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MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, Defendant Streicher will be absent from this session of the Court.
PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Seidl.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, Your Honors, I now turn to the reading of the interrogation of the witness Alfred Hess.
THE PRESIDENT: Where shall we find it?
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I received this transcript of the interrogation of the witness only last Saturday, and it has thus not been possible for me to incorporate it into the document book as yet. This witness was interrogated at Bad Mergentheim on 19 March.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you mean that we haven't got copies of it?
DR. SEIDL: I do not know whether the General Secretary, from whom I received this transcript, has supplied a copy for the Tribunal.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you had better go on then. Go on.
DR. SEIDL: Yes. Before answering the first question, the witness made a few preliminary remarks which are as follows:
"It should be noted that I had to terminate my activity in the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP after the flight to England of my brother Rudolf Hess, Deputy of the Fuehrer. Therefore, the following statements are valid only for the period up to 12 May 1941.
"Question 1: 'What were the tasks and the purpose of the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP?'
"Answer: 'The purpose of the Auslands-Organisation was the cultural, social, and economic care of all German nationals in foreign countries, regardless of whether they were Party members or not. The Auslands-Organization in this sense was to be a bridge between Germans abroad and the home country. Its purpose was to foster and maintain love for and ties with the distant home country and to keep alive understanding for the fatherland, as well as to awaken the understanding of Germans at home for the hard battle for existence of their compatriots all over the world. The German abroad, through
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his dignified, upright bearing, was to make himself popular in the country of his adoption, and thus act as the best representative of his fatherland.'
"Question 2: 'Who could become a member of the Auslands-Organisation?'
"Answer: 'The question is not understandable. There was no such thing as a membership in the Auslands-Organisation; just as little, for example, as there was a membership in the Foreign Office of the Reich or in a Gau of the NSDAP in the Reich.'
"Question 3: 'Is it correct that on the membership card of each Reich German Party member the following principle was printed as a ruling principle of the Auslands-Organisation: "Follow the laws of the country whose guest you are, let its people make the internal policy of that country, do not interfere in this, not even in conversation"?'
"Answer: 'It is correct that the above principle, among similar ones, was printed on the membership card or on its cover. If I am not mistaken, underneath this principle there was the warning even of expulsion from the NSDAP if this principle was not observed. This latter is to be ascertained without great difficulty by procuring a cover, which was in the possession of every Party member in a foreign country.'
"Question 4: 'Did the Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP develop any activity which could appear as Fifth Column?'
"Answer: '"Fifth Column" is not a clear concept, uniformly used. In general, it would probably mean secret espionage or sabotage activity. According to its guiding principles, the Auslands-Organisation could not have carried on any such activity.'
"'I remember that the slogan "Fifth Column" of the foreign press was considered in the Auslands-Organisation as a clever bluff of the antifascist propaganda, and it caused genuine amusement. Seriously, no state could conceive that such a widely known, rather suspect and vulnerable organization could be suited for any service in the nature of the Fifth Column. I consider it natural that some individual Germans abroad had secret missions, services such as other nationals performed likewise for their fatherland, but the Auslands-Organisation was certainly not the giver of such assignments nor the intermediary for such agents.'
"Question 5: 'What kind of instructions and directives did the Deputy of the Fuehrer give the Auslands-Organisation for its activity?'
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"Answer: 'The instructions and directives, of the Deputy of the Fuehrer for the activity of the Auslands-Organisation are such as those mentioned in my answers to Questions 1 and 3. He pointed out again and again, with special emphasis, his strict instructions that the groups abroad were not to do anything which could be detrimental to the countries affording them hospitality, or which could be considered an interference in the affairs of those countries. The basic principle must also be that National Socialism was a purely German movement, not an article for export which one wanted to force on other countries as suitable for them.'
"Question 6: 'Did the Deputy of the Fuehrer give the Auslands-Organisation any directions or orders which could have caused them to carry on an activity similar to that of the Fifth Column?'
"Answer: 'The Deputy of the Fuehrer not only never issued any such directions or orders, but as stated above in Answer 5, laid down principles which absolutely prohibited any activity of the sort carried on by the so-called Fifth Column.'
"Question 7: 'Is it correct that, on the contrary, the Deputy of the Fuehrer took meticulous care that in all circumstances interference in the internal affairs of the country of adoption was to be avoided?'
"Answer: 'I can repeat only that it was a chief concern of the Deputy of the Fuehrer to direct the work of the Auslands-Organisation abroad in such a way that no interference of any kind should take place in the internal affairs of the country of residence. The few insignificant offenses, which were unavoidable with the then very large number of German nationals abroad -- already amounting to several million -- were correspondingly severely punished.'
"Question 8: 'What were the tasks and the aims of the Volksbund fur das Deutschtum, im Ausland (League for Germans Abroad)?'
"Answer: 'The Volksbund fur das Deutschtum im Ausland had the cultural care of the so-called Volksdeutsche. Volksdeutsche are racial Germans who had lost their German citizenship either voluntarily or through the laws of other countries, that is, had acquired the citizenship of another country, for instance, America, Hungary, Transylvania, et cetera.'
"Question 9: 'Did the Volksbund fur das Deutschtum im Ausland ever, in particular however before 10 May 1941, develop any activity which could have given it the appearance of a Fifth Column?'
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"Answer: 'I must state in this connection that the activity of the Auslands-Organisation did not have anything to do with the Volksbund fur das Deutschtum im Ausland, so I can have no insight into its work. But I consider it entirely out of the question that my brother could have given the Volksbund tasks of a Fifth Column nature. It would neither have fallen within the jurisdiction of the Deputy of the Fuehrer, nor have corresponded with his views as to the mission of the Volksbund fur das Deutschtum im Ausland.'
"Question 10, and last question: 'What kind of directions and instructions did the Deputy of the Fuehrer give as to the activity of this Bund?'
"Answer: 'Directions, et cetera, which my brother gave as to the activity of this Bund are unknown to me, for, as already stated, my activity in the Auslands-Organisation was in no way connected with the Volksbund fur das Deutschtum im Ausland.'" - Signed -- "Alfred Hess. Sworn to and subscribed on 19 March 1946."
The witness Alfred Hess was then cross-examined in connection with his interrogation. I assume that the Prosecution want to submit this cross-examination themselves to the Tribunal. But if this cross-examination and the questions belonging to it have not yet been translated, it might perhaps be practicable if it were done directly, in this connection.
MR. THOMAS J. DODD (Executive Trial Counsel for the United States): If it please the Tribunal, we have received the cross-interrogatories but I suggest respectfully that, rather than take the time to read them, we offer them and if the Court will permit us, have them translated into the four languages. It will take another 10 minutes or so to read them and we are not interested in doing it unless the Tribunal feels that we should.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, certainly, Mr. Dodd.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President and Gentlemen, I do not know whether the affidavit of Ambassador Gaus submitted by me yesterday has been translated and whether the Tribunal has received these translations already. Yesterday at midday I gave six copies to the information office and have heard nothing further since.
THE PRESIDENT: Can the Prosecution inform the Tribunal what the position is?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, the Prosecution has not had a copy of this affidavit yet so we do not know what is in it. We suggest that perhaps Dr. Seidl could postpone the reading of that until we have had a chance to consider it.
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THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am afraid that must be postponed.
DR. SEIDL: Yes. Now I turn to Volume 3 of the document book.
If it please the Tribunal, this volume of the document book contains, in substance, statements and quotations taken from books and speeches of foreign statesmen, diplomats, and political economists, regarding the history and origin of the Versailles Treaty, the contents of the Versailles Treaty, the territorial changes made by this treaty, such as the question of the Polish Corridor, and above all the disastrous economic consequences which this treaty had for Germany and also for the rest of the world.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Sir David?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I have read the documents in this book and I should like just to say one or two words about them.
They are opinions expressed by a great variety of gentlemen, including politicians, economists, and journalists. They are opinions that are expressed polemically and some of them journalistically, and with most of them one is familiar and knew them when they were expressed 15 to 25 years ago.
Now, while I submit, as I have submitted to the Tribunal, that the whole subject is too remote, I have a suggestion which I hope the Tribunal will consider reasonable, that the Prosecution should, as I suggested yesterday, let this book go in at the moment de bene esse and that when Dr. Seidl comes to making his final speech he can adopt the arguments that are put forward by the various gentlemen whom he quotes, if he thinks they are right. He can use the points as illustrations, always provided the thesis that he is developing is one which the Tribunal thinks relevant to the issues before it. That will preserve for Dr. Seidl the advantage of the right to use these documents subject, as I say, to the relevancy of the issues, but I suggest that it would be quite wrong to read them as evidence at the moment. They are merely polemical and journalistic opinions and directed to an issue which the Prosecution has submitted, and I do submit, is too remote.
However, I am most anxious that Dr. Seidl should have every advantage for his final speech. Therefore, I suggest it would be convenient if they were put in without being read at the moment and were left subject to the limitation of relevancy, which can be considered when all the evidence is before the Tribunal, for him to make use of in his final speech.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, may I shortly...
THE PRESIDENT; Just one moment, Dr. Seidl. We will hear you in a moment -- perhaps it would be better to hear what you have to
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say now. Do you think the suggestion made by Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe would be one which would be acceptable to you?
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, at first glance the suggestion of Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe seems to be very reasonable. But I believe I must say that if the matter is treated in that way great difficulties will arise for the Defense. For example the arguments on relevancy, which in their nature belong in the presentation of evidence and must be heard there, will be postponed until the final speech of the Defense. This would mean that the defense counsel in his final speech would be interrupted again and again; that he would have to argue for the relevancy of his quotations; that perhaps whole parts of his speech would fall by the wayside in that manner; and that in that way the danger would arise that the cohesion of the speech will be broken completely.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Sir David.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, that is a danger which every advocate has to meet, that certain portions of his speech may not be deemed relevant, but I thought that that might be a helpful way out. But if it is not accepted, then the Prosecution must respectfully but very strongly submit that the issues of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles are not relevant to this Tribunal.
I have already argued that and I do not want to develop it at great length. I do want to make it clear that the questions which are raised by the quotations here were, of course, the subject of political controversy in practically every country in Europe, and different opinions were expressed as to the rightness and the practicality of the provisions, especially the economic provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. I am not disputing that that is a matter of controversy, but I am saying that it is not a controversy that should come before this Tribunal. I myself have replied to practically all the quotations from the English statesmen here as a politician over the past years, and I am sure many people in this Court must have taken one view or the other, but that is not a relevant issue to this Tribunal, and, of course, especially is it wrong in my view to put forward as evidential matter opinions expressed by one side in the controversy. Every one of these speeches, as far as they were English, was either preceded by matters to which it was a reply or was followed by a reply, and I should think the same applies to those of Senator Borah in the United States.
