Interagency Working Group (IWG)

Interagency Working Group (IWG): Summary Meeting Minutes

February 6, 2002, 2:00 p.m.; 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Participants:

National Archives and Records Administration
Stephen Garfinkel (Chair)

Public Members
Thomas Baer
Richard Ben-Veniste
Elizabeth Holtzman

Office of the Secretary of Defense
Christina Bromwell

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Carol Keeley

Central Intelligency Agency
David Holmes

 

National Security Council
William Leary

Department of Justice/Office of Special Investigations
Eli Rosenbaum

Department of State
Marc Susser

United States Holocaust Memorial Musem
Paul A. Shapiro

Agency and IWG Staff and Consultants also present.


The IWG Chair, Steven Garfinkel, welcomed the members and thanked all who had participated in making his retirement celebration such a happy and memorable occasion at the end of January. Fortunately, he will continue as IWG Chair. He informed the group that a new director for ISOO has not yet been named. He also announced that this meeting may be the last one for his former assistant, Emily Hickey, as it is uncertain whether the new ISOO director will want to continue her support to the IWG. The Chair thanked Emily for all of her assistance throughout the last year and emphasized how much she will be missed. A round of applause from the members confirmed this sentiment.

Mr. Garfinkel announced that Naotaka Ikeda, a diplomatic historian, is under contract in Tokyo and is at work to determine the availability of Japanese records related to war crimes. He has begun research at the Ministry of Justice, Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Defense archives for relevant documents and has more to do. We expect his first report in March.

David VanTassel reported that he does not believe that the U.S. missed much in exploiting captured Japanese documents that were later returned to Japan. The captured records were thoroughly exploited even before they were shipped to the U.S. by the Allied Translator & Interpreter Section (ATIS), which had a staff of over 2600 translators and interpreters. This explains why CIA only held the captured documents in Washington for a short time before deciding they could be transferred to NARA and returned to Japan. The ATIS records indicate that almost everything worth translating was translated and widely circulated to interested government agencies. They were definitely used by the War Crimes Tribunals and the SCAP Legal Section, both of whose records are declassified or unclassified.

Elizabeth Holtzman asked whether this new information could be verified. Mr. VanTassel responded that so far the records were matching up.

Linda Goetz Holmes, a visiting member of the Historical Advisory Panel (HAP), stated that this is somewhat misleading because not all the documents were declassified and were restricted at NARA. She also said that some ATIS records are unavailable. Dick Myers said that these are now available. Marlene Mayo noted that the files are available because they had to be declassified before a team from the Japanese Diet Library could have them microfilmed in the mid-80s.

Paul Shapiro asked which of these collections have been documented. Mr. VanTassel said there is a very general inventory list of returned records but that the Washington Documents Center created detailed accessions lists when they received the records. Dick Myers reported that Greg Bradsher has accounted for 500,000 to 700,000 documents in the last month and is still working on a list. Mr. Shapiro asked if we will be able to identify the provenance of these documents and the response was affirmative.

Mr. Garfinkel announced that the draft of the Interim Report to Congress on locating and declassifying Japanese records should be sent to IWG members in the next week or so for final comments. He added that the March 22, 2002, IWG meeting will focus on the structure of the Final IWG Report to Congress. All the IWG Historians will be available and will attend that session, and the HAP is being asked to provide comments and guidance on the historical portion of the Report.

The chair also announced that Shlomo Aronson, an Israeli historian who has been at NARA since October, is completing his research. He will be returning to Hebrew University and will be missed. Dr. Aronson thanked all members for their assistance during his time here, including Steve Garfinkel, Larry Taylor, David VanTassel, and the historians and archivists.

As a follow up to the Public Members' December 6, 2001, meeting at the State Department, Marc Susser, the Department of State Historian, reported that his staff has reviewed the Legal Office's files. They have found no classified records on the 1951 Peace Treaty.

Richard Breitman reported that the three IWG European Theater historians have met to begin to make plans for the final report. They are in the early stages, reviewing what they have, comparing what has already been published, and asking for assistance in this project from the HAP.

Norman Goda reported on his recent review of FBI files concerning Eastern European émigrés. They focused on those who collaborated with the Nazis during the war and then, after the war, came to the U.S. under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. It appears some of these émigrés were then employed by the FBI and CIA, who overlooked their wartime activities in lieu of the Cold War benefits they provided.

Ms Holtzman asked if there was evidence that the FBI was responsible for some of these émigrés being elevated to well-connected positions. Dr. Goda said he found no evidence of this but did find evidence that some of these émigrés were funded by the CIA. Mr. Shapiro asked if Dr. Goda was also looking at Eastern Europeans from countries like Romania. Dr. Goda said he was still looking into this. Eli Rosenbaum told Dr. Goda he has obtained INS' approval for Dr. Goda to review the INS files that he has asked OSI to obtain for him.

Dr. Mayo reported on her pursuit of documents on Japanese biological and chemical warfare. The British and the OSS apparently debriefed various POWs and missionaries in China and in Manchuria. Dr. Mayo has not located files from the Biological Warfare Committee, which looked into Japanese biological and chemical warfare efforts.

Mr. Rosenbaum reported he has completed his review of the high priority OSI files identified by Dr. Breitman and has waived the exclusion on all five. Steve Rogers from OSI is now reviewing the medium priority files. Mr. Rosenbaum then raised the issue of the question of CIA transferring to the IWG files that have been flagged for OSI review. He said that OSI has been operating under the specific instructions given in Michael Kurtz's May 2000 letter. Mr. Rosenbaum said that those directions required that all OSI-flagged materials be transferred to NARA rather than held by the agencies. He added that Chair Garfinkel and the IWG would have to deal directly with the CIA to determine how this should be handled since OSI has discharged its duties.

Mr. Rosenbaum then passed out a draft disclaimer statement which he recommends be attached to all reports prepared by the IWG Historians. Mr. Garfinkel stated he believes this is generally being done but if not, and the members have no objections, it will now be done. He asked for any comments on the wording of the disclaimer from members.

The IWG Audit Team, John Pereira and Edward Dietel, updated those assembled on the progress of the various agencies in declassifying endeavors. They have created an additional chart to indicate progress in locating and declassifying Japanese documents.

Prior to the end of the meeting, Paul Shapiro introduced Dr. Radu Ioanid, who works at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on archival acquisition, especially Russian and Chinese records. He will cooperate with any IWG effort to locate materials in Russian archives.

The next meeting of the IWG is scheduled for March 22, 2002, at 1:00 p.m. at 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Suite 700. Mr. Garfinkel again reiterated that the major topic for discussion would be the structure for the Final Report to Congress. The tentative date for the following meeting is May 1.

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