The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Last-Modified: 2000/01/29

Q. The memorandum of this conversation is also contained in
my document book as Exhibit 22. It is on Page 64 of the
English text and Page 57 of the German text.

                                                  [Page 423]

We shall now have to deal in greater detail with your
alleged knowledge of Hitler's intentions to start war. First
of all, speaking generally, did Hitler ever, as far as you
know -

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: (Interposing) My Lord, I asked Dr.
Dix if he would object if the Tribunal would allow me, since
he is passing to a new point, to mention the question of the
Raeder documents. I had a discussion with Dr. Siemers. There
are still some outstanding points, and we should be grateful
if the Tribunal would hear us this afternoon, if possible,
because the translating division is waiting for the Raeder
documents to get on with their translations.

THE PRESIDENT: How long do you think it will take, Sir

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Not more than a half hour, my Lord.

THE PRESIDENT: If the translation department are waiting,
perhaps we had better do it at 2.00 o'clock.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases.

THE PRESIDENT: If it is only going to take a half hour. It
is not likely, I suppose, to take more than that.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I do not think it will take more
than that.

THE PRESIDENT: We will do that at 2.00 o'clock, and now we
will adjourn.

(A recess was taken until 14.00 hours.)

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: May it please your Lordship, the
Tribunal should have in front of it a statement of our
objections to certain of the documents, arranged in six
groups. Attached to that sheet it will find an English
summary of the documents, presenting shortly the contents of
each one of them. My Lord, with regard to the first group,
might I make two erasures from our objection to No. 19,
which has been allowed in the case of Schacht, and, if I
understand Dr. Siemers correctly, he does not press for No.

Now, my Lord, the others in that group: No. 9, is a series
of quotations from Lersner's book on "Versailles."

No. 10, the quotation from a book by the German left-wing
publicist, Thomas Mann.

No. 17 is "The Failure of a Mission," by Neville Henderson.

No. 45 is a quotation from a book of Mr. Churchill's.

No. 47 is the report on a complaint to Lord Halifax about an
article in the "News Chronicle" criticising Hitler.

My Lord, No. 66 is rather different. If the Tribunal would
be good enough to look at it, it is a report by a German
lawyer, Dr. Mosler, I think his name should be, who is an
authority on International Law, dealing with the Norway
action. Dr. Siemers has been, of course, absolutely frank
with me and he said that it would be convenient to him to
have this, which is really a legal argument, embodied in his
document book. Of course, that is not really the purpose of
these document books but it is a matter for the Tribunal,
and we felt we had to draw attention to it.

Then, my Lord, 76 comes out.

93 to 96 are quotations from Soviet newspapers.

101 is a quotation from Havas, the French News Agency.

102 to 107 are minor orders relating to the Low Countries
which, the prosecution submits, have no evidential value.

Then in the second group, there a number of documents which,
the prosecution submits, are not relevant to any of the
issues in the case.

THE PRESIDENT: Sir David, you did not deal with 109, did

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am sorry, my Lord, it is on the
second line. That is another legal argument, the effect of
the war on the legal

                                                  [Page 424]

of Iceland, which is a quotation from the British Journal of
Information in Public Law and International Law.


SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, the second group, the
prosecution submits, is irrelevant.

No. 22 is a Belgian Decree of 1937 dealing with the possible
evacuation of the civil population in time of war.

39 is a French document of the Middle East.

63 and 64 are two speeches, one by Mr. Emery and another by
Mr. Churchill, dealing with the position in Greece at the
end of 1940, some two months after the beginning of the
Italian campaign against Greece.

No. 71 is an undated directive with regard to the study of
routes in Belgium, which does not seem to us to have any
evidential importance.

76 comes out as "The Altmark."

THE PRESIDENT: Did you say 76 came out?

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Yes, My Lord, that is "The Altmark".

It is the same one that is in 71. I am sorry, my Lord, it
should have been marked out.

99 is the minutes of the ninth meeting of the combined
cabinet council on 27 April, 1940, and it deals with a
suggestion of Monsieur Paul Reynaud with regard to the
Swedish ore mines. As it was long after the Norway campaign
and it was never, of course, acted upon in Norway, it seems
to us to have no relevance for this trial.

102 to 107 I have dealt with under group one. They have
certain very small unimportant memoranda relating to the Low

112 is a French document in which Monsieur Paul Reynaud
quotes a statement from Mr. Churchill that he will fight on
to the end, which again does not seem of much importance in

Now, my Lord, the next group are documents which were
rejected by the Tribunal when applied for by the defendant
Ribbentrop. The first two deal with British rearmament and
the others with the Balkans and Greece. The Tribunal will
probably remember the group which it rejected in the
Ribbentrop application; and the fourth group is other
documents of the same series as those rejected by the
Tribunal in the case of the defendant von Ribbentrop. The
fifth group is really objectionable on the "tu quoque"
basis. I think these are entirely French documents which
deal with proposals in a very tentative stage and which were
arranged, but never followed out, with regard to the
destruction of oil fields or the blocking of the Danube in
the Middle East. My Lord, they are documents dated in the
spring of 1940 and, as I say, they deal with the most
tentative stages and were never put into operation. The
plans were never in operation.

