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-Seventh Day: Tuesday, 2nd April, 1946
(Part 10 of 11)

[Page 297]

THE PRESIDENT: Why do you object to those two Ribbentrop communications to the Press?

MR. BARRINGTON: It is self-creating evidence, my Lord. He has presumably given that evidence already. He had not given it at the same time.

THE PRESIDENT: What he said six years ago might be relevant?

MR. BARRINGTON: Well, if my Lordship thinks so; but the point I was quoting is simply that it is self-created evidence and created at the time with a view to creating an impression. It is propaganda.

THE PRESIDENT: YOU may say that, yes.

MR. BARRINGTON: Then, my Lord, the next group is the Low Countries. That group really began at 218, of course, and it goes on to 245.

THE PRESIDENT: Is this another group? The fifth group?

MR. BARRINGTON: This is the fifth group, my Lord, yes. That goes on from 218 to 245, and I will not deal in detail with that because the French Chief Prosecutor is going to speak about that. And the same with the next group, number six, which is the Balkans. The French Chief Prosecutor will deal with that, documents 246 to 278.

The next group, number seven, is Russia, and that is documents 280 to 295, with the exception, I think, of 285a, which seems to have got there by mistake - it appears to refer to the United States.

Two hundred and seventy-nine, I cannot identify from the English translation what it is at all. Perhaps your Lordship will be good enough to make an amendment against numbers 282 and 283; they should be put into the middle column, there being no objection to them. But there is an objection to all the other Russian documents. My Lordship will see, beginning at the bottom of the group, 291 to 295, they all concern the Anti-Comintern Pact.

Working up the page again from the bottom, 290/1/5 are extracts from the book which the Tribunal has already refused.

Of the documents above that, 280 is Hitler's speech about Russia in October 1939.

281 is a repetition of a document we have already had, No. 274, which is the Three-Power Pact. That will be dealt with.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean that that is a textual reproduction?

MR. BARRINGTON: I think I am right saying that it is actually a textual reproduction.

THE TRIBUNAL (Mr. Biddle): But why is there an objection if it is simply a textual reproduction? The Prosecution has been given a textual reproduction.

[Page 298]

MR. BARRINGTON: There is no objection at all.

MR. BIDDLE: You mean it is not in the right column?

MR. BARRINGTON: I was putting in the Allied column only the ones which would make up a complete set, according to the prosecution's views.

MR. BIDDLE: Is that true of 284 also, the Soviet-German Pact?

MR. BARRINGTON: I do not know whether that has come before

MR. BIDDLE: Why do you object to that then?

THE PRESIDENT: By "Pact," is it the German Pact of the 28th September, 1939?

MR. BARRINGTON: This is the 28th of September, 1939 ...

I am told that there is no objection to that.

285 is again simply a German report which draws conclusions of facts, and the prosecution says that has no proper evidential value. It is a very long report by the German Foreign Office concerning the agitation in Europe against the German Reich by the Soviet Union, and it is full of conclusions of fact and opinions.

THE PRESIDENT: It is after the date of the beginning of war against Russia.

MR. BARRINGTON: It is after the beginning of that war, my Lord, yes. No. 286 and 287, those are objected to as being without value as evidence. They come from the "Volkische Beobachter."

No. 288 is said to be a captured Soviet document, but it has deteriorated generally in the English version, has no date and no signature, and it seems of very doubtful value.

No. 289 is a report from the Yugoslav military attach6 in Moscow, which is also thought to be irrelevant by the prosecution.

Then group No. 8, my Lord is the group concerning the United States of America, documents 299 to 310, and including 285- A. The first ten documents, your Lordship will see, are reports from, we would say they come from, a very indirect source, the process report by the Polish Ambassador on the political situation in the U.S.A. in 1939. The next one seems to come from Portugal, the next from the Polish Ambassador again, the next two also from the Polish Ambassador. Then the next one, No. 300, is President Roosevelt's quarantine speech in 1937, which seems too far back to be of any proper relevance. No. 301 is a German summary of events in the United States, which we say is irrelevant for the reasons I have stated, that they are German summaries - rather more unreliable than irrelevant. No. 302, again, is the Polish Ambassador's report. No. 303 is a statement by President Roosevelt in 1936, and No. 304 is President Roosevelt's message to Congress on the 4th of January, 1939. I do not think there is anything very objectionable about that. No. 305 to 308, there is no objection. 309 - in my copy there are two different versions of 309. The first one is a German summary of the facts without any dates and with no sources indicated. It seems to be of no proper value as evidence, and the second one, 309 and 309-A, are declarations of the Pan-American conference and the German Note in reply to it. I do not think the prosecution can take a very strong objection to that, but it does not seem to be very closely in point.

