Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day016.01 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE 1996 I. No. 113 QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION Royal Courts of Justice Strand, London Monday, 7th February 2000 Before: MR JUSTICE GRAY B E T W E E N: DAVID JOHN CAWDELL IRVING Claimant -and- (1) PENGUIN BOOKS LIMITED (2) DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT Defendants The Claimant appeared in person MR RICHARD RAMPTON Q.C. (instructed by Messrs Davenport Lyons and Mishcon de Reya) appeared on behalf of the First and Second Defendants MISS HEATHER ROGERS (instructed by Davenport Lyons) appeared on behalf of the First Defendant Penguin Books Limited MR ANTHONY JULIUS (of Mishcon de Reya) appeared on behalf of the Second Defendant Deborah Lipstadt PROCEEDINGS - DAY SIXTEEN . P-1 Day 16 Monday, 7th February 2000. (10.30 A.m.) MR JUSTICE GRAY: Mr Irving and Mr Rampton, I have received a letter from I think it is a German lawyer called Gunter Murmann, the significance of which is not immediately obvious to me, but I thought I had better hand it down to you to make what you will of it. I know you have been receiving a lot of similar documents. Have a look at it when you have a convenient moment. Yes, Mr Irving? MR IRVING: May it please the court. I have here this morning a witness on summons, Sir John Keegan. I also have a number of points that I wish to submit to your Lordship. I think, out of fairness to Sir John Keegan, we ought to hear his evidence first, and then I will put to your Lordship the various procedural points which I wish to. MR JUSTICE GRAY: That sounds perfectly sensible. Let us have him straightaway. MR IRVING: I call Sir John Keegan. < SIR JOHN KEEGAN, sworn. < Examined by MR IRVING. Q. My Lord, Sir John's evidence will go entirely to reputation and no other matter in this court. Sir John, first of all, to make it perfectly plain to the court, you are here pursuant to a witness summons, in other words, what used to be called a subpoena. Is that correct? A. I was subpoenaed by you. I would also like to say that . P-2 until this moment I have never met you, never spoken to you and never corresponded with you. Q. That is precisely what I was going to ask next. In other words, I have not rehearsed with you in any way what I might or might not ask you by way of questions? A. I would not have agreed to that in any case. Q. Yes, of course. A. Sir John, you are now Defence Correspondent for Telegraph Newspapers Limited? A. Defence Editor. Q. Defence Editor of Telegraph Newspapers Limited. How long have you held that post, please? A. I was Defence Correspondent to begin with in 1986 and became Defence Editor about 1990. Q. You have, it is fair to say, a very high reputation in England as what I might call an establishment historian? A. Well, I was knighted for services to military history Q. My congratulations and the congratulations of the court go to you for that very recent honour. It was in the New Year's Honours list? A. Yes. Q. I do not wish to detain you at all long, Sir John, here this morning. I am grateful to you for coming in spite of your disability. I just want to take you through a number of papers which I have handed to you a few minutes ago going back to 1980. I believe your Lordship also has that . P-3 small clip of them? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I do. Thank you very much. MR IRVING: Do you remember writing an article for The Times Literary Supplement in about April 1980? A. Yes, I do not, because I review a great deal, but I am quite sure that I did write what is quoted here. Q. Is it right that in that review you wrote -- this is a review of another book, not a book by myself? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, both, is it not?. A. I am sorry, I did not understand the question. MR IRVING: This was not reviewing a book by me, was it? It was reviewing some other book. A. If you say so. Q. Is it right that you wrote the following words: "Two books in English stand out from the vast literature of the Second World War, Chester Wilmott, 'Struggle for Europe' published in 1952 and David Irving's 'Hitler's War' which appeared three years ago"? A. Yes, and that is my general opinion. I think that, taken together, they are -- if I were to recommend to a starter two books which would explain the Second World War from Hitler's side and from the Allies' side, those are the two books I would choose. Q. This does not, of course, mean that you endorse or accept all the views that I might be held to propagate in them or not, or otherwise? . P-4 