Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Public Papers
Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  9. 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.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.