These matters -- this is my second point -- are not really evidential, and this is a point for argument; and it will have to be decided what is a convenient time for the Tribunal to decide on whether this is a relevant issue. But that was why I put forward this suggestion that it was better to decide it when the whole of the true evidence of
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fact had been put before the Tribunal. But I do want, apart from my suggestion, to make quite clear that as regards relevance, the Prosecution unitedly submit that the rightness or practicality of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles is not a relevant matter. The other argument -- I want to distinguish between the two -- the other argument has been adumbrated by Dr. Stahmer as to the actual terms of the preamble to the military clauses. That is quite a different point which we can discuss when, as I understand, certain propositions of law are to be put forward by one of the defense counsel on behalf of the Defense. But, as I say, the rightness and practicality of the Treaty and especially the economic clauses is a subject of enormous controversy on which there are literally thousands of different opinions from one shade to the other, and I submit it is not an issue before this Court, and, secondly, I submit this is not evidence. It is not evidential matter, even if it were an issue.
DR. SEIDL: May I perhaps reply briefly?
TBE PRESIDENT: Then, Sir David, your proposition would be that Dr. Seidl could not quote from any of these documents?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, certainly, yes, on my premise that it is irrelevant matter, he could not.
TBE PRESIDENT: Yes. They are not admissible.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: They are not admissible.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My original suggestion was of course, leaving over the discussion of whether they are admissible until all the evidence had been filed, but if that is not accepted, I submit bluntly if I may use the word with all respect -- that they are not admissible.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Dr. Seidl.
DR. SEIDL: May I reply briefly, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, yes.
DR. SEIDL: It would indicate a complete misinterpretation of my intentions if one were to assume that by the submission of this document book I wanted to show whether or not the Treaty of Versailles is an expression of statesmanly wisdom. I am not concerned with that here.
With the submission of this document it is to be shown, or rather there is to be brought under discussion:
Firstly: Whether the opposite side at the conclusion of the Treaty, in the preliminary negotiations -- I call your attention to Wilson's Fourteen Points -- was not guilty for its part, of violation of the
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general treaty obligations, whether a culpa in contrahendo is not to be assumed here.
Secondly: The presentation of the documents should show whether the opposite side complied with the obligations arising from the treaty, in order to establish -- that is, to give the Tribunal the opportunity of establishing -- in this way the legal inferences which Germany might draw from this.
Thirdly: The Treaty of Versailles and its violation by the defendants forms the nucleus of Count One of the Indictment, namely, the Conspiracy charged by the Prosecution. The Prosecution, in replying to a question of the Tribunal as to when the conspiracy may be said to have started, has said that the date might be set as far back as 1921.
Fourthly: The Prosecution has extensive ...
THE PRESIDENT: I have not the least idea what you meant by the last point. I do not understand what you said in the last point in the least.
DR. SEIDL: I wanted to say that for the beginning of the Conspiracy alleged by the Prosecution, the Treaty of Versailles played a decisive part, and that there is at least some causal nexus between the origin of this treaty and the alleged Conspiracy. Before there can be talk of illegality and of guilt, the facts have to be established which were causative for the Conspiracy charged by the Prosecution.
Fourthly: The Prosecution has submitted extensive evidence on the development of the NSDAP. Numerous document books were submitted to the Court to show the growth in membership, to demonstrate the increase in the Reichstag mandates. Now, if this evidence was relevant, it is my assertion that also the circumstances and the facts that first enabled this rise of the Party at all must be relevant, if only from the viewpoint of causal nexus.
THE PRESIDENT: Is it your contention that the opinion of a journalist after the Treaty of Versailles was made, stating that, in his opinion, the Treaty of Versailles was unjust to Germany, would be admissible either for the interpretation of the Treaty or for any other purpose with which this Tribunal is concerned?
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I admit that of course the isolated opinion of a foreign journalist has not in itself to be a relevant document. But I do maintain that the opinion of Secretary of State Lansing on the coming about of the Treaty of Versailles and his connection with the history of this treaty must be of some evidential relevance. What weight attaches to his opinion is a question which cannot yet be established at this point. This question can be decided by the Tribunal only when the complete evidence has been submitted. I maintain further that the opinion of the Chairman of the
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Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Senate of the United States on the Treaty of Versailles, about its formulation, about its effects within the Conspiracy alleged by the Prosecution which purportedly is said to be directed chiefly against the Treaty of Versailles can prima facie have value as evidence. The same applies to most of the other statements quoted in this document book. I would like to call attention to Gustav Cassel, to John Maynard Keynes, the official financial advisor of the British Government, and to a number of others.
THE PRESIDENT: It is your contention that because of the provisions of the Versailles Treaty or because of an infraction of those provisions by the signatory powers, Germany was justified in making an aggressive war?
DR. SEIDL: I cannot answer that now definitely, so long as I have not heard the evidence of the other defendants. I do assert, however, that by violation of the Treaty of Versailles by the opposite side, under certain circumstances Germany or the defendants could infer the right to rearm, and that is an infraction of the Treaty of Versailles with which the defendants are charged. As far as the right to an aggressive war is concerned, I should not like to make any positive statements at least until such time as the Tribunal has taken official notice of the affidavit of Ambassador Gaus.
THE PRESIDENT: One more question I should like to ask you: Are you saying that the Fourteen Points which were laid down by President Wilson are admissible evidence to construe the written document of the Versailles Treaty?
DR. SEIDL: I do not say that the Fourteen Points of Wilson, per se, are admissible evidence. I do assert, on the other hand, that the connection between these Fourteen Points of Wilson and the Treaty of Versailles, and the contradiction resulting therefrom are of causal significance for the Conspiracy alleged by the Prosecution.
THE PRESIDENT: Then you are really saying that the Versailles Treaty, insofar as it departed from the Fourteen Points, was an unjust treaty?
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, whether the treaty was just or not is a point which I do not wish to prove with this document at all. Whether the treaty was unjust or not is in my opinion a fact which perhaps is beyond the scope of these proceedings. I do assert, however, that the treaty, at least in many of its terms, did not bring that which the victorious states themselves expected of it.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you wish to add anything more, Dr. Seidl?
DR. SEIDL: Not at this point.
DR. RUDOLF DIX (Counsel for Defendant Schacht): Since it is a very fundamental question which has been raised now for discussion
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by Sir David, and since the Defense must always calculate on the possibility that the Tribunal, even at this point, may make a decision on the question of whether and how far such documentary material as that discussed can be produced, I consider myself duty-bound to add to the statements of my colleague, Dr. Seidl, with whom I agree fully, just a few supplementary words. And I would like to reply to the very precise question of Your Lordship which starts, "Do you consider it relevant ... ?" I believe -- and I will avoid any repetition -- that a very vital point as far as relevancy is concerned has not been brought out yet, and that is the subjective aspect; that is the relevancy of the investigation of evidence and of facts regarding the subjective state of the individual defendant, that is, of the facts as seen from within.
If, for example, one of the defendants committed an act which was, considered purely objectively, a breach of the Treaty of Versailles, then, as far as criminal law is concerned and looking at it from the subjective view, it is of great significance whether in the opinion of reasonable, just, and educated men of an nations, he acted with an attitude and with a viewpoint which was not merely his special viewpoint, but that of the most serious men of the various nations and also, of those nations which fought against Germany in the years 1914-18. In order not to be too abstract, I should like to cite a concrete example:
A defendant holds the opinion that he is entitled to rearmament -- not to aggressive war; I will not touch this question. He considers rearmament justified, either because the treaty has not been kept by the other side or because owing to expressis verbis, or to some action, it is to be considered obsolete. In my opinion it is of decisive relevancy whether this defendant with this point of view, which explains his action, is alone in all the world, or whether the opinion which guides his action is held by men who are to be taken seriously, and who belonged to other nations, even to those who in the years 1914-18 stood on the other side and were his enemies.
Rearmament according to the Prosecution, as I understand, is not a crime, as such, but is merely used by the Prosecution as a charge for the proving of the crime of having carried on an aggressive war. If, now, a defendant can prove that he acted from clean and decent views, views which, as stated, were held by such men of other nations as I have described, and acted conscientiously and with a clear conscience both as regards international law and international morals and also as regards the needs of his country, then this material, which contains opinions, literary statements, speeches, that coincide with the views of the defendant in question, is not only of relevant, but of entirely decisive significance. This viewpoint I ask the Tribunal to bear in mind, if it desires to decide now the
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question of principle which Sir David has just now raised for debate, and which he had to raise, as I fully recognize. Moreover I am also now in the agreeable position of being able to agree with Sir David in the practical handling of this matter. I too -- and I am speaking now for myself only -- would prefer to have the decision on this question postponed until the time suggested by Sir David. As far as I am concerned I will accept the disadvantages, which Dr. Seidl is right in seeing, because an advantage will result if the Tribunal decides this question at that time, since it will then have a much larger view on all questions and shades which are important for the decision. And at this point I am not at all in a position to speak comprehensively about them, for I do not want to make any summarizing speech, but just to treat one aspect of this question of evidence.
DR. MARTIN HORN (Counsel for Defendant Von Ribbentrop): I should like to add a few remarks to those made by my colleague Dr. Dix. I request the Tribunal...
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to know how many of the Defense Counsel think that they are entitled to address them. If Dr. Horn wishes to add a short argument, the Tribunal are prepared to hear it, but they are not prepared to hear all the defendants' counsel upon points such as this, at this stage, and if any of the other defendants' counsel desires to address them, they will decide now whether they will hear any more or not.
It is understood, then, that Dr. Horn alone will address a short argument to the Tribunal. If it is not, then the Tribunal will decide whether they will hear any more argument upon the subject.
DR. HORN: I cannot encroach on the rights of my colleagues in this question, naturally, Mr. President. I should like personally to make only a very brief statement on the legal points.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you must consult your colleagues then.
DR. HORN: If you wish a decision on this question now, Mr. President, I must ask my colleagues beforehand, of course.
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.
[There was a pause in the proceedings while the Defense conferred.]
DR. HORN: May I make first a preliminary remark, Mr. President, to what has just been said to me by my colleagues. Firstly, this decision has for the Counsel for the organizations a very particular interest.
For myself personally I would like to make the following remarks: The Prosecution ...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, I asked you to consult the other defendants' counsel and ascertain whether they were willing that
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you should be heard, and you alone. That is the only terms upon which I am prepared to hear you.
