The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)
Nuremberg, war crimes, crimes against humanity

The Trial of German Major War Criminals

Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany
23rd March to 3rd April, 1946

Ninety-Second Day: Wednesday, 27th March, 1946
(Part 9 of 10)

[Page 118]

THE PRESIDENT Dr. Horn, the Tribunal will rule upon the admissibility of these passages from Lord Rothermere's book when they have had the translation submitted to them. In the meantime, will you go on presenting your documents in the way that I suggested, and not stopping to detail any of them except those that you particularly want to.

DR. HORN: May I explain very briefly that the suppression of German racial groups in the border territories of Czechoslovakia led to the formation of the

[Page 119]

Sudeten German Party, and the co-operation and consultation of the latter with official German establishments. The defendant von Ribbentrop in his capacity of Reich Foreign Minister, and within the scope of the directives he received, held conferences with leaders of the national groups. A number of documents have already been submitted in evidence by the prosecution; and I shall refer to them later. In this connection may I ask to have a correction made in Document 2788-PS, where, on Page 2, approximately in the middle, it says "through the extent and gradual" - there is an error in translation here. Our document says "provocation," whereas the original says "specification (Praezisierung) of the demands in order to avoid entering the government." I request the correction of this error, as it distorts the meaning.

In the course of the prosecution's presentation von Ribbentrop was said to have supported the high-handed conduct of the Sudeten German leaders. As evidence to the contrary I refer to a part of Document 3060-PS which has not yet been read and from which the contrary can be gathered, namely, that the then foreign minister von Ribbentrop took measures against the high-handedness of the Sudeten German Leaders with the help of his Ambassador in Prague.

As evidence of this, may I quote the first and second paragraph of this document. I quote:

"Frank's dismissal" - Frank was the leader of the Sudeten German Party at that time - "has had a salutary effect. I have come to a separate understanding with Henlein, who had evaded me recently, and with Frank, and have received the following promises:

1. The policy and tactics of the Sudeten German Party must be decided exclusively by the direction of German foreign policy as transmitted through the German Legation. My directives must be obeyed implicitly.

These directives are in accordance with the general policy, which had as its aim the avoidance of direct interference in Czech affairs or in the policy of the Sudeten German Party."

Regarding the details of the activity of the German Government and of the Foreign Office in their relations with the Sudeten German Party, I shall question von Ribbentrop when he is called as a witness.

I now pass on to Ribbentrop Exhibit 46, which I submit to the Tribunal for judicial notice. This document is a report from the embassy of the Czechoslovak Republic in Paris. It is concerned with the meaning and purpose of Lord Runciman's mission to Prague. It shows that that mission was entrusted to him by England for the purpose of gaining time for rearmament. May I read the document?

"Paris, 5th August, 1938. Secret.

Massigli considers the sending of Lord Runciman to Prague a good thing. Anthony Eden said, during a conversation with Ambassador Corbin - the French Ambassador to London - that on careful reflection the sending of Lord Runciman to Prague was a step in the right direction, as he is said to be going to engage England more directly with Central Europe than has been the case up to now.

Massigli says that the English know that there will be war, and that they are trying every means to delay it. He is perfectly aware that Lord Runciman's mission in Prague for the purpose of settling that dispute is a danger to Czechoslovakia; for Lord Runciman might - for the alleged purpose of gaining time - propose something which could be tremendously damaging to Czechoslovakia.

To this view of Massigli's I add further information which is extremely significant. During the recent grain conference held in London, the British, the Dominions, the United States and France conducted separate discussions. The French delegate had a discussion with Minister Elliot (British Minister

[Page 120]

of Health) and Morrison (British Minister for Agriculture) as well as with the distinguished expert, Sir Arthur Street, who was in the Ministry of Agriculture and who had been entrusted with a leading post in the Air Ministry. From the speeches, conduct and negotiations of the British Delegation, the French delegate gathered the positive impression that the British were interested in organising grain supplies not so much to prevent as to win the conflict. The ministers Elliot and Morrison are both supposed to believe in the possibility of a conflict. Sir Arthur Street said that in six months' time he would have put British aviation on its feet. Consequently, much importance is attached to the gaining of time in England. I mention this information at this point in connection with Lord Runciman's mission to Prague, because, as I said already, the question of gaining time plays an important if not decisive role in the sending of Lord Runciman to Paris.

With best greetings, yours sincerely,


On 29th September, 1938, the Munich pact was concluded, in which von Ribbentrop also participated. Just how far he did this I shall demonstrate when he is examined in the witness- box regarding his policy.

