The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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(2) The Secret Cabinet Council. Proof that there was only an
artificial distinction between the ordinary cabinet, the
Secret Cabinet Council, and the Council of Ministers for the
Defense of the Reich, is shown by the unity of personnel
among the three subdivisions. Thus, on 4 February 1938,
Hitler created the Secret Cabinet Council (2031-PS):

     "To advise me in conducting the foreign policy I am
     setting up a secret cabinet council.
     "As president of the secret cabinet council, I
     nominate: Reichsminister Freiherr von Neurath
     "As members of the secret cabinet council I nominate:
     Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs, Joachim von
     Prussian Prime Minister, Reichsminister of the Air,
     Supreme Commander of the Air Forces, General Field
     Marshall Hermann Goering
     The Fuehrers Deputy, Reichsminister Rudolf Hess

                                                   [Page 96]
     Reichsminister for the Enlightenment of the people and
     of Propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels
     Reichsminister and Chief of the Reichs Chancellery Dr.
     Hans-Heinrich Lammers
     The Supreme Commander of the Army, General Walther von
     The Supreme Commander of the Navy, Grand Admiral Dr.
     (honorary) Erich Raeder
     The Chief of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces Lt
     Gen Wilhelm Keitel." (2031-PS)
It will be noted that every member of this group was either
a Reichsminister or, as, in the case of the Army, Navy, and
OKW heads, had the rank and authority of a Reich Minister.

(3) The Council of Ministers for the Defense of the Reich.
On 30 August 1939 Hitler established the Council of
Ministers for the Defense of the Reich better known as the
Ministerial Council). This was the so-called war cabinet.
The decree establishing this Council provided (2018-PS):

                         "Article I

     "(1) A Ministerial Council for Reich Defense shall be
     established as a standing committee out of the Reich
     Defense Council.
     "(2) The standing members of the Ministerial Council
     for Reich Defense shall include: General Field Marshall
     Goering as chairman; Fuehrer's Deputy [Hess];
     Commissioner General (or Plenipotentiary) for Reich
     Administration [Frick]; Commissioner General (or
     Plenipotentiary) for Economy [Funk]; Reich Minister and
     Chief of the Reich Chancellery [Dr. Lammers]; Chief of
     the High Command for the Armed Forces [Keitel].

     "(3) The chairman may draw on other members of the
     Reich Defense Council including further personalities
     for advice." (2018-PS)

Again, all members of this group were also members of the
ordinary Cabinet.

The Reich Defense Council, for secret war planning, was
created by the Cabinet on 4 April 1933 (cf. the unpublished
Reich Defense Law of 21 May 1935 (2261-PS) ). The membership
of that Council when first created is shown by the minutes
of the second session of the working committee of the
delegates for Reich Defense, dated 22 May 1933 and signed by
Keitel (EC-177):

                                                   [Page 97]
         "Composition of the Reich Defense Council:
     President: Reichs Chancellor
     Deputy: Reichswehr Minister
     Permanent Members: Minister of the:
          Foreign Affairs
          Interior Finance
          Economic Affairs
          Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
          Chief of the Army Command Staff
          Chief of the Navy Command Staff
     "Depending on the case: The remaining ministers, other
     personalities, e.g., leading industrialists, etc." (EC-177)

All but the Chiefs of the Army and Navy Command Staff were
at that time members of the ordinary cabinet.

The composition of this Reich Defense Council was changed by
an unpublished law on 4 September 1938, which provided as
follows (2194-PS):

     "*** (2) The leader and Reich Chancellor is chairman in
     the RVR. His permanent deputy is General Field Marshall
     Goering. He has the right to call conferences of the
     RVR. Permanent members of the RVR are
     "The Reich Minister of Air and Supreme Commander of the
     Air Force,
     The Supreme Commander of the Army,
     The Supreme Commander of the Navy,
     The Chief of the OKW,
     The Deputy of the Fuehrer,
     The Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich Chancellery,
     The President of the Secret Cabinet Council,
     The Chief Plenipotentiary for the Reich Administration,
     The Chief Plenipotentiary for Economics,
     The Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs,
     The Reich Minister of the Interior,
     The Reich Finance Minister,
     The Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda,
     The President of the Reichsbank Directorate.
     The other Reich Ministers and the Reich offices
     directly subordinate to the Fuehrer and Reich
     Chancellor are consulted
                                                   [Page 98]
     if necessary. Further personalities can be called as
     the case demands." (2194-PS)

