The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 171]

EIGHTY-FOURTH DAY

MONDAY, 18TH MARCH, 1946

HERMANN WILHELM GOERING: DIRECT EXAMINATION - continued

THE PRESIDENT: Had Dr. Kubuschok finished his cross-
examination?

DR. KUBUSCHOK: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well. Then would any other of the
defendants' counsel wish to examine or cross-examine?

PROFESSOR KRAUS (deputy for Dr. Luedinghausen, counsel for
the defendant von Neurath): I ask your permission to put
several questions to the witness.

Q. Witness, at the Munich conferences Hitler, it is alleged,
put the following question: "What is to happen if the Czechs
are not in agreement with our occupation of the
Sudetenland?" Thereupon Daladier answered, "Then we will
force them." Is that correct?

A. This question was actually broached by the Fuehrer during
the discussion. Premier Daladier said, in substance, whether
in the same words or not, something which corresponds to the
sense of this statement. As far as I can still remember
fairly exactly, he emphasised that now a decision in that
direction had been reached by the Great Powers for the
purpose of maintaining peace, this peace must not be
threatened anew by Czechoslovakia's refusal, otherwise
neither England nor France would feel itself in any way duty
bound to help, if Czechoslovakia did not follow this advice.

Q. Witness, how long have you known Herr von Neurath?

A. As far as I recall, I saw Herr von Neurath for a short
time when he was the German Ambassador to Denmark in 1919,
but only for a short time. Later I met him again just before
the accession to power and spoke to him very briefly, I
believe; my closer relationship and acquaintance begins from
the time after the accession to power.

Q. Did you have any closer knowledge of his activities as
Ambassador in London?

A. That is correct. I did know about his work before,
because even in former times, that is, in 1931 and 1932,
before Herr von Neurath became Foreign Minister, in
discussions about the possible formation of a Cabinet we
also considered the name of Herr von Neurath as a candidate,
even though he did not belong to the Party. As a basic
consideration in this connection, his very position as
Ambassador to England played the main role, since we, that
is, Hitler as well as I, were of the opinion that Herr von
Neurath's relations as Ambassador to the English Government
were very good and that Herr von Neurath could be an
essential factor in this field - that of good relations with
England - which was a basic consideration in the Fuehrer's
foreign policy.

Q. Then I may assume that Herr von Neurath had pursued a
policy of peace and understanding in London?

A. Yes, you can assume just that.

Q. Yes, and can you tell me if, beyond that, Herr von
Neurath made efforts in his capacity as Foreign Minister as
well, to continue this policy of peace and understanding?

A. When Reich President von Hindenburg made it a condition
which I have already mentioned, that Herr von Neurath must
become Foreign Minister, the Fuehrer was in full agreement
with this condition, because he saw that the task

                                                  [Page 172]

of establishing good relations with England and the West was
in good hands. Herr von Neurath always made every effort in
this direction.

Q. I should like to deal with another series of questions.

Were you present at the meeting of the Reich Cabinet on 30th
January, 1937, during which Hitler gave the Golden Party
Emblem to those members of the Cabinet who were not members
of the Party, among them also Herr von Neurath?

A. Yes, I was present.

Q. And do you know that Hitler declared on this occasion
that it was purely  a distinction, such as the conferring of
an Order, and that those gentlemen concerned did not thereby
become Party members and did not have obligations toward the
Party?

A. I would not put it just that way. The Fuehrer was
speaking spontaneously, since it was the anniversary of the
seizure of power, and he said it was his intention in this
way to show his confidence in those members of the Reich
Cabinet who did not belong to the Party. I believe he used
the words, "I should like to ask them to accept this Party
Emblem." He said at the time that in his opinion this was a
decoration and that he intended, as he actually did later,
to develop additional grades of this decoration. The first
grade of this decoration was to be the Golden Party Emblem.
Then, on the spur of the moment, he stepped up to the
various Ministers and handed them this emblem. He neither
emphasised thereby that they were to consider themselves
members of the Party nor did he emphasise that they were not
Party members.

When he came to Herr von Eltz-Ruebenach, this gentleman
asked whether he was thereby obliged to support the anti-
clerical tendency of certain Party circles, or something to
that effect. The Fuehrer hesitated for a minute and said,
"Then you do not wish to accept it?" Whereupon Herr von Eltz
said, "I do not wish to say that. I just wish to make a
certain reservation." The Fuehrer was taken aback;
immediately he turned around and left the Cabinet room.

