HC Deb 13 April 1960 vol 621 cc1232-3
2. Dr. A. Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct his representative in the United Nations General Assembly to propose that the Assembly refers to it's International Law Commission the question of the custody of documents relating to Nazi war crimes, with instructions to prepare a draft international agreement for the lodging of all such available documents with, and their preservation by, the United Nations, together with suitable regulations for permitting access to such documents.

Mr. R. Allan

This is not a matter for the International Law Commission, which is concerned with the codification and the development of international law and not with making arrangements of the kind proposed for the custody of documents.

Dr. Thompson

Nevertheless, will the Joint Under-Secretary of State give an assurance that he will approach the United Nations with a view to securing some kind of custody of these documents in order to lift the issue of Nazi war crimes out of the day-to-day diplomatic wrangle between East and West and to avoid the situation whereby Nazi crimes are forgotten or remembered according to the expediences of the cold war? Will he give us an assurance that we can have an impartial body for the custody of these documents so that they may be available to genuine scholars and for the ascertainment of the technical incidence of guilt in cases to which reference is made?

Mr. Allan

I am not sure that the hon. Gentleman is quite aware of the facts. His Question refers to war crimes and records. The records of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal covering the trials of the major German war criminals are already deposited with the International Court of Justice at The Hague and are available for inspection. Our copies of the proceedings have been deposited at the Public Record Office where they are available to the public. In the case of minor war criminals, the records of many of these have already been published in the War Crimes Trials series.

Mr. J. Hynd

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us, for the record, whether the archives referred to in this Question do in fact deal with war crimes or whether they are just lists of party members?

Mr. Allan

No. In this Question reference is made to war crimes and my Answer dealt with war crimes and war criminals.

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