Archive/File: imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-17/tgmwc-17-163.06 Last-Modified: 2000/07/21 (A recess was taken until 1400 hours.) CONSTANTIN VON NEURATH - Resumed CROSS-EXAMINATION - Continued BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Q. I just want to get two or three facts clear about 1935 before I put some questions to you. On 10th March, Germany announced the establishment of an air force and on 16th March I think you, among others, signed the law introducing compulsory military service. You explained all that to us; I do not want to go over it again, but I just want to ask you about the Secret Reich Defence Law of 21st May, 1935. Would you look at General Thomas's comment on it. SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is at Page 52 of Document Book 12. It is about Page 71 of the German Document Book. [Page 173] THE PRESIDENT: 12-A or B? SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: 12, my Lord. That is the original one; Page 52, my Lord. BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Q. "The General Reich Centralisation of the Supreme Reich authorities, ordered in case of war, has influenced the development and the activity of the war economy organization to such an extent that it is necessary to discuss the matter in detail. The foundations had already been laid for the central organization of the supreme Reich authorities in the event of a war prior to 1933, in many discussions and decrees, but it was radically altered when the National Socialists came into power, and especially by the death of President von Hindenburg. The latest orders were decreed in the Reich Defence Law of 21st May, 1935, supposed to be published only in case of war, but already declared valid for carrying out war preparations. As this law fixed the duties of the armed forces and the other Reich authorities in case of war, it was also the fundamental ruling for the development and activity of the war economy organization." And you will remember that on the same day the defendant Schacht had been made Plenipotentiary for War Economy. Did you appreciate at the time, defendant, that that law was the fundamental ruling for the development and activity of the war economy organization? A. Yes, but only in case of a war, that is, in case of mobilization. Q. You see that the point that I am putting to you is that it had already been declared valid for carrying out war preparations. Did you not understand that it was a big step forward for war preparations? A. Not at all. It was not a big step forward at all. It was only the establishing of the necessary measures in case of a war. In every country you have to guarantee the co-operation of the various offices in the event of an attack. Q. That is your view. Now, at this time, up to May, 1935, is it correct that the German Foreign Office was still staffed by diplomats or Foreign Office officials of the older school and had not yet been invaded by the products of the Bureau Ribbentrop? A. Yes. Q. Did you receive any warnings from your own staff as to the happenings in Austria or the rearmament, the declaration of the air force and the conscription? A. I was advised about happenings in Austria, as can be seen from the report which you submitted to me. The re- establishment of the Wehrmacht was a decision which was made in the Cabinet, and of course I knew about that. Q. Yes, but - I am sorry, probably I did not put the proper emphasis on the word. When I said "warning," I meant a real warning from your officials that these happenings were making Germany regarded abroad as being bloodthirsty and war- mongering. Did you get any warnings from your officials? A. Certainly not, for that was not the case, and if any assertions like that were being made abroad, they certainly were not true. Q. Now; would you look at Document 3308-PS, the affidavit of the interpreter Paul Schmidt. SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Page 68 of Document Book 12-A, and it is Page 65 or 66 of the German version, Paragraph 4. Q. (continuing): Now, just let me read you paragraphs 4 and 5; Herr Paul Schmidt says: "4. The attempted putsch in Austria and the murder of Dollfuss on 25th July, 1934, seriously disturbed the career personnel of the Foreign Office because these events discredited Germany in the eyes of the world. It was common knowledge that the putsch had been engineered by the Party, and the fact that its attempt followed so closely on the heels of the blood purge [Page 174] within Germany could not help but suggest the similarity of Nazi methods, both in foreign and in domestic policy. This concern over the repercussions of the attempt was soon heightened by a recognition of the fact that these episodes were partly responsible for the Franco-Soviet Consultative Pact of 5th December, 1934, a defensive arrangement which was not heeded as a warning by the Nazis." Defendant, let us take that. In these three points, is it correct, as Herr Schmidt says, that the attempted putsch and the murder of Dollfuss seriously disturbed the career personnel in the Foreign Office? A. Not only the career personnel of my office were disturbed over this but I too, of course. Q. And taking the last sentence: "This concern (that is the disturbance) over the repercussions of the attempted putsch