The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Q. On that afternoon did you again meet Goering, together
with the British Ambassador?

A. The situation seemed to have become impossible. Hitler
had quarrelled with Henderson. Ribbentrop, too, had
quarrelled with him. Therefore, I was of the opinion that
the only possibility lay in Goering coming to an
understanding with Henderson. I suggested a meeting between
them. This took place at 4.50 in the afternoon, at Goering's
house. Forbes was present and I, too.

Q. What was said during this meeting?

A. Even before the meeting, Henderson expressed his
suspicion that the German Government would try to arrange a
settlement with Britain and cause a break between England
and Poland. Henderson was therefore very cautious during the
two-hour session, and the result of the conversation was
only that both parties agreed that a meeting of delegates
from both countries would be necessary if war was possibly
to be avoided.

Q. Did you on this occasion likewise suggest that Goering
should meet the British delegates immediately?

A. I suggested that a meeting in Holland should be arranged
at once, at which, Goering should represent Germany.

Q. How did Henderson react to this proposal?

A. Henderson promised to submit this proposal to his
Government. However, I had the impression that he already
knew that German military forces were on the march and it
did not seem to me that he had great confidence of any
fortunate outcome.

Q. Are you acquainted with a statement of Goering to the
effect that if the Poles did not give in, Germany would kill
them like lice, and if Britain should decide to declare war,
he would regret it, but it would be very unwise of Britain?

A. I cannot recollect those words, but it is possible that
during the two-hour conversation they were uttered.

Q. How did this conference end then?

A. At 7 o'clock in the evening they broke up and both
parties were agreed that they would endeavour to arrange a
meeting in Holland.

Q. Did you then on 1st September meet Goering again?

A. On 1st September I met Goering at 8 o'clock at his
headquarters. After some hesitation he told me that the war
had broken out because the

                                                  [Page 219]

Poles had attacked the radio station of Gleiwitz and blown
up a bridge near Dirschau. Later he gave me more details
from which I concluded that the full force of the Germany
Army was employed in the attack on Poland.

Q. Did you then on 3rd September meet Goering again, and did
you on this occasion make the suggestion that Goering should
fly to London immediately for a personal conference?

A. Well, before I mention what happened then, I should like
to mention that I met Hitler on 1st September, immediately
after his Reichstag speech in the Kroll Opera House. He was
at that time exceedingly nervous and very agitated. He told
me he had all along suspected that England wanted the war.
He told me, further, that he would crush Poland and annex
the whole country. Goering interrupted, and pointed out that
they would advance as far as certain points. But Hitler was
in an uncontrollable frame of mind. He began to shout he
would fight one year, two years, and ended up in great
agitation that he would in fact fight for ten years.

Then, on Sunday, 3rd September, I was informed early in the
morning by Forbes that at 9 o'clock that morning an
ultimatum would be given. The conditions were that the
hostilities must cease immediately and the German Forces
must be withdrawn to the German border. I went immediately
to Goering's headquarters near Potsdam. He was there and not
with Hitler. I appealed to him to try at least to arrange
for a reasonable reply to the ultimatum. I had the
impression that certain members of the German Government
were in favour of war, and I was afraid if a written reply
was given it would not be so worded as to avoid war with
England. I therefore suggested that Goering should declare
himself prepared to go to England, at once, before 11
o'clock, to negotiate there.

Q. How did Goering react to this suggestion?

A. He accepted this suggestion and telephoned Hitler, who
likewise concurred with it.

Q. Did you then telephone London?

A. Yes, I telephoned London and got in touch with the
Foreign Office. They gave the reply that they could not
consider this proposal before they received a written reply
to the ultimatum.

Q. Did you forward this communication to Goering?

A. Yes, I told Goering this.

Q. What impression did your communication make on Goering?

A. Goring seemed to be sorry that the proposal was not
accepted.

Q. Then on 4th September did you speak once more with
Goering?

A. Yes, I had a short conversation with Goering on 4th
September, but it was not of great importance.

Q. On this occasion did Goering say to you that, come what
may, he would endeavour to carry on the war as humanely as
possible. That Germany would under no circumstances begin
hostilities against England first, but if England should
attack Germany then the answer would be forthcoming?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Did you publish a book entitled "Last Attempt"?

A. Yes.

Q. Is the account given in this book in accordance with the
truth?

A. Yes, it was written with the greatest care. The contents
are absolutely accurate and correct.

Q. Is this account based on notes that you took on these
events?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you write these notes?

A. I wrote them immediately after my return to Sweden on 5th
September, 1939.

DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I have three more brief
questions - should I stop now ? - They pertain to the
subsequent period.

                                                  [Page 220]

THE PRESIDENT: I think you could ask them now.

BY DR. STAHMER:

Q. On 24th September, 1939, did you speak with Forbes in
Stockholm?

A. No, I met Forbes on 24th September in Oslo. This was
after the occupation of Poland. This was an endeavour to
ascertain if there still was a possibility of averting a
world war. He gave me in writing the viewpoint of the
British Government. It was briefly as follows: "The British
and French Governments ...

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment. What has this got to do with
the defendant Goering?

DR. STAHMER: This is evidence that he made efforts even
later to bring about peace. I have, then, only one more
question which concerns Goering directly.

THE PRESIDENT: The fact that he met Sir George Ogilvy Forbes
in Oslo on 24th September does not at present appear to have
anything to do with Goering.

