The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: imt/tgmwc//tgmwc-07/tgmwc-07-67.02

Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-07/tgmwc-07-67.02
Last-Modified: 1999/11/20

                                                  [Page 277]

DR. HORN: The next witness is Ambassador Dr. Paul Schmidt,
interpreter at the Foreign Office in Berlin, at this time
probably at Oberursel in the interrogation camp.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal, with
regard to the next two witnesses, who are grouped together
in the application, they are desired to give evidence of the
fact that this defendant asked Hitler five or six times for
permission to resign. Again I make the point, which I have
made several times to the Tribunal, that if these witnesses
can give evidence from the Hitler side of these offers, then
there would be no objection.

If they merely give evidence of the fact that von Ribbentrop
told them that he had offered to resign, that does not, in
the submission of the prosecution, take it any further. But
it may well be that there are letters which went to Hitler
which these gentlemen saw; and if that is the purpose of
their evidence, then the prosecution feels that it might be
relevant, certainly on the question of sentence, if not,
then it would reserve all rights to say whether the evidence
affected the question of guilt or innocence in view of the
provisions of the Charter.

I therefore suggest that the reasonable course would be for
both these gentlemen to make affidavits of their means of
knowledge, and that would deal with the point which I have
put to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you suggest a preliminary affidavit rather
than interrogatories? Would not interrogatories be wiser?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I would agree, my Lord,
interrogatories which would cover that point - means of
knowledge - would be the better method.

I do not think, if I may put it that way, that it would be
worth while making two bites at the cherry, if I may use a

DR. HORN: We can discuss the next two witnesses at the same
time. I believe I can say that Sir David will raise the same
points against them as he did against the other witnesses.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I should have thought, my Lord, that
my friend and I could agree that they stand or fall with the
Tribunal's decision on Admiral Schuster.

DR. HORN: I would like to forego the calling of these two
witnesses, provided the Court will grant me Admiral

The next witness is the former Chief of the Protocol at the
Foreign Office, Dornberg, at present most probably interned
at Augsburg.SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Again, with great
respect, in my submission Herr Dornberg's views on the
veracity of Count Ciano are not relevant. If we begin
calling witnesses to express their views as to the veracity
or other characteristics of the statesmen of Europe, the
Tribunal would embark on a course that might well take a
very long time, and would not lead to any great results, and
I respectfully submit that this is not a class of testimony
or a ground of testimony which the Tribunal should

DR. HORN: Mr. President, with reference to this matter I can
say that Ciano himself, in his diary which has now been made
accessible to us, produces this proof - at least as to the
decisive point - which Mr. Dornberg is able to bring, and we
shall submit it to the Court at the proper time and - I
believe I can say - in a conclusive form.

The second point of Dornberg's statement deals with the
matter of a decoration. The Soviet prosecution has accused
Ribbentrop of bartering Siebenburgen for a high Roumanian
order. For this reason I would like permission to question
Dornberg about this point either here or in the form of an


DR. HORN: Next I name Ambassador Schnurre, chief of the
Trade Policy Department of the Foreign Office, present
whereabouts unknown, presumably in custody in the British

                                                  [Page 278]

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: With great respect, my Lords, the
prosecution again say that there is no need for a witness to
be called to give information that his political chief
intended to keep a treaty which he signed. The very grounds
that are given for the application seem to me to show that
this is really a matter of comment and argument, and we
submit that a witness on this point is both irrelevant and

DR. HORN: I ask the Tribunal to grant me this witness,
because the mere fact that the witness can testify about the
sincerity or insincerity or the intentions of his chief is
not so important for me as the fact that, having been
present at the negotiations and preliminaries, and having
discussed with other important persons the background of
this treaty, he can testify with regard to an important
point of the Indictment.THE PRESIDENT: May I ask you again,
with reference to the relevance of this evidence: suppose it
were true that in August, 1939, the German authorities
intended to keep the treaty which was made with Russia, that
depended or might have depended upon whether England
supported Poland in the war which Germany was about to begin
with Poland - and it may very well be that the German
authorities intended to keep the treaty with Russia in order
to keep Russia out of the war with Poland and England - how,
then would the intention of Ribbentrop at that time be
relevant?DR. HORN: Mr. President, for determining the
criminality in this case in order to establish guilt, it is
material to know the extent to which the defendant
Ribbentrop as a human being strove to keep the treaty; and
how far he may have been compelled, by political necessity
and other forces, to witness that a treaty was not kept in
the spirit in which it was originally signed, is a different

THE PRESIDENT: You can pass on.