was soon heightened by a recognition of the fact that these episodes (the blood purge and the putsch) were partly responsible for the Franco-Soviet consultative pact of 5th December, 1934, a defensive arrangement which was not heeded as a warning." Is that correct, that among your staff the concern was heightened by recognising that the blood purge and the putsch had alarmed France and the Soviet Union as to the position of Germany and led to the consultative pact? A. No, that is a personal opinion of the interpreter Schmidt. Q. No, with respect to you, defendant, it is not. What interpreter Schmidt is saying is that that was the opinion of your experienced staff in the Foreign Office, and that is what I am putting to you. Is he not right in saying that your experienced staff were concerned that these events had had their effect on the consultative pact? A. Not in the least. Q. Well, at any rate - A. I can only repeat, the two things had no connection with each other. Q. Is he correct in his last statement that that arrangement was not heeded as a warning by the Nazis? A. That I cannot say, I do not know. Q. Well, now, just look at the next paragraph. "The announcement in March of the establishment of a German air force and of the introduction of conscription was followed on 2nd May, 1935, by the conclusion of a mutual assistance pact between France and the Soviet Union. The career personnel of the Foreign Office regarded this as a further very serious warning as to the potential consequences of German foreign policy, but the Nazi leaders only stiffened their attitude towards the Western Powers, declaring that they were not going to be intimidated. At this time, the career officials at least expressed their reservations to the Foreign Minister, Neurath. I do not know whether or not Neurath in turn related these expressions of concern to Hitler." Now, just let us take that. Did ... do you agree that the career personnel of the Foreign Office regarded the Franco- Soviet pact as "a further very severe, very serious warning as to the potential consequences of German foreign policy"? A. I do not know in the name of whom of the personnel Herr Schmidt is making these statements. But I, at any event, heard nothing to the effect that my career personnel had expressed these opinions. Q. Well, here is Herr Schmidt saying: "The career officials, at least, expressed their reservations to the Foreign Minister, Neurath." That is you. A. Yes. Q. Are you saying that Herr Schmidt, who after all was a career official although he was an interpreter for a great deal of the time, are you saying that Herr Schmidt is not stating what is accurate when he says that your permanent officials expressed their concern to you? [Page 175] A. But quite decidedly. How could Herr Schmidt, who was only an insignificant civil servant at that time, know what my career personnel told me and in addition, how could Schmidt judge this? And I should also like to add that Schmidt said here, before this Tribunal, that this affidavit, or whatever it may be, was submitted to him after a serious illness and that he personally knew absolutely nothing more about the contents. Q. You may rest assured, the Tribunal will correct me if I am wrong, that I put these paragraphs to Herr Schmidt and he agreed with them when he was giving evidence before this Tribunal. But now just look at one other statement at the end of paragraph six. We will read paragraph six because I want to ask you about the end. "The re-entry of the German military forces into the Rhineland was preceded by Nazi diplomatic preparation in February. A German communique of 21st February, 1936, reaffirmed that the Franco-Soviet pact of mutual assistance was incompatible with the Locarno Treaties and the League Covenant. On the same day Hitler argued, in an interview, that no real grounds existed for conflict between Germany and France. Considered against the background statements in Mein Kampf, which were directed against France, the circumstances were such as to suggest that the stage was being set for justifying some future act. I do not know how far in advance the march into the Rhineland was decided upon. I personally knew about it and discussed it approximately two or three weeks before it occurred. Considerable fear had been expressed, particularly in military circles, concerning the risk of this undertaking. Similar fears were felt by many in the Foreign Office. It was common knowledge in the Foreign Office, however, that Neurath was the only person in Government circles consulted by Hitler who felt confident that the Rhineland could be re-militarised without armed opposition from Britain and France. Neurath's position throughout this period was one which would induce Hitler to have more faith in Neurath than in the general run of old school diplomats, whom he (Hitler) tended to hold in disrespect." Well, now, if this minor official, of whom you just talked, knew about and discussed the march into the Rhineland some two or three weeks before it occurred, how long before it occurred had you discussed it? A. Herr Schmidt must have been clairvoyant, for two or three weeks in advance even I did not know anything about it. I heard of it about, one week before Hitler's decision, and if I ... if it says here that I ... that it was