Kidnap City: Cold War Berlin

By Arthur L. Smith | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 6
U.S. VERSUS THE GERMAN
COURTS

By July, it was obvious that the Kemritz case was not going to die the quiet death that Washington hoped. Instead, there was a rising tide of concern, anger, puzzlement, outrage, and disappointment expressed in a flood of letters and telegrams that poured into Washington and Bonn. Everyone seemed to want an answer to the reason for HICOG’s stubborn defense of Hans Kemritz.

A number of influential American lawmakers were demanding an explanation from the State Department. Senator Richard Russell, Democrat from Georgia, chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, wanted answers, as did his colleagues Senator William Knowland, Republican from California, and Representative O. K. Armstrong, Republican from Missouri. President Truman even received a message passed to him from Chancellor Adenauer that came from a dissident group in East Germany that only identified itself as “Cornelius,” and pleaded with the American president to stand up for human rights for this was the only hope for oppressed people.1

On July 13, 1951, High Commissioner McCloy, recently returned from a Washington trip, held a press conference in Bonn. Facing a large group of eager reporters, McCloy began by reviewing his discussions in Washington, which ranged over a variety of subjects, and avoided direct reference to the Kemritz affair. It was not possible to ignore what was on every reporter’s mind, however, and finally McCloy was asked directly.

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