A. Indeed not, because later on in the papers you have given me I reprove you for your lack of a moral point of view in your discussion of Hitler and of his status relative to Churchill and Roosevelt. Q. Is it right to say that this opinion which you expressed in that review was not only publicly held but also privately held by yourself? A. Yes. I often say you have to read Hitler's War. Q. Can I draw your attention to letter No. 2 in the bundle? This is a letter from a man called Mr Alan Williams? A. Yes, he used to be my editor at the Viking Press, my American publishers. Q. Yes. The late Alan Williams was also my editor, of course, so he knew us both. Is it true that sometime early in 1980 you had a conversation with our mutual friend, Alan Williams, in which you commented on the same book 'Hitler's War'? Will you read, please, the middle sentences of the second paragraph? Does he state ---- A. "John Keegan is, as you may know, writing a book for us on the D-day invasion. While we were talking about it, he said that there were two general survey books that really stood head and shoulders above all the rest, one of them the Chester Wilmott and the other 'Hitler's War'". Q. He did not know ---- A. "He did not know I had any involvement with the latter volume when he said this". . P-5 Q. Thank you very much. Were you expressing your true opinion in that conversation with Mr Wilmott? A. Of course. Q. Has he accurately reflected in this letter what your opinion was at that time? A. Yes. Alan Williams and I were great friends. Q. Yes, he was a man of insight and perception. In fact, I gave him a silver tray from Harrods inscribed for his bravery in publishing my book. He had it displayed in his office. Would you turn to page 5, Sir John? A. Yes. Q. Is this a panel from the Sunday Telegraph of August last year? A. Yes. Q. Is it headed "Book of the Century"? A. Yes. Q. Do you there make your choice of which book you considered to be the book of the last century? A. Yes. Q. Can you remember what book that was? A. Of course, it is a 'Struggle for Europe'. I regard it as a slightly odd choice, and I do not expect many people to support me, but it happens to have been an enormously informative influence on me. Q. I also read it. I agree with you, for what it is worth. It is a very fine book indeed. So your opinion on the . P-6 Chester Wilmott book had not at that time changed? A. No. Q. You still rank it among the highest. Finally, would you turn to pages 6 and 7 which, I am afraid, is the only copy I have of a two page extract from your recent book 'The Battle for History'. A. Yes. Q. Will you agree that in that you repeat once again, 16 years after the first time you expressed this opinion ---- A. Yes, I do. Q. --- that Hitler's War was a valuable book? A. Indeed, you are honest enough to include a message on the Internet which points out that you omitted ---- Q. One sentence, yes, in the bundle. Would you read out that sentence too perhaps, for the record? This is somebody writing an e-mail to me, chiding me. A. Could I quote the whole thing? MR JUSTICE GRAY: It would help me if you did because I am not sure which sentence has been omitted from what. MR IRVING: I am not sure if it is in your Lordship's bundle. It would be page 10 if it is in your Lordship's bundle. Do you have page 10? MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I do. MR IRVING: Would you read out that brief message on page 10 from a correspondent? A. It is a message from somebody called Graham Broad on a web . P-7 site, dated 28th December 1999: "If Mr Irving is going to quote John Keegan when Keegan supports him, he might as well have the integrity to quote him when Keegan does not. He cites at length from Keegan's'The Battle for History', but does not, to my knowledge, anywhere on this web site quote Keegan's remark on page 10 of that book. Some controversies are entirely bogus, like David Irving's contention that Hitler's subordinates kept from the fact of the Final Solution". Q. That is, of course, still your opinion, is it not? A. I am sorry? Q. That is, of course, still your opinion, is it not, that I am wrong on the Holocaust, or that my opinion on that is flawed? MR JUSTICE GRAY: That Hitler did not know. A. Well, I read Hitler's War, the appropriate passages, very carefully over the weekend, and I continue to think it perverse of you to propose that Hitler could not have known until as late as October 1943 what was going on to the Jewish population of Europe, and indeed many other minority groups as well, not only minority groups.
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