The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1998/04/17

                                                            [Page 159]
I turn then to give such evidence as I can upon the flight of the
defendant Hess to England on 10th May, 1941.

On that evening he landed in Scotland, within 12 miles of the home of
the Duke of Hamilton, and on landing he at once asked to be taken to
the Duke of Hamilton, whom he wanted to see. He gave a false name and
was shut up, and on the following day, 11th May, 1941, he had an
interview with the Duke of Hamilton, a report of which is set out in
the addendum to the document book, if the Tribunal would now turn to

THE PRESIDENT: Has this been put in evidence yet or not?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: My Lord, I am putting it in evidence.

THE PRESIDENT: Is it properly authenticated?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: It is authenticated, and the
original is certified as being a Government report from the files of
the Foreign Office in London. There are four reports altogether, which
come from the Foreign Office file and which have been certified as
reports from the Foreign Office.

The first one that I would refer to is 116-M, which becomes Exhibit GB
269 and which is a report on the interview that he had with the Duke
of Hamilton on 11th May, 1941. I can summarise most of the contents of
that report by saying that he introduced himself as Hess. He said that
he had met the Duke of Hamilton at the Olympic Games in 1936, and that
his old friend, Haushofer,

                                                            [Page 160]
under whom he studied at Munich University after the last war, had
suggested that he, Hess, should make contact with the Duke of

He said that in order to do so he had already tried to fly on three
occasions, the first time being in December, 1940, the previous year.
The reasons he then gave for his visit will be found on the second
page of that document. I quote from the end of the fourth line.

I beg your pardon. Perhaps I really ought to say before that, he said
that he had stated earlier in the interview that Germany was prepared
for peace with England; she was certain to win the war; and he himself
wag anxious to stop the unnecessary slaughter that would otherwise
inevitably take place:

     "He asked me if I could get together leading members of my Party
     to talk over things with a view to making peace proposals. I
     replied that there was now only one Party in this country. He
     then said he could tell me what Hitler's peace terms would be:
     First, he would insist on an arrangement whereby our two
     countries would never go to war again. I questioned him as to how
     that arrangement could be brought about, and he replied that one
     of the conditions, of course, is that Britain would give up her
     traditional policy of always opposing the strongest Power in
I think I need really read no more of that document, because he
enlarges upon those proposals in the subsequent interviews that he had
on the 13th, 14th and 15th of May, with Mr. Kirkpatrick of the Foreign

I turn to 117-M, Exhibit GB 270, which is another official report, of
the interview with Mr. Kirkpatrick on 13th May. Again I can summarise
practically all of it.

     He started off by explaining the chain of circumstances which led
     up to the present situation, which really involved a history of
     Europe from the end of the last war up to that time. He dealt
     with Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, saying in each case
     that Germany was justified and it was all the fault of England
     and France that they had had ever been involved in war. He blamed
     England entirely for starting the war. He did say -- and I quote
     one line which is of interest, dealing with Munich -- he said
     "The intervention of Mr. Chamberlain ----"
THE PRESIDENT(interposing): Where are you reading?

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I am reading from the fifth
paragraph, my Lord. It starts off:

     "The Czechoslovakian crisis was caused by the French
     determination, expressed by the French Air Ministry, to make
     Czechoslovakia an air base against Germany. It was Hitler's duty
     to obviate this plot. The intervention of Mr. Chamberlain and the
     Munich conference had been a source of great relief to Hitler."
One may remember having heard somewhere in the course of this case of
Hitler saying that he had of course no intention of abiding by that
agreement at all, that that would never do.