The sixth group consists of documents dealing with Norway,
which were captured after the occupation of France. As I
understand Dr. Siemers' argument, it is not suggested that
these documents were within the knowledge of the defendants
at the time that they carried out the aggression against
Norway, but it is stated that they had other information. Of
course, as to their own information, we have not made any
objection at all, and that these documents might be argued
to be corroborative of their agents' reports. Actually, as
is shown by Document 83, to which we make no objection, they
also deal with tentative proposals which were not put into
effect and were not proceeded with; but in the submission of
the prosecution, the important matter must be what was
within the knowledge of the defendants before 9 April, 1940,
and it is irrelevant to go into a large number of other
documents which are only arguably consistent with the
information which the defendants stated they had. My Lord, I
tried to deal with them very shortly because I made a

                                                  [Page 425]

to the Tribunal on the time, but I hope that I have
indicated very clearly what our objections were.

DR. SIEMERS (Counsel for defendant Raeder): High Tribunal,
it is extremely difficult to define my position with
reference to so many documents, especially since I know that
these documents have not yet been translated and that the
contents in the main are therefore not known to those
concerned. Therefore, I might point out that there is a
certain danger in treating documents in this way. In part
they are basic parts of my defence.

Therefore, I should like to state now that in dealing with
these documents I shall be compelled, in order to give the
reasons for the relevancy of this evidence, to point out
those passages which I shall not need to read separately
into the record, for as soon as the document book is ready,
they will be known to the Tribunal and can be read there.

I shall follow the order as outlined by Sir David. First of
all, the first group, Documents 9 and 10. The note submitted
by Sir David to the Tribunal points out that the submission
of these documents conflicts with the ruling given by the
Tribunal on 29 March. In reply I should like to point out
that this opinion of the prosecution is an error. The ruling
of the Tribunal said that no documents might be submitted
concerning the injustice of the Versailles Treaty and the
pressure arising from it. These documents do not concern the
injustice and the pressure; rather they serve to give a few
examples of the subjective attitude of a man like Noske, who
was a Social Democrat and certainly did not want to conduct
any wars of aggression. A few other statements in numbers 9
and 10 show the thought of the Government and the ruling
class at that time in regard to defence intentions and the
danger that in case of an attack on the part of Poland, for
instance, the German Wehrmacht might be too weak. These are
facts pure and simple; and I give you my express assurance
that I shall not quote any sentences which might introduce a
polemic. Moreover, I need this mainly as a basis for my
final pleading.

No. 17 is a very brief excerpt from the book by Henderson,
"Failure of a Mission," written in 1940. I believe there are
no objections to my quoting about fifteen lines if I wish to
use them in my final pleading, to show that Henderson, who
knew Germany well, still believed in 1940 that he had to
recognise certain positive good points in the regime at that
time, and I believe that the conclusion is justified that
one cannot expect that a German military commander should be
more sceptical than the British Ambassador at that time.

Then we turn to Document 45. It is true this document is
taken from a book by Churchill, but it deals with a fact
which I should like to prove, the fact that many years
before the first World War there existed a British Committee
for Defence. In the table of contents which Sir David has
submitted, the word "Reichsverteidigungsausschuss" is used,
and I therefore conclude that this is a mistake on the part
of the prosecution who took it to mean a German Reich
Defence Committee; that is not correct. This document shows
how it came about that the prosecution wrongly over-
estimated the importance of the German Defence Committee, as
the prosecution naturally compared it with the British
Committee for Defence, which went very much further in its

No. 47 is evidence that, when the German Embassy pointed out
that an extremely scathing article on Hitler had appeared in
the paper "News Chronicle," Lord Halifax pointed out in
reply that it was not possible for him to exert any
influence on the newspaper. I should like merely - and must
say so now - to compare this with the fact that the
prosecution made it appear as though Raeder had had
something to do with the regrettable article in the
"Volkischer Beobachter": "Churchill sunk the Athenia."
Raeder was no more connected with that article than Lord
Halifax with the article in the "News Chronicle" and was
unfortunately even more powerless, as far as this article
was concerned, than the British Government.

                                                  [Page 426]

No. 66 deals with the opinion given by Dr. Mosler, a
specialist on International Law, an opinion on the Norway
action in very compressed form, as the Tribunal will surely
admit. The Tribunal will also concede that in my defence of
the Norway action I must speak at length about the
underlying principles of International Law. The underlying
principles of International Law are not an entirely simple
matter. I have nothing against presenting this myself in all
necessary detail. I was merely guided by the thought that
the Tribunal has asked again and again that we save time. I
believe that we can save considerable time if this statement
of opinion is granted me, so that I shall not have to cite
numerous excerpts and authors in detail, in order to show
the exact legal justification. I could then perhaps deal
with the legal questions in half an hour, whereas without
this statement of opinion it is utterly impossible for me to
deal with such a problem in half an hour. If the prosecution
does not mind that more time be taken up, then I do not
object to the document being denied me. I'll merely have to
take the consequences.