DR. HORN: Ambassador Ritter of the Foreign Office, a liaison
officer with the O.K.W.; now most probably in the internment
camp at Augsburg.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The application for Ambassador
Ritter falls into two parts: One raises the point which we
have just been discussing with regard to the Russo-German
treaty of 23rd August, 1939, and I have indicated the view
of the prosecution on that. The second deals with the
defendant's attitude with regard to the treatment of Allied
airmen. The position at the moment is that I put in one
document which was prepared by Ambassador Ritter, and
another document in which Ambassador Ritter said that the
defendant Ribbentrop had approved the memorandum from the
German Foreign Office dealing with the proposals for
lynching aviators and handing them over to the S.D. before
they could become prisoners of war and entitled to the
rights under the Convention.

If it is desired to say that Ambassador Ritter was wrong in
stating that Ribbentrop had approved the memorandum, then,
of course, it would be a relevant point. But at the moment
these documents are in, and I am not quite clear from this
for what purpose my friend wishes him to be called on the
second point. If there is any further purpose, then perhaps
Dr. Horn will indicate it.

DR. HORN: Sir David has just stated the reason why I have
requested the witness. The witness is able to and will
testify that von Ribbentrop was opposed to special treatment
of terror flyers - at least for acts covered by the Geneva
Convention - without previous notification to the Signatory
Powers of that Convention.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. Horn says that he wants to call
Ambassador Ritter to contradict the two documents prepared
by Ambassador Ritter, which are already in evidence. To that
I cannot make any objection; it is obviously a relevant
point, if he is going to contradict his own document.

                                                  [Page 279]

THE PRESIDENT: Would it be acceptable to Dr. Horn to have
interrogatories administered to Ambassador Ritter, or would
the prosecution prefer that he should be called if he is to
give evidence of any sort.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If he gives evidence, the
prosecution would prefer that he should be called, because
this is our position - there are two documents in, prepared
by this gentleman, and if he is going to contradict them,
then I suggest he should come and do it in person.

DR. HORN: I leave it to the prosecution.


DR. HORN: The next witness is the former German Ambassador
in Oslo, von Grundherr, at present presumably in Allied

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Again, I do not want to go into
detail. The position is that there is a document before the
Court signed by the defendant Rosenberg in which he says
that 10,000 pounds sterling a month were given to Quisling
through an arrangement with this gentleman. If. Dr. Horn
wishes to call Herr von Grundherr to contradict the
statement of the defendant Rosenberg, again I suppose the
prosecution cannot make any objection.


DR. HORN: Regarding the witnesses whom I have listed under
numbers 30 to 34, I can limit my statement to the fact that
I want to call them to testify that Ribbentrop, from 1933 to
1939, earnestly and constantly endeavoured to bring about
close relations with France.

The witnesses, above all Mr. Daladier, former Prime Minister
of France, can give substantive detailed evidence about
these efforts. If the Court should decide that these
witnesses, or some of them, could give the testimony in the
form of affidavits, I will submit relevant questions to the

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: In the submission of the
prosecution, the grounds stated for calling these witnesses
are too vague and general to justify their being called
before Court.

When two countries are at peace, the fact that a foreign
minister or an ambassador has made statements saying that he
hopes the good relations between the two countries will
continue, or words to that effect, does not really take us
any further; and it would, in the submission of the
prosecution, be a waste of time for witnesses to be called
for such a purpose.

