—Wide World Photo
U.S. occupation forces debark from Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation for assignment
within the U.S. Zone.
tralion. were submitted to the Senate for
ratification in 1953.
One of the treaties defined lhe status
of the military headquarters of NATO,
Another defined the status of lhe diplomatic representatives in NATO, guar-
einteeing ihcm proper immunity from
prosecution in foreign courts. A third
prescribed the civil and criminal status
of members of tbe armed forces of one
\ATO country while stationed in another NATO country.
This third treaty, called thc Status of
Forces agreemenl. includes a provision
known as Article All. which gives a
NATO nation exclusive criminal jurisdiction, within ils borders, over foreign
NATO soldiers who commit crimes
while off duty.
This means thai an American soldier
stationed in France, Turkey. Italy. Portugal- in am of the thirteen NATO
countries—who commits a crime while
off duty, can be arrested, tried, sentenced, and punished under the- laws of
that nation withoul einv recourse or appeal to American military authorities,
American courts, or the American government.
If the- American is actually arrested
hv American military police, he must be
surrendered immediately to local authorities. Local authorities can, in fact, request American military authorities to
etrrest American military personnel suspected of crime-.
If then- is any question as lo whether
the soldier was on or off duty when he
committed the crime, lhe question will
he ri'-ohvd by a specially appointed
judge of the country where the crime
If lhe soldier was unmistakably on
duly when he committed the crime, then
the American armv and the foreign
government have concurrent or equal
jurisdiction. Whether the soldier is tried
by American officials or by foreign
officials depends somewhat on who ar-
rests him first, and on the circumstances
of the individual case.
And. of course, the agreement i- reciprocal. In giving foreign nations this
kind of jurisdiction over our Iroops
abroad, we acquire the senile jurisdiction over their troops stationed here.
Thc Status of Forces Treaty was vigorously supported by President Eisenhower, hv the liberal wing of the Republican party, hy all progressive Democrats, ami hv till liberal elements in
In urging ratification "I the Sialics of
Forces Treaty, President Eisenhower
"I can certainly appreciate the concern of those who fear thai these agreements might subject American soldiers
In systems "f criminal justice foreign lo
our own traditions. I do nut share such
leeit-. however, because "I the ineinv
years' experience I have had in command of American troops overseas, ihis
experience com inces nn- thai our friends
abroad will continue lo cooperate, as
they have in the past, in turning over
those charged with offenses againsl
their laws to our own military courts
A small isolationist group, headed by
Senator Bricker of Ohio, tried lo nullify lhe Sleitti- of Forces Treaty by re-
meiv Ing Article All from it.
The Bricker movemenl was defeated,
however: and on July 15. 1953. by an
overwhelming majority, the Senate ratified all three NATO treaties as sub-
Seventy-two senators vole-d for the
Status of Forces Tn-eiiv ; Fifteen veiled
against: nine senators did not yule.
The fifteen who voted againsl il:
Bricker of Ohio: Dirksen of Illinois:
Dworshak of Idaho: Jenner of Indiana;
Malone of Nevada: McCarthy of Wisconsin; Schoeppel of Kansas; Welker of
Idaho; Williams of Delaware; Frear of
Maryland; Johnston "I South Carolina;
Long of Louisiana; McCarran of Nevada; Russell of Georgia; and Smathers
The nine who did nol vole: Butler of
Alenvieind: Tafl of Ohio: Chavez .if New
Mexico; Daniel of Texas; Fulbright of
Arkansas; Kennedy of Massachusetts;
Stennis "I Mississippi; Morse- nl Ore*
gon; and Kilgote of \\ 'est Virginia.
The Status of Forces Treaty clarifies,
specifies, and make- uniform the legal
status of American soldiers in all NATO
countries; and it provides a model for
similar agreements with all other nations where American troops arc sta-
IMPROVES LEGAL STATUS
The treaty has eu-tueellv improved the
legal status of our lieeeep- abroad. I'
has obtained more concessions lor our
soldiers and their families — firmer
guarantees of justice for them tl"1"
they previously enjoyed under the executive agreements before the treaty was
Should anv case "I suspected injustice arise, the American commanding
officer can. through our Slate Department, request the authorities of the f'"'
eign stale lo waive jurisdiction over ll'1'
rase. If the foreign authorities fail t°
comply, the I nited Stale's e-etn considei
withdrawal of its troops.
In short, an America! trial in •'
foreign country will have eill ihn-1'
righl- to which et citizen of thai countr)
This was the only adequate eunl equitable solution of a delicate problem. '"
insi-i on exclusive American jurisdiction would mean a ruthless trampli"!
on lln- sovereignty eunl feelings of oi"
good foreign Friends.
li would In- ee needless insull lu such
civilized nations as France emd F.uglai".
em implication that their systems "
jurisprudence arc backward, barbariG
nol good enough fur Americans.
And It would give' credibility to ''"
claims of our enemies that Atnc'i'','1
i- living lu gobble up and c\pl"'
smaller nations, reducing them t" *»'
status of satellites.
NATO i- a mutual defense organize
lion. We cannot, therefore, ask ft'""1
others whal we will nut ourselves ."'*'
FACTS FORUM X\:\\'rs,.lttiie,19tl