within Germany every vestige of a rule of law which would entitle an
aggregation of people to be looked upon collectively as a member of
the family of nations. Our people were outraged by the oppressions,
the cruelest forms of torture, the large-scale murder, and the wholesale
confiscation of property which initiated the Nazi regime within Germany.
They witnessed persecution of the greatest enormity on religious, political
and racial grounds, the breakdown of trade unions, and the liquidation
of all religious and moral influences. This was not the legitimate activity
of a state within its own boundaries, but was preparatory to the launching
of an international course of aggression and was with the evil intention,
openly expressed by the Nazis, of capturing the form of the German state
as an instrumentality for spreading their rule to other countries. Our
people felt that these were the deepest offenses against that International
Law described in the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907 as including the
"laws of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience."
Once these international brigands, the top leaders of the Nazi party,
the S.S. and the Gestapo, had firmly established themselves within Germany
by terrorism and crime, they immediately set out on a course of international
pillage. They bribed, debased, and incited to treason the citizens and
subjects of other nations for the purpose of establishing their fifth
columns of corruption and sabotage within those nations. They ignored
the commonest obligations of one state respecting the internal affairs
of another. They lightly made and promptly broke international engagements
as a part of their settled policy to deceive, corrupt, and overwhelm.
They made, and made only to violate, pledges respecting the demilitarized
Rhineland, and Czechoslovakia, and Poland, and Russia. They did not
hesitate to instigate the Japanese to treacherous attack on the United
States. Our people saw in this succession of events the destruction
of the minimum elements of trust which can hold the community of nations
together in peace and progress. Then, in consummation of their plan,
the Nazis swooped down upon the nations they had deceived and ruthlessly
conquered them. They flagrantly violated the obligations which states,
including their own, have undertaken by convention or tradition as a
part of the rules of land warfare, and of the law of the sea. They wantonly
destroyed cities like Rotterdam for no military purpose. They wiped
out whole populations, as at Lidice, where no military purposes were
to be served. They confiscated property of the Poles and gave it to
party members. They transported in labor battalions great sectors of
the civilian populations of the conquered countries. They refused the
ordinary protections of law to the populations which they enslaved.
The feeling of outrage grew in this country, and it became more and
more felt that these were crimes committed against us and against the
whole society of civilized nations by a band of brigands who had seized
the instrumentality of a state.
I believe that those instincts of our people were right and that they
should -guide us as the fundamental tests of criminality. We propose
to punish acts which have been regarded as criminal since the time of
Cain and have been so written in every civilized code.
In arranging these trials we must also bear in mind the aspirations
with which our people have faced the sacrifices of war. After we entered
the war, and as we expended our men and our wealth to stamp out these
wrongs, it was the universal feeling of our people that out of this
war should come unmistakable rules and workable machinery from which
any who might contemplate another era of brigandage would know that
they would be held personally responsible and would be personally punished.
Our people have been waiting for these trials in the spirit of Woodrow
Wilson, who hoped to "give to international law the kind of vitality
which it can only have if it is a real expression of our moral judgment."
Against this background it may be useful to restate in more technical
lawyer's terms the legal charges against the top Nazi leaders and those
voluntary associations such as the S.S. and Gestapo which clustered
about them and were ever the prime instrumentalities, first, in capturing
the German state, and then, in directing the German state to its spoliations
against the rest of the world.
(a) Atrocities and offenses against persons or property constituting
violations of International Law, including the laws, rules, and customs
of land and naval warfare. The rules of warfare are well established
and generally accepted by the nations. They make offenses of such conduct
as killing of the wounded, refusal of quarter, ill treatment of prisoners
of war, firing on undefended localities, poisoning of wells and streams,
pillage and wanton destruction, and ill treatment of inhabitants in
(b) Atrocities and offenses, including atrocities and persecutions
on racial or religious grounds, committed since 1933. This is only to
recognize the principles of criminal law as they are generally observed
in civilized states. These principles have been assimilated as a part
of International Law at least since 1907. The Fourth Hague Convention
provided that inhabitants and belligerents shall remain under the protection
and the rule of "the principles of the law of nations, as they
result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the
laws of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience."