I go on with that document. He then says that Germany must win the
war. He says that the bombing of England had only just started, and
started only with the greatest reluctance. As he puts it at the top of
Page 2, the German production of U-boats was enormous. They had
enormous raw material resources in occupied territory, and the
confidence in Hitler and in final victory in Germany was complete; and
that there was no kind of hope for any revolution among the German

He gave his reasons for his flight, his personal reasons again, that
as horrified at the prospect of a long war. England could not win, and
therefore she had better make peace now. He said the Fuehrer
entertained no designs against England. He had no idea of world
domination, and he would greatly regret the collapse of the British

                                                            [Page 161]
I quote from the last three lines of the large paragraph in the centre
of the page:

     "At this point Hess tried to make my flesh creep by emphasising
     that the avaricious Americans had fell designs upon the Empire.
     Canada would certainly be incorporated into the United States.
     Reverting to Hitler's attitude, he said that only as recently as
     3rd May, after his Reichstag speech, Hitler had declared to him
     that he had no oppressive demands to make of England.
     The solution which Herr Hess proposed was that England should
     give Germany a free hand in Europe, and Germany would give
     England a completely free hand in the Empire, with the sole
     reservation that we should return Germany's ex-colonies, which
     she required as a source of raw materials. I asked, in order to
     draw him on the subject of Hitler's attitude to Russia, whether
     he included Russia in Europe or in Asia. He replied, 'In Asia'. I
     then retorted that under the terms of his proposal, since Germany
     would only have a free hand in Europe, she would not be at
     liberty to attack Russia. Herr Hess reacted quickly by remarking
     that Germany had certain demands to make of Russia which would
     have to be satisfied either by negotiation or as the result of a
     war. He added, however, that there was no foundation for the
     rumors now being spread that Hitler was contemplating an early
     attack on Russia.
     I then asked about Italian aims and he said that he did not know.
     I replied that it was a matter of some importance. He brushed
     this aside and said that he was sure that Italy's claims would
     not be excessive. I suggested that Italy scarcely deserved
     anything, but he begged to differ. Italy had rendered
     considerable services to Germany, and, besides England had
     compensated defeated nations like Roumania after the last war.
     Finally, as we were leaving the room, Herr Hess delivered a
     parting shot. He had forgotten, he declared, to emphasise that
     the proposal could only be considered on the understanding that
     it was negotiated by Germany with an English Government other
     than the present British Government. Mr. Churchill, who had
     planned the war since 1936, and his colleagues, who had lent
     themselves to his war policy, were not persons with whom the
     Fuehrer could negotiate."

My Lord, presumably when he came over he was not attempting to be
funny. One can only conclude from these reports that at that time the
people in Germany, and the German Government, really had no kind of
idea of what the conditions in England were like at all. Throughout it
appears that this man thought England was ruled by Churchill and a
small war-mongering gang. It only needed him to come over and make a
peace proposal for Churchill to be turned out in the course of two or
three days.

I go on, then, to the next document, My Lord. I am afraid that it is
now half-past five. I have only the other reports and one further
document to refer to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you had better go on. We will finish to-night.

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GRIFFITH-JONES: I am sorry it has taken so long. I
go on to the next interview of 14th May, which is 118-M and becomes
Exhibit GB 271.

He started off that interview by making certain complaints about his
treatment, asking for a number of things, including "Three Men in a
Boat," the book which perhaps is one of the few signs that any of
these defendants have shown any kind of culture or normal feelings at

He described his flight to England, and then I quote from the third

     "He then passed to political questions. He said that, on
     reflection, he had omitted to explain that there were two further
     conditions attached to his peace proposals. First: Germany could
     not leave Iraq in the lurch.
                                                            [Page 162]
     The Iraquis had fought for Germany and Germany would, therefore,
     have to require us to evacuate Iraq. I observed that this was
     going considerably beyond the original proposal that German
     interests should be confined to Europe, but he retorted that,
     taken as a whole, his proposals were more than fair. The second
     condition was that the peace agreement should contain a provision
     for the reciprocal indemnification of British and German
     nationals whose property had been expropriated as the result of
     Herr Hess concluded by saying that he wished to impress on us
     that Germany must win the war by blockade. We had no conception
     of the number of submarines now being built in Germany. Hitler
     always did things on a grand scale, and devastating submarine
     war, supported by new types of aircraft, would very shortly
     succeed in establishing a completely effective blockade of
     England. It was fruitless for anyone here to imagine that England
     could capitulate and that the war could be waged from the Empire.
     It was Hitler's intention, in such an eventuality, to continue
     the blockade of England, even though the island had capitulated,
     so that we would have to face the deliberate starvation of the
     population of these islands."

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