TC-72, No. 127, and TC-72, No. 124, are both appeals of President Roosevelt to Hitler and are not objected to.

310 is another German summary of facts without any sources indicated.

The ninth group is simply a miscellaneous group and, if my Lordship will turn back to the first page of my note, it is the first eight documents on that page, down to No. 45. They are all allowed. There is no objection to them, except No. 12, which is the announcement of the Reichstag election results. It does not seem to matter one way or the other whether that is in.

No. 45 is Lord Rothermere's book, "Warnings and Prophecies," of predictions and prophecies, which I think the prosecution contends is not relevant evidence in this case.

The next lot of miscellaneous ones is on page 2, Nos. 70 to 73. No. 71 is the

[Page 299]

German-Lithuanian treaty about Memel, and there is no objection. No. 70 is thought to be rather irrelevant. No. 72 and 73 are objected to because they deal with the Fourteen Points of President Wilson.

The next lot of miscellaneous ones is on the last page but one of my notes right down at the bottom, No. 296, and that is a speech by Hitler on the Rhineland. You have all the evidence that has been given. It appears to be rather cumulative, if it is not in already. I have not actually checked whether it is in.

298, on the top of the next page; that is, in fact, superfluous. It is the same as No. 274. And down at the bottom of the last page, my Lord, 311, is a paper written by the defendant Ribbentrop on the Fuehrer's personality.

THE PRESIDENT: That has already been ruled out.

MR. BARRINGTON: That, I think, has been ruled out this morning, by your Lordship. No. 312 is an affidavit of Frau von Ribbentrop. No. 313 is an affidavit of Dr. Gottfriedsen. I understand from Dr. Horn that, although he had been allowed Dr. Gottfriedsen as a witness, he thinks it will save time if he read the affidavit or a part of it. Perhaps, if your Lordship will allow the prosecution to make what comments it thinks fit when he comes to do that, it would be the best way of treating it.

That is all ... all my points, my Lord. There are just the Low Countries and the Balkans.

MR. DODD: May it please the Tribunal, it is true that Mr. Barrington has spoken for all of us, and I do not intend to go over any of these documents, except this, because I fear there is some question in the minds of the members of the Tribunal about our objection to documents running from 76 to 116, 118 to 122, and 114 to 148, the Polish documents; we also say, of course, with Mr. Barrington that they are cumulative, but it seems to me there is a much more basic objection. Perhaps they all have to do with the alleged incidents inside Poland and they were published in these White Papers. These incidents involved the mistreatment of Polish citizens inside Poland, who were perhaps of German extraction. Well, it is our view that such documents are irrelevant here because that is no defence at all to the charges, and we cannot permit, we say, a nation to defend itself or these defendants to defend themselves on charges such as have been preferred here, by proving that citizens of another State, although they may have been of German extraction or of any other extraction, were mistreated inside that State. Beginning with 76, running through to 116; 118 through 122; 114 through 148; and 151 through 152. It is 124 through 148, rather than 114 through 148; 124 through 148. The last one is 151 and 152.

M. CAMPETIER DE RIBES: I will ask the Tribunal's permission to make two short reports on documents which are part of the fifth and sixth group, and which concern entirely French documents taken from the German White Book. The French prosecution has only taken cognisance of them, contrary to what the Tribunal believes. The French prosecution has not yet received a translation of the documents submitted by Dr. Horn. The first group, documents Nos. 221 to 245, are military documents; and it appears that from them Dr. Horn wishes to draw the conclusion that England and France violated the neutrality of Belgium. If we ask the Tribunal to reject the twenty-five documents, it is only because we see a grave risk of the Tribunal losing time in useless discussions. Far from having any reason to fear discussion, we feel that on the contrary France and Britain would both be found to have respected scrupulously the two pacts which they had signed: the first being to respect the neutrality of Belgium; and the second being to respect the pact by which they had guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium.

What is the precise issue here, Gentlemen? Only to find out whether Germany, France or England violated the neutrality of Belgium. The defendant Ribbentrop has been asked this by his counsel; and has answered it in the clearest possible manner, during Saturday's session, in a statement which the Tribunal is certain

[Page 300]

to remember. Ribbentrop said: "Of course it is always very hard in a war like this to violate the neutrality of a country; and you must not think that we enjoyed doing things like that."