generally known in the Foreign Ministry that I was the only one in the Government circles consulted by Hitler who was confident that the Rhineland could be re-militarised without armed opposition from Britain and France, it certainly turned out that I was right. Q. You were right ... but is it true that you were the only person in Government circles who thought that it could be occupied without interference by Britain and France? Is that true? A. I am not in a position to say whether I was the only one, but at any rate, I was convinced of this on the basis of my knowledge of international conditions. Q. So that at any rate, whatever the limitations of Herr Paul Schmidt, he knew what your position was quite accurately. Was he not right about it in the last sentence, that your position throughout the period was one which would make Hitler look to you rather than to the rest, the other figures of pre-Nazi diplomacy and foreign affairs, because you were the person who was encouraging him? Is that not the position? A. I did not encourage him in any way, but I described the situation to him as I saw it, and it was later proved that I had been right. Q. Well, now, I just want you to deal with one other point, which is really a 1936 matter, but we will deal with it now, as I have been dealing with Austria. [Page 176] You have said once or twice that you objected very strongly to the description of the Austrian treaty, the treaty between the Reich and Austria of 11th July, as being a subterfuge or a fa‡ade. That is right, is it not, you objected very strongly to that view? A. Yes. Q. Do you know that Hitler had given instructions to the Gauleiter of the Austrian NSDAP to carry on the struggle at the same time as the treaty was signed? A. No, I do not know anything about that. Q. Just let me remind you. I do not want to put anything that seems unfair. SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is Document Book 12, Page 97. This is the report of Dr. Rainer, whom the Tribunal has had the advantage of seeing, and if you will look at the end of one paragraph he says: "The agreement of 11th July, 1936, was strongly influenced by the activities of these two persons (that is defendant Seyss-Inquart and Colonel Glaise-Horstenau). Papen mentioned Glaise-Horstenau to the Fuehrer as being the confidential agent." Now the next paragraph: "At that time the Fuehrer wished to see the leaders of the party - " THE PRESIDENT: Sir David - SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am sorry, my Lord. THE PRESIDENT: Did you say Page 97 of Document Book 12? SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I did, my Lord, yes. Yes, my Lord, it is the third paragraph, and begins, "At that time - " THE PRESIDENT: Oh, yes, I see it. SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: If your Lordship pleases: "At that time, the Fuehrer wished to see the leaders of the Party in Austria, in order to tell them his opinion on what Austrian National Socialists should do". THE PRESIDENT: I am afraid it was another "at that time" that we were looking at. Could you give us some other indication? SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: My Lord, it is in the middle. THE PRESIDENT: It is on Page 98 in ours. SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: I am so sorry, my Lord. The paging must be different. I beg your Lordship's pardon. BY SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: "At that time the Fuehrer wished to see the leaders of the Party in Austria in order to tell them his opinion on what Austrian National Socialists should do. Meanwhile Hinterleitner was arrested, and Dr. Rainer became his successor - " Mind you, this is the man who is making this statement. "successor and leader of the Austrian Party. On 16th July, 1936, Dr. Rainer and Globocnik visited the Fuehrer at Obersalzberg, where they received a clear explanation of the situation and the wishes of the Fuehrer On 17th July, 1936, all illegal Gauleiter met near Salzburg, where they, received a complete report from Rainer on the statement of the Fuehrer and his political instructions for carrying out the fight. At the same conference the Gauleiter received organisational instructions from Globocnik and Hiedler." Did you know - did Hitler not tell his Foreign Minister, who had just supervised the conclusion of this treaty, that he intended to give the illegal Gauleiter instructions as to how to carry on the fight? Did he not tell you that? [Page 177] A. No, he did not tell me that, but I do remember - I believe it was the same Dr. Rainer who appeared here as a witness - he stated that Hitler summoned him and other Gauleiter and told them that in the future they were to observe strictly the agreements of 1936. The matter that you just quoted is not mentioned at all in the document which was submitted to me. Q. No, that is not mentioned. What is mentioned is the political instructions for carrying out the fight and the organisational instructions from Globocnik. At any rate, you knew nothing about that? A. No. Q. Well, it is rather difficult for you to judge whether the treaty is made sincerely if you do not know the instructions that are given to the illegal Party in Austria by Hitler, is it not? A. Yes, naturally.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor