The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 1999/12/18

Q. What were Ribbentrop's views and intentions regarding

A. The intentions regarding Russia were shown by the Non-
Aggression Pact of August, 1939, and the trade agreement of
September, 1939.

Q. Do you know that, in addition to the Non-Aggression Pact
and the trade agreement, a further agreement was concluded
in Moscow?

A. Yes, there was an additional secret agreement.

GENERAL RUDENKO: Your Honours: It appears to me that the
witness, who has been called to attend the present sitting
of the Tribunal, is, by the very nature of her position as
secretary to the former Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ribbentrop, able to testify to the personality of the
defendant Ribbentrop, to his way of life, to the reticence
or frankness of his character, and so forth. But the witness
is quite incompetent to pass an opinion on matters
pertaining to agreements, foreign policy, etc. In this sense
I consider the questions of the defence absolutely
inadmissible and request that they be withdrawn.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, that is the same matter that is
raised, is it not, upon the affidavit of Dr. Gauss? I mean,
you said that you were going to produce an affidavit of Dr.
Gauss which dealt with a secret agreement between - I beg
your pardon. I ought to have said that Dr. Seidl was going
to produce an affidavit of Dr. Gauss with reference to this
alleged agreement. That is right, is it not?

DR. HORN: I assume so, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: The Soviet Prosecutor objected to that
agreement being referred to until the affidavit should be
admitted, until it had been seen. Well, now, is the
agreement in writing?


THE PRESIDENT: Is the alleged agreement between the Soviet
Government and Germany in writing?

DR. HORN: Yes. It was put down in writing, but I am in
possession of a copy of the agreement, and I should
therefore like to ask the Tribunal, in case the decision
depends on the affidavit of Ambassador Gauss, to allow me,
to obtain at the appropriate time an affidavit from Fraulein
Blank who saw the original.

Would your Lordship be agreeable to that?

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Seidl, have you a copy of the agreement

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, there are only two copies of this
agreement. One copy was left in Moscow on 23rd August, 1939.
The other copy was taken to Berlin by von Ribbentrop.
According to an announcement in the Press, all the archives
of the Foreign Office were confiscated by the Soviet troops.
May I, therefore, request that the Soviet Government or the
Soviet Delegation be asked to submit to the Tribunal the
original of the agreement?

THE PRESIDENT: I asked you a question, Dr. Seidl. I did not
ask you for an argument. I asked you whether you have a copy
of that agreement available.

DR. SEIDL: I, myself, am not in possession of a copy of the
agreement. The affidavit of Ambassador Gauss only states the
contents of the secret agreement. He was able to give the
contents of the secret agreement because he drafted it. The
secret agreement as drafted by Ambassador Gauss was signed
by Foreign Commissar Molotov and von Ribbentrop. That is all
I have to say.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, General Rudenko?

GENERAL RUDENKO: Mr. President, I wish to make the following
statement: With regard to what was mentioned here by counsel
for the defence, Seidl, about the agreement allegedly seized
by Soviet troops in connection with the capture of

                                                  [Page 133]

the archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, i.e. - the
agreement concluded in Moscow in August, 1939 - I would draw
the attention of the defence counsel to the newspapers in
which this agreement, the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
of 23rd August, 1939, was published. That is a known fact.

In so far as other agreements are concerned, the Soviet
Prosecution considers that Dr. Seidl's application for the
incorporation into the record of affidavits by Friedrich
Gauss should be denied, and for the following reasons.
Gauss' testimony on this pact and on the history immediately
preceding the conclusion of the German-Soviet pact is
irrelevant. Moreover, the presentation of these affidavits,
which do not shed a true light on events, can only be looked
upon as an act of provocation. This is clearly borne out by
the fact that Ribbentrop himself repudiated this witness
even though his affidavits describe Ribbentrop's activities,
even though defence counsel for Hess has accepted
testimonies from this witness and applied for their
incorporation, despite the fact that they contain no
reference to Hess. On the strength of these considerations,
of these circumstances, I request the Tribunal to reject the
request made by defence counsel Seidl and to consider the
question submitted by defence counsel Horn as being
irrelevant to the matter under our consideration.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dr. Seidl? Do you want to say something?