That, Gentlemen, is a formal admission that Germany violated the neutrality of Belgium. Why should we waste time in discussing the relevance of these twenty-five documents now?

I go on to the second group, Group No. 6. These are General Staff Documents, which Germany claims to have seized; and they concern events in the Balkans in 1939 and 1940. The French prosecution asks you to reject the twenty-two documents submitted by Dr. Horn for the following two reasons. They have absolutely no claim to be considered authentic; and they are not relevant. They have absolutely no claim to be considered authentic - they are all extracts from the White Book; and the Tribunal knows the prosecution's views on this point. Moreover, the great majority of these documents are extracts from documents originating with the Allied General Staffs. No originals have been produced; and the supposed copies are not even submitted in their entirety. They are not relevant, for they all concern plans studied by the General Staffs in 1939 and the early part of 1940. These plans for French or British intervention in Yugoslavia or Greece naturally presupposed the consent of the Governments concerned, as an indispensable condition. The plans were never carried through. They were finally abandoned after the Armistice of June 1940. The documents date from 1939 and 1940, and the Tribunal will remember that the aggression against Yugoslavia and Greece occurred on 6th April, 1941, at a time when the Hitler government no longer had any reason to fear plans made in 1939.

These documents, which have no claim to be considered authentic, are also in no way relevant to the present discussion, and for that reason the French prosecution asks the Tribunal to reject them.


(Dr. Horn approached the lectern.)

Dr. Horn, the Tribunal thinks that you may possibly, in view of the evidence which the defendant Ribbentrop has given, find it possible to withdraw some of these documents, in view of the time that has been taken up. I mean the defendant Ribbentrop has dealt with the subject very fully and it may be, therefore, that you will be able to withdraw some of these documents in order to save time.

DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President, I will withdraw all the documents which are cumulative. I should like first ...

THE PRESIDENT: If you let us know now what it is you wish to withdraw ...

DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President.

May I begin with stating my position on a few basic questions? That is the probative value of White Books and Embassy reports. I would like to point out that these documents had a decisive influence on political opinion. That applies to the defendant von Ribbentrop as well as Hitler. And, in addition, I would like to point out that the prosecution has based itself largely on reports of this kind. I should like, therefore, to ask for equal rights for the defence.

Then I would like to say a few words about the French General Staff documents which were found in the town of La Charite during the French campaign. If the High Tribunal shares the doubts and misgivings expressed by the representative of the French prosecution, I ask permission to question the Commander of the 10th Army Group, Fieldmarshal Loeb, to the fact that these documents were found in the town of La Charite.

The Polish documents on which I have based myself were found in the Polish Foreign Ministry at Warsaw. The Commander-in- Chief at that time, Fieldmarshal or General Blaskowitz, can testify to that effect. And in this connection I will summon Blaskowitz; as a witness, if the Tribunal has any misgivings.

Moreover, I can crystallise the opinion of the defence by saying that I believe that objections can only be raised against a document if its inaccuracy is obvious

[Page 301]

from the contents, or if it can be shown to be a forgery. I ask the Tribunal to admit all the other documents contained in the White Books or the Ambassadors' reports.

As to the documents on Polish minority questions I would like to point out that Prime Minister Chamberlain himself described the minority question as being the decisive question between Germany and Poland. Since these negotiations, of which the main subject, besides Danzig and the Corridor, was the minority question, led to war, the minority question is therefore one of the causes of the war.

Therefore I ask that the documents on this point, which prove violation of the minority pacts on the part of Poland, be admitted in evidence.

If the High Tribunal agrees, I will now begin to submit the documents to the Tribunal for judicial notice; that is, to read certain essential passages, and I would like to tell the Tribunal now which documents I will dispense with.

DR. DIX: I should be grateful to the Tribunal if I might just state my position - not as regards the case of Ribbentrop, with whom I am not concerned; my colleague Dr. Horn, is dealing with him - but simply on principle, not exclusively from the defence point of view, but quite objectively and basically in regard to the various problems which the Tribunal must consider before making its decision as to the admissibility of any piece of evidence - either in the form of a question put to a witness or a document to be submitted.

I am not asking for permission to talk for the sake of talking, but because I believe that by doing so I can shorten the later stages of the proceedings; because I hope that the Tribunal will be in agreement with the main points of my statements and that therefore it will be unnecessary for the defence to make these statements at a later stage.

I should like to ask your Lordship whether the Tribunal will allow me now to make clear, as shortly as possible, the position which I take up in principle on the questions which I consider of vital importance for the decision. May I do this?


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