The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/16

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): Sir David, is there anything in
the Versailles Treaty that either calls for disarmament by
the signatories other than Germany

                                                   [Page 67]

or which looks to such disarmament; and, if there is, could
you give us the reference to it?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, it is the preamble to the
Military Clauses. That is the point which is usually relied
on. It is about four lines at the beginning of the Military
Clauses, and, in quite general terms, it looks to a general
disarmament after Germany has disarmed. Of course, the
position was that - I think I have got the dates right -
disarmament was accepted. Whether, in view of the evidence
in this case, it should have been accepted does not matter;
it was accepted in 1927. After that, you may remember, there
were a number of disarmament conferences which examined that
question, and eventually in 1933 Germany left the then
existing disarmament conference.

Now, I am trying to be entirely unbiased. I do not want to
put the prosecution view or the defence view, but that is
the position.

MR. BIDDLE: I am not quite clear. When you say "accepted,"
you meant that the extent of the disarmament called for had
been accepted by Germany?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: The other way around: that Germany's
response to the demand of Versailles was accepted by the
Allies in 1927, and the Disarmament Commission which had
been in Germany then left Germany, under, I think, a French
General, Denoue.

MR. BIDDLE: Then, what I understand you to argue is that
nothing contained in this folder has anything to do with
that possible issue.


MR. BIDDLE: That is the point.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: It is not on that issue. I mean we
will deal with that issue when we come to it. I rather
thought from some words that Dr. Stahmer dropped that that
would be one of the points which we should meet in the
general argument on law which will be presented, which the
defence counsel have -

DR. SEIDL (counsel for defendant Hess): I believe that Sir
David is under a slight misconception. In book three of the
document book for the defendant Hess, there are also a
number of citations of foreign statesmen that refer to this
military clause in the Versailles Treaty and in which it is
stated that Germany fulfilled its obligations in the
Versailles Treaty but that the reciprocal obligations in it
for the opposite side were not fulfilled.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Well, I am sorry. I did not remember
any. I have read it through, and there may be some
collateral matters dealing with that, but - and I do not
think that I am doing Dr. Seidl's great industry in
collecting these matters an injustice in saying that if they
do exist they are collateral and the main point of this is
an attack on the political and economic clauses of the
Treaty. I hope that I have done him justice. I certainly
intended to. That is the impression made on me.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 1400 hours.)

THE MARSHAL: If it pleases the Tribunal, may I report that
the defendant Streicher will be absent from this session of
the Court.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal rules that evidence as to the
injustice of the Versailles Treaty or whether it was made
under duress is inadmissible, and it therefore rejects
volume 3 of the documents on behalf of the defendant Hess.

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, your Honours. Since volume 3 of
the document book for the defendant Rudolf Hess is not
admissible as documentary evidence, I am, so far as the
submission of documents is concerned, at the end of my
submission of evidence.

Now, we are only concerned further with the affidavit of
Ambassador Gauss which I have already submitted, and I ask
you not to decide on the admissibility of this document
until I have had an opportunity to present arguments on the

                                                   [Page 68]

relevance of it and of the secret treaty. But I should like
to point out that with this affidavit, only the facts and
the contents of this secret treaty are to be proved and
therefore I shall read only excerpts from it, so that other
events and the history prior to the treaty are not to be
dealt with by me.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, we understand that this affidavit
of the witness Gauss is now being translated and is going to
be submitted to the various prosecutors. They will then
inform us of their position and we shall be able to see
whether it is admissible or not; and the prosecution will
likewise be able to tell us whether they want to have the
Ambassador here for the purpose of cross-examining him.


THE PRESIDENT: So we must postpone that until we get the

DR. SEIDL: I had then further the intention of calling the
defendant himself as a witness. In view of his attitude as
to the question of the competency of this Tribunal, he has
asked me, however, to dispense with this procedure. I
therefore forego the testimony of the defendant as a witness
and have no further evidence to put in at this point.


Then the Tribunal will now deal with the case against the
defendant Ribbentrop.

DR. HORN (counsel for the defendant von Ribbentrop): Dr.
Horn, on behalf of the defendant Ribbentrop. Your Lordship,
your Honours. My client, Joachim von Ribbentrop, has
instructed me at the beginning of the evidence to make the
following statement for him:

  "As Foreign Minister for the Reich, I had to carry
  through the directions and orders of Adolf Hitler
  concerning foreign policy. For the measures of foreign
  policy undertaken by me I accept full responsibility."

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, I thought defendant's counsel knew
that the rule which we have laid down is that at this stage
no speeches shall be made, but that the evidence should be
called, the oral evidence should be called, and the
documents should be briefly referred to and offered in
evidence. Did you not understand that?

