White Memo from President Bush to the Vice President and Others re: Humane Treatment of Al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees

This is a memo from President Bush to the Vice President and other key administration personnel stating that "none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because, among other reasons, al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva." And that “Art. 3 of Geneva Conventions does not apply to either al Qaeda or Taliban detainees (who are also deemed to be "unlawful combatants" as opposed to POWs.) But calls for humane treatment to detainees, including those who are not legally entitled to such treatment. As a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner “consistent with the principles of Geneva."

Doc_type: 
Non-legal Memo
Doc_date: 
Thursday, February 7, 2002
Doc_rel_date: 
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
Doc_text: 

P.27/33

APR-06-2005 22:16 US ATTORNEYS OFFICE 212

—frEgaiightf1—

INC Mint HOUSE
WASHINGTON

February 7, 20D2

mENORANOLIN FOR VIE VICE PATSIES: NT
Till SECRETARY OF STATS
THE SZCIESTARY or =Mel
17111 ATTORNIV GENERAL Calt, OF STAFF TO TEL PASSIDENT DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL 1X110.140ENCE ASII1STANP TO IRS PRESTON IT FOR NATIONAL
irCURITI AFFAIRS ammo of MI JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
Treatment of *1 ()bed' and Taliban Detainees
SUB.IBET::Humane
1. Our recent extensive diecuisiene regarding, the statue of al geode and Talites detainees confirm that the appli­cation of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of mar Of August 13. 11140 (Geneva) to the conflict with al Oiled' and the Tsliban involves complex legal queatione. Sy its terms. Geneva applies to conflict. involving Plligh Contracting Partiee.• which cen,nnlybe
esse. moreover, it assumes the existent* of 'vaguer. 'erect forces fighting on behalf-of-sinner-Homelier: . the
¦
ass against tfirfiOTISM ushers in a new paradigm. one in which groups with brood, international reach commit horrific
acts against innocent civilian., senetimes with the direct support of states. our Nation recognises that this new
'paradigm -- ushered in not by tie, but by terrorists --
require!' he. 0.1haiAg to lows 3rie •d./44110 Phintrino that should nevertheless be censiatent with the principles of Geneva.
2. Pursuant to my authority se Commander in Chief and Chief Executive of the United States. and relying on the opinion of the Department of Justice dated January 22, 2002, and an
the legal opinion rendered* this Attorney General in his
letter of February 1. 2002. I hereby determine es followa .

a. I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of JUstiCe and determine that none of the provision,of Geneva apply CO our conflict with el Qasda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because. among ethos reasons, al Cweda is not a Nigh Contracting Party to Geneva.
b. I accept the•legal conclusion of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice that I have the authority
under the Constitution to suspend Geneve as between
the United States and Afghanistan, but I decline to
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Reagan: 1.5 ta)

Decheitify ont 02/07/12

ITEC =CLASSIFICATION REVIEW 12.b. 22050 me amended]
. DECLAMMY IN POLL •
by o.seebern on 10/2S/3004

•Previously declassified 6/1712004

DODDIA 000201

APR-06-2005 22:16 US ATTORNEYS OFFICE 212 P.28/33


1

exercise that authority, at this time. Accordingly, 1

• determine that the previsions of Geneve will apply to our present conflict with the Milian. I reserve the
right to exercise this authority in this or future

conflicts.

C. J slop accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and deteredas that common Article 3 of Geneve does not apply to either al Oiled& or ?althea detainees. because, among other regions, the relevant conflicts are international le scree and coedit Article 3 applies only to "Breed conflict not of an international character.•
d. Sneed an the facts supplied by the Department of Defense and the rectv•endation of the Department of Justice' 3 determine that the Taliban detained are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as
prisoners of war under hrticle 4 of Geneva. 1 noes that, because Geneva floes not apply to our conflict , with al geode, al Odds detainees else do not qualify as primmers of war.
3. Of enure,. our values as a Nation, values that w Ware with
__-_____nony.nations In the world• cell -lor-d-to.treat detained -
III, humanely. including those who are not lepally entitled to such treatment. our Nation has been and will Centind to be • strong supporter of Geneva and its principles. he a easter of policy. the United States Armed Pored ehall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extentappropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a menner consistent with the principles of Geneve.
4.
The United states will hold suites, osgenisaticne, and individual, who gain control of United States personnel

responsible for treating such personnel humanely andconsistent with spplicable law.

5.
1 hereby reaffirm the order previously issued by the secretary of Cleland to the united States Armed Forces requiring that the data nde be treated humanely and. to the extent appropriate and consistent with militarynecessity, In a mamma consistent with the principles


of Geneva.

6. I hereby direct the Secretary of State to communicate my determinations in an appropriate winner to our allies, and other countries and international organizations cooperating
in the war against terrorism of global reach.

-¦¦¦••••¦•••••••
DODDIA 000202

Doc_nid: 
2489
Doc_type_num: 
63