In this connection it is not correct, as has been
maintained, that Herr von Eltz resigned voluntarily because
of this. I followed the Fuehrer immediately and felt, as did
all the other gentlemen, that this incident was an insult to
the Fuehrer, since membership in the Party had not been
mentioned at all. In addition, and this is very important,
the Fuehrer had already visualised the plan to break up the
Ministry of Transportation and to re-establish the old
Postal Ministry and to put the railway expert, Dorpmuller,
into the Ministry of Transportation. The Fuehrer had told me
this previously and, as he had left it to me to tell von
Eltz this gradually in a diplomatic way, I took this
opportunity and went to Herr von Eltz and told him: "Your
behaviour was impossible and I believe the only thing for
you to do is to resign at this point." He said, "I did not
mean it that way," and he was not willing to hand in his
resignation right away. I then asked him just as abruptly to
do so by that evening. I also sent Secretary Meissner to
tell him that it would be advisable for him to leave the
Cabinet and hand in his resignation immediately, especially
in view of - and then I gave the explanations concerning the
postal authorities and the railways as I have just given
them.

That was what happened at that conference in regard to the
Golden Party Emblem.

Q. Witness, were you present when Hitler, on the evening of
11th March, 1938, told Herr von Neurath in the Reich
Chancellery about the entry of troops into Austria, and
informed him of the reasons for this move, and asked that
the Foreign Ministry be informed accordingly because he
himself had to leave?

A. I already mentioned in my remarks about Austria that
Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop was not present. Since the
Fuehrer had delegated the representation of the Reich to me,
I had asked him to ask Herr von Neurath to put his,

                                                  [Page 173]

experience in foreign affairs at my disposal during this
time. Thereupon Herr von Neurath was asked to come to the
Reich Chancellery that evening, I believe, and the Fuehrer
told him in broad outlines what you have just said. It was
to the effect that, if I needed it and requested it, he was
to advise me on foreign political matters, since the Foreign
Minister was not present and I had no experience in
answering diplomatic notes, and since it was to be expected
that some foreign political matters, such as protests and
notes at least, would come up during the Fuehrer's absence.

Q. Then one is to conclude that Herr von Neurath was not the
deputy of the Foreign Minister but only in his absence was
to serve as sort of adviser to you?

A. He was not the deputy of the Foreign Minister; that would
not at all have been in keeping with his position and his
rank. The deputy of the Foreign Minister was the acting
State Secretary.

Q. Von Weizsaecker?

A. I believe it was Herr von Mackensen at that time. He also
signed current correspondence in the absence of the Foreign
Minister, and Herr von Neurath was only my adviser in such
foreign political matters as were expected to come up in
connection with the Austrian case.

Q. Do you know of the protest which came from the British
Ambassador on 11th March, 1938, which was addressed,
strangely enough, to Herr von Neurath and in which the
British Ambassador protested against the marching in of
German troops?

A. That is not at all so strange, for on the evening of the
marching in of the troops I personally, as I have explained,
spoke to the British Ambassador for two hours and told him
that the Fuehrer was going to Austria the next day, that I
would administer the Reich and had for this purpose
requested Herr von Neurath to be my foreign political
adviser, since Sir Neville Henderson had already hinted that
this would not be tolerated without protests. This
information the British Ambassador had thus already received
from me the evening before. This piece of information
explains the fact that he turned to Herr von Neurath,
inasmuch as I had emphasised to him, "If you come around
with your old notes of protest, I personally cannot do very
much with them."

Q. Did Herr von Neurath, after the Foreign Minister had
formulated the answer to the protest, notify you by
telephone of this answer and did he ask you whether you
would sign this answer as Hitler's deputy?

A. Yes, of course, since I was Deputy Head of State. He had
to inform me of the reply and it is also a matter of course
that I told him, "You sign," for as Deputy Head of State I
could not sign diplomatic notes.

Q. Thank you.

DR. SERVATIUS (counsel for the Leadership Corps of the Nazi
Party):

Q. Witness, how far were the political leaders informed of
the Fuehrer's foreign political intentions beforehand?

A. "Political Leaders" is a very comprehensive concept. It
includes everyone from the Reichsleiter to the Blockleiter
or Zellenleiter. Instruction of the entire body of political
leaders in regard to foreign political matters quite
naturally and understandably never took place, and could not
take place, unless the Fuehrer publicly made known his
general foreign political intentions to the entire nation
either in the Reichstag or over the radio. The higher
officers of the political leaders, for instance the
Reichsleiter or the Gauleiter, were likewise never called
together as a group in order to be informed of political
intentions which the Fuehrer did not want to announce
publicly.

He may personally have mentioned his intentions to one or
other of the political leaders, who at the same time held
another State office, or who was for some other reason in
his confidence. I should first have to think over where

                                                  [Page 174]

that might have been the case. He certainly did not do it to
any unit or sub-unit. In his speeches to the Gauleiters
after the events had taken place, he merely referred to
these things each time in retrospect and explained and
unfolded his political intentions, which he had, however,
already realised by then.