(c) invasions of other countries and initiation of wars of aggression
in violation of International Law or treaties.
The persons to be reached by these charges will be determined by the
rule of liability, common to all legal systems, that all who participate
in the formulation or execution of a criminal plan involving multiple
crimes are liable for each of the offenses committed and responsible
for the acts of each other. All are liable who have incited, ordered,
procured, or counseled the commission of such acts, or who have taken
what the Moscow Declaration describes as "a consenting part"
The legal position which the United States will maintain, being thus
based on the common sense of justice, is relatively simple and non-technical.
We must not permit it to be complicated or obscured by sterile legalisms
developed in the age of imperialism to make war respectable.
Doubtless what appeals to men of good will and common sense as the
crime which comprehends all lesser crimes, is the crime of making unjustifiable
war. War necessarily is a calculated series of killings, of destructions
of property, of oppressions. Such acts unquestionably would be criminal
except that International Law throws a mantle of protection around acts
which otherwise would be crimes, when committed in pursuit of legitimate
warfare. In this they are distinguished from the same acts in the pursuit
of piracy or brigandage which have been considered punishable wherever
and by whomever the guilty are caught. But International Law as taught
in the Nineteenth and the early part of the Twentieth Century generally
declared that war-making was not illegal and is no crime at law. Summarized
by a standard authority, its attitude was that "both parties to
every war are regarded as being in an identical legal position, and
consequently as being possessed of equal rights."
This, however, was a departure from the doctrine taught by Grotius,
the father of International Law, that there is a distinction between
the just and the unjust war-the war of defense and the war of aggression.
International Law is more than a scholarly collection of abstract
and immutable principles. It is an outgrowth of treaties or agreements
between nations and of accepted customs. But every custom has its origin
in some single act, and every agreement has to be initiated by the action
of some state. Unless we are prepared to abandon every principle of
growth for International Law, we cannot deny that our own day has its
right to institute customs and to conclude agreements that will themselves
become sources of a newer and strengthened International Law. International
Law is not capable of development by legislation, for there is no continuously
sitting international legislature. Innovations and revisions in International
Law are brought about by the action of governments designed to meet
a change in circumstances. It grows, as did the Common-law, through
decisions reached from time to time in adapting settled principles to
meet situations. Hence I am not disturbed by the lack of precedent for
the inquiry we propose to conduct. After the shock to civilization of
the last World War, however, a marked reversion to the earlier and sounder
doctrines of International Law took place. By the time the Nazis came
to power it was thoroughly established that launching an aggressive
war or the institution of war by treachery was illegal and that the
defense of legitimate warfare was no longer available to those who engaged
in such an enterprise. It is high time that we act on the juridical
principle that aggressive war-making is illegal and criminal.
The re-establishment of the principle of unjustifiable war is traceable
in many steps. One of the most significant is the Briand-Kellogg Pact
of 1928, by which Germany, Italy and Japan, in common with ourselves
and practically all the nations of the world, renounced war as an instrument
of national policy, bound themselves to seek the settlement of disputes
only by pacific means, and condemned recourse to war for the solution
of international controversies. Unless this Pact altered the legal status
of wars of aggression, it has no meaning at all and comes close to being
an act of deception. In 1932, Mr. Stimson, as Secretary of State, gave
voice to the American concept of its effect. He said, "War between
nations was renounced by the signatories of the Briand-Kellogg Treaty.
This means that it has become illegal throughout practically the entire
world. It is no longer to be the source and subject of rights. It is
no longer to be the principle around which the duties, the conduct,
and the rights of nations revolve. It is an illegal thing.... By that
very act, we have made obsolete many legal precedents and have given
the legal profession the task of reexamining many of its codes and treatises."
