World War II Crimes Working Group Issues Final Report to Congress

On September 28, the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) issued its final report to Congress describing the seven-year, approximately $30-million government-wide effort to locate, declassify, and make publicly available U.S. records of Nazi and Japanese war crimes.

In a Capitol Hill ceremony, the Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, presented the final report on behalf of the IWG, entitled Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group: Final Report to Congress to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), one of the authors of the 1998 enabling legislation.

The IWG’s membership consists of representatives of seven Executive Branch agencies and three presidentially-appointed public members, Thomas H. Baer, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Elizabeth Holtzman. The Archivist of the United States is designated by statute as the group’s Chair.

More than eight million pages were declassified and opened to the public as a result of the Disclosure Acts. The records include the entirety of the operational files of the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor agency of the CIA), and more than 163,000 pages of CIA materials of a type never before opened to the public.

The declassified records also included more than:
435,000 pages of FBI files
20,000 pages from Army Counterintelligence Corps files
100,000 pages related to Japanese War Crimes; and
6 million additional pages of records.

One of the IWG’s aims was to uncover documentation that would shed light on the extent to which the U.S. Government had knowingly used and protected war criminals for intelligence purposes. Findings on this subject were explored in two volumes produced by the IWG: Researching Japanese War Crimes: Introductory Essays (January 2007) and U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis (April 2004).

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