Nazi and Japanese War Crimes Declassification Project Concludes

The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), the group tasked with locating, declassifying, and making publicly available U.S. records of Nazi and Japanese war crimes, concluded its work on March 31, 2007.

The IWG was formed under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 and the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000. Its membership consists of representatives of seven Executive Branch agencies and three Presidentially appointed public members. The IWG was extended twice, most recently in March 2005, to complete the largest ever congressionally mandated single-subject declassification effort.

The group’s Final Report to Congress will be issued in mid-April. It will describe the history of the legislation that brought about the declassification effort; agencies’ implementation of the act; the declassification results; and recommendations for future declassification policies.

The seven-year, roughly $30 million declassification effort, resulted in the opening of more than 8 million pages of U.S. records—not all of them directly linked to war crimes. Notably, 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.