MAJOR GENERAL LEIGH WADE - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 11/12/1958 - HFSID 264327
LEIGH WADE. TLS: "Leigh Wade", 1p, 7¼x10½. Washington, D.C., 1958 November 12. On his personal letterhead to Mr. H. Keith Thompson, New York, New York.
LEIGH WADE. TLS: "Leigh Wade", 1p, 7¼x10½. Washington, D.C., 1958 November 12. On his personal letterhead to Mr. H. Keith Thompson, New York, New York. In full: "Please add my commendations to those which you have already received for the excellent work being done to clarify the mystery of the 'Internation (sic, International) Military Tribunal'. It gives me great pleasure to indorse (sic) this movement and you can count on my support. From the first announcement of the 'Trials' I questioned the legality and endeavored to find from some one the basis upon which the body could legally function. To this day I have yet to be satisfied. I am convinced that the future morale of military personnel is in jeopardy as a result of these 'Trials'. This opinion is based upon conversation with both active and retired military personnel of this country and many foreign military friends and diplomats. With the Hague and the United Nations in existance (sic) it appears there must be some way wherby (sic) the question of post war activities and tribunals to care for any problem could be so outlined and put into a form for each Nation to be a signor (sic). With an International body formed for this specific purpose I feel it would be the controlling factor to avoid atrocities and at the same time permit military personnel carry out their duties. Again I compliment you upon taking it upon yourself to attack this problem and to say I am a supporter." LEIGH WADE (1897-1991), a pioneer aviator who became a Major General in the U.S. Air Force, is best known for his participation in the first around-the-world airplane flight. Wade was one of eight aviators who took off in four 2-winged single-engine Douglas aircraft from Seattle on a 175-day mission that would involve 363 hours of flying time and stops in two dozen countries. Wade was at the controls of the Boston on the historic flight, which was divided into 73 segments of up to 830 miles each. En route from Iceland, the Boston developed mechanical problems and went down in the North Atlantic. Although Wade and his co-pilot were rescued, the plane was a loss (the second of the original four planes not able to finish the flight), but Wade was able to resume the flight from Nova Scotia in the Boston II. Wade, who became a test pilot in the 1920s, was back in uniform in WWII, serving in intelligence and commanding an air base in Cuba. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1955, three years before writing this letter. H. KEITH THOMPSON, a Yale graduate with a background in military and maritime law, was a specialist and researcher of war crimes trials. In addition to compiling a comprehensive private library on the subject, he co-authored (with Henry Strutz) the book, Donitz at Nuremberg: A Reappraisal. Thompson also wrote extensively for scholarly, professional and popular publications, sometimes reviewing books dealing with war crimes. In an article written for the "Journal of Historical Review", Thompson quoted an analysis of the Nuremberg war trials written by American jurist William H. Hart, Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio (1939-1957) and lecturer on international law: "The tribunal involved was created...by what is known as the London Charter entered into on August 8, 1945 by and between four nations - The United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France - victor nations of World War II, for the purpose of designating and defining certain acts committed in the course of war as war crimes and the prosecution of certain officials of conquered Germany charged with the commission of such crimes...In my judgment, the procedure by which the Nuremberg Tribunal was created and the criminal trials thereafter conducted, was completely fraught with illegality...these four national powers instituting the Nuremberg Trials did not separately or jointly possess any sovereign power to create a special court to try alleged criminal offenses committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of any one of them...not did it possess sovereign authority to convict officers of the German forces of so-called criminal offenses not committed within such jurisdiction...In my opinion, there was no legal justification for the trial, conviction or sentence of the so-called 'war criminals' by the Nuremberg Tribunal. We have set a bad precedent. It should not be followed in the future." Lightly creased at upper margin. ¼-inch tear at lower right blank edge, ink number (unknown hand) at lower left corner. Fine condition.
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