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-First Day: Tuesday, 26th March, 1946
(Part 4 of 7)

[Page 70]

DR. HORN: Mr. President, I was using the opposing fact which I wish to present against the claims of the prosecution, because according to my information and according to my documents, they do not correspond to the facts. As far as the establishment of point one of what Mr. President has just said, I would like to state the following: The health of the defendant von Ribbentrop is quite poor at present. This morning the doctor told me that Ribbentrop is suffering from so-called vasomotor difficulties in his speech. I wanted to relieve him of part of his evidential statement by making a statement of it here and thus showing the position of the defendant to the Tribunal. I do not know whether the defendant von Ribbentrop, in view of his current state of health, that is, his inadequacy of speech, could make these explanations as briefly as I myself can. Then, when the defendant is in the box, he needs only to confirm these statements under oath.

THE PRESIDENT: If the defendant von Ribbentrop is too ill to give evidence today, then he must give evidence on some future occasion. If you have any oral witnesses to call other than the defendant von Ribbentrop, then they can give evidence today; and with reference to the documentary evidence, it is perfectly simple for you to offer those documents in evidence in the way that it was done by Dr. Stahmer, in the way that it was done by Dr. Seidl, and in the way which the Tribunal have explained over and over again.

DR. HORN: I had intended to submit documents first and not to call my witnesses until later. As far as von Ribbentrop is concerned, I have learned that his condition has become constantly worse. I do not know therefore whether, at the end of the presentation of evidence, I will be in a position to summon the defendant Ribbentrop; but I must be prepared for the possibility that I might not be able to call him. Otherwise I am concerned only with a very few very general points for rectification.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, you cannot give evidence at any rate and if you cannot call von Ribbentrop, then you must, if it is possible to do so, call some other witnesses who will give the evidence which he would have given. If, unfortunately it is not possible to do so, then his case may suffer; but the Tribunal will give every possible facility for his being called at any stage. If he is in fact so ill, as you suggest, that he cannot give evidence, then his evidence may be put off until the end of the defendant's case, subject of course to a proper medical certificate being produced.

DR. HORN: If the Tribunal wants then later to summon the defendant, I will postpone the matter with the request that if I cannot question him, that is, cannot question him fully - for I emphasise again, a defect of speech is concerned - then he can at least confirm the evidence as a witness.

THE PRESIDENT: You may call any of the witnesses. The Tribunal has not laid down that the defendant must be called first. You have applied for eight witnesses, I think, in addition to the defendant and you can call any of them or you can deal with your documents, but whichever you do, you must do it in the way which the Tribunal has ordered.

DR . HORN: Then, I will turn now to the occupation of the Rhineland. On 27th February, 1936, there was ratified between the French Republic and the Soviet Union a mutual assistance pact, the content of which was definitely in violation

[Page 71]

of the Locarno Treaty and of the League of Nations agreement, and was clearly directed against Germany. At the same time -

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, you have just said that something or other is against International Law. Now, that is not a reference to any document which you are offering in evidence, nor is it any comment upon the production of oral evidence. If you have got a document to offer, kindly offer it and then make any necessary explanatory remarks.

DR. HORN: Then, I wanted next to refer to Document No. 1 in the Document Book Ribbentrop. We are concerned with a memorandum of the German Government to the signatory Powers of the Locarno Pact, of 7th March, 1936.

THE PRESIDENT: Which page is that?

DR. HORN: That is on page 6 of the document book. In explanation, I may add that this memorandum was submitted to the signatory Powers, because between the French Government and the Republic of the Soviet Union a treaty of mutual assistance had been ratified and at the same time, the German Foreign Office received knowledge of a plan which the French General Staff had worked out and which arranged that the French army was to advance along the Main line, so that North and South Germany in this way would be separated, and even to join hands with the Russian army across Czechoslovakia.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, for the formality of the record, it is necessary to offer each document in evidence and the document should be given a number. You have not yet offered any of these documents in evidence or given them any numbers, so far as I know.

DR. HORN: I gave this document the number, Ribbentrop Exhibit No. 1. The number is in the upper right-hand corner of the document.


DR. HORN: And I ask - perhaps I may say this in order to save time - I ask that all these documents quoted as evidence for Ribbentrop be given exhibit numbers.

THE PRESIDENT: Very well, and in the order in which you quote them.

DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: They will be numbered that way. Very well.

DR. HORN: As to the particulars just submmitted on the reason for this memorandum being lodged and as evidence of the fact just cited regarding the arrangement of the French General Staff, I will call the defendant von Neurath as a witness. I will question him on this one point, when he is called as a witness. In order to justify the German view, which is contained in the memorandum and which consists in the fact that the Locarno Pact and the League of Nations were considered infringed upon, I would like to refer to page three of the document and wish to quote the following: This is on page eight of the document book.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, was this document Exhibit No. 1 one of the documents for which you applied and which you were allowed in the applications?