DR. SEIDL: May I say something? The translation of what the
Soviet Prosecutor has just said has come through
incompletely. I could not make out whether General Rudenko
wanted to deny altogether that such an agreement was
concluded or whether he only wanted to state that the
contents of this secret agreement are not relevant. In the
former case, I repeat my application that the Soviet Foreign
Commissar Molotov be called and examined before this
Tribunal; in the latter case, I ask to be given the
opportunity here and now to submit to the Tribunal my points
regarding the relevance of this secret agreement.

THE PRESIDENT: At the moment we are considering an objection
to the evidence of this witness, so we will not trouble
ourselves with that.

The Tribunal will adjourn for a few moments.

(A recess was taken.)

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal desires to point out to counsel
for the defence that there was no mention of this alleged
treaty in his application for evidence to be given by the
witness now in the witness box, but as the matter has now
been raised the Tribunal rules that the witness may be
questioned upon the matter.


Q. You were speaking about the secret agreement. How did you
come to know about the conclusion of this agreement?

THE PRESIDENT: I am told that what I said was wrongly
translated into the Russian language. At any rate, I do not
know whether it was rightly translated into the German
language; but what I said was that the witness may be
questioned, not that the witness may not be questioned. Is
that clear to you?

DR. HORN: Thank you. I understood the statement correctly.


Q. In connection with your previous statement about the
secret agreement I should like to ask you how you came to
know about the conclusion of this agreement?

A. Owing to illness, I could not accompany von Ribbentrop on
his two trips to Russia. I was also absent when the
preparatory work for the agreements was being done. I
learned of the existence of this secret agreement through a
special sealed envelope which, according to instructions,
was filed separately and bore the inscription "German-
Russian Secret or Additional Agreement."

Q. You were also responsible for filing separately secret
matters? Is this correct?

                                                  [Page 134]

A. Yes.

Q. I should like to turn now to another group of questions.
Did von Ribbentrop endeavour to keep the pact with Russia in
any case?

A. Having signed the German-Russian pacts, von Ribbentrop
was, of course, interested in their being kept. Moreover, he
realised the great danger a German-Russian war would mean
for Germany. Accordingly he informed and warned the Fuehrer.
For this very purpose, as far as I recall, Embassy
Counsellor Hilger from Moscow and Ambassador Schnurre were
called to Berchtesgaden to report. Also, in the spring of
1941, Ambassador Count von der Schulenberg was again ordered
to report, to back up and to corroborate von Ribbentrop's
warnings to the Fuehrer.

Q. Do you know whether von Ribbentrop was informed
beforehand of Hitler's intent to incorporate Austria into
the Reich?

A. At the time of the German march into Austria Ambassador
von Ribbentrop, who in February had been appointed Foreign
Minister, was in London on a farewell visit. There he heard
to his surprise of the Anschluss of Austria. He himself had
had a different idea of a solution of the Austrian question,
namely, an economic union.

Q. Do you know whether von Ribbentrop made repeated efforts
to end the war by diplomatic methods?

A. Yes. One of his moves was to send Ambassador Professor
Berber to Switzerland in the winter of 1943. Later on these
moves were intensified by sending Herr von Schmieden to Bern
and Dr. Hesse to Stockholm.

As the Fuehrer had not given official authority to initiate
any negotiations, it was only possible to try to find out on
which conditions discussions might be opened between Germany
and the Allies. Similar missions were entrusted to the
German Charge d'Affaires in Madrid, Ambassador von Biebrach;
Consul General Moellhausen in Lisbon; and the Ambassador to
the Vatican, von Weizsaecker. A former member of the
Ribbentrop office living in Madrid was instructed to sound
the British Government to the same end.

On the 20th of April von Ribbentrop dictated to me a
detailed memorandum for the Fuehrer in which he asked for
official authorisation to initiate negotiations. I do not
know the outcome of this request because I left Berlin.