[There was a pause in the proceedings while the Defense conferred.]
DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President, my colleagues are agreed that I shall make the last statements on this point.
THE PRESIDENT: One moment -- very well. Go on.
DR. HORN: There is no doubt that the Prosecution, as far as vital questions are concerned, base their case on infractions of the Versailles Treaty. To these treaty infractions, it is absolutely necessary, in my opinion, to submit the facts which allow the legality of this treaty to be judged. There is no doubt that this treaty was signed under duress. It is recognized in international law that such treaties from the legal point of view have grave deficiencies and are infamous. In my opinion we must be allowed to submit the facts that serve to show the soundness of this assertion and legal viewpoint. A further question -- and if I have understood correctly, this is Sir David's point -- is that of the polemic analysis of the legal, political, and economic consequences of this treaty.
I do not wish to make any further statements on this point, but I would like to ask that my first request be granted, that the legal documentary facts be allowed which would permit a judgment on the legal value of the Versailles Treaty.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, if I might deal first with the argument which Dr. Dix has put forward. As I understood his first main proposition, it was this: That if a defendant has committed an act which is an infraction of the treaty and can show that in the opinion of reasonable and just and educated men in the states who were the other parties to the treaty, the treaty was so bad that an infraction was justifiable, that is a permissible argument.
I submit that it is, with great respect to Dr. Dix, an unsound argument and baseless, from any principle either of law or of materiality. Once it is admitted that there is a treaty and that an infraction is made, and it follows from the example that Dr. Dix was dealing with that, these are the conceded facts. It is no answer to say that a number of admirable people in the countries which were parties to the treaty believed that its terms were wrong. The treaty is there and the person who knowingly makes an infraction is breaking the treaty, however strong is his support.
In his second point Dr. Dix moved to quite different grounds. He said that this evidence might be relevant in the special reference to the question of rearmament because it might show that the treaty was considered obsolete. Now, it is a rare but nonetheless existing doctrine of international law that treaties, usually minor treaties,
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can be abrogated by the conduct of the contracting parties. I would not contest that you cannot get examples of that, although they are very rare and generally deal with minor matters. But this evidence which is before the Tribunal at the moment is not directed to that point at all. This is, in the main, contemporary polemic evidence saying that certain aspects of the treaty were bad, either as regards political standards or economic standards. That is a totally different argument from the one which Dr. Dix admirably adumbrated which is one which if it came up would have to be faced -- that a treaty has become obsolete or that the breaches have been condoned and that, therefore, the terms have really ceased to exist.
My answer to that is that this evidence is not directed to that point at all.
Now, if Dr. Dix will forgive me, and I am sure the fault was mine, I did not quite appreciate what he termed his subjective argument. But insofar as I did appreciate it, there seems to be a very good answer: that if he seeks to suggest that a defendant's guilt may be less because he, that defendant, believed that the treaty was bad, that is essentially a matter which can be judged by the Tribunal who will hear that defendant and appreciate and evaluate his point of view. It really does not help in deciding whether the Defendant Hess acted because he thought that the Treaty of Versailles was a bad treaty, to know what the editor of the Observer, which is a Sunday paper in England, expressed as his views some twenty years ago, or the Manchester Guardian or indeed, with all respect to them, what distinguished statesmen have said in writing their reminiscences years after a matter occurred. The subjective point is -- this is my submission -- an important point in deciding on evidence. The subjective point can be answered by the defendant himself, and the view of the defendant which the Tribunal will receive.
Now, Dr. Horn has opened up a much wider question, and one which I submit is entirely irrelevant and beyond the scope of these proceedings.
He wishes the Tribunal to try whether the Treaty of Versailles was signed under duress. Well, that, of course, would involve the whole consideration of the Government of the German Republic, the position of the plenipotentiaries, and the legal position of the persons who negotiated the treaty.
The answer to that is that this Tribunal is concerned with certain quite clearly stated offenses, fully particularized, which occurred at the time that is stated in the Indictment; and all the evidence that is given as to the actions of the pre-Nazi German Government, and indeed of the Nazi Government, shows that for years Versailles was accepted as the legal and actual basis on which they must work, and various different methods were adopted in order to try to secure
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changes of the treaty, and I need not go into, with the Tribunal, the whole frame work of the Locarno Treaties, recognizing Versailles, which were signed in 1925, and which were treated as existing and in operation by the Nazi Government itself.
With that, these actual facts, it would, in my submission, be completely remote, irrelevant, and contrary to the terms of the Charter, for this Tribunal to go into an inquiry as to whether the Treaty of Versailles was signed under duress.
As I gathered, Dr. Horn was not so much interested in the economic clauses and their rightness or wrongness; but I should respectfully remind the Tribunal that that is a matter which is before them at the moment -- that here we have, as I have pointed out beforeand I do not want to repeat myself -- a number of opinions expressed by people of varying eminence and with varying degrees of responsibility at the time that they expressed them. And while strongly maintaining the position which I have endeavored to express with regard to the treaty, I do equally impress my second point: That to accept as matters of evidence statements which in the main are made from a polemical standpoint, either in answer to an attack or in an attack with background of the politics of the state in which they were made, is simply a misuse of the term "evidence". That is not evidence of any kind, and I equally -- not equally because the first point is one of primary importance which I respectfully urge to the Tribunal -- but I also suggest that to tender in evidence matters of that kind is a misuse of the term "evidence," that they are matters of argument which an advocate may adopt if the argument is a relevant one, but they should not be received in evidence by the Tribunal for that reason.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Francis Biddle, Member for the United States): Sir David, is there anything in the Versailles Treaty that either calls for disarmament by the signatories other than Germany or which looks to such disarmament; and, if there is, could you give us the reference to it?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, it is the Preamble to the Military Clauses. That is the point which is usually relied on. It is about four lines at the beginning of the Military Clauses, and, in quite general terms, it looks to a general disarmament after Germany has disarmed. Of course, the position was that -- I think I have got the dates right -- disarmament was accepted. Whether, in view of the evidence in this case, it should have been accepted does not matter; it was accepted in 1927. After that, you may remember, there were a number of disarmament conferences which examined that question, and eventually in 1933 Germany left the then existing disarmament conference.
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Now, I am trying to be entirely objective. I do not want to put the Prosecution view or the Defense view, but that is the position.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): I am not quite clear. When you say "accepted," you mean that the extent of the disarmament called for had been accepted by Germany?
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, the other way around: that Germany's response to the demand of Versailles was accepted by the Allies in 1927, and the Disarmament Commission which had been in Germany then left Germany under, I think, a French General Denoue.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Then, what I understand you to argue is that nothing contained in this folder has anything to do with that possible issue.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: No, no.
THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): That is the point.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: It is not on that issue. I mean we will deal with that issue when we come to it. I rather thought from some words that Dr. Stahmer dropped that that would be one of the points which we should meet in the general argument on law which will be presented, which the Defense Counsel...
DR. SEIDL: I believe that Sir David is under a slight misconception. In Book 3 of the document book for the Defendant Hess there are also a number of citations of foreign statesmen that refer to this military clause in the Versailles Treaty and in which it is stated that Germany fulfilled her obligations in the Versailles Treaty, but that the reciprocal obligations in it for the opposite side were not fulfilled.
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, I am sorry. I did not remember any. I have read it through, and there may be some collateral matters dealing with that, but -- and I do not think that I am doing Dr. Seidl's great industry in collecting these matters an injustice in saying that if they do exist they are collateral and the main point of this is an attack on the political and economic clauses of the treaty. I hope that I have done him justice. I certainly intended to do so. That is the impression made on me.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1400 hours.]
26 March 46
MARSHAL: If it please the Tribunal, may I report that the Defendant Streicher will be absent from this session of Court.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal rules that evidence as to the injustice of the Versailles Treaty or whether it was made under duress is inadmissible, and it therefore rejects Volume 3 of the documents on behalf of the Defendant Hess.
DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, Your Honors. Since Volume 3 of the document book for the Defendant Rudolf Hess is not admissible as documentary evidence, I am, so far as the submission of documents is concerned, at the end of my submission of evidence. Now, we are further concerned only with the affidavit of Ambassador Gaus, which I have already submitted, and I ask you not to decide on the admissibility of this document until I have had opportunity to present arguments on the relevance of it and of the secret treaty. But I should like to point out that with this affidavit only the facts and the contents of this secret treaty are to be proved; and therefore I shall read only excerpts from it, so that other events and the history prior to the treaty are not to be demonstrated by me.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, we understand that this affidavit of the witness Gaus is now being translated and is going to be submitted to the various prosecutors. They will then inform us of their position, and we shall be able to see whether it is admissible or not, and the Prosecution will likewise be able to tell us whether they want to have the Ambassador here for the purpose of cross-examining him.
DR. SEIDL: Yes.
THE PRESIDENT: So we must postpone that until we get the translations.
DR. SEIDL: I had then the further intention of calling the defendant himself as a witness. In view of his attitude as to the question of the competency of this Court, he has asked me, however, to dispense with this procedure. I therefore forego the testimony of the defendant as a witness and have no further evidence to put in at this point.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Then the Tribunal will now deal with the case against the Defendant Ribbentrop.
DR. HORN: Your Lordship, Your Honors, my client, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had instructed me to make the following statement for him at the beginning of the evidence:
26 March 46
"As Foreign Minister for the Reich, I had to carry through the directions and orders of Adolf Hitler concerning foreign policy. For the measures of foreign policy undertaken by me I accept full responsibility."
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, I thought defendants' counsel knew that the rule which we have laid down is that at this stage no speeches shall be made, but that the evidence should be called, the oral evidence should be called, and the documents should be briefly referred to and offered in evidence. Did you not understand that?
DR. HORN: I did not know, Mr. President, that one might not submit a statement on behalf of his client.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal has laid down on several occasions, I think, verbally and certainly once in writing, that no speeches can be made now, but that speeches can be made at the time laid down in the Charter. The present opportunity is for all evidence to be given and for documents to be offered in evidence, with such explanatory observations upon the documents as may be necessary.
DR. HORN: The former Foreign Minister for the Reich, Joachim von Ribbentrop, is, according to the general Indictment and according to the trial brief of the British Delegation and the verbally presented special charges, held responsible for all crimes cited in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal.
Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, in the session of the International Military Tribunal of 8 January 1946, described the facts of the case against my client as follows:
Firstly, the using of his offices and of his personal influence and intimate connection with Hitler to facilitate the seizure of power through the NSDAP and the preparation of wars.
