Text: H.R.1281 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 104-309 (10/19/1996)

 
[104th Congress Public Law 309]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ309.104]


[[Page 110 STAT. 3815]]

Public Law 104-309
104th Congress

                                 An Act


 
   To express the sense of the Congress that United States Government 
 agencies in possession of records about individuals who are alleged to 
        have committed Nazi war crimes should make these records 
             public. <<NOTE: Oct. 19, 1996 -  [H.R. 1281]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--
            (1) during the 104th Congress, Americans commemorated the 
        50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Second World War and 
        the end of the Holocaust, one of the worst tragedies in history;
            (2) it is important to learn all that we can about this 
        terrible era so that we can prevent such a catastrophe from ever 
        happening again;
            (3) the cold war is over;
            (4) numerous nations, including those of the former Soviet 
        Union, are making public their files on Nazi war criminals as 
        well as crimes committed by agencies of their own governments;
            (5) <<NOTE: William J. Clinton.>> on April 17, 1995, 
        President Clinton signed Executive Order 12958, which will make 
        available certain previously classified national security 
        documents that are at least 25 years old;
            (6) that Executive Order stated: ``Our democratic principles 
        require that the American people be informed of the activities 
        of their Government.'';
            (7) this year marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of 
        the Freedom of Information Act;
            (8) agencies of the United States Government possess 
        information on individuals who ordered, incited, assisted, or 
        otherwise participated in Nazi war crimes;
            (9) some agencies have routinely denied Freedom of 
        Information Act requests for information about individuals who 
        committed Nazi war crimes;
            (10) <<NOTE: Kurt Waldheim.>> United States Government 
        agencies may have been in possession of material about the war 
        crimes facilitated by Kurt Waldheim but did not make this 
        information public;
            (11) it is legitimate not to disclose certain material in 
        Government files if the disclosure would seriously and 
        demonstrably harm current or future national defense, 
        intelligence, or foreign relations activities of the United 
        States and if 
        protection of these matters from disclosure outweighs the public 
        interest of disclosure;

[[Page 110 STAT. 3816]]

            (12) the disclosure of most Nazi war crimes information 
        should not harm United States national interests; and
            (13) the Office of Special Investigations of the Department 
        of Justice is engaged in vital work investigating and expelling 
        Nazi war criminals from the United States, accordingly, the 
        records created by these investigations and other actions should 
        not be disclosed, and the investigations and other actions 
        should not be interfered with.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of the Congress that United States Government 
agencies in possession of records about individuals who are alleged to 
have committed Nazi war crimes should make these records public.

    Approved October 19, 1996.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1281:
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HOUSE REPORTS: No. 104-819, Pt. 1 (Comm. on Government Reform and 
Oversight).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 142 (1996):
            Sept. 24, considered and passed House.
            Oct. 3, considered and passed Senate.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 32 (1996):
            Oct. 22, Presidential statement.

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