On 30th September there was a mutual declaration, which I submit to the Tribunal as Ribbentrop Exhibit 47. That declaration by the Fuehrer and the British Prime Minister Chamberlain dated 30th September, 1938, was planned to serve the purpose of removing all the remaining outstanding differences between Germany and England.

The reaction to this agreement differed in Germany and in England. As evidence for the British reaction I refer to Ribbentrop Exhibit 48, which I am offering to the Tribunal with the request for judicial notice. This is an extract from the speech of the British Prime Minister Chamberlain in the House of Commons on 3rd October, 1938. May I quote the following from its first paragraph:

" ... If there is a lesson we can learn from the experiences of these last weeks it is the fact that lasting peace cannot be attained by sitting still and waiting for it. Active and positive efforts are required to attain this peace.

We, in this country, have already been busy for a long time with a rearmament programme whose speed and extent increases constantly. Nobody should believe that - because of the signing of the Munich agreement by the four powers - we can at present afford to reduce our efforts regarding this programme ..."

As evidence that this re-armament programme, which Chamberlain himself said was constantly growing in speed and size, I should like to prove this assertion by reference to Ribbentrop Exhibit 49. This is a speech of the British Secretary of State for War, Hore Belisha, at the Mansion House, in London, given on 10th October, 1938, and I request the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this speech also, from the extracts which I am submitting. May I quote a few words from them?
"More still, however, is to be done to give full force and opportunity to the territorial army as a whole."
I am now omitting a paragraph and read the following one, paragraph 5, which says:
"As regards the organization of formations, infantry brigades will in future have three battalions, as in the Regular Army, instead of four. Employing the material that we have, we find that we can form nine complete divisions on the Regular Army model ... We have provided also a considerable number of modern corps and Army Units, such as Army Field and Survey regiments. R.A. and Signal Corps will be ready to take their place in such

[Page 121]

formations should war eventuate. This is also in accordance with Regular Army organisation."
So far, the quotation is from the speech of the Secretary of State for War. In Ribbentrop Exhibit 50, further stress is laid on armament. It concerns a speech of Winston Churchill's of 16th October, 1938, and I beg the Tribunal to take judicial notice of this speech in connection with extracts from it as a document. I am quoting only a few sentences from it.
"We must arm.... We shall no doubt arm.

Britain, casting away the habits of centuries, will decree national service upon her citizens. The British people will stand erect and will face whatever may be coming. But arms - instrumentalities - as President Wilson called them - are not sufficient by themselves. We must add to them the power of ideas.

People say we ought not to allow ourselves to be drawn into a theoretical antagonism between Nazidom and democracy, but the antagonism is here now."

I prove the fact that England was arming energetically in the air far beyond the normal needs of defence, by Ribbentrop Exhibit 51, which I am offering to the Tribunal with the request for judicial notice. This is a declaration of the British Secretary of State for Air in the House of Commons, dated 16th November, 1938 -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, I thought you understood what the Tribunal wanted you to do, which was to put in these documents altogether. I think I have said from 44 - was not that the document to which you had got? - to 300 and something, that you could put them in altogether. But now you have gone through 46, 47,48,49, 50 and 51, and you seem to be going through each one in detail, doing exactly what I asked you not to do. Did you not understand what I said?

DR. HORN: The way I understood you, Mr. President, was that I may read important parts from them. That is what I did. It concerns only important extracts.

THE PRESIDENT: Are you going to find an important passage in each of the three hundred documents?

DR. HORN: No, Mr. President, certainly not; but if I cannot read these documents, these extracts, then I would like to ask the Tribunal to accept my whole document book as evidence, so that I can refer to it later.

THE PRESIDENT: That is what we intended to do. What we want you to do is to offer in evidence now, stating that you offer from Exhibit 44 up to 300 and whatever the number is, and we will allow you, of course, to refer to them at a later stage when you make your speech; and if there is any passage which the prosecution object to they can inform you about it beforehand and the matter can then be argued. But what we do not desire you to do is to take up the time of the Tribunal by either offering each of these documents by its number individually, 44, 45 and so on, or by reading anything except passages which are of especial importance at this moment. After all, you are not putting forward your whole case now; you are only introducing your evidence.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, I had ...

THE PRESIDENT: I am reminded that of these last few exhibits to which you have been referring, you have referred to about six, all of them upon British rearmament. That is obviously cumulative, is it not? Therefore, it cannot be that all those are all particularly important to you.

We only desire to get on, and we desire you, as I have said, to put in these documents, if I may use the phrase, in bulk; and we do not desire you to refer to any of them beyond that.

DR. HORN: In that case I am offering No. 51 -

COLONEL POKROVSKY (interposing): If I understand rightly, Dr. Horn up to now has not drawn any conclusions from those directions which were given him time and again by the Tribunal.

[Page 122]

I had an opportunity, that is, as far as I could, to actually acquaint myself with those translations that are gradually coming to me, and, by the way, Dr. Horn turned over these documents, not three weeks ago, as he said, but considerably later. I have a whole series of objections.

Most of the documents in general are altogether irrelevant to the matter, and in particular, absolutely irrelevant to the case of Ribbentrop.

THE PRESIDENT: Colonel Pokrovsky, we have already indicated that we do not want to deal with questions of admissibility at the moment, because the documents are not before us. I do not understand the purpose of your objections. We have not got the documents here. How can we tell whether they are admissible or not?

COLONEL POKROVSKY: I have an objection in principle. Part of the documents - I will not quote their contents but merely for illustration will name two or three numbers - part of them are direct filthy and slanderous attacks by private persons against such statesmen as Mr. Roosevelt, the late President of the United States. I have in mind Documents 290/4, 290/3, 290/1. Some of them are just provocative forged documents. I have in mind also Document 286.

There is a whole series of documents which fall directly under the terms of those directions that were given to Dr. Horn by the Tribunal, and it seems to me that if Dr. Horn will continue reading those documents into the record -

THE PRESIDENT (interposing): Colonel Pokrovsky, as I have said, we have not got these documents before us. You say Documents 291, 293, 294, and 286

I do not know even what the documents are. I have never seen them.

I think the best way would be for the Chief Prosecutors to submit their objections in writing, and then they will be considered by the Tribunal. The documents are not here. We cannot do anything until we see what the documents are. In order to try and get on with this case, we are allowing Dr. Horn to put in the documents in bulk. But your objections now are really simply taking up time and doing no good at all. If you would put in your objections in writing, saying that you object on certain grounds to these documents, that matter would be considered, but we can't consider it without that.

COLONEL POKROVSKY: My objection was dictated by the wish to save time, and is of a very practical nature.

From the moment when a certain document - well, at least the contents of it - from the moment even a brief account of it is recorded in the transcript this material becomes the property of the Press; and it seems to me that it is not in our interests to have a document which is a known falsification, and the fate of which has not been determined by the Tribunal, that such a document should be turned over to certain circles and that it should be made public.

Meanwhile, among the documents which have been presented by Dr. Horn, there are such documents. It is not quite clear to me why these particular documents were delayed in translation, why these documents were presented later than others. On the basis of this consideration I thought it my duty to address the Tribunal, and I think that the Tribunal will consider the reason for my objections.

THE PRESIDENT: I follow what you mean now with reference to documents being communicated to the Press, and steps ought to be taken on that. The Tribunal will rule now that documents, upon the admissibility of which the Tribunal has not ruled, are not to be given to the Press. I believe there have been some infractions of that in the past, but that is the Tribunal's ruling, that documents should not be given to the Press until they have been admitted in evidence before this Tribunal.


THE PRESIDENT: I ought perhaps to add that the Tribunal are not in complete control of this matter. It is for the prosecution to see, and also possibly for the defence, that documents should not be given to the Press until they have been admitted in evidence here.

COLONEL, POKROVSKY: Up to now the order has been that if the documents

[Page 123]

mentioned in Court are recorded in the transcript, then they become public property.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Your Honour: I wonder if I could help on that practical point. Because it is one which has given us a little concern.

As your Lordship knows, the practice has been that the documents have been given some 24 hours before they are produced in Court, on the understanding, which has been almost completely complied with, that the Press would not publish until the document is put in evidence. And, my Lord, I am sure that if the Tribunal expressed the wish that where any objection is taken to a document and the Tribunal reserves the question of admissibility, the Press would, in the spirit with which they have complied with the previous practice, comply at once with the Tribunal's desire and not publish it in these circumstances. I think that in practice that would solve the difficulty which your Lordship has just mentioned.

THE PRESIDENT: The only thing is, of course, that we are now dealing with a very large number of documents which Dr. Horn wants to submit, and, as you have heard, for purposes of trying to save time we have asked him to submit those documents in bulk.


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