The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The next document, which is D-656, is a new document which I
put in as Exhibit GB 148. That was captured from the
Japanese, and it is a message, intercepted, which was sent
by the Japanese Ambassador in Berlin just before the attack
on the United States. If I might just read one short extract
from this defendant's speech - on the 29th November, 1941,
that is, roughly, a week before Pearl Harbour, Ribbentrop
was saying this. It is in paragraph 1, and I will read it
all because it is new:

   "Ribbentrop opened our meeting by again inquiring
   whether I had received any reports regarding the
   Japanese-United States negotiations. I replied that I
   had received no official word.
   Ribbentrop: 'It is essential that Japan effect the New
   Order in East Asia without losing this opportunity.
   There never has been and probably never will be a time
   when closer co-operation under the Tripartite Pact is so
   important. If Japan hesitates at this time and Germany
   goes ahead and establishes her European New Order, all
   the military might of Britain and the United States will
   be concentrated against Japan.
   As the Fuehrer said to-day, there are fundamental
   differences between Germany and Japan, and the United
   States, as to their very right to exist. We have
   received advice to the effect that there is practically
   no hope of the Japanese-United States negotiations being
   concluded successfully, because of the fact that the
   United States is putting up a stiff front.
   If this is indeed the fact of the case, and if Japan
   reaches a decision to fight Britain and the United
   States, I am confident that that will not only be to the
   interest of Germany and Japan jointly, but would bring
   about favourable results for Japan herself.'
   Then the Ambassador replied:
   'I can make no definite statement, as I am not aware of
   any concrete intentions of Japan. Is Your Excellency
   indicating that a state of actual war is to be
   established between Germany and the United States?'
   The defendant Ribbentrop: 'Roosevelt is a fanatic, so it
   is impossible to tell what he would do.'
   Then: 'Concerning this point, in view of the fact that
   Ribbentrop has said in the past that the United States
   would undoubtedly try to avoid meeting German troops,
   and from the tone of Hitler's recent speech, as well

                                                   [Page 96]

   as that of Ribbentrop's, I feel that the German attitude
   toward the United States is being considerably
   stiffened. There are indications at present that Germany
   would not refuse to fight the United States if

Then the next part, Section 2, is an extremely optimistic
prognosis of the war against the Soviet Union. I do not
think, in view of the date in which we are reading it, that
I need trouble the Tribunal with that.

There are then a few remarks about the intended landing
operations against England, which I shall not read at this

If the Tribunal would go to Part III, there again we get the
international attitude of mind of this defendant - at the
foot of Page 2, Part III, and I am quoting:

   "In any event, Germany has absolutely no intention of
   entering into any peace with England. We are determined
   to remove all British influence from Europe. Therefore,
   at the end of this war, England will have no influence
   whatsoever in international affairs. The Island Empire
   of Britain may remain, but all of her other possessions
   throughout the world will probably be divided three ways
   by Germany, the United States and Japan. In Africa,
   Germany will be satisfied with, roughly, those parts
   which were formerly German colonies. Italy will be given
   the greater share of the African colonies. Germany
   desires, above all else, to control European Russia."

And, after hearing this defendant, the Ambassador said, and
I quote:

   "I am fully aware of the fact that Germany's war
   campaign is progressing according to schedule, smoothly.
   However, suppose that Germany is faced with the
   situation of having not only Great Britain as an actual
   enemy, but also having all of those areas in which
   Britain has influence and those countries which have
   been aiding Britain as actual enemies as well. Under
   such circumstances, the war area will undergo
   considerable expansion, of course. What is your opinion
   of the outcome of the war under such an eventuality?"

The defendant Ribbentrop:

   "We would like to end this war during next year" - that
   is, 1942. "However, under certain circumstances, it is
   possible that it will have to be continued on the
   following year. Should Japan become engaged in a war
   against the United States" -

THE PRESIDENT: You are going a little bit too fast.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases. I am
sorry. I will go back to the paragraph I have just finished.

