The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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                                                  [Page 182]

MONDAY, 20th MAY, 1946



SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Dr. Horn wishes to ask some

DR. HORN (Counsel for the defendant von Ribbentrop): With
the permission of the Tribunal I should like to put a few
more questions to the witness.


Admiral, is it true that on 24th April, 1941, the so-called
neutrality patrol of North American warships was extended
past the 300-mile limit to a distance of at least 1,000

A. I cannot remember the date, but such an extension did
take place at some time.

Q. Is it true that at the beginning of June 1941 a law was
passed in the United States confiscating  foreign ships
immobilised in American harbours as a result of the war, and
including twenty-six Italian and two German ships?

A. Here again I cannot tell you the date for certain. It
happened in the summer of 1941. The ships were mostly
Italian, with a few German ships. I cannot swear to the
exact figures.

In June 1941, the United States publicly declared their
willingness to give the Soviet Union every possible aid. Did
you discuss this with Hitler, and what was his attitude
toward it?

A. Yes, that is correct, There was some question of a loan
without interest, or some such thing. Very probably I did
speak to Hitler about it, but I cannot tell you what his
attitude was. I can only say that all these measures at that
time in no way deterred us from the course we had pursued
until then.

In June I had the conversation with Hitler at which I
explained to him that up to that time we had allowed
American warships to go completely unmolested, and that we
would continue to do so in spite of the considerable
disadvantages entailed, as I mentioned recently.

Q. In 1941 the American Secretary of War, Mr. Stimson, the
Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Knox, and the Secretary of State,
Mr. Hull, repeatedly advocated in public the use of the
United States Fleet to safeguard English transports of war
material to Great Britain. On 12th July, 1941, Mr. Knox
informed the representatives of the Press of Roosevelt's
order to shoot at German ships. How did Hitler and you react
to these actions, which were contrary to neutrality?

A. Your facts are correct. They will go down in the annals
of history. Hitler did subsequently issue an express order
that we were in no circumstances to open fire of our own
accord, but only in self-defence. This situation actually
did arise later in the case of the two destroyers Krier and

DR. HORN: Thank you. I have no further questions.

THE MARSHAL: Your Honour, the report is made that defendant
Goering is absent this morning.

                                                  [Page 183]



Q. Defendant, you had read at the time of its publication
the book by Captain Schustler, "The Fight of the Navy
Against Versailles," had you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you look at it to find it at Page ... It is on Page
26 of Document Book 10, Page 123 of the German Document
Book. Captain Schustler had told you that he was going to
write such a work, had he not?

A. Yes. And I might add that this book was written because
we in the Navy had been accused by National Socialist
circles of not doing enough to strengthen the Navy in the
period previous to 1933. That is why all these things were
mentioned in that book.

Q. And the book was circulated among senior officers in the
Navy, was it not?

A. Yes; at any rate, any of the senior officers who wanted
it could have it.

Q. Now, would you just turn to Page 127, or to Page 27 of
the British Document Book, which gives the preface? You will
see that at the end of the first paragraph, it says that it
is to give a reliable picture of the fight of the Navy
against the unbearable regulations of the Peace Treaty of

A. Yes.

Q. And in the third paragraph

  "This memorandum must also distinguish more clearly the
  services of these men who, without being widely known,
  were ready to accept responsibility in the service of the
  fight against the Peace Treaty."

A. Yes.

Q. Will you agree, defendant, that that preface represents
generally but accurately the feeling of the Navy with regard
to evading the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles?

A. Yes, as regarding circumventing the Versailles Treaty as
far as necessary to improve our defenceless position, for
reasons which I explained recently here. To do this was a
matter of honour for every man.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL FYFE: Now, just turn over, it is Page 28,
my Lord, Page 126 of your copy.


Q. It gives a summary of contents. You see, it is in four
sections. The first section deals with the first defensive
actions against the execution of the Treaty of Versailles,
and then enumerates what they were. Do not trouble about
that. The second is independent armament measures behind the
back of the Reich Government and legislative bodies.

A. One section deals with the period from the end of the war
until taking over the Ruhr, and another with the period from
1923 until the Lohmann case in 1927, I had nothing to do
with either.

Q. Just let us see. From 1922 to 1924 You were inspector of
naval training at Kiel, were you not?

A. Inspector of the training system; the schools, the
further training of officer candidates, the complete
training of assistants of the chief of staff, that is, chief
of staff assistants and general staff officers and similar

THE PRESIDENT: That is what you were asked. You were asked
whether you were inspector of training. The answer was,
"yes," was it not?

                                                  [Page 184]

Q. As inspector of training, are you telling the Tribunal
that you did not have a very complete knowledge of the
weapons available for your service?

A. No, no. There were no weapons which were visible for all
to see. As I explained to you recently, that was a matter of
setting up gun platforms and transferring guns from the
North Sea to the Baltic. This was done by a special command,
which worked under the direct order of the chief of the
Naval Command. There was, among others, Lieutenant Rankel,
for instance, who was the specialist dealing with all
gunnery questions at the time. I myself was in Kiel, and
there were no guns or anything of the kind in Kiel or its

Q. Take the next period: from 1923 to 1927. From 1925 to
1928, you were Chef der Marine Station der Ostsee, were you

A. Yes.

Q. Are you telling the Tribunal that you did not know about
the independent armament measures taken behind the back of
the Reich Government?

A. Yes; for I had nothing at all to do with these affairs. I
have already said that was done by the chief of the Naval
Command ... I knew in a general  way -

Q. I am not asking you whether you ever had anything to do
with them, I am asking you whether you are saying that you
did not know about them. You knew all about them, did you

A. I knew in a general way that such measures were being

Q. Now, take the next section, "Planned armament works
tolerated by the Reichskabinet, but behind the back of the
legislative bodies." - The legislative bodies would be the
Reichstag and the Reichsrat, would they not?

