Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day015.08 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Q. Yes. A. --- when we would establish whether this was feasible, whether the plates were there, whether they were genuine, what their contents were, and whether the Russians were open to a piece of horse trading; and then after I came back from Moscow and we established to the satisfaction of the Sunday Times that I had obtained the material, or was in the process of obtaining it, then a contract was drawn up in a proper legal manner. . P-65 Q. And I know that you fell out in some way (and I am not interested in why unless you want to tell his Lordship in re-examination) you fell out with them for some reason and they did not actually pay you, the contract ---- A. Well, the reason is, of course, material to this case -- we will find that later -- but the deal was they would pay me œ75,000 plus VAT for the particular ---- Q. Did they ever pay any of that? A. They paid one-third of it, yes, and they welshed on the rest. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Did you say it was not material? A. The reasons why they welshed on the deal is evident from the discovery. They came under immense world wide pressure. Andrew Neil said he had never experienced anything like it. MR RAMPTON: Oh, you mean we are back at the traditional enemy, sort of thing, are we? A. Well, if you wish to encapsulate it in that phrase --- - Q. Well, I am trying to use shorthand. A. --- but you have seen the discovery, you have seen the documents. Q. But none of them from anybody who is a Defendant in this case, I hope? A. No. Q. Then I do not see that it is material. Mr Irving, so you had two incentives to make this exercise a success? . P-66 A. Three incentives. Q. One was that you would then, as I say, quite properly get the ---- A. Kudos. Q. --- kudos for having the job which, I have no doubt, you properly did when you had done it? A. Yes. Q. And the second incentive was financial because you had a good contract? A. Well, the third incentive was that I wanted the material for my biography of Dr Goebbels. Q. Yes. Right, that is three very sensible (and I make no criticism) three strong incentives to be the first there? A. That is right, and the people you call the traditional enemy had precisely the same incentives for stopping me. Q. You knew, however, that the Sunday Times -- this is after the Hitler diaries fiasco, was it not? A. The Hitler diary fiasco in April 1993. Q. Exactly. So you knew that the Sunday Times would be very wary, and no doubt they told you so, of getting their fingers burned a second time? A. Andrew Neil sad to me, "We are very wary about this here in the office, as soon as we hear the word Nazis and everybody gets very nervous", and my response was, "Andrew, this is the chance, I am giving the Sunday Times a chance to rehabilitate themselves". . P-67 Q. One of the conditions, therefore, of this deal was no doubt that the Sunday Times had to be satisfied of the authenticity of the plates? A. At some stage, either before or after the first trip, they made a contractual condition that I should obtained the opinion of experts on the content of the diaries, and that they should have other means of verifying of the integrity of the actual material. Q. And that in due is what happened, was it not? A. Yes. You will see have seen from this trial that I attach great importance to the integrity of the document. Q. Can you turn in the same tab of the same file to page B7 to your diary entry of 10th June 1992? A. Yes. Q. "Rose 7.45 a.m. wretched breakfast at Cosmo", is that an anagram of Moscow or a misprint? A. I think it is "Cosmos". Q. Cosmos, is it? A. Yes. Q. To looks to me like an anagram of Moscow, but never mind. "With dried salami", etc., yes, I sympathise with you. "At 10 a.m. at the archives continued methodically reading the microfiches and flagging in catalogue. It was drizzling with rain. I illicitly borrowed the fiche we had found covering the weeks before the war broke out, and took it out of the archives at lunch for copying (in case . P-68 the Germans managed to prevent this)". Will you explain exactly what that means? A. I knew from my contact in Munich that the head of the German Federal Archive System, Professor Karlenburg, was due to visit Moscow a few days later, and he was coming effectively with a large empty suitcase to pick up all the looted Nazis' documents, and my experience then was that when these documents get back into German archives they vanish for several years and are unable to the international community for historians. This has happened again and again and again. So it was important on the basis of what you have is what you have got, by hook or by crook to get these vital materials out of the KGB archives and make them available to the world of historians, which is what I did. Q. Mr Irving, whether or not you had a written agreement with the Russians, which I understand you did not have, you describe to your own diary your conduct in taking this fiche as illicit? A. Totally illicit. I am deeply ashamed to have done that. You do not normally go into archives and remove materials, even though of course they are going to put them back the next day, but desperate situations call for desperate remedies. This was an archive with no copying facilities. It had no microfiche reader. There was no means of reading the materials they had. They did not . P-69 know what they had. Q. When you took it outside, and I do not know what Mr Millar really meant, I did not really understand it, but he put it in some kind