Interagency Working Group (IWG)

Meeting Minutes: 02/13/04

National Archives Building
Washington, DC 20004

February 13, 2004

National Archives and Records Administration
Steven Garfinkel (Chair)
National Security Council
William Leary
Public Members
Thomas Baer
Elizabeth Holtzman
Department Of State
Office of the Historian

Marc Susser
Central Intelligence Agency
Mary Walsh
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Office of the Secretary Of Defense
Christina Bromwell
Department Of Justice
Office of Special Investigations

Eli Rosenbaum
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Carol Keeley
Historical Advisory Panel
Gerhard Weinberg

Other agency, IWG staff and consultants were present.

IWG Chair Steven Garfinkel announced the one-year extension of the IWG and the pending appointment of a fourth public member. He hopes that the new public member will help allay concerns from the Asian-American community that the effort with regard to Japanese war crimes records has not been as vigorous as that relating to Nazi war crimes records. He announced the target date of March 31, 2004, for the IWG Historians European report, and stated his pride at the IWG's accomplishments to date.

Gerhard Weinberg said that Historical Advisory Panel (HAP) members had reviewed the historians' reports and directly relayed their comments to the authors. HAP is surprised at the lack of general government systematic declassification review, and is concerned about the "discrepancy" in the amount of newly-declassified information on European war crimes and criminals versus those related to Japanese war crimes. HAP advises including in the final report to Congress a section on classification and declassification procedures.

David Van Tassel updated the IWG on the upcoming release of additional CIA name files. Mary Walsh stressed that the CIA is working on responding to the IWG "bill of particulars" and the items requested. Dick Myers reviewed the matter of INS files, referencing CIA files on suspected Nazi war criminals, and noted that these files are being declassified. There was a discussion of references made by late author Sheldon Harris to Japanese war crimes-related records at Fort Detrick Maryland that had disappeared. Bill Cunliffe mentioned that NSA reopened its records review because of the possibility of finding collateral material in its science and technology records. David Van Tassel praised the FBI for its "very high" compliance with the Act. State Department documents on the so-called "Nazi Gold" and German slave labor negotiations of 1996-2000 have been declassified, and similar Treasury Department documents are being reviewed.

Discussion ensued on the topic of records from the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), which was formed to be the "direct action" arm of the CIA under Frank Wisner. Dick Myers explained the complexity of obtaining such records given that it was a divided operation, receiving funding and personnel from CIA, with the records dispersed at CIA, but reporting to the Policy Planning Staff (PPS) at the State Department. The PPS records in NARA custody appear to relate largely to policy deliberations attendant on NSC issuances rather than to operations. Timothy Naftali explained the relevance of OPC materials, given some evidence of U. S. recruitment of former members of the Waffen SS.

IWG Final Report editor Kristi Rusch was introduced. Ms. Rusch described the report on Nazi war criminals, "U. S. Intelligence and the Nazis", planned for publication Spring 2004, as substantive and interesting. She looks forward beginning to assemble the draft Japanese report as soon as the European report is published. Eli Rosenbaum suggested using as a "good selling point" the fact that the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act represents the largest records search and declassification operation in US history.

The meeting was adjourned sine die.