Secondly, the participation in the political planning, and preparation of the National Socialist Conspiracy for Wars of Aggression...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, are you again making a speech or what are you doing?
DR. HORN: No, Mr. President, I am just enumerating on one page how I plan to arrange my evidence, and I ask to be allowed to divide it in this way.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. HORN: Secondly, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe adduced the participation in the political planning and preparation of the National Socialist conspirators for aggressive war and the wars in violation of international treaties. He accordingly bears the responsibility
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for the execution of the foreign policy planned by the political conspirators.
Thirdly, participation in and approval of Crimes against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity, especially crimes against persons and property in the occupied territories.
The Defendant Von Ribbentrop has declared himself not guilty of all crimes charged against him. To refute the charges made against him, I will begin now my presentation of evidence.
The honorable prosecutor at the beginning of his statements quoted from Exhibit Number USA-5, Document Number 2829-PS, and brought out that the Defendant Von Ribbentrop was an SS ObergruppenFuehrer. The honorable prosecutor asserted that this rank was not an honorary one. In opposition to this, the defendant asserts that the rank of an SS GruppenFuehrer and later of ObergruppenFuehrer, bestowed by Hitler, was bestowed upon him only on an honorary basis, because Hitler wished that the members of the Government should appear on official occasions in uniform, and the rank of an SS GruppenFuehrer appeared in keeping with the official position of the defendant. The defendant neither served in the SS nor led an SS unit. Neither did he have any adequate military training and preparation for this high military position.
To demonstrate this I will submit evidence from the defendant himself as a witness.
The Prosecution has asserted that Von Ribbentrop, after the taking over of power, for a short period of time was adviser of the Party on foreign political matters. This assertion is refuted by Document 2829-PS which is contained in the document book in the hands of the Tribunal. I will read Paragraph 3, where it says:
"Foreign Policy Collaborator to the Fuehrer, 1933-1938."
This is the first document of the Ribbentrop document book. According to it, in the years 1933 to 1938 Von Ribbentrop was only Hitler's adviser on foreign political questions. With reference to Document D-472, Exhibit Number GB-130, the second document in the Document Book Ribbentrop, which concerns an excerpt from the International Biographical Archives, the honorable prosecutor claimed that the defendant even before 1932 worked for the NSDAP, after he had entered the Party service in 1930. The Prosecution cites Paragraph II, Lines 6-9, of this document, which says:
"Following up his connection with foreign countries, he established new relations with England and France; having been in the service of the NSDAP since 1930, he knew how to extend them to political circles."
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The statement is not correct. The defendant was until 1932 not a member of any political party in Germany, particularly not o the NSDAP. As far as his political views were concerned, he leaned toward the Deutsche Volkspartei -- that is the party of Stresemann.
In the year 1932 the defendant came to know Hitler personally. His views on domestic and foreign political matters brought him...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, I do not want to interrupt you unnecessarily, but I do not understand what you are doing now. You seem to me to be stating a part of the evidence which presumably the Defendant Von Ribbentrop will give, and, if so, when he gives it it will be cumulative to your statement. Also, you seem to be referring to documents which have been produced by the Prosecution and answering them yourself. Well, that is not what the Tribunal desires at this stage. It quite understands that at the appropriate time you will make whatever argument you think right with reference to the evidence which has been brought forward, on behalf of the Defendant Von Ribbentrop. But, as I have already said -- I thought quite clearly -- what the Tribunal wants done now is to hear all the evidence on behalf of Von Ribbentrop and to have offered in evidence the documents upon which you will rely, with any short explanatory statement as to the meaning of the documents. And if there is any part of a document which has been produced by the Prosecution but not cited by them which you think it necessary to refer to, as explanatory of the part of the document which has been used by them, then you are at liberty to put in, to offer in evidence that part of the document with any short explanatory words that you wish. But I do not understand what you are doing now except making a speech.
DR. HORN: Mr. President, I was using the opposing fact which I wish to present against the claims of the Prosecution, because according to my information and according to my documents, they do not correspond to the facts. As far as the establishment of Point 1 of what Mr. President has just said, I would like to state the following: The health of the Defendant Von Ribbentrop is quite poor at present. This morning the doctor told me that Ribbentrop is suffering from so-called vasomotor disturbances in his speech. I wanted to take a part of his evidence statement from my client by making a statement of it here and thus showing the position of the defendant to the Tribunal. I do not know whether the Defendant Von Ribbentrop, in view of his present state of health, that is, his impediment of speech, could make these explanations as briefly as I myself can. Then, when the defendant is in the box, he needs only to confirm these statements under oath.
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THE PRESIDENT: If the Defendant Von Ribbentrop is too ill to give evidence today, then he must give evidence on some future occasion. If you have any oral witnesses to call other than the Defendant Von Ribbentrop, then they can give evidence today; and with reference to the documentary evidence, it is perfectly simple for you to offer those documents in evidence in the way that it was done by Dr. Stahmer, in the way that it was done by Dr. Seidl, and the way in which the Tribunal have explained over and over again.
DR. HORN: I had intended to submit documents first and not to call my witnesses until later. As far as Von Ribbentrop is concerned, I have learned that his condition has become constantly worse. I do not know therefore whether at the end of the presentation of evidence I will be in a position to summon the Defendant Von Ribbentrop; but I must be prepared for the possibility that I might not be able to call him. And otherwise I am concerned with only a very few very general points for rectification.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, you cannot give evidence at any rate and if you cannot call Von Ribbentrop, then you must, if it is possible to do so, call some other witnesses who will give the evidence which he would have given. If, unfortunately, it is not possible to do so, then his case may suffer; but the Tribunal will give every possible facility for his being called at any stage. If he is in fact so ill, as you suggest, that he cannot give evidence, then his evidence may be put off until the end of the defendants' case, subject of course to a proper medical certificate being produced.
DR. HORN: If the Court wants then later to hear the defendant, I will postpone the matter with the request that if I cannot hear him, that is, cannot hear him fully -- for I emphasize again, there is a speech disturbance -- then he can at least confirm the evidence as a witness.
THE PRESIDENT: You may call any of the witnesses; the Tribunal has not laid down that the defendant must be called first. You have applied for eight witnesses, I think, in addition to the defendant and you can call any of them or you can deal with your documents, but whichever you do, you must do it in the way which the Tribunal has ordered.
DR. HORN: Then, I will turn now to the occupation of the Rhineland.
On 27 February 1936, there was ratified between the French Republic and the Soviet Union a mutual assistance pact, the content of which clearly violated the Locarno Treaty and the covenant of the League of Nations, and was solely directed against Germany. At the same time...
26 March 46
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, you have just said that something or other is against international law. Now, that is not a reference to any document which you are offering in evidence, nor is it any comment upon the production of oral evidence. If you have a document to offer, kindly offer it and then make any necessary explanatory remarks.
DR. HORN: Then, I wanted next to refer to Document Number 1 in the Document Book Ribbentrop. We are concerned with a memorandum of the German Government to the signatory powers of the Locarno Pact, of 7 March 1936.
THE PRESIDENT: Which page is that?
DR. HORN: That is on Page 6 of the document book. In explanation I may add that this memorandum was submitted to the signatory powers, because between the French Government and the Republic of the Soviet Union a treaty of mutual assistance had been ratified and at the same time, the German Foreign Office received knowledge of a plan which the French General Staff had worked out and which arranged that the French Army was to advance along the line of the Main, so that North and South Germany in this way would be separated, and even to join hands with the Russian Army across Czechoslovakia.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, for the formality of the record, it is necessary to offer each document in evidence and the document should be given a number. You have not yet offered any of these documents in evidence or given them any numbers, so far as I know.
DR. HORN: I gave this document the number, Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 1. The number is in the upper right hand corner of the document.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. HORN: And I ask -- perhaps I may say this in order to save time -- I ask that all these documents quoted as Ribbentrop exhibit number be accepted in evidence.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well, and in the order in which you quote them?
DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: They will be numbered that way. Very well.
DR. HORN: As to the particulars just submitted on the reason for this memorandum being lodged, and as evidence of the fact just cited regarding the arrangement of the French General Staff, I will call Von Neurath as a witness. I will question him on this one point, when he is called into the box. In order to justify the German view, which is contained in the memorandum and which
26 March 46
consists in the fact that the Locarno Pact and the League of Nations covenant were considered infringed upon, I would like to refer to Page 3 of the document and wish to quote the following this is on Page 8 of the document book:
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, was this document Exhibit Number Ribbentrop-1, one of the documents for which you applied and which you were allowed in the applications?
DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President. This document is concerned with excerpts from the Dokumente der Deutschen Politik (Documents of German Politics), Volume 4.
I want to stress that this collection of documents was granted to me at the same time as the two evidence books.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to see the original document.
DR. HORN: Mr. President, we are not in a position to present original documents, since the Foreign Office was confiscated by the victorious powers and with it a great part of the documents. Then I would have to make an application now that the signatory powers concerned produce these original documents, for we simply are not able to. We can only refer to document collections.
THE PRESIDENT: Where does the copy come from?
DR. HORN: This copy, Mr. President, is from the Dokumente der Deutschen Politik, Volume 4, as is shown in the document book which the President has before him. The document is found on Page 123 of this document collection.
I should like, Mr. President, to add an explanatory remark: If the Court is interested in seeing the original, I should have to have the collection, which is up in the document room now, brought down. It is in German, and I do not believe that it would be of any value to the Tribunal at this time. May I mention further ...
THE PRESIDENT: You see, Dr. Horn, as a matter of formality and certainty, the Tribunal ought to have in its record every document which forms part of the record, whether it is an original or whether it is a copy; and whatever the document is that is offered in evidence, it ought to be handed in to the Tribunal and kept by the Tribunal. It ought to be put in evidence, offered in evidence, and handed to the General Secretary or his representative, and then the Tribunal has a full record of every document which is in evidence.
But we cannot have documents such as this, which is a mere copy of the original document which ought to be offered in evidence. If it is at the Information Center, then it is quite capable of being produced here.
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DR. HORN: Mr. President, the Court decided that we are justified in copying documents and certifying to the authenticity in order that these documents may be submitted as evidence to the Tribunal. Therefore, we have compared every document with the original we had on hand, or with the printed copy of the document and at the end of the document we attested the authenticity of the copy. This document, certified with my own signature, is in the hands of the Tribunal, I believe in five copies.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn -- Yes, Mr. Dodd.
MR. DODD: We thought that we might be helpful. We say that we are willing to accept this quotation from the volume referred to, and I do think that we did put in some documents ourselves and asked the Court's indulgence at the time in something of the same fashion.