The defendant Ribbentrop - and I am still quoting:

   "We would like to end this war during next year.
   However, under certain circumstances it is possible that
   it will have to be continued into the following year.
   Should Japan become engaged in a war against the United
   States, Germany, of course, would join the war
   immediately. There is absolutely no possibility of
   Germany's entering into a separate peace with the United
   States under such circumstances. The Fuehrer is
   determined on that point."

That document associates this defendant in the closest
possible way with the aggression by Japan against the United

Another new document, which is also an intercepted Japanese
diplomatic message, is the next one, D-657, which I put in
as Exhibit GB 149. If I might read the first two sentences,
they show what it is - and I quote:

   "The Japanese Ambassador says: 'At 1 p.m. to-day - the
   8th December - I called on Foreign Minister Ribbentrop
   and told him our wish was to have Germany and Italy
   issue formal declarations of war on America

                                                   [Page 97]
   at once. Ribbentrop replied that Hitler was then in the
   midst of a conference at general headquarters,
   discussing how the formalities of declaring war could be
   carried out so as to make a good impression on the
   German people, and that he would transmit your wish to
   him at once and do whatever he was able to have it
   carried out promptly. At that time Ribbentrop told me
   that on the morning of the 8th' - that is, before the
   declaration of war - 'Hitler issued orders to the entire
   German Navy to attack American ships whenever and
   wherever they might meet them.'
   It goes without saying that this is only for your secret

Then, as a matter of fact, as the Tribunal are aware, on the
11th December, 1941, the defendant Ribbentrop, in the name
of the German Government, announced a state of war between
Germany and the United States.

The next stage concerns his attempt to get Japan to attack
the Soviet Union.

In Ribbentrop's conversations with Oshima, the Japanese
Ambassador, in July, 1942, and in March and April, 1943, he
continued to urge Japanese participation and aggression
against the Soviet Union. This is shown in Document 2911-PS,
which has been put in as Exhibit USA 157 and already read,
and Document 2954-PS, which I now put in as Exhibit GB 150.
That is a new document, and if I may I will just indicate
the effect of it by a very short quotation. This is a
discussion between the defendant Ribbentrop and Ambassador
Oshima. It begins:

   "Ambassador Oshima declared that he has received a
   telegram from Tokyo, and he is to report, by order of
   his Government, to the Reich Minister for Foreign
   Affairs the following:
   The suggestion of the German Government to attack Russia
   was the subject of a common conference between the
   Japanese Government and the Imperial Headquarters,
   during which the question was discussed in detail and
   investigated exactly. The result is the following: The
   Japanese Government recognises absolutely the danger
   which threatens from Russia and completely understands
   the desire of its German ally that Japan on her part
   will also enter the war against Russia. However, it is
   not possible for the Japanese Government, considering
   the present war situation, to enter into the war. It is
   rather of the conviction that it would be in the common
   interest not to start the war against Russia now. On the
   other hand, the Japanese Government would never
   disregard the Russian question."

And then, in the middle of the next paragraph, this
defendant returns to the attack. The third sentence - it
begins on the fourth line - says:

   "However, it would be more correct that all the powers,
   allied in the Three Power Pact, should combine their
   forces to defeat England and America, but also, Russia
   together. It is not good when one part must fight

Then the pressure on Japan to attack Russia is shown again
in the next document, 2929-PS, which was put in as Exhibit
USA 159. And, in closing this part of the case, if I may, I
will read that. It is very short.

   "The Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs then stressed
   again that without any doubt this year presented the
   most favourable opportunity for Japan, if she felt
   strong enough and had sufficient anti-tank weapons at
   her disposal, to attack Russia, who certainly would
   never again be as weak as she is at the moment" - the
   moment being 18th April, 1943.

If the Tribunal please, that concludes my evidence on the
second allegation dealing with aggressive war, and I submit
that the allegation in the Indictment is more than amply

The third allegation is that the defendant Ribbentrop
authorised, directed or participated in War Crimes and
Crimes against Humanity.