of envelope when he took it outside disguised as something, that is why he said "James Bond"? A. Well, it was not disguised as something. Obviously these were glass plates. Q. I am not interested in that. A. You just mentioned this. I just said they were properly packaged. Q. Yes. I am not suggesting they were not. You took it out. You say: "I tucked the envelope with the glass plate into a hiding place before re-entering"? A. Yes. Q. What sort of a hiding place? A. Behind a wall. Q. Was it still raining? A. No. Certainly I would not have left it standing in the rain obviously. It was very well wrapped in plastic and cardboard. Q. I see. We can take this quite shortly now I think? MR JUSTICE GRAY: I am sorry, I am not following. What was the point of tucking the envelope into a hiding place before re-entering? A. I took it out at the lunch break, concealed it, noting where I concealed it, and I would come out then at the end . P-70 of the archive closing, pick it up, take it to the photographers, the Sunday Times office, have all pictures, the images printed. Q. It was prior to taking it back to England? A. No, my Lord. This was in the middle of my visit to Moscow. We then had these glass plates printed up in Moscow and took them back the first thing the next morning and put them back in the box. That same day the archivist said, "Sure, borrow some more", and he allowed us to borrow more and we did the same again. MR RAMPTON: Can you turn over page to your entry of 11th June which is B8. Can I start at 10.30 because I think we have had enough of your breakfasts in Moscow: "10.30 a.m. taxi to the archives. I return the borrow August 1939 fiche", that is the one we were talking about, is it not? A. Why. Q. So it had stayed out overnight, had it not? A. Yes, but not out in the open. Q. No, I understand that. A. It had gone walkies. Q. Mr Millar was wrong in saying it was returned the same day? A. I do not think he did say that. Q. Then I misunderstood. "I returned the borrowed August 1939 fiche and borrowed two by the same means", that means illicitly, does it not? . P-71 A. Yes. Q. This is March, June, September 1934, that is the night of the long knives period? A. A vitally important period in Nazi history. It has been concealed from the world for 55 years up to that point and I found it. Q. "Including the Rome purge"? A. Yes. Q. "I was overjoyed to find these two fiches. That clinches the importance of this stay". Over the page, please: "We left the archives at 5 p.m. I passed the hidden plates", is it? A. Yes. Q. "To Peter Millar to get it", it must be "them" "printed up tonight"? A. Yes. Q. Then you took them via ---- A. Actually it looks like one plate rather than two. Q. I know. Never mind. It was in fact I think two because we know from the documents that two plates were brought back for testing. A. Well, these obviously were not the ones brought back because we had them printed up that night and, therefore, put back the next morning. Q. So you borrow one illicitly put it back and then two more and put them back, but the two that came to England, I do . P-72 not really mind which they were, the two that came to England were also taken illicitly? A. Well, I have to halt you there and say that this is now June 11th which is the day before I returned to England. Q. Exactly. A. I do think that these ones were borrowed illicitly, because certainly on that first trip Dr Bondarev allowed us, he permitted us to take some plates out and have them printed up overnight. So that may be these two. Q. No. The two that went back to London via Munich were taken illicitly, were they not? There were five in all. A. Yes, but if Peter Millar had them printed up overnight I would not have had to take them back to England to get printed. The ones that I took out, which would have been, I would have taken them out on June 12th ---- Q. Well, I do not know what time you ---- A. Presumably. Q. I do not think you went back to the institute of whatever it was before you left for Munich. We had better look at the diary. A. Well, I am not going to argue about this, because of course I have made a total admission in writing to you on the question we of which ones were taken out and which ones were left. Q. I know. I will finish now with one question. For the sake of your good name and good standing as an historian, . P-73 for the sake of œ75,000, for the sake of beating the Munich Institute to the line and for the sake of your Goebbels book, on two occasions at least you illicitly took valuable slides out of this Institute and on one of those occasions you transferred them via aeroplane to London? A. That is correct. Q. Are you proud of yourself? A. I said earlier, no, I am not. It is not kind of thing one wants to do as an historian. But when you are dealing with the Russian archives which at any moment may seal up again, as they have in the meantime, so these plates are no longer available and the Germans are sitting on the plates too, they are just beginning to publish them now eight years after I was there. I think I did a valuable service to the community. Every single plate that I had copied I gave copies of the prints that I made to both German archives, both in Koblenz and also to the Goebbels' archives at his home town. So I made them immediately available to the world of historians. So I did a service. Q. The end may have been worthy. The result may have been desirable, but the means that you used, perhaps you would agree, were, morally speaking, I am not interested in the legality ---- A. They were illicit.
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