DR. HORN: I did not know, Mr. President, that one might not
submit a statement on behalf of his client.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the Tribunal has laid down on several
occasions I think, verbally, and certainly once in writing,
that no speeches can be made now, but that speeches can be
made at the time laid down in the Charter. The present
opportunity is for all evidence to be given and for
documents to be offered in evidence, with such explanatory
observations upon the documents as may be necessary.

DR. HORN: The former Foreign Minister for the Reich, Joachim
von Ribbentrop, is, according to the general Indictment, and
according to the trial brief of the British delegation and
the verbally presented special charges, held responsible for
all crimes cited in paragraph 6 of the Charter of the
International Military Tribunal.

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, in the session of the International
Military Tribunal of 8th January, 1946, described the
charges against my client as follows:

Firstly, the using of his offices and of his personal
influence and close connection with Hitler to facilitate the
taking over of power through the N.S.D.A.P. and the
preparation of wars.

Secondly, the participation in the political planning,
preparation of the National Socialist conspiracy for wars of
aggression ...

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Horn, are you again making
a speech or what are you doing?

DR. HORN: No, Mr. President. I am just enumerating on one
page how I plan to arrange my evidence, and I ask to be
allowed to divide it in this way.


                                                   [Page 69]

DR. HORN: Secondly, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe adduced his
participation in the political planning and preparation of
the National Socialist conspiracy for aggressive war and the
wars in violation of international treaties. He accordingly
bears the responsibility for the execution of the foreign
policy planned by the political conspirators.

Thirdly, participation in and approval of Crimes Against the
Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity, especially
crimes against persons and property in the occupied

The defendant von Ribbentrop has declared himself not guilty
of all crimes charged against him. To refute the charges
made against him, I will begin now my presentation of

The honourable prosecutor at the beginning of his statements
quoted from Exhibit USA 5, Document 2829-Ps, and brought out
that the defendant von Ribbentrop was an SS
Obergruppenfuehrer. He asserted that this rank was not an
honorary one. In opposition to this, the defendant asserts
that the rank of an SS Gruppenfuehrer - and later of
Obergruppenfuehrer, bestowed by Hitler, was bestowed upon
him only on an honorary basis, because Hitler wished that
the members of the Government should appear on official
occasions in uniform, and the rank of an SS Gruppenfuehrer
appeared in keeping with the official position of the
defendant. The defendant neither took part in the SS
services nor led an S.S. unit. Neither did he have any
suitable military training and preparation for this high
military position.

To demonstrate this I will submit evidence from the
defendant himself as a witness.

The prosecution has asserted that von Ribbentrop, after the
taking over of power, for a short period of time, was
adviser of the Party in foreign political matters. This
assertion is refuted by Document 2829-Ps which is contained
in the document book in the hands of the Tribunal. I will
read paragraph III, where it says:

  "Foreign policy collaborator to the Fuehrer, from 1933 to

This is the first document of the Ribbentrop document book.
According to it, in the years 1933 to 1938 von Ribbentrop
was only Hitler's adviser in foreign political questions.
The honourable prosecutor claimed, with reference to
Document D-472, Exhibit GB-130, this is the second document
in the document book "Ribbentrop", it concerns an excerpt
from the records filed for publicity work, that the
defendant even before 1932 worked for the N.S.D.A.P., after
he had entered the Party service in 1930. The prosecution
cites paragraph II, lines 6-9, of this document, which says:

  "With reference to his foreign contacts, he arranged new
  connections with England and France, which he, having
  been in the service of the N.S.D.A.P. from 1930, knew how
  to extend to political circles."

The statement is not correct. The defendant was until 1932
member of no political party in Germany, particularly not of
the N.S.D.A.P. As far as his political views were concerned,
he leaned toward the German Volkspartei - that is the party
of Stressmann.

In the year 1932 the defendant got to know Hitler
personally. His views on domestic and foreign political
matters brought him ...

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Dr. Horn, I do not want to
interrupt you unnecessarily, but I do not understand what
you are doing now. You seem to me to be stating a part of
the evidence which presumably the defendant von Ribbentrop
will give, and, if so, when he gives it it will be
cumulative to your statement. Also, you seem to be referring
to documents which have been produced by the prosecution and
answering them yourself. Well, that is not what the Tribunal
desires at this stage. It quite understands that at the
appropriate time you will make whatever argument you think
right with reference to the evidence which has been brought
forward on behalf of the defendant von Ribbentrop. But, as

                                                   [Page 70]

I have already said, I thought quite clearly, what the
Tribunal wants done now is to hear all the evidence on
behalf of von Ribbentrop and to have offered in evidence the
documents upon which you will rely, with any short
explanatory statement as to the meaning of the documents.
And if there is any part of a document which has been
produced by the prosecution but not cited by them, which you
think it necessary to refer to, as explanatory of the part
of the document which has been used by them, then you are at
liberty to put in, to offer in evidence that part of the
document with any short explanatory words that you wish. But
I do not understand what you are doing now except making a

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