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FAS Intro: The following letter from sixty members of Congress urges President Clinton to fully implement the original version of the War Crimes Disclosure Act, which would have compelled the declassification of records of Nazi war crimes. The version of the Act that was passed by Congress last year was merely a non-binding sense of the Congress resolution.


Congress of the United States

Washington DC 20515

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We would like to commend you on establishing the Interagency Working Group on Nazi Assets. We hope it will be successful in uncovering all the information and documents that agencies of the United States government have about assets lost or stolen during the Holocaust.

We are writing to ask that you take another crucial step in uncovering records and secret documents that our government has had under wraps since World War II. These documents would be instrumental in finally bringing to justice the Nazi War Criminals who committed these atrocities. As you know, our government continues to hide from public view information that researchers could find invaluable in tracking those who committed War crimes. We now know that our government had in its possession information and documents on Kurt Waldheim, Klaus Barbie, and Alois Brunner, among others. There is no more onerous example of the harm these hidden files can cause than the fact that Kurt Waldheim was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations while the Central Intelligence Agency concealed his wartime past. We know that you share our concern about the question that remains: what other information is in file drawers or warehouses today that could be used to bring these individuals implicated in the commission of war crimes to justice?

We respectfully urge you to fully implement the War Crimes Disclosure Act, which passed the House and Senate unanimously and which you signed into law last year. You can do this by issuing an executive order calling for the bill's implementation as reported in its original form by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, thus declassifying information pertaining to Nazi War Criminals. The War Crimes Disclosure Act, if fully implemented, would close a tremendous loophole in current law that allows government agencies to block the release of valuable information on Nazi War Criminals using outdated "national security" arguments. We do not believe that researchers investigating Nazi War Criminals should continue to be denied information that is sitting in U.S. government files.

It appears that your Administration is moving in the right direction with respect to identifying and reclaiming lost assets. However, when it comes to Nazi war crimes files, we can and should move more swiftly. With the passage of time, all we have left in many cases is the documentation that could bring these criminals to justice.

The Second World War ended more than fifty years ago. It's time for the entire story of this horrible era in the history of man's inhumanity to man to emerge. We respectfully urge you to fully implement the War Crimes Disclosure Act by issuing an executive order calling for the release of information pertaining to Nazi War Criminals.

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress

TOM LANTOS
Member of Congress

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON
Member of Congress

STEPHEN HORN
Member of Congress

JIM SAXTON
Member of Congress

SUE W. KELLY
Member of Congress

ZOE LOFGREN
Member of Congress

JAMES P. McGOVERN
Member of Congress

FORTNEY PETE STARK
Member of Congress

MARTIN T. MEEHAN
Member of Congress

LORETTA SANCHEZ
Member of Congress

HOWARD L. BERMAN
Member of Congress

BOB FILNER
Member of Congress

CLIFF STEARNS
Member of Congress

ELIOT L. ENGEL
Member of Congress

JOHN W. OLVER
Member of Congress

FRANK A. LoBIONDO
Member of Congress

J.C. WATTS, Jr.
Member of Congress

CAROLYN McCARTHY
Member of Congress

GARY L. ACKERMAN
Member of Congress

CARRIE P. MEEK
Member of Congress

NITA M. LOWEY
Member of Congress

JAMES E. CLYBURN
Member of Congress

HENRY B. GONZALEZ
Member of Congress

BOB FRANKS
Member of Congress

THOMAS J. MANTON
Member of Congress

STEVEN SCHIFF
Member of Congress

JAMES L. OBERSTAR
Member of Congress

JERROLD NADLER
Member of Congress

SANDER M. LEVIN
Member of Congress

JOHN EDWARD PORTER
Member of Congress

STEVEM R. ROTHMAN
Member of Congress

WALTER H. CAPPS
Member of Congress

SIDNEY R. YATES
Member of Congress

PETER T. KING
Member of Congress

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN
Member of Congress

JOHN F. TIERNEY
Member of Congress

MARK FOLEY
Member of Congress

FRANK R. WOLF
Member of Congress

FLOYD H. FLAKE
Member of Congress

THOMAS M. DAVIS
Member of Congress

CONSTANCE A. MORELLA
Member of Congress

MICHAEL R. MCNULTY
Member of Congress

WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI
Member of Congress

SANFORD D. BISHOP, Jr.
Member of Congress

RICK LAZIO
Member of Congress

MARTIN FROST
Member of Congress

LLOYD DOGGETT
Member of Congress

DANNY K. DAVIS
Member of Congress

THOMAS M. BARRETT
Member of Congress

MELVIN L. WATT
Member of Congress

DIANA DeGETTE
Member of Congress

FRANK PALLONE, Jr.
Member of Congress

JOHN M. McHUGH
Member of Congress

BARNEY FRANK
Member of Congress

SAM GEJDENSON
Member of Congress

LYNN N. RIVERS
Member of Congress

ROBERT E. (BUD) CRAMER, Jr.
Member of Congress

JAMES T. WALSH
Member of Congress

PETER DEUTSCH
Member of Congress




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