Harry S. Truman photo

Joint Statement With Allied Leaders Warning Against Mistreatment of Prisoners in Germany.

April 23, 1945

THE GOVERNMENTS of the United Kingdom, United States of America and U.S.S.R., on behalf of all the United Nations at war with Germany, hereby issue a solemn warning to all commandants and guards in charge of Allied prisoners of war, internees or deported citizens of the United Nations in Germany and German occupied territory and to members of the Gestapo and all other persons of whatsoever service or rank in whose charge Allied prisoners of war, internees or deported citizens have been placed, whether in battle zones, on lines of communication or in rear areas. They declare that they will hold all such persons, no less than the German High Command and competent German military, naval and air authorities, individually responsible for the safety and welfare of all Allied prisoners of war, internees or deported citizens in their charge.

Any person guilty of maltreating or allowing any Allied prisoners of war, internees or deported citizens to be maltreated, whether in battle zone, on lines of communication, in a camp, hospital, prison or elsewhere, will be ruthlessly pursued and brought to punishment.

They give notice that they will regard this responsibility as binding in all circumstances and one which cannot be transferred to any other authorities or individuals whatsoever.

Note: This statement was made public at 6 p.m. The White House release accompanying the text states that Allied planes began distributing the warning in leaflet form at 6 p.m. over those portions of German territory still in German control. The leaflets bore facsimile signatures of the President, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin.

Harry S. Truman, Joint Statement With Allied Leaders Warning Against Mistreatment of Prisoners in Germany. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231691

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