DR. STAHMER: It appears significant in that it was the
occasion for Mr. Dahlerus to get in touch with Berlin and
Goering again, in order to try once more at this stage of
events to bring about peace.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, go on with your next question then.

THE WITNESS: The conditions were: "To save Europe from
continued German aggressions and to enable the peoples of
Europe - "

THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. What has the letter that Sir
George Ogilvy Forbes wrote got to do with Goering?

DR. STAHMER: Dahlerus discussed this letter, the content of
this letter, on 26th September with Goering, and tried on
this basis to reach an agreement.

MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your Honour, may I enter a further
objection?

It has nothing to do with the Indictment. We have not
charged that the war against England was an aggressive war.
The charge is that the war against Poland was an aggressive
war. All of this negotiation to keep England out of the war
while they took Poland is utterly irrelevant to the
Indictment. I respectfully submit that because it has
nothing to do with the Indictment, with the charge, it
should be rejected.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, if the witness had an interview
with Goering afterwards you can come to that, but not to
preliminary conferences with Sir George Ogilvy Forbes.

DR. STAHMER: But that will not be comprehensible, he really
must state what Forbes told him. He saw Forbes, Forbes made
certain suggestions to him and with these suggestions Mr.
Dahlerus went to Berlin and, of course, informed Goering
what Forbes said to him. Thus, it will not otherwise be at
all possible ...

THE PRESIDENT: Let the witness give the account of his
meeting with Goering.

DR. STAHMER: Very well.

BY DR. STAHMER:

Q. Mr. Dahlerus, you then on 26th September visited Goering
in Berlin, did you not?

A. Yes, I met both Goering and Hitler on 26th September.

Q. Did you inform Goering of the proposals Forbes had made
to you?

A. I discussed with Hitler on what conditions he would be
prepared to make good the harm he had done to Poland and
make peace. To my great disappointment he then definitely
declared that he was not prepared at an to discuss the
question of Poland. Poland was occupied and that was no
business any longer of Great Britain. I then realised that
his aim had been to split Poland and Britain and thus, with
the consent of Great Britain, to have the opportunity of
occupying Poland without running the risk of being involved
in a war with Great Britain and France.

Q. In July, 1940, did you again meet Goering?

                                                  [Page 221]
A. Yes; Goering suggested in July, 1940, that His Majesty
the King of Sweden should endeavour to bring the various
Powers together for peace negotiations.

DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until 2.10 p.m.

(A recess was taken until 14.10 hours.)

BIRGER DAHLERUS- resumed

THE PRESIDENT: Do the defendants' counsel wish to ask any
questions?

DIRECT EXAMINATION-continued

DR. HORN (counsel for the defendant Ribbentrop):

Q. Witness, can you tell us the reason why the conference
between Hitler and Henderson on 29th August took an
unfavourable course?

A. No, I only had the report that they disagreed and got
involved in a quarrel.

Q. Do you know on which of the six points the quarrel
started?

A. As far as I recollect, it was on the wording of the
German reply saying that they expected representatives from
Poland during the next twenty-four hours.

Q. Did Hitler not explain to you then, in the presence of
Goering, why he made this demand, that is, because the two
armies, the Polish and the German, were already facing each
other in readiness and at any moment a serious conflict was
to be expected, and therefore Hitler did not want to present
an ultimatum regarding the sending of a negotiator from
Poland and by not doing so wanted solely to avoid the
outbreak of a conflict?

A. Yes, explanations to that effect were given.

Q. Is it correct, witness, as you state in your book, that
at the Polish Embassy the Polish Ambassador Lipski told you
that in case of war the Polish Army would march to Berlin in
triumph?

A. No, he did not say that to me, but he made remarks to
that effect to Forbes.

Q. And Forbes transmitted these remarks then to you.

A. Yes.

Q. How did your meeting with Mr. Forbes in Oslo on 24th
September, 1939, come about?

A. I took the initiative and went to Oslo to see him.

Q. Can you please tell us briefly the contents of the letter
from Forbes?

A. I read that before.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal has already said that it does
not want to hear that. And I do not see what it has to do
with von Ribbentrop.

DR. HORN: The former Foreign Minister, von Ribbentrop, is
under indictment for the leadership of the entire German
foreign policy. I therefore consider it important that this
letter, which will give decisive information about the
further course of foreign policy, as Ribbentrop saw it -
about this later attempt in the direction of peace, for
instance - be read to the Tribunal.

THE WITNESS: To redeem Europe from perpetually recurring
fear of German aggression...

THE PRESIDENT:

Q. Was this letter ever shown to von Ribbentrop?

A. No.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal have already ruled that they
will not have the letter read.

DR. HORN:

Q. You had, then, on 26th September, 1939, a discussion with
Hitler. Is it correct that Hitler told you at that time he
could not negotiate with England

                                                  [Page 222]

concerning Poland because the major part of Poland was
occupied by Russia and Russia, to his knowledge, would
certainly not give it up.

A. He declared that he was not prepared to discuss the
question of Poland, and added afterwards that, apart from
his decision, he did not think Russia was prepared to
discuss the territory occupied by Russia.

Q. Were you politically independent at the time you were
conducting your negotiation?

A. Absolutely.

DR. HORN: Thank you, I have no further question.

DR. LATERNSER (counsel for General Staff and O.K.W.):

Q. I have only one question for the witness: Witness, did
high military leaders at any time participate actively in
the numerous negotiations which you had with German
authorities at that time?

A. Never.

DR. LATERNSER: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Do other defendants' counsel wish to ask any
questions?

(No reply.)


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