Q. In the course of your duties did you get to know what
Hitler's basic attitude to this question was?

A. From what I heard from men of his entourage I know that
the Fuehrer did not expect much of it. He would have been in
favour of initiating negotiations only at a time of military
successes. If and when, however, there were military
successes, he was likewise against diplomatic initiative. As
to the mission of Dr. Hesse - after its failure, he is said
to have indiscreetly remarked that, from the beginning, he
had not expected much of it.

Q. Just one more question: Is it correct that von Ribbentrop
was notified of the impending invasion of Norway and Denmark
only a very short time before this action?

A. Yes; just a few days previously.

Q. Is it correct to say that von Ribbentrop was of the
opinion, England would fight for Poland?

A. Yes. In line with his view that England would adhere to
the old balance of power policy, he was of the opinion that
England would honour her guarantee to Poland.

DR. HORN: I have no further questions to put to this

THE PRESIDENT: Do any of the defendant's counsel wish to ask
any questions of this witness? Do the prosecution?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the prosecution has very
carefully considered this matter. They hope that the
Tribunal will not hold it against them that they accept
everything that this witness says, but they feel that all
the matters

                                                  [Page 135]

could be more conveniently put to the defendant himself, and
therefore they do not intend to cross-examine.

THE PRESIDENT: The witness may retire.

DR. SEIDL (Counsel for Hess): Mr. President, the Tribunal
has permitted the question concerning the secret agreement
to be put to the witness. The witness knew only of the
existence of this agreement but not its contents.

May I please be told whether the admission of this question
to the witness is to be considered as implying the decision
by the Tribunal on the admissibility of Ambassador Gauss'
affidavit, and whether I might now be given the opportunity
of reading an excerpt from this affidavit?

THE PRESIDENT: Has the affidavit been submitted to the

DR. SEIDL: Last Monday - that is, three days ago - I
submitted six copies of the affidavit to the Translating
Division or to Lt. Schrader of the Defendants' Information
Centre. I assume that in the meantime, since three days have
elapsed, the prosecution has received a copy.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the prosecution have not
received the copies. I have not seen the affidavit yet.
Neither has my friend Mr. Dodd, nor have my other
colleagues, General Rudenko, or M. Champetier de Ribes.

THE PRESIDENT: Then I think we had better wait until the
document is in the hands of the prosecution, when it can be

DR. SEIDL: Mr. President, I believe that I did everything in
my power to furnish the prosecution with the affidavit. This
is the General Secretary's business, and not mine, and I
should be obliged if the Tribunal would assist in this

THE PRESIDENT: Nobody has said that you have done anything
wrong about it, Dr. Seidl.

Yes, Dr. Horn.

DR. HORN: As my next witness I should like to call
Ambassador Paul Schmidt.

PAUL OTTO SCHMIDT, a witness, took the stand and testified
as follows:


Q. Will you tell me your name?

A. Schmidt is my name.

Q. Your full name.

A. Dr. Paul Otto Schmidt.

Q. Will you repeat this oath after me:

I swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will
speak the pure truth and will withhold and add nothing.

(The witness repeated the oath.)



Q. Witness, you took part in some of the most important
discussions between Sir Nevile Henderson, the British
representative, and members of the Reich Government, before
the outbreak of war. Is it correct that you were present at
the conference on the 30th of August 1939 between the
defendant von Ribbentrop and the British Ambassador

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until 1.45

(A recess was taken until 13.45 hours.)

DR. PAUL SCHMIDT - resumed.



Q. Witness, is it correct that you were present at a
conference on 30th August, 1939, between the defendant von
Ribbentrop and the British Ambassador Henderson?

A. Yes, that is correct.

                                                  [Page 136]

Q. Where did that conference take place?

A. It took place in the office of the Minister of Foreign
Affairs in Berlin.

Q. In what capacity did you take part in that conference?

A. I took part in that conference as interpreter and

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