I think the Court, if I may suggest respectfully, might take this document on that same basis.
I have conferred only with Sir David, but I feel quite sure that our French and Russian colleagues will agree as well.
THE PRESIDENT: I think, Mr. Dodd, the point is -- and, of course, it is probably only a formal point -- that the only document which is offered in evidence or put in evidence is a copy which does not contain Dr. Horn's signature and therefore there is nothing to show that it is in fact a true copy. Of course, if we had had Dr. Horn's signature, we would be prepared to accept that it was a true copy of the original. What we have before us is a mere mimeograph, I suppose, of some document which has not been produced to us.
MR. DODD: Very well, Your Honor. I have not had an opportunity to examine it carefully. We did not get these documents, by the way, until pretty late last night. We have not had the usual period of time to examine it, but in any event, I have suggested it might go in, and if Dr. Horn would verify it, as suggested by the President, and later furnish the original copy, it might be all right.
THE PRESIDENT: That would be all right, certainly.
Dr. Horn, you understand what I mean. If you will produce to us at some future date the actual document which you signed yourself, to show that it was a true copy, that will be quite satisfactory.
DR. HORN: Mr. President, in the entire document book there is no document which I have not signed and given in five copies to be translated. Of course, I cannot also sign all the translations. This document which is contained in the document book submitted to the President has my signature in the German text.
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THE PRESIDENT: You mean that you have handed your documents in to be translated, in German, with your signature at the bottom, saying it is a true extract, and you do not know where those documents are because they have gone into the Translation Division? That is right, is it not?
DR. HORN: Only partially, Mr. President. I know that I handed in these documents, to the proper office, in German, and with my signature. Then that office kept them and had them translated. From the moment I handed them in I naturally have had no further control of what happened.
I may also point out that the document books which we used were available only in a single copy and must be used by all attorneys, even now, for their future work. Because of that, I cannot produce the original for the Tribunal since it is not my property. That can be done in agreement only with the person in charge of the document section, Lieutenant Commander Schrader.
TBE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, if, in the future, you and the other defendants' counsel could get your document books ready in sufficient time, you could perhaps then make the arrangement that you hand in the document book, when you are offering it in evidence, and then it would be capable of being handed to the officer of the Court.
DR. HORN: Mr. President, I do not believe that that possibility exists at all, for these Dokumente der Deutschen Politik -- just to use this example -- are available only in one copy for the use of all Defense Counsel attorneys; I cannot take these books away, if they wish to continue work with them, in order to submit them to the Tribunal as evidence. I would not receive them. I receive these books only to use them, and make excerpts from them, and then I have to return them.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but you are putting in evidence now a certain extract from the book, and all the Tribunal wants is that that extract be certified, either by you or by some other person who can be trusted, as a correct extract from the book, and that that document, so signed, can be produced. It may be difficult to produce it at the moment because you have handed it in to some official or to somebody in the Translation Division and therefore you cannot produce it, but it could be arranged that it should be produced in the future. I do not mean this particular one, but in the future other defendants' counsel can produce their documents certified by themselves or by some other person of authority.
DR. HORN: That has already been done, Mr. President. Five document books of the same type, signed by me, were handed to the Tribunal.
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THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, the rule of the Tribunal happens to be that they should be handed in, in this Court, at the time that they are being used, as well as their being handed in to somebody for the purpose of translation. That is the rule.
But now perhaps we had better get on as we are taking up too much time over this.
DR. HORN: I have just heard that the German documents which I signed are being procured from the Secretariat General, so I will be able to submit them to the Tribunal with signature, in the German.
THE PRESIDENT: Very well.
DR. HORN: I should like to continue and explain the afore-mentioned opinion of the legal consequences of the Pact made between France and Russia in 1936, and I refer to Page 3, that is, Page 8 of the document book. I quote:
"Consequently, the only question is whether France, in accepting these treaty obligations, has kept within those limits which, in her relation to Germany have been laid on her by the Rhine Pact.
"This, however, the German Government must deny.
"The Rhine Pact was supposed to achieve the goal of securing peace in Western Europe by having Germany on the one hand, and France and Belgium on the other, renounce for an time employing military force in their relations to each other. If, by the conclusion of the pact, certain reservations to this renunciation of war, going beyond the right of self-defense, were permitted, the political reason for this was, as is generally known, solely the fact that France had already taken on certain alliance obligations towards Poland and Czechoslovakia which she did not want to sacrifice to the idea of absolute peace security in the West. Germany at that time accepted in good faith these reservations to the renunciation of war. She did not object to the treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, placed on the table at Locarno by the representative of France, only because of the self-understood supposition that these treaties adapted themselves to the structure of the Rhine Pact and did not contain any provisions on the application of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, such as are provided for in the new French-Soviet agreements. This was true also of the contents of these special agreements, which came to the knowledge of the German Government at that time. The exceptions permitted in the Rhine Pact did, it is true, not expressly refer to Poland and Czechoslovakia, but were formulated generally. But it was
26 March 46
the sense of all negotiations about this matter to find a compromise between the German-French renunciation of war and the desire of France to maintain her already existent pact obligations. If, therefore, France now takes advantage of the abstract formulation of war possibilities allowed for in the Rhine Treaty in order to conclude a new pact against Germany with a highly armed state, if thus in such a decisive manner she limits the scope of the renunciation of war mutually agreed upon with Germany, and if, as set forth above, she does not even observe the stipulated formal juridical limits, then she has created thereby a completely new situation and has destroyed the political system of the Rhine Pact both in theory and literally."
I will omit the next paragraph and will quote from Page 9 of the document book as follows:
"The German Government have always emphasized during the negotiations of the last years that they would maintain and carry out all obligations of the Rhine Pact as long as the other partners to the Pact also were willing on their part to adhere to this Pact. This natural supposition cannot any longer be regarded as fulfilled by France. In violation of the Rhine Pact, France has replied to the friendly offers and peaceful assurances, made again and again by Germany, with a military alliance with the Soviet Union, directed exclusively against Germany. Therefore the Rhine Pact of Locarno has lost its inner meaning and has ceased to exist in any practical sense. For that reason Germany also on her side does not consider herself bound any longer by this pact which has become void."
In consideration of the Franco-Russian pact and the intentions of the French General Staff, Hitler had the Defendant Von Ribbentrop come to him in order to question him about the presumable attitude of England to a possible German reoccupation ...
THE PRESIDENT: You are reading from the document, are you not, Dr. Horn? You begin to tell us something about Hitler.
DR. HORN: Yes, I interrupted at the phrase "as bound by this pact which has become void," in order to bring in the role of Ribbentrop briefly. On the basis of this pact and of the intentions of the French General Staff, Hitler then had the Defendant Von Ribbentrop ...
THE PRESIDENT: We shall hear that from Von Ribbentrop, shall we not?
DR. HORN: Mr. President, we are permitted to add a few connecting words to the documents. I can now...
26 March 46
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Colonel Pokrovsky.
COL. POKROVSKY: As far as I can understand, the Tribunal has already explained to Ribbentrop's Defense Counsel, Dr. Horn, that the Defense is now submitting a document. Although Dr. Horn does not consider it necessary to state when he deviates from the document and when he quotes from it, I have had the opportunity of noting that in the document he has just quoted, numbered Ribbentrop-1, there is a complete absence of any reference to the plans of the French General Staff. Among the documents in the 4ocument book submitted by Ribbentrop's Defense Counsel I could not find any copies of the plans of the French General Staff. It is therefore quite incomprehensible to me how Dr. Horn happens to be informed about the plans of the French General Staff, and on what grounds he refers to these plans while presenting evidence, in Ribbentrop's case, since they appear to be completely absent among the documents to which he refers.
DR. HORN: Mr. President ...
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, what you appeared to the Tribunal to be doing then was not anything explanatory of the document, but telling us what Hitler did, and what the Defendant Ribbentrop did, in consequence of what Hitler did. That is not in evidence. You cannot tell us what is not in evidence. You can only give us explanatory remarks to make the document itself intelligible.
DR. HORN: Mr. President, the Defendant Von Ribbentrop is accused on account of the conduct of the entire foreign policy. The Prosecution have presented the foreign political activity as they see it, and we have been permitted, not to give a speech, but, in connection with the documents submitted, to present our opposing view, as the Defense see it. In order to do, that, I must refer to certain facts, documents and quotations. I can never give a complete picture if I may just submit a document without giving a large frame to this matter, a certain development in the entire policy.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Dr. Horn, the Tribunal is not expecting you to give a complete picture at this stage. All you are doing at the present moment is introducing the evidence. You are going to give the complete picture when you make your final speech. It is intelligible, this document. It is a document which is well known; it is perfectly intelligible without telling us what Hitler or what the Defendant Ribbentrop did.
DR. HORN: Regarding these questions raised by the Russian Prosecutor, I have already asked for the Defendant Von Neurath as a witness. I can interrogate him on this point only after the Defendant Von Neurath is in the witness box. But I can still refer now to these facts that are counterevidence.
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THE PRESIDENT: But, you see, that would be his function. If you are going to tell us what you think the Defendant Von Neurath is going to say in answer to questions which you put to him, that would be making an opening statement. Well, that has not been provided for by the Charter. We must wait until you call Von Neurath or until you question Von Neurath.
DR. HORN: Then I will read from this document just mentioned Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 1, on Page 10 of the document book:
"The German Government are now forced to face the new situation created by this alliance, a situation which is made more critical by the fact that the Franco-Soviet pact has found its complement in a pact of alliance of exactly parallel nature between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. In the interest of the telementary right of a nation to safeguard its borders and to guarantee its defensive capacities, the German Government have therefore re-established the full and unrestricted sovereignty of the Reich in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland, effective today."
I ask the Tribunal to accept the entire document as evidence. Through this step of the German Government certain articles of the Treaty of Versailles which were concerned with the demilitarization of the Rhineland zone had become obsolete. Since this morning, by decision of the Court, the taking of a position on the Versailles Treaty is not permitted, I will omit the corresponding material from the document book of the Defendant Von Ribbentrop, and turn now to the document Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 8, which is 6n Page 21 of the document book.
May I put another question first, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Certainly.
DR. HORN: Is it permitted to submit the official documents on the Treaty of Versailles that were exchanged between governments before the conclusion of the treaty? These are purely government documents and not any arguments on the treaty itself. May these documents be submitted after the decision of the Tribunal today?
THE PRESIDENT: Which are they, the one on Page 21?
DR. HORN: This is in regard to the Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 3.
THE PRESIDENT: Where is that?
