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Q . So you do not know what lead to that peculiar situation of this suspende d
publication?A. No. I remember that the impression that it made upon m e
was that perhaps that was customary at that time because of the rush o f
business and was a concession made to the Government printers as to th e
amount of printing they had to do .
s * * * * * *
MARCH 12, 1919.
Q . What was the proceedure in the four death cases of the A . E . F.?
A. When the records came in they went to the Disciplinary Section and wer e
reviewed therein by Maj . Rand, a lawyer of New York City, recently com-
missioned in the Judge Advocate General ' s Department, who is a man wh o
had had extensive criminal practice and was associated with Jerome of Ne w
York City in the trial of very important criminal cases which claimed th e
attention, at that time, of the Nation . He turned hi a review all too brief,
I thought, sustaining the proceedings . When the review reached me I re -
marked, to whom I can not say now, that the review in such an important cas e
should be drawn in such a way as to show all the facts of the case necessar y
to convince the reader that the case had been examined with thoroughness an d
great care . I am here depending altogether upon my recollection, as I hav e
not attempted to go through the records of the office and follow the adminis-
tration as accurately as I might do after conference with the officers who wer e
directly charged with this important line of work . Anyway, the cases wen t
back with instructions for a more exhaustive review and when that revie w
came up I was still in a doubtful frame of mind, not because of the insufficienc y
of the record, although I would have been glad if the cases had been tried wit h
greater attention to that greater detail which the serious character of the
otlenses required, but I had before me a letter sent directly by the commandin g
general of the A . E . F., asking that the sentences should be approved and tha t
he he given authority to carry them into execution . I carried the final revie w
up to the Chief of Staff in person and had quite a prolonged conference wit h
him .
The interview between us commenced with a statement by me to him to thi s
general effect : " Gen . March, you are but recently returned from the theater
of war . You know the conditions there first hand ; you may have some persona l
knowledge of these cases . The extreme sentence of death has been imposed .
They are the first sentences of this character to reach us from the theater o f
war. I know the public interest that will attach to these cases, and the publi c
attention that will be given to any execution of these sentences . I know also
how serious a thing it is to disagree with the commanding general of an arm y
in the field on a question of this character . I have brought the cases to yo u
with a report which concludes without a recommendation, because I wish t o
leave this question of clemency to be settled after conference between you an d
me, and later on between us and the Secretary of War . It would be very un-
fortunate if we went before the President in such a matter with divide d
counsel if it is possible for us to reach a common conlusion . "
Gen . March then and there expressed a view on the cases. The extent
to which he claimed personal knowledge of these cases is now dim in m y
mind, but that he knew generally of conditions over there and proclaimed tha t
he had that knowledge is very distinct in my mind . He announced then hi s
view that the sentences should be approved and carried into execution an d
that was his final state of mind at the end of the conference . This led me t o
leave the review with him in the form in which I submitted it, that is, with
the statement that the records were sufficient but without a recommendatio n
as to the course which should be pursued respecting clemency .
I returned to my office and gave orders to an officer, whose name I do not
recall, but I think was Col . A . E. Clarke, to visit The Adjutant General' s
Office and obtain from the records of that office some facts respecting the age s
of these boys, the length of their service, the amount of training they had, an d
also to examine our own office to see how many cases of disobedience of order s
or sleeping on post had come up from the theater of war in which sentences of
less severity had been given, and to examine generally into the rank of punish-
ment. When Col. Clarke (if he were the man) reported back I was advise d
of the fact that two were under 20 and two under 19 and that they had shor t
periods of service.
I was apprised of the fact that there had been other cases coming up fro m
the theater of war, trials for these same offenses, and that in none of the cases ,
had the death penalty been awarded . I was left in doubt in my own mind