DR. SERVATIUS: I have no further questions.

DR. HORN (counsel for the defendant von Ribbentrop):

Q. Witness, do you know to what extent von Ribbentrop was
informed about military plans and intentions in his capacity
as Foreign Minister?

A. I do not know the exact details. In general the same
principle applies, here too, that only those offices which
were competent, as far as these intentions were concerned,
were kept informed, particularly so in the case of military
intentions. Just how much the Fuehrer told Herr von
Ribbentrop now and again in conversations about his military
plans I did not know.

Q. Is it correct that Hitler set down the guiding principles
for all policies, including the foreign policy?

A. That is a matter of course. Foreign policy above all was
the Fuehrer's very own realm. By that I mean to say that
foreign policy on the one hand, and the leadership of the
Armed Forces on the other hand, enlisted the Fuehrer's
greatest interest and were his main activity.

Q. Should I conclude from that that he was interested in the
details of foreign policy as well?

A. He busied himself exceptionally with these details, as I
have just stated, and with a particularly great interest in
both of these fields.

Q. Did Hitler expressly instruct you to keep secret the
memorandum on Poland of 30th August, 1939?

A. He did not expressly instruct me. I do not know whether
he knew that I had it in my pocket. But, in general, he had
given such instructions since he had instructed the one who
would have had to hand it over, namely Herr von Ribbentrop,
not to hand it over, so that I actually handed over this
memorandum against the express order of the Fuehrer, which
constitutes a risk that probably only I - please do not
misunderstand me - indeed I alone could take and afford.

Q. You mentioned a few days ago the diversified influence
which the various personages had on Hitler. Do you know any
facts from which we might conclude that Ribbentrop also did
not have enough influence on Hitler to change decisions once
made by him.

A. As far as influence on Hitler, on the Fuehrer, is
concerned, that is a problematical subject. I should like
first to confine myself to the question of Herr von
Ribbentrop's influence. Herr von Ribbentrop definitely had
no influence in the sense that he could have steered Hitler
in any one direction. To what extent arguments of an
objective nature may perhaps have definitely influenced the
Fuehrer sometimes to do this or that in respect of foreign
political matters, or to refrain from doing it or to change
it, would have depended entirely on the strength of the
arguments and the facts. To what extent that may sometimes
have played a role I cannot say, for I was not present at 99
per cent. of the Fuehrer's conferences with Herr von
Ribbentrop. But Herr von Ribbentrop had at no time such
influence that he could have said, "Do this" or "Do not do
it, I consider this a mistake," when the Fuehrer was
convinced of the correctness of any matter.

Q. Do you know any facts or observations which might point
to the existence of a conspiracy in the highest circles of
the Government?

A. "Conspiracy" may be variously interpreted. Conspiracies
naturally never took place in the sense that men secretly
came together and discussed extensive plans in darkness and
seclusion. As to conspiracy in the sense that the Fuehrer
had comprehensive conferences, and as a result of these
conferences

                                                  [Page 175]

decided upon joint undertakings, one can only talk of
conspiracy here to the extent - and I beg of you again not
to misunderstand me - that this took place between the
Fuehrer and me until, say, 1941. There was no one who could
even approach working as closely with the Fuehrer and who
was as essentially familiar with his thoughts and who had
the same influence as I. Therefore at best only the Fuehrer
and I could have conspired. There is definitely no question
of the others.

Q. American war propaganda consistently spoke of Germany's
aggressive intentions toward the Western Hemisphere. What do
you know about this?

A. The Western Hemisphere? Do you mean America?

Q. Yes.

A. Even if Germany had completely dominated the nations of
Europe, between Germany and the American continent there
are, as far as I still recall from my geographic knowledge,
about 6,000 kilometres of water, I believe. In view of the
smallness of the German fleet and the regrettable lack of
bombers to cover this distance, which I already mentioned,
there was never any question of a threat against the
American continent; on the contrary, we were always afraid
of that danger in reverse, and we would have been very glad
if it had not been necessary to consider this at all.

As far as South America is concerned, I know that we were
always accused, by propaganda at least, of economic
penetration and attempted domination there. If one considers
the financial and commercial possibilities which Germany had
before and during the war, and if one compares them with
those of Great Britain or America, one can see the
untenability of such a statement. With the very little
foreign exchange and the tremendous export difficulties
which we had, we could never constitute a real danger or be
in competition. If that had been the case, the attitude of
the South American countries would presumably have been a
different one. Not the mark, but only the dollar ruled
there.

DR. HORN: Thank you.


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