DR. HORN: It is on Page 14 of the document book.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, the Tribunal would like to know what issue in this Trial this document is relevant to.
DR. HORN: I wanted to explain by it the German opinion of the Treaty of Versailles. Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 2 is the note of Germany to the United States that contains the offer for an armistice and conclusion of peace. And I wanted further to show in the
26 March 46
next note again that this offer was one based on the Wilsonian Fourteen Points. Further, with Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 4, 1 wanted to submit evidence that the peace and the armistice were to be concluded on the basis of the Fourteen Points with two exceptions. I also wanted to show through Ribbentrop Exhibit...
SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I tried not to interrupt, but really this is the issue that the Tribunal ruled on a fortnight ago when the Defendant Goering, I think, applied for documents on exactly this issue; and that also, as I understand, the Tribunal ruled on again this morning. The issue is perfectly clear; the only issue to which this can be directed is whether the Treaty of Versailles was in accordance with the Fourteen Points and if not, was therefore an unjust treaty which comes directly within the Tribunal's ruling of an hour ago.
DR. HORN: May I add something more?
As far as I and my colleagues have understood the ruling of the Tribunal today, the only prohibition is against making before this Tribunal statements on the injustice of the treaty and on the fact that it purportedly was concluded under duress. We have not understood the decision in any other way.
THE PRESIDENT: That was why I asked you to what issue this was relevant, and you said that it was relevant to showing what the German opinion on the treaty was. Well, these are documents of the period before the treaty was made, and they seem to be only relevant upon the question of whether or not the treaty was a just reaty or not a just treaty.
DR. HORN: I personally did not want to demonstrate through document either that it was a just or an unjust peace, but only at it was a treaty which had many legal inadequacies, since the main treaty was not in line with the agreements of the preliminary reaty.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if the main treaty was not in accordance with the preliminary treaty then the main treaty would, according to that argument be an unfair treaty. That is the very point upon which the Tribunal has ruled.
DR. HORN: For that reason, Mr.President, I have just omitted these documents also and said that I will not refer to them in view of this ruling. I will now turn to Document Number 8.
THE PRESIDENT: As you are going through a lot of documents we might break off for 10 minutes.
[A recess was taken.]
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MR. DODD: I do not want to take much of the Tribunal's time, but in view of the statement of Dr. Horn concerning the condition of the Defendant Von Ribbentrop, I think it is required that w infonn the Tribunal of the situation as we understand it, which is something quite different from the understanding of Dr. Horn.
I have talked with Colonel Andrus and with one of the Army doctors in attendance. Colonel Andrus has talked with both of them and our understanding is that Ribbentrop is not ill and is able t take the witness stand; that he is nervous, and appears to be frightened, but he is not disabled in any sense and is capable of testifying
DR. HORN: I come now to Page 21 of the document book, and ask the Court to take judicial notice of the document appearin under Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 8. It is a copy, again from the Dokument der Deutschen Politik, Volume 4, which I turned over, signed, to the Court. It is the speech of Ambassador Von Ribbentrop at the 91st session of the League of Nations Council in London regarding the Soviet Pact, the Locarno Pact and the German Peace Plan. The speech was delivered on 19 March 1936. 1 refer to Page 3 of the speech and begin my quotation with Number 5. I quote:
"According to this alliance, France and Russia appoint themselves judges on their own affairs by independently determining the aggressor, if occasion arises without a resolution or a recommendation of the League of Nations, and thereby are able to go to war against Germany according to their own judgment.
"This strict obligation of the two countries is clearly and unequivocally evident from Paragraph 1 of the signatory protocol to the Treaty of Alliance. That means: In a given case France can decide, on her own judgment, whether Germany or Soviet Russia is the aggressor. She merely reserves the right not to be exposed, on account of military action based on such an individual decision, to sanctions on the part of the powers guaranteeing the Rhine Pact, namely, England and Italy.
"From the point of view of law and realistic politics, this reservation is meaningless.
"In terms of law: How will France be able to foresee, when determining the aggressor herself, what attitude the guarantors of the Locarno Pact will afterwards assume towards her one-sided definition? The answer to the question of whether France would have to fear sanctions in such a case depends in practice not only on the faithful adherence to the pact by the guarantors -- about which the German Government do not wish to raise doubts in any way -- but also on the most various prerequisites of a purely factual nature, the probability or
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improbability of which is not to be perceived in advance. In addition, however, the evaluation of the relationship between the new Treaty of Alliance and the Rhine Pact cannot be made dependent on the treaty relationship between France and Germany on the one hand and the Guaranteeing Powers on the other, but only on the direct treaty relationship between France and Germany themselves. Otherwise one would have to expect Germany to tolerate silently every possible violation of the Rhine Pact by France, in confidence that the guarantors would have to provide for her security. That certainly is not the intention of the Rhine Pact.
"In terms of realistic politics: When a country is attacked by such a superior military coalition as a consequence of a decision, incorrect because taken in advance in oneof the party's own interests, it is an empty consolation to obtain its light in subsequent sanctions against the aggressors condemned by the League of Nations Council. For what sanctions could actually hit such a gigantic coalition reaching from East Asia to the Channel? These two countries are such powerful and important members and especially militarily strong factors of the League of Nations that according to all practical considerations, sanctions would be unthinkable from the outset.
"Therefore this second reservation dealing with the consideration of probable sanctions is of no consequence at all from a realistic political point of view.
"I now ask the members of the Council to bear in mind not only the legal and practical political scope of this obligation of France's to act independently, but to ask yourselves above all whether the opinion can be advocated that the German Government of that time, which signed the Locarno Pact, would ever have taken upon themselves the obligations of this Pact, had it contained such one-sided stipulations as have now later developed."
I now go to Page 26 of the document book, and the same document, and to clarify the German point of view, I add the following. I quote:
"But the Franco-Soviet Russian alliance means, beyond that -- in the German Government's view of history -- a complete elimination of the hitherto existing European balance and consequently of the fundamental political and legal conditions under which the Locarno Pact was concluded at that time."
With this, Germany had expressed the legal basis of her attitude toward the Locarno Pact and the Versailles stipulations regarding the demilitarization of the Rhineland. In order to prove her will to disarm, there is in the same document on Page 7, that is, Page 27
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of the document book, an exhaustive and detailed disarmament proposal.
I ask the Tribunal to accept in evidence the document just cited, so that I may later refer to it.
With this exposition I conclude my presentation on Germany's reasons for reoccupying the Rhineland. Regarding the role of the Defendant Von Ribbentrop, in the occupation of the Rhineland, I shall enter upon that when I call the Defendant to the witness stand.
After the occupation of the Rhineland, the Defendant Von Ribbentrop returned to London, where he was then ambassador. On 4 February 1938 he was appointed Foreign Minister, and from that time on, conducted the foreign policy along the lines laid down by Hitler. In proof of this statement I refer to Ribbentrop Exhibit Number 10, to be found in the document book. This is a very short document that I submit to the Tribunal for judicial notice. It is an excerpt from the speech of the Fuehrer before the German Reichstag in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin on 19 July 1940. I quote:
"I cannot conclude this appraisal without finally thanking the man who for years has carried out my foreign political directions in loyal, tireless, self-sacrificing devotion.
"The name of Party member Von Ribbentrop will be linked for all time with the political rise of the German Nation as that of the Reich Foreign Minister."
I submit this quotation to the Tribunal to show according to what principles the Defendant Von Ribbentrop had to conduct the foreign policy.
I should like now to ask the Tribunal to hear the witness State Secretary Von Steengracht.
[The witness Von Steengracht took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your name, please?
ADOLF FREIHERR STEENGRACHT VON MOYLAND (Witness): Adolf von Steengracht.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me: "I swear by God -- the Almighty and Omniscient -- that I will speak the pure truth -- and will withhold and add nothing."
[The witness repeated the oath in German.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.
DR. HORN: What was your last position in the Foreign Office?
VON STEENGRACHT: From May 1943 I was State Secretary of the Foreign Office.
DR. HORN: What were your activities?
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VON STEENGRACHT: In order to present my activities in a comprehensible way, I must make the following prefatory remarks:
From the beginning of the war, the Foreign Minister had his office in the neighborhood of Hitler's headquarters; that is to say in most instances several hundred kilometers distant from Berlin. There he carried on business with a restricted staff. The Foreign Office in Berlin had duties of a routine and administrative nature. But above all, its duty was also the execution of the regular intercourse with foreign diplomats.
Within the limits of this field of duties, I bore the responsibility, as State Secretary, from May 1943. The molding of foreign political opinion, the decisions and instructions in foreign policy, on the other hand, originated from headquarters, mostly without any participation, sometimes also without any subsequent information to the Foreign Office.
DR. HORN: Who determined the basic lines of the foreign policy?
VON STEENGRACHT: The foreign policy, not only on its basic lines, but also usually down to the most minute details, was determined by Hitler himself. Ribbentrop frequently stated that the Fuehrer needed no Foreign Minister, he simply wanted a foreign political secretary. Ribbentrop, in my opinion, would have been satisfied with such a position because then at least, backed by Hitler's authority, he could have eliminated partly the destructive and indirect foreign political influences and their sway on Hitler. Perhaps he might then have had a chance of influencing Hitler's speeches, which the latter was accustomed to formulate without Ribbentrop, even in the foreign political field.
DR. HORN: Were there other offices or personalities, in addition to the Foreign Office, that concerned themselves with foreign policy?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes, there was practically no office in the Party or its organizations that, after 1933, had no foreign political ambitions. Every one of these offices had a sort of foreign bureau through which it took up connections with foreign countries in the attempt to gain its own foreign political channels.
I should judge the number of these to be approximately thirty. For example, the Hitler Jugend, the SA, the German Labor Front, the SS, the Rosenberg office with its Foreign Political office, the Propaganda Ministry, the office Waldeck, the Ribbentrop office, the Nordic Society; further, the VDA, the German Academy, the Reich Railways (Reichsbahn) and others. Besides these offices, the immediate entourage of Hitler and personalities like Himmler, Goebbels, and Bormann had an influence in the shaping of foreign policy. Goering, too, as I see it, had perhaps a certain influence,
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but only until 1938 -- at any rate, in matters of foreign politics, scarcely later than that.
DR. HORN: Did Von Ribbentrop make efforts to prevent such influences or to exclude them?