Apart from that, the first four witnesses, the Marquis and
Marquise De Polignac, and Count and Countess Jean de
Castellane, as far as the prosecution know, have not been in
any official position; and there is, therefore, the
additional objection that calling people who may be the most
admirable people, but are in the position of personal
friends, to talk as to what really was their point of view
of the state of mind of a defendant, is not evidence which
is relevant or which the Tribunal should entertain.

DR. HORN: By these witnesses the defence wishes to prove
clearly that the efforts of Ribbentrop with respect to
France went beyond what could be called merely "courtoisie
internationale". For this reason I ask that one or the other
of the witnesses in this group be granted me.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, these witnesses seem to raise the
same question as to relevance as I put to you earlier on

Assuming that it was the intention of the German Foreign
Office to try to keep France our of any war which Germany
was preparing to make, what relevance has that got to the
question whether she was about to make an aggressive war
upon Poland?

DR. HORN: I would like by these witnesses to prove that it
was at least not the intention of the defendant von
Ribbentrop to plan and prepare wars, but that he had tried
for years to improve relations with Germany's neighbouring

The prosecution, Mr. President, accuses my client also of
having planned

                                                  [Page 280]

and prepared aggressive war against England and France. If
the prosecution will forgo this point, I, of course, can
also forgo these witnesses.THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will
give this the necessary consideration.DR. HORN: The next
witness is Mr. Ernest Tennant, of London.SIR DAVID MAXWELL
FYFE: With regard to this witness, I do not know the
gentleman, and I have never heard of him, and the only
information which is in the application is that he is a
member of the firm of Tennant and Company and a member of
the Bath Club, and also that he was well known to the
defendant Ribbentrop. But the matters for which he is sought
to be called are surely the acme of irrelevance. It is
submitted that the witness can testify that in the early and
middle thirties the defendant asked him to bring him in
contact with Lord Baldwin, Mr. MacDonald and Lord Davidson,
for the purpose of negotiating with the latter toward paving
the way to good political relations, aiming at the
conclusion of an alliance. In 1936 the defendant was
Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Mr. MacDonald had just
ceased being Prime Minister in 1935, and was still, I think,
Lord President of the Council. Lord Baldwin was then Prime
Minister and Lord Davidson, I think, was Chancellor of the
Duchy of Lancaster in the same administration. At any rate,
he held a comparatively less important office.

But how it can be relevant to the issues before this
Tribunal, that at or shortly before that time the defendant
asked a gentleman of no official position whether he could
introduce him to the three gentlemen I have just mentioned,
I really suggest, cannot be stated, and I submit that this
witness should not be allowed.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, on the question of witnesses we
always come back to the same fundamental question. The
prosecution always raises the question: What can this
witness tell us about the fact that Germany did or did not
march against Poland, or is to blame for the Polish-German
war, inasmuch as the witness comes from an entirely
different country and has nothing to do with Poland or
Polish affairs?

The defence is of the opinion, however, that the entire
policy of Germany toward Poland can only be understood
within the framework of the whole of European politics.
Therefore, the defence has asked for witnesses whom the
prosecution would like to exclude, because they can offer us
material for the reconstruction of the large picture. With
this in mind, I also ask for Professor Conwell-Evans of

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please the Tribunal again I
have never heard of Professor Conwell-Evans, and he does not
appear in "Who's Who", the British publication showing a
very large number of the citizens who have certain grades of
distinction or hold certain offices. But I would like Dr.
Horn to consider this point, which I respectfully put to the
Tribunal:Accepting that every word that is stated in this
application with regard to Professor Conwell-Evans were said
in court by Professor Conwell-Evans, I submit that it would
not advance the case at all, and that the Tribunal would be
left in exactly the same position - if it heard that
evidence - as it is in at the present moment. After all, the
defendant will be able to give evidence himself and to make
his own impression on the Tribunal as to his intentions and
as to his honesty of mind at various times. The submission
of the prosecution is that the evidence of this gentleman
would not help the trial at all and is not relevant to any
issue before the Court.


DR. HORN: As next witness I name Wolfgang Michel, Oversdorf
im Allgau, the witness No. 38.

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