Of course, I am considering this from the point of view of
planning these crimes only. The execution of the crimes will
be dealt with by my friends,

                                                   [Page 98]

my Soviet colleagues, but it is relevant to show how this
defendant participated in the planning of such crimes.

I deal, first, with the killing of Allied aviators;
secondly, with the destruction of peoples in Europe; and
thirdly, with the persecution of the Jews.

First, the killing of Allied aviators:

With the increasing air raids on German cities in 1944 by
the Allied Air Forces, the German Government proposed to
undertake a plan to deter Anglo-American fliers from further
raids on the Reich cities. In a report of a meeting at which
a definite policy was to be established, there is stated
what was the point of view that this defendant Ribbentrop
had been urging. That is in Document 735-PS, which I now put
in as Exhibit GB 151. That is a discussion of a meeting at
the Fuehrer's Headquarters on the 6th June, 1944. If I may,
I will read the first paragraph:

   "Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner informed the Deputy
   Chief of W.F.S.T. in Klessheim, on the afternoon of the
   6th June, that a conference on this question had been
   held shortly before between the Reich Marshal, the
   defendant Goering; the Reich Foreign Minister, the
   defendant von Ribbentrop; and the Reichsfuehrer S.S.
   Himmler. Contrary to the original suggestion made by the
   Reich Foreign Minister, who wished to include every type
   of terror attack on the German civilian population, that
   is, also bombing attacks on cities, it was agreed in the
   above conference that only strafing attacks, aimed
   directly at the civilian population and their property,
   should be taken as the standard for the evidence of a
   criminal action in this sense. Lynch law would have to
   be the rule. There was, however, no question of trial by
   court martial or handing over to the police."

That is to say, this defendant was pressing that even where
there was an attack on a German city, the airmen should be
handed over to be lynched by the crowd. The others were
saying that such action should be restricted to cases where
there were attacks by machine guns, and the like, on the
civilian population.

I do not think we need trouble with paragraph (a) of the
statement of the Deputy Chief of W.F.S.T. The importance of
(a) goes because Kaltenbrunner says that there were no such
cases as were mentioned.

If you look at (b):

   "Deputy Chief of the W.F.S.T. mentioned that, apart from
   lynch law, a procedure must be worked out for
   segregating those enemy aviators who are suspected of
   criminal action of this kind, until they are received
   into the reception camp for aviators at Oberursel; if
   the suspicion were confirmed, they would be handed over
   to the S.D. for special treatment."

As I understand that, it means that if they were not lynched
under the first scheme, by the crowd, then they were to be
kept apart from prisoners of war, where they would, of
course, be subject to the Protecting Powers' intervention.
And if the suspicion were confirmed, they would be handed
over to the S.D. to be killed.

Then, in paragraph 3, we have what was decided as justifying
the lynch law. Paragraph 3 says:

   "At a conference with Colonel von Brauchitsch,
   representing the C.-in-C., Air Force, on the 6th June,
   it was settled that the following actions were to be
   regarded as terror actions justifying lynch law:
   Low-level attacks with machine-guns on the civilian
   population, single persons as well as crowds.
   Shooting our own men in the air who had baled out.
   Attacks with aircraft armament on passenger trains in
   the public service.
                                                   [Page 99]
   Attacks with machine-guns on military hospitals,
   hospitals, and hospital trains, which are clearly marked
   with the Red Cross."

These were to be the subject of lynching and not, as this
defendant had suggested, cases where there was merely the
bombing of a city.

Then on the next page, the last page of this document, We
have a somewhat curious comment from the defendant Keitel:

   "Remarks by the Chief of the O.K.W. on the agenda dated
   6th June, 1944."

The number thereon is that of the document at which the
Tribunal has just been looking.

   "Most secret; Staff Officers only.
   If one allows the people to carry out lynch law, it is
   difficult to enforce rules.
   Ministerial direktor Berndt got out and shot the enemy
   aviator on the road. I am against legal procedure. It
   does not work out."