VON STEENGRACHT: From my own observation, I can give only the following judgment: Almost every one of those persons, who had never before lived in foreign countries and who, as an occasional traveling salesman for the Third Reich, in peacetime, or after the occupation of a foreign country, had eaten well in the capital of this or that foreign country, considered himself an unrivaled expert on this country. They all had a predilection for bringing their enlightenment and discernment to Hitler. Unfortunately the further they were removed from actual conditions, the more they were in contradiction to the political requirements and necessities, and especially, unfortunately, the more so-called strength was shown and the more they stood in contradiction to the elementary feelings of humanity, the more they pleased Hitler. For Hitler regarded such statements and representations as sound judgment, and they had sometimes an irreparable effect, and formed in Hitler's mind, together with his so-called intuition, the start of some fundamental idea. To the possible objection that it should have been easy for an expert to criticize such an opinion or view, I should like to point out the following: As long as the future German Ambassador in Paris was still a teacher of painting, Hitler read his reports with interest; but when he became the official representative of the Reich, his reports were mostly thrown unread into the wastepaper basket. Himmler's reports, the slanted opinions of Goebbels, and Bormann's influence played, on the other hand, a decisive role, as did reports from agents which could not be checked and which carried more weight than the opinions of experts on the countries.
DR. HORN: Was the Foreign Office responsible for relations with all foreign countries?
VON STEENGRACHT: I should like to remark further here that I have not yet answered the second part of your question, namely, regarding the elimination of this influence.
With Hitler's methods of work, these so-called counterinfluences simply could not be eliminated. Against this "organized disorganization" Ribbentrop waged an unmitigating, bitter war, and that against almost all German offices. I should like to state further that at least 60 percent of his time was devoted to these things alone.
DR. HORN: Was the Foreign Office responsible for the relations with all foreign countries?
VON STEENGRACHT: In peacetime, yes.
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DR. HORN: Did the position of the Foreign Office change with the outbreak of war?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes. In point of fact, the Foreign Office lost its competency toward the country concerned at the moment when the German bayonet crossed the border. The exclusive right to maintain direct relations with foreign governments was elimnated in all occupied territories; in most instances even the right to have a representative of the Foreign Office whose post was for observation only and without competency. This is particularly true for the Eastern Territories and for Norway.
Where Ribbentrop made the effort to maintain, in spite of the occupation, a certain degree of independence of a country, as, for example, in Norway, this activity of our diplomats was termed weak, traitorous, stupid, and those responsible had to stop their work at once, on Hitler's orders, and disappeared from the Foreign Office.
In general the changed position of the Foreign Office during the war is best characterized by Hitler's statement: "The Foreign Office shall, as far as possible, disappear from the picture until the end of the war." Hitler wanted to limit the Foreign Office to about 20 to 40 people, and it was even partially forbidden to form or to maintain any connection with the Foreign Office.
The Foreign Office, as such, and its officials were detested by Hitler. He considered them objective jurists, defeatists, and cosmopolitans, to whom a matter can be given only if it is not to be carried out.
DR. HORN: Was there any foreign policy, in a traditional sense, in Germany?
VON STEENGRACHT: No; at least, I never noticed anything of it, for Hitler had in effect made the statement: "Diplomacy is defrauding the people. Treaties are childish; they are respected only as long as they seem useful to the respective partners." That was Hitler's opinion of all diplomats in the world.
DR. HORN: Did the Foreign Office have any influence in the Eastern territories and the territories that were under civilian administration?
VON STEENGRACHT: I have already touched on this question. I have already said that in the territories in which there was a military govermnent or a civilian administration, a representative of the Foreign Office -- if he was tolerated at all -- was tolerated only as an observation post, at any rate had no functions; that was the rule.
I think I would be going too far if I went through the condition in every country. The situations varied.
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DR. HORN: Do you consider Von Ribbentrop a typical National Socialist or not?
VON STEENGRACHT: Ribbentrop was, in his whole attitude, no typical exponent of National Socialism. He knew extraordinanly little of the dogma and doctrines of National Socialism. He felt himself only personally bound to Hitler, whom he followed with soldierly obedience, and he stood under a certain hypnotic dependence on Hitler. However, I cannot characterize him as a typical exponent of National Socialism.
DR. HORN: Was Hitler a man who was accessible to suggestions and objections?
VON STEENGRACHT: In the first years after 1933 he is said still to have been; but during the course of years he shut himself off more and more from expert objections and suggestions. From the time that I became State Secretary, I saw him only twice on official occasions. I can thus speak only on the success or lack of success of our work. In the course of my activities, covering almost 2 years, I can now recall almost no case in which he agreed to one of our suggestions. On the contrary, it was always to be feared that by some suggestion of a personal nature he would be led to take violent action in an opposite direction. The basic trait of his character was probably lack of confidence, and this bore unprecedented fruit. Thus, experts and decent people who tried to influence Hitler to their way of thinking were engaged, in my opinion, in an altogether vain task. On the other hand, irresponsible creatures who incited him to take violent measures, or who voiced their suspicions, unfortunately found him extremely accessible. These men were then termed strong, whereas the behavior of anyone who was even half-way normal was condemned as weak or defeatist; through a reasonable opinion voiced only once, the influence of that man could be forever destroyed.
DR. HORN: What conclusions did Hitler draw from contradictory viewpoints in respect to the contradicting persons?
VON STEENGRACHT: I cannot answer that question in general terms. I have already shown it in my previous answers. First of all the reaction depended very much, in my opinion, on the mood of the Dictator at the time. It was also a matter of importance as to who contradicted and how much strength or weakness he had already shown or seemed to have shown. But what the atmosphere was can perhaps be demonstrated by the following case, shortly after the death of President Roosevelt, as told by Ribbentrop's liaison agent with Hitler, a man named Hewel. He said:
"Today I almost met my doom. Goebbels came from the Fuehrer, and reported on Germany's prospects, as far as the
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Fuehrer saw them affected by Roosevelt's death, and he drew up a very hopeful picture of the future. I, Hewel, was of the opinion that such a view was not justified and remarked as much cautiously to Goebbels. Goebbels fell into a rage, called me a spirit who demoralized everyone, who trampled on the happy moods and hopes of every decent person. I was forced," Hewel reports, "to make a special trip to see Goebbels. and to ask him to keep the matter to himself. For if he had informed the Fuehrer of my attitude, Hitler would have merely pressed a button, and called Rattenhuber, the Chief of his Security Service, and had me taken away and shot."
DR. HORN: How do you explain the fact that so many people remained in Hitler's circle, although they could not agree with him on basic matters?
VON STEENGRACHT: It is true that many people remained in their positions although at heart they disapproved of Hitler's methods of government and, indeed, were inimical to those methods. There are various reasons for this.
First, it must be said that the NSDAP had come into power according to the rules of parliamentary procedure as being the strongest Party in the Reichstag. The officials employed had no reason at all to retire from service on account of the change of government. In consequence of the change to dictatorial government and the completely different concept of the State which the change of government involved, the individual suddenly found that he was no longer allowed to take a position of his own concerning this regime. The notorious reign of terror began. Everywhere, in the ministries and chancelleries, in private dwellings, and in restaurants there hovered spies who, out of fanaticism or for pay, were willing to report everything they heard.
Nevertheless, many would deliberately have risked the gravest consequences, if their withdrawal could have in any way improved anything. But it became obvious that such persons merely sacrificed themselves and especially their families unavailingly, because cases of the kind were painstakingly withheld from publicity and therefore had no effect. Worst of all was the fact that the appointment vacated was filled by an especially radical man. Many people realized this and remained at their posts in order to prevent the development that I have just described. The great number of atrocities committed or ordered by Hitler or Himmler have led many foreigners to the conclusion that the German people as a whole shared the guilt for these crimes, or at least had knowledge of them. This is not the case. The majority of people even in high government positions did not learn details of these matters -- or the extent to which they were carried on -- until the war was
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over. Perhaps the key to this is found in the speech which Himmler delivered in Posen on 3 October 1943 to his GruppenFuehrer, and which I learned of for the first time here. This speech directed that his special assignments -- that means the actions against the Jews and the concentration camps -- were to be kept just as secret as had been the events of 30 June 1934, of which the German people have only now learned the authentic story.
Guilt for all these occurrences rests only on a relatively small group, to be appraised at a few thousand people. It was these who carried out this unparalleled terror against the German people. But those who thought differently and who remained are chiefly to be thanked for the fact that, for example, the Geneva Convention was not renounced, that tens or even hundreds of thousands of English or American airmen and prisoners were not shot, that the unfortunate prisoners, those seriously wounded, were returned during the war to their families in their home countries; Greece in her dire need received food; exchange was stabilized as far as possible, as in Belgium and France, and militarily pointless destruction ordered in foreign countries and in the home country could be in part prevented or at least lessened; indeed that the principles of human justice, in some places at least, remained alive. These circles were discouraged in their attitude earlier by the fact that no foreign power had used the conditions in Germany as a reason for breaking off diplomatic relations, but that almost all, until the outbreak of war negotiated with National Socialism, concluded treaties and even had their diplomatic representatives at the National Socialist Party Days at Nuremberg. It was particularly noted that National Socialist Germany, outwardly at any rate, received much more consideration, understanding, and respect from foreign countries than ever had the Weimar Republic despite all its fidelity to treaties or its integrity.
Then the war came, and with it special duties for civil servants, officers, and every individual German. Should, and if so when and how could these people who still felt themselves to be the servants of the nation, leave their posts under these circumstances? Would they, above all, by taking such a step be useful to their country and to humanity? Would they have frightened Hitler or even warned him?
DR. HORN: Did you make peace suggestions of a foreign political nature to Von Ribbentrop after the French campaign?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes. I had at that time, to be sure, no official position. But I nevertheless felt the need, and I believe it was a heartfelt wish of many, if not all, Germans, to see peaceful conditions again in the world as soon as possible. On the day of the capitulation of the King of the Belgians, I suggested:
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Firstly, the creation of a United States of Europe on a democratic basis. This would have meant independence of Holland, Belgium, Poland, and so on.
Secondly, if this could not be brought about with Hitler, at any rate to have as few encroachments on the autonomy of the countries as possible.
DR. HORN: Did Von Ribbentrop speak to Hitler on this matter?
VON STEENGRACHT: So far as I know, yes. But at that time Hitler considered such plans as premature.
DR. HORN: Did you speak to Von Ribbentrop again in the winter of 1942-43 on the same subject?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes. Ribbentrop at that time also worked out very concrete proposals. They provided for the sovereignty and independence of all conquered countries, including Poland, and in addition, a far-reaching economic collaboration.
DR. HORN: How did Hitler react then to these proposals?