A. Yes. But I already said recently that it was not the
military supreme commander's business to negotiate these
matters with the Reichstag. This was a matter for the
government. Herr Severing will also testify to that.

Q. We will hear Herr Severing when he comes. At the moment I
want you to tell the Tribunal this -

A. (Interposing.) I say the same -

Q. Just wait a minute; you have not heard my question yet.
What did you say to Captain Schustler? Did you tell him that
he was giving an entirely false picture in suggesting that
the Navy had anything to do with going behind the back of
the Reichstag? Did you make any effort to correct what
Captain Schustler was saying?

A. No, I did not correct his book. I had not time for that.

Q. Now, just before we come to Section 4, if you will look
at this passage ...

My Lord, it is Page 32 of the British Document Book, and
Page 186 of your book. This is part of Captain Schustler's
description of Section 2, dealing with economic rearmament;
it comes under the heading, "Difficult Working Conditions."

Do you see that? It begins: "There were often difficult
working conditions."

Do you see that? The heading is: "Difficult Working

A. Yes, I see, "Difficult Working Conditions."

Q. Now, I want you to look at the last part of it. I want it
to be quite clear, defendant. This is dealing with the
period from 1923 to 1927, before you were head of the Navy;
so I want to ask you about it.

  "There were often many external difficulties besides
  these for the Tebeg - the camouflaging of the task and
  the work, the distance separating them, the impossibility
  of settling any questions even of minor importance y
  telephone, and the necessity of avoiding if possible any
  written correspondence, and of carrying it out in any
  case as private correspondence with false names and
  disguised expressions."

Did you not know that that was the method by which it was
being carried on?

A. No; I really knew very little about the Tebeg - the
Tebeg, the Noris - any of these things. But I think it was
quite right for these people to work like that, because at
that time the attitude of a large percentage of the German

                                                  [Page 185]

was unreliable, and there was great danger if these things
leaked out. In any case, the Tebeg had been dissolved when I

Q. Now, would you kindly turn back to Page 126, in Book 4,
Page 28 of the British Document Book, and just look at
Captain Schustler's description of Section 4.

  "'Armament under the direction of the Reich Government in
  camouflaged form' (from 1933 to 1935 when we were free to
  recruit on an unrestricted basis)."

Do you agree that Captain Schustler was giving an accurate
description of your methods from 1933 to 1935?

A. How does he describe it? Where is that passage?

Q. It is in Section 4.

A. "Armament under the leadership of the Reich Government in
camouflaged form"?

Q. You agree that it is a correct description of your
activities from 1933 to 1935.

A. Of course. I did that on orders from the head of the
State; and the head of the State was very anxious to see
that no exaggerated measures should be taken, so that it
would not interfere in any way with his plans for making an
agreement with Great Britain. He allowed very little to be
done with regard to the Navy. He could at once have built
eight armoured ships, so many destroyers and so many
submarines, none of which had yet been built, but he did
none of these things because he said, "We don't want to
create the impression that we are arming on a large scale."
He only approved two -

Q. You have explained that; so note, defendant, the point is
this - the "camouflaged form" - when you were negotiating
the Naval Agreement. You did not want anyone to know what
steps you had taken contrary to the Treaty and how far you
had gone. That is the plain fact of it - you wanted to get
the Naval Agreement without disclosing what you had done, is
that not so?

A. No, that distorts the sense of what I said. We did not
want the announcement of these measures to cause strained
relations between Germany and Britain. The measures as such
were completely justifiable and were extremely minor ones.

Q. I will come to that in a moment. I only do want, before
we leave this question of naval rearmament works, to ask you
one question about another book. You know that Oberst Scherf
projected a history of the German Navy. I do not want any
misunderstanding about it. As I understand the position, you
permitted Oberst Scherf to have recourse to the archives of
the Navy but beyond that you had not seen anything of his
work, is not that right?

A. I did not see his book at all. I saw the table of
contents here the first time I was interrogated. I did not
give him the order, either; he received it from the Fuehrer;
and for that reason I allowed the Chief of the Navy Archives
to assist him.

Q. Well, that is exactly what I put to you. I want you to
turn to Document Book 10-A. It starts at Page 1 in the
English and also in the German version. If you would look at
Page 3 you will find the proposed table of contents of
Oberst Scherf's book, Page 3 in the English version. I think
it must be about Page 3 in the German version, too. Now
would you look at the heading of Section 2. It is,
"Incorporation of the Reich Navy in the National Socialist
State." And then he describes,

  "(a) National Socialism in the Navy before 1933 - "

A. Where is that? I have not found it yet.

Q. Section 2 of the table of contents.

A. No, that must be something quite different. I have not
got it here -

(Witness goes through the pages.)

I have it now.

Q. If you look at Section 2, which is, "Incorporation of the
Reich Navy in the National Socialist State," you can see the
proposed headings, which were 40 cover some thirty pages,
"National Socialism in the Navy before 1933." Then

                                                  [Page 186]

"the taking of the oath to the Fuehrer by the Reich Navy;
the taking over of territorial insignia; alterations of the
flag and its new war flag." Do you agree with Oberst
Scherf's description? You agree that this is a correct
description, that the proceedings could be described as the
incorporation of the Navy in the National Socialist State?

A. Of course - I explained that here recently - the Navy -
the armed forces - had to have some connection with the
National Socialist State. A democratic Navy in a monarchic
State is impossible. The basic principles must agree. But I
myself decided the extent to which these principles were
adopted - i.e., in the correct degree, so that the Navy
maintained its internal independence and yet occupied its
appropriate position with regard to the National Socialist

Apart from that, I do not see any text here; I can only see
the headings.

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