On January 11, 1999, in accordance with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (PL 105-246), President Clinton established the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG). The group is made up of public members and federal agency representatives who are directed to
- locate, inventory, recommend for declassification, and make available all classified Nazi war criminal records, subject to certain specified exceptions;
- coordinate with federal agencies and expedite the release of such classified records to the public; and
- complete its work to the greatest extent possible and report to Congress within one year.
On May 23, 2000 Dr. Michael Kurtz, Chair of the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), announced that the IWG will take steps toward the declassification of records related to Japanese war crimes in the second phase of implementation of the Nazi War Crime Disclosure Act of 1998.
Law 105-246, the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, was signed
by President Clinton on October 8, 1998. In accordance with the Act, by
Order 13110, the President established the Nazi War
Criminal Records Interagency Working Group to locate, inventory,
recommend for declassification, and make available to the public all classified
Nazi war criminal records, subject to certain specified exceptions.
- In May, 1999, NARA's Office of General Counsel prepared a preliminary
analysis of privacy issues related to the Nazi War Crimes
Disclosure as guidance to agencies declassifying Nazi war criminal records.
On October 27, 1999, the IWG submitted its interim report, Implementation
of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. Report to Congress,
On December 6, 2000, as part of the Intelligence Authorization Act for
2001, Congress extended the IWG's life to December 2004 through passage
of the Japanese Imperial Government
Disclosure Act, P. L. 106-567. This law changed the IWG's
name to the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency
Working Group and formally recognized the declassification of U. S. Government
records related to Japanese war crimes as part of the IWG's mission.
A colloquy held in the
United States Senate clarified certain aspects of the Act.
President Clinton's December 27, 2000, Signing
Statement set forth the Executive Branch's understanding
of the new act relative to the original Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.
- Originally extended until 2004 by the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act, the IWG was extended twice more by statute to allow agencies more time to comply with the acts with respect to both German and Japanese war crimes records. In January 2004 the IWG was extended until March 31, 2005, and in February 2005, it was extended until March 31, 2007