No. 76 has meanwhile been crossed out, that is, it is
granted me by the prosecution.

Numbers 93 to 96 are excerpts on statements of the official
Moscow papers, "Investia" and "Pravda." These statements
prove that at least at that time Soviet opinion regarding
the legality of the German action n Norway coincided with
the German opinion of that time. If the Tribunal thinks that
these very brief quotations should not be admitted as
documents, I do not want to be too insistent, since at this
moment of the proceedings I am compelled in any case to
explain them. The Tribunal will remember that at that time
Germany and Russia were friends, and Soviet opinion on a
purely legal problem should at any rate be considered as
having a certain significance.

Then, No. 101; I beg your pardon, Sir David, but if I am not
mistaken Dr. Braun said an hour and a half ago that 101 is
being rejected. Very well, then, 101 to 107. The action
against Norway, as I have already said, involved a problem
of International Law. It involves the problem of whether a
country may violate the neutrality of another country when
the danger exists, as can be proved, that another
belligerent nation likewise intends to violate the
neutrality of the aforementioned neutral country. When
presenting my evidence I shall show that Grand Admiral
Raeder, in the autumn of 1939, received all sorts of reports
to the effect that the Allies were planning to take under
their own protection the territorial waters of Norway, that
is, to land in Norway, in order to have Norwegian bases.
When I deal with the Norway documents, I shall return to
this point. I should like to say here that it is necessary
to explain and to prove that the legal attitude taken by the
Allies to the question of the possible violation of the
neutrality of a neutral country in the years 1939 and 1940,
was entirely the same as the attitude of the defendant
Raeder in the case of Norway at the same time.

Therefore, it is necessary not only to deal with Norway, but
also to show that this was a basic conception, which can
readily be proved by reference to parallel cases on the
strength of these documents. These parallel cases deal in
the first place with the plans of the Allies with respect to
the Balkans and, secondly, with the plans of the Allies with
respect to the Caucasian oilfields.

Your Honours, it is by no means my intention, as Sir David
has suggested, to use these documents from the "tu quoque"
point of view, from the point of view that the defendant has
done something which the Allies have also done or wanted to
do. I am concerned only with a judgement of the defendant
Raeder's actions from the legal point of view. One can
understand such actions, only when the entire matter is
brought to light.

It is my opinion - and in addition to this I should like to
refer to Dr. Mosler's statement of opinion, Exhibit 66 -
that this cannot be made the subject of an accusation.

                                                  [Page 427]

We are concerned, your Honours, with the right of self-
preservation as recognised by International Law. In this
connection I should like ...

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Siemers, we don't want to go into these
matters in great detail, you know, at this stage. If you
state what your reasons are in support, and state them
shortly, we shall be able to consider the matter.

DR. SIEMERS: I am very sorry that I have to go into these
details, but if through the objection of the prosecution ...

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal does not wish to hear you in
detail. I have said that the Tribunal does not wish to hear
You in detail.

DR. SIEMERS: I merely ask that the Tribunal take into
consideration the fact that this concerns the principle of
International Law laid down by Kellogg himself in 1928,
namely, the right of self-preservation, or "The right of
Self Defence." For that reason I should like to adduce these
documents showing that just as the Allies acted quite
correctly according to this principle, so also did the
defendant Raeder.

Document 22 is next. I have just given various statements of
principle which apply to a large number of the remaining
documents, so I can refer to the statements I have already
made. These statements also apply to Documents 22 and 39.

As far as Documents 63 and 64 are concerned, I should like
to point out that these documents deal with Greece, and not
only these two, but also a later group of perhaps ten to
twelve documents, with which I should like to deal very
briefly. As far as Greece is concerned, the situation is as

I must admit that I was more than surprised that the
prosecution objected to these documents, about 14 in all. In
Document C-12, Exhibit G13-226, the prosecution accuses
Raeder of having decreed on 30 December, 1939, and I quote:-

  "Greek merchantmen in the prohibited area declared by the
  United States and England are to be treated as enemy

The accusation would be justified, if Greece had not behaved
in such a manner that Raeder had to resort to this order.

If the documents concerning Greece which show that Greece
did not keep to her neutrality, are struck out, then I
cannot bring any counter-evidence. I do not believe that it
is the intention of the prosecution to restrict my
presentation of evidence in this way.

These are all documents which date back to this time and
which show that Greece put her merchantmen at the disposal
of England, who was at war with Germany. Therefore they
could be treated as enemy ships.

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