Catalogue description War Office: General. Correspondence between Hilary Jenkinson of the Public Record...

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Details of T 209/10
Reference: T 209/10

War Office: General. Correspondence between Hilary Jenkinson of the Public Record Office, representatives of the MFA and A and Monsignor W B Carroll at the 300th General Hospital with the US Army, relating to Jenkinson's visit to Italy to organise the work of the MFA and A Subcommission on Italian archives, dated March-May 1944.

Letter from Leonard Woolley, Archaeological Advisor to the War Office, to J G Mann of the Macmillan Committee, dated 10 June 1943. The subject of Woolley's letter is a letter from Brigadier General A. W. Pence of the US Army to all Commanding Officers and the War Office, dated 9 January 1944 forwarding guidelines for army priorities with regard to cultural monuments from Commander-in-Chief Dwight D Eisenhower. An extract from a US Army pamphlet entitled 'Preservation of Works of Art in Italy' is also attached. Provides a basic outline of the history of art in Italy and encourages soldiers to see themselves as trustees of this art, defending it from German looting and vandalism.

Correspondence between Mann and Woolley, dated June to November 1944, concerning miscellaneous administrative matters such as approving the publication of 'Hartt's detailed report' contradicting German propaganda accusing the British of destroying Italian monuments, and a discussion of the skills needed by staff recruited to the MFA and A in anticipation of an invasion of Germany.

Correspondence between Mann and the Secretary of State for War at the War Office, dated November 1944, regarding the possibility of an official statement to assuage public anxiety over the safety of historic monuments and works of art on the Continent.

Correspondence dated February 1945 between Woolley and Mann regarding Mann's complaint that the Macmillan Committee was not being kept properly informed by the War Office. Includes related correspondence between Mann and representatives of the War Office, dated March 1945, confirming that the latter had agreed to forward a single copy of each report and all photographs to the Macmillan Committee.

Letter from Woolley to Mann informing him of changes to War Office personnel responsible for preserving works of art in the occupied territories and enclosing a memorandum outlining the personnel changes, dated 29 March 1945.

Correspondence between Woolley, Lord Macmillan, and other members of the Macmillan Committee, dated November 1944, regarding a statement recently obtained from a 'reliable source' that Hitler had ordered the destruction of all works of art in German possession.

Correspondence between Woolley and Mann, circulated to other members of the Macmillan Committee in June 1945, regarding the proper responsibilities of the MFA and A as opposed to a Restitution Commission, namely that the former should not be responsible for establishing ownership, but only for securing items corresponding in their description to missing art objects and should organise their immediate restitution only in the case of major works of art of uncontested ownership [e g van Eyck's 'Adoration of the Lamb'].

Letter from C J Gadd of the British Museum to Mann regarding a report from the Director-General of Antiquities in Iraq, Mr Naji Al Asil, 'concerning grave damage inflicted upon the mound of Kuyunjik' in Nineveh caused during the preparations for the defence of Mosul during 1942. A report on this incident and further correspondence from June and July 1944 between the British Museum and the Macmillan Committee are attached.

Letter from Lieutenant Colonel J B Ward Perkins of the MFA and A Subcommission to J G Mann, dated 10 September 1945, regarding the coordination of American and British restitution policies. Raises the problem that both the US and Britain were committed to joint restitution policies but had not yet issued detailed directives on the subject.

Correspondence between Mann and D Cooper of the MFA and A Subcommission regarding the desirability of setting up a special subcommittee for restitution questions in London, in particular to deal with claims from British subjects. In a letter of 20 September 1945 Cooper provides examples of cases that are 'at present causing me some concern'. These include the Alphonse Kann Collection [several items of which were taken by Goering for his private collection], the Gordon Craig Collection, the Baroness Clarice de Rothschild Collection, the Murray Hornibrook Collection, the Eric Lyndhurst Collection and the Collection of the Jersey Masonic Temple.

Note: This document forms part of the Looted Art Collection; records selection and descriptions reproduced by the kind permission of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe.
Date: 1 Mar 1944 - 30 June 1945
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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