On that date all the members also belonged to the ordinary
cabinet, for by that time the supreme commanders of the Army
and Navy had been given ministerial rank and authorized to
participate in cabinet meetings (2098-PS). It is also worth
noting that two members of the Reich Defense Council also
appear in the Ministerial Council under the same title --
The Plenipotentiary for Administration, and the
Plenipotentiary for Economy. The former post was held by
Frick, while the latter was first held by Schacht and then
by Funk. These facts are verified by Frick on the Nazi
governmental organization chart (Chart Number 18). Many
other ministries were subordinated to these two posts for
war-planning aims and purposes. These two officials,
together with the Chief of the OKW, formed a powerful
triumvirate known as the "Three-Man College" (Frick, Funk,
and Keitel) which figured prominently in war plans and

B. Functions of the Reichsregierung.

The utilization of the ordinary cabinet as a manpower
reservoir for other governmental agencies, the chronological
development of the offshoots of the ordinary cabinet, and
the cohesion between all of these groups, is apparent from
the Nazi governmental organization chart (Chart Number 18).
The chart shows the following offshoots of the ordinary
cabinet: 1933, the Reich Defense Council; 1935, the Three-
Man College; 1936, the Delegate for the Four Year Plan;
1938, the Secret Cabinet Council; 1939, The Ministerial
Defense Council; and 1944, the Delegate for Total War Effort
(Goebbels). In every case these important Nazi agencies were
staffed with personnel taken from the ordinary cabinet.

(1) The Ordinary Cabinet. The unity, cohesion, and
interrelationship of the sub-divisions of the
Reichsregierung was not the result of a co-mixture of
personnel alone. It was also realized by the method in which
it operated. The ordinary cabinet consulted together both by
meetings and through the so-called circulation procedure.
Under the latter procedure, which was chiefly used when
meetings were not held, drafts of laws prepared in
individual ministries were distributed to other cabinet
members for approval or disapproval.

The man primarily responsible for the circulation of drafts
of laws under this procedure was Dr. Lammers, the Leader and

                                                   [Page 99]
Of the Reich Chancellery. Lammers has described that
procedure in an affidavit (2999-PS):

     "*** I was Leader of the Reich Chancellery (Leiter der
     Reichskanzlei) from 30 January 1935 until the end of
     the war. In this capacity I circulated drafts of
     proposed law and decrees submitted to me by the
     Minister who had drafted the law or decree, to all
     members of the Reich Cabinet. A period of time was
     allowed for objections, after which the law considered
     as being accepted by the various members of the
     Cabinet. This procedure continued throughout the whole
     war. It was followed also in the Council of Ministers
     for Defense of the Reich (Ministerrat fuer die
     Reichsverteidigung)." (2999-PS)

A memorandum dated 9 August 1943, which bears the facsimile
signature of Frick and is addressed to the Reich Minister
and Chief of the Reich Chancellery, illustrates how the
circulation procedure worked (1701-PS). Attached to the
memorandum is a draft of the law in question and a carbon
copy of a letter dated 22 December 1943 from Rosenberg to
the Reich Minister of the Interior, containing his comments
on the draft:

     "To the Reich Minister and Chief of the Reich
                        in Berlin W8.
     "For the information of the other Reich ministers.
     "Subj: Law on the treatment of enemies of the society.
     "In addition to my letter of 19 March 1942.
     "Enclosures: 55--.
     "After the draft of the law on the treatment of enemies
     of the society has been completely rewritten, I am
     sending the enclosed new draft with the consent of the
     Reich Minister of Justice, Dr. Thierack, and ask that
     the law be approved in a circulatory manner. The
     necessary number of prints is attached." (1701-PS)

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