That is signed by Keitel.

Then the remarks of the defendant Jodl appear:

   "This conference is insufficient. The following points
   must be decided quite definitely in conjunction with the
   Foreign Office:
   1. What do we consider as murder?
     Is R.R. in agreement with point 3 (b)?
   2. How should the procedure be carried out?
     (a) By the people?
     (b) By the authorities?
   3. How can we guarantee that the procedure be not also
   carried out against other enemy aviators?
   4. Should some legal procedure be arranged or not?
   Signed Jodl."

It is important, I respectfully submit, to note that this
defendant and the Foreign Office were fully aware of these
breaches of the laws and usages of war, and indeed the
clarity with which the Foreign Office perceives that there
were breaches of laws and usages of war is furthered by the
next document-728-PS, which I now put in as Exhibit GB 152.
That is a document from the Foreign Office, approved of by
the defendant Ribbentrop and transmitted by one of his
officials called Ritter; and the fact that it is approved by
this defendant is specifically stated in the next document,
740-PS, which I put in as Exhibit GB 153. I do not think
this document has been read before, and therefore, again, I
would like to read just one or two passages in it. It

   "In spite of the obvious objections, based on
   International Law and foreign politics, the Foreign
   Office is basically in agreement with the proposed
   In the examination of the individual cases, a
   distinction must be made between the cases of lynching
   and the cases of special treatment by the Security
   Service (S.D.).

   1. In the cases of lynching, the precise establishment
   of the circumstances deserving punishment, according to
   points 1-4 of the communication of 15th June, is not
   very essential. First, the German authorities are not
   directly responsible, since death will have occurred
   before a German official became concerned with the case.
   Furthermore, the accompanying circumstances will be such
   that it will not be difficult to depict the case in an
   appropriate manner upon publication. Hence, in cases of
   lynching, it will be of primary importance correctly to
   handle the individual cases upon publication.
                                                  [Page 100]
   2. The suggested procedure for special treatment by the
   S.D. (Security Service), including subsequent
   publication, would be tenable only if Germany, on this
   occasion, would openly at the time repudiate the
   commitments of International Law, presently in force,
   and still recognised by Germany. When an enemy aviator
   is seized by the Army or by the Police, and is delivered
   to the Air Forces (P.W.) Reception Camp, Oberursel, he
   has received, by this very fact, the legal status of a
   prisoner of war.
   The Prisoner of War Agreement of 27th July, 1929,
   establishes definite rules on the prosecution and
   sentencing of prisoners of war, and the execution of the
   death penalty, as for example in Article 66: Death
   sentences may be carried out only three months after the
   Protective Power has been notified of the sentence; in
   Article 63: A prisoner of war will be tried only by the
   same courts and under the same procedure as members of
   the German armed forces. These rules are so specific
   that it would be futile to try to cover up any violation
   of them by clever wording of the publication of an
   individual incident. On the other hand, the Foreign
   Office cannot recommend, on this occasion, a formal
   repudiation of the Prisoner of War Agreement.
   An emergency solution would be to prevent suspected
   fliers from ever attaining a legal prisoner of war
   status; that is, that immediately upon seizure they be
   told that they are not considered prisoners of war, but
   criminals, that they would not be turned over to the
   agencies having jurisdiction over prisoners of war;
   that, therefore, they would not go to a prisoner of war
   camp; but that they would be tried in a summary
   procedure. If the evidence at the trial should reveal
   that the special procedure is not applicable to a
   particular case, the fliers concerned may subsequently
   be given the status of prisoner of war by transfer to
   the Air Forces (P.W.) Reception Camp, Oberursel.
   Naturally, not even this expedient will prevent the
   possibility of Germany being accused of the violation of
   existing treaties or even the adoption of reprisals upon
   German prisoners of war. At any rate, this solution
   would enable us clearly to define our attitude, thus
   relieving us of the necessity of openly having to
   renounce the present agreements or of the need of having
   to use excuses, which no one would believe, upon the
   publication of each individual case."

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