VON STEENGRACHT: Hitler turned down these proposals giving as reason the fact that the time was not suitable, the military situation not favorable enough, that this would be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
DR. HORN: Now to another question. Before the outbreak of the Russian campaign, did Von Ribbentrop mention to Hitler Bismarck's statement about the danger of preventive wars?
VON STEENGRACHT: Ribbentrop told me several times that he was very concerned about the pact with Russia. In regard to preventive war, he had stated to Hitler: "The good God does not let anyone look at His cards." I know too that Ribbentrop made efforts to bring our experts on Russia to Hitler in order to explain to him the situation there and to advise him against a war. Hitler did not permit these people to see him, so far as I know. Only Ambassador Count Schulenburg was granted a short audience. He, who considered such a war ill-advised and emphatically rejected the idea, could not, however, advance his views on Russia and the reasons against a war; for Hitler, having delivered a speech of his own on this subject, after about 20 minutes dismissed him abruptly without letting him speak a word.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, the order of the Tribunal was that witnesses might refresh their memory by notes, but this witness appears to the Tribunal to have read practically every word he has said. That is not refreshing your memory with notes. That is making a speech which you have written out beforehand, and if that sort of thing goes on the Tribunal will have to consider whether it is necessary to alter its rule and adhere to the ordinary rule,
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which is that no witness is allowed to refer to any notes at all except those made at the time.
DR. HORN: Mr. President, to be sure, I discussed the questions with the witness; but his notes, if they have been made, were made by the witness independently and without my knowledge of the exact contents. I shall now ask the witness to answer my questions without making use of any means which I do not know. I do not -- that I want to emphasize once again -- know these answers.
Witness, is it known to you that Von Ribbentrop tried to use his influence with Hitler to stop the damaging tendencies against the Church and the Jews?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes. I know that Ribbentrop spoke frequently with Hitler on this theme. I was absolutely in despair about the policy toward the Church and the Jews, and for this reason had occasion to speak to him about it often, as I have said. But he explained to me again and again when he returned from Hitler: "Hitler cannot be spoken to on this point. Hitler says that these problems have to be solved before he dies."
DR. HORN: Did Von Ribbentrop and the Foreign Office have any knowledge of the military planning?
VON STEENGRACHT: Ribbentrop frequently told me that he was completely in the dark in military affairs. So far as the Foreign Office was concerned, it had no ideas whatever of strategic planning.
DR. HORN: What were the relations between Ribbentrop, Himmler, Goebbels, and Bormann?
VON STEENGRACHT: The relations between Ribbentrop and the aforenamed gentlemen were as bad as can be imagined. There was a perpetual fight between them. In my opinion Ribbentrop would have been Himmler's first victim if anything had happened to Hitler. A constant struggle and feud, I should like to state, went on between these men with an exceptionally sharp exchange of letters.
DR. HORN: What was the relationship in general between the highest Party and Reich offices?
VON STEENGRACHT: The relationship in the individual departments naturally varied according to the character and the origin of the department chiefs. But one can say that the relationship was bad throughout, and, especially, that reciprocal information, so urgently necessary for state business, practically never developed. It was almost more difficult for one minister to discuss a question with another minister by telephone than to have had the Angel Gabriel himself come from heaven and speak with one of us. Even on the most important and essential matters, a factual discussion
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could not take place. There was, in other words, practically no connection between these departments. Moreover, they were very different, both in their character and in their ideas.
DR. HORN: Is anything known to you about objections on the part of the Vatican, above all regarding the Polish clergy?
VON STEENGRACHT: I heard about that later, and there must have been two protests concerning the Catholic Polish clergy. These two notes were submitted by the Nuncio to the State gecretary of that time. The then State Secretary turned these over to Ribbentrop according to regulation, and Ribbentrop in his turn presented them to Hitler. Since the Vatican had not recognized the Government General, and accordingly the Nuncio was not competent for these regions, Hitler declared when these notes were presented to him:
"They are just one blunt lie. Give these notes back to the Nuncio through the State Secretary in a sharp form, and tell him that you will never again accept such a matter."
DR. HORN: Were these notes then dealt with by the Foreign Office?
VON STEENGRACHT: Sharp and precise instructions were then issued that in all cases in which representatives of countries brought up matters which were not within their authority, whether in conversations, or notes, note verbale, memoranda, or other documents, these were not to be accepted, and verbal protests were to be turned down sharply.
DR. HORN: Is it known to you that Von Ribbentrop prevented the shooting of about 10,000 prisoners of war after the terrible air attack on Dresden?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes, I know the following: Von Ribbentrop's liaison man with Hitler called me up one day in great excitement. He informed me that on a suggestion by Goebbels, the Fuehrer intended, as reprisal for the holocaust of Dresden, to have English and American prisoners of war -- I believe mostly airmen -- shot. I went immediately to Ribbentrop and informed him of this. Ribbentrop became very excited; he turned pale as death; he was in fact almost stunned and thought it was impossible; picked up the phone and called up this liaison man in person in order to verify this report. The liaison man corroborated it. Then Ribbentrop got up immediately and went to Hitler, came back, I think after half an hour, and told me that he had succeeded in having Hitler withdraw this order. That is all I know about this matter.
DR. HORN: Do you know anything about the convocation of an anti-Jewish congress?
VON STEENGRACHT: Regarding the convocation of an anti-Jewish congress I know something; I believe our liaison man with
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Hitler informed us that, on a suggestion of Bormann, Hitler had ordered the calling of an anti-Jewish congress through the Rosenberg office. Ribbentrop did not want to believe this; but nevertheless had to accept this too as true, once he had spoken with our liaison man. Then, since on the basis of this decision we could do nothing more officially to prevent the thing, we nevertheless worked our way into it, and we made efforts by a policy of hesitation, delay, and obstruction to render the convocation impossible. And although the order was given in the spring of 1944 and the war did not end until April 1945, this congress never actually took place.
DR. HORN: Could you observe whether Von Ribbentrop often adopted a stern manner with his staff, for reasons of state, although he sometimes thought entirely differently?
VON STEENGRACHT: This would be passing a judgment. But I believe that I must affirm this: Thinking that he was being loyal to Hitler, Ribbentrop -- it seems to me -- in those cases when he went to Hitler with a preconceived opinion and returned with a totally different view, tried afterwards to explain to us Hitler's view. This he always did with special vehemence. I would assume then that this was contrary to his own most personal original ideas.
DR. HORN: Did Von Ribbentrop during the course of the war ask that Rome and Florence be spared?
VON STEENGRACHT: So far as I know, yes. He did speak with Hitler on these subjects.
DR. HORN: Are you acquainted with an article by Goebbels in the Reich or perhaps the Volkischer Beobachter, dealing with lynch justice?
VON STEENGRACHT: Yes. Once by chance I came to Ribbentrop when he was reading a paper and was again very excited. He asked me if I had read the article yet, this shocking article by Goebbels. It was an article on lynch justice.
DR. HORN: Did Von Ribbentrop lodge a protest with Goebbels about this article?
VON STEENGRACHT: As far as I know, he charged our press chief who had the liaison with Goebbels to lodge a protest against this article. But to his surprise he was forced to see that this protest was useless since the article had not only been inspired but, I believe, ordered by Hitler, and thus there was nothing more to be done.
DR. HORN: What attitude did the Foreign Office take in view of the trend of this article?
VON STEENGRACHT: The Foreign Office repudiated the article vehemently, because it comprised an offense against international
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law and thus made us depart from international law in another field. Moreover, it appealed to the lower instincts of man, and both in internal and external policy did great damage.
Besides, such an article, that has been read by several hundred thousands or by millions, does irreparable damage anyway. We therefore insisted that under no circumstances should such things appear in the press again. I must regretfully state, however, that we had a very difficult stand in this matter, especially since lowflying enemy craft often shot peasants in the fields and pedestrians in the streets, that is to say, purely civilian people, with their murder weapons. And our arguments that in our field we wanted to observe international law under all circumstances, were not taken into account at all either by most German offices, or above all by Hitler personally. On the contrary, in this case too we were regarded again only as formal jurists. But later we did try, as much as we could, with the help of military offices, to prevent the carrying out of this order.
DR. HORN: Do you know of a Battalion Gunsberg?
VON STEENGRACHT: I do not know of a Battalion Gunsberg. I know, of course, of a former Legation Counsellor Von Gunsberg in the Foreign Office. This Legation Counsellor Von Gunsberg received, as far as I recall -- I did not at that time do any work at all connected with these matters -- received from Ribbentrop the assignment of following, with a few people from the Foreign Office and a few drivers, the fighting troops, and seeing to it that, firstly, the foreign missions, for instance in Brussels and Paris, and so forth, that stood under the protection of the protective powers, should not be entered by our troops. And at the same time Gunsberg was charged with protecting the files in the Foreign ministries that were of foreign political interest.
After the conclusion of the French campaign, Gunsberg, as far as I recall, was no longer in the active service of the Foreign Office, but was listed with the Secret Field Police, from which he had received a uniform, because as a civilian he could not enter these countries.
DR. HORN: How and when did Gunsberg's job end?
VON STEENGRACHT: Ribbentrop lost interest after these events in Gunsberg and the original assignment. Then, after the beginning of the Russian campaign, Gunsberg, so far as I remember, reported again for duty and said that he intended to do the same thing in the East, and Ribbentrop told him:
"Yes, that is very good. You may go with a few people to the army groups and see whether anything of interest for us is happening there and also see to it that when we approach
26 March 46
Moscow the foreign embassies et cetera are not entered, and that the documents are preseived."
But he did not consider himself any longer as belonging to the Foreign Office and apparently received orders from other offices. Then, as I later heard, he had a large number of men under him and had many automobiles which he could not have received from the Foreign Office any more than he could have received a military uniform from the Foreign Office so he was apparently working for other offices.
DR. HORN: He no longer belonged to the Foreign Office at any rate not in a military capacity?
VON STEENGRACHT: No. And, in addition, when Ribbentrop heard that he had undertaken such a large job, he charged me personally to call immediately on the SS and say that he, Ribbentrop, did not want to have Gunsberg any longer, and at that time I told ObergruppenFuehrer Wolff that I should like to point out that we wanted nothing more to do with Gunsberg. See to it that you keep him with the Waffen-SS along with all his subordinates. That is all I know about the matter of Gunsberg.
DR. HORN: Would Your Lordship like to interrupt the examination or should I continue to put further questions?
THE PRESIDENT: Unless you are going to conclude almost immediately, we had better adjourn. Will you be some time longer with this witness?
DR. HORN: I have a number of further questions.
[The Tribunal adjourned until 27 March 1946 at 1000 hours.]