This Pact constitutes only one in a series of acts which have reversed
the viewpoint that all war is legal and have brought International Law
into harmony with the common sense of mankind, that unjustifiable war
is a crime. Without attempting an exhaustive catalogue, we may mention
the Geneva Protocol of 1924 for the Pacific Settlement of International
Disputes, signed by the representatives of forty-eight governments,
which declared that "a war of aggression constitutes . . . an international
crime." The Eighth Assembly of the League of Nations in 1927, on
unanimous resolution of the representatives of forty-eight member nations,
including Germany, declared that a war of aggression constitutes an
international crime. At the Sixth Pan-American Conference of 1928, the
twenty-one American Republics unanimously adopted a resolution stating
that "war of aggression constitutes an international crime against
the human species."
The United States is vitally interested in recognizing the principle
that treaties renouncing war have juridical as well as political meaning.
We relied upon the Briand-Kellogg Pact and made it the cornerstone of
our national policy. We neglected our armaments and our war machine
in reliance upon it. All violations of it, wherever started, menace
our peace as we now have good reason to know. An attack on the foundations
of international relations cannot be regarded as anything less than
a crime against the international community, which may properly vindicate
the integrity of its fundamental compacts by punishing aggressors. We
therefore propose to charge that a war of aggression is a crime, and
that modern International Law has abolished the defense that those who
incite or wage it are engaged in legitimate business. Thus may the forces
of the law be mobilized on the side of peace.
Any legal position asserted on behalf of the United States will have
considerable significance in the future evolution of International Law.
In untroubled times, progress toward an effective rule of law in the
international community is slow indeed. Inertia rests more heavily upon
the society of nations than upon any other society. Now we stand at
one of those rare moments when the thought and institutions and habits
of the world have been shaken by the impact of world war on the lives
of countless millions. Such occasions rarely come and quickly pass.
We are put under a heavy responsibility to see that our behavior during
this unsettled period will direct the world's thought toward a firmer
enforcement of the laws of international conduct, so as to make war
less attractive to those who have governments and the destinies of peoples
in their power.
I have left until last the first question which you and the American
people are asking-when can this trial start and how long will it take.
I should be glad to answer if the answer were within my control. But
it would be foolhardy to name dates which depend upon the action of
other governments and of many agencies. Inability to fix definite dates,
however, would not excuse failure to state my attitude toward the time
and duration of trial.
I know that the public has a deep sense of urgency about these trials.
Because I, too, feel a sense of urgency, I have proceeded with the preparations
of the American case before completion of the diplomatic exchanges concerning
the Tribunal to hear it and the agreement under which we are to work.
We must, however, recognize the existence of serious difficulties to
be overcome in preparation of the case. It is no criticism to say that
until the surrender of Germany the primary objective of the military
intelligence services was naturally to gather military information rather
than to prepare a legal case for trial. We must now sift and compress
within a workable scope voluminous evidence relating to a multitude
of crimes committed in several countries and participated in by thousands
of actors over a decade of time. The preparation must cover military,
naval, diplomatic, political, and commercial aggressions. The evidence
is scattered among various agencies and in the hands of several armies.
The captured documentary evidence-literally tons of orders, records,
and reports-is largely in foreign languages. Every document and the
trial itself must be rendered into several languages. An immense amount
of work is necessary to bring this evidence together physically, to
select what is useful, to integrate it into a case, to overlook no relevant
detail, and at the same time and at all costs to avoid becoming lost
in a wilderness of single instances. Some sacrifice of perfection to
speed can wisely be made and, of course, urgency overrides every personal
convenience and comfort for all of us who are engaged in this work.
Beyond this I will not go in prophecy. The task of making this record
complete and accurate, while memories are fresh, while witnesses are
living, and while a tribunal is available, is too important to the future
opinion of the world to be undertaken before the case can be sufficiently
prepared to make a creditable presentation. Intelligent, informed, and
sober opinion will not be satisfied with less.
The trial must not be protracted in duration by anything that is obstructive
or dilatory, but we must see that it is fair and deliberative and not
discredited in times to come by any mob spirit. Those who have regard
for the good name of the United States as a symbol of justice under
law would not have me proceed otherwise.
May I add that your personal encouragement and support have been a
source of strength and inspiration to every member of my staff, as well
as to me, as we go forward with a task so immense that it can never
be done completely or perfectly, but which we hope to do acceptably.
ROBERT H. JACKSON
Sources: United States Department of State Bulletin. Words of Peace-Words of War.