DR. HORN: Yes, Mr. President. This document is concerned with excerpts from the "Documents of German Politics," ("Dokumente der Deutschen Politik"), volume 4.

I want to stress that this collection of documents was granted to me at the same time as the two evidence books.

THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal would like to see the original document.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, we are not in a position to present original documents, since the Foreign Office was confiscated by the victorious Powers, and with it a great part of the documents. Then I would have to make an application now that the signatory Powers concerned produce these original documents, for we simply are not able to. We can only refer to document collections.

THE PRESIDENT: Where does the copy come from?

DR. HORN: This copy, Mr. President, is from the "Documents of German Politics," volume 4, as is shown in the document book which the President has before him. The document is found on page 123 of this document collection.

[Page 72]

I should like, Mr. President - may I add an explanatory remark: If the Tribunal is interested in seeing the original, I should have to have the collection which is up in the document room now brought down. It is in German, and I do not believe that it would be of any value to the Tribunal at this time. May I mention further ...

THE PRESIDENT: You see, Dr. Horn, as a matter of formality and certainty, the Tribunal ought to have in its record every document which forms part of the record, whether it is an original or whether it is a copy; and whatever the document is that is offered in evidence, it ought to be handed in to the Tribunal and kept by the Tribunal. It ought to be put in evidence, offered in evidence and handed to the General Secretary or his representative, and then the Tribunal has a full record of every document which is in evidence.

But we cannot have documents such as this, which is a mere copy of the original document which ought to be offered in evidence. If it is at the information centre, then it is quite capable of being produced here.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, the Tribunal decided that we are justified in copying documents and certifying to the authenticity in order that these documents may be submitted as evidence to the Tribunal. Therefore, we have compared every document with the original we had on hand, or with the copy of the document and at the end of the document we attested the authenticity of the copy. This document, certified with my own signature, is, I believe, in the hands of the Tribunal, in five copies.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn ... Yes, Mr. Dodd.

MR. DODD: We thought that we might be helpful. We say that we are willing to accept this quotation from the volume referred to, and I do think that we did put in some documents ourselves and asked the Tribunal's indulgence at the time in a somewhat similar case.

I think the Tribunal, if I may suggest respectfully, might take this document on that same basis.

I have only conferred with Sir David, but I feel quite sure that our French and Russian colleagues will agree as well.

THE PRESIDENT I think, Mr. Dodd, the point is - and, of course, it is probably only a formal point - that the only document which is offered in evidence or put in evidence is a copy which does not contain Dr. Horn's signature and therefore there is nothing to show that it is in fact a true copy. Of course, if we had had Dr. Horn's signature, we should be prepared to accept that it was a true copy of the original. What we have before us is a mere mimeograph, I suppose, of some document which has not been produced to us.

MR. DODD: Very well, your Honour. I have not had an opportunity to examine it carefully. We did not get these documents, by the way, until pretty late last night. We have not had the usual period of time to examine it, but in any event I have suggested it might go in and if Dr. Horn would verify it, as suggested by the President and later furnish the original copy, it might be all right.

THE PRESIDENT: That would be all right, certainly:

Dr. Horn, you understand what I mean. If you will produce to us at some future date the actual document which you signed yourself, to show tthat it was a true copy, that will be quite satisfactory.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, in the entire document book there is no document which I have not signed and given in five copies to be translated. Of course, I cannot also sign all the translations. This document which is contained in the document book submitted to the President has my signature in the German text.

THE PRESIDENT: You mean that you have handed your documents in to be translated, in German, with your signature at the bottom, saying it is a true extract, and you do not know where those documents are because they have gone into the Translation Department? That is right, is it not?

[Page 73]

DR. HORN: Only partially, Mr. President. I know that I handed in these documents to the proper office, in German, and with my signature.

Then that office kept them and had them translated. From the moment I handed them in I have naturally had no further control over their disposition.

I may also point out that the document books which we used were available only in a single copy and must be used by all attorneys, even now for their future work. Because of that, I cannot produce the original for the Tribunal since it is not my property. That can only happen with the agreement of the person in charge of the document section, Lieut. Shrader.

THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Horn, if, in the future, you and the other Defendants' Counsel could get your document books ready in sufficient time, you could perhaps then make the arrangement that you hand in the document book, when you are offering it in evidence, and then it would be capable of being handed to the officer of the Court.

DR. HORN: Mr. President, I do not believe that that possibility exists at all, for these "Documents of German Politics" - just to use the point at issue - are available only in one copy, at the disposal of all defence attorneys; I cannot take these books away, if they wish to continue working with them, in order to submit them to the Tribunal as evidence. I would not receive them. I receive these books only to use them, and make excerpts from them, and then I have to return them.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, but you are putting in evidence now a certain extract from the book, and all the Tribunal wants is that that extract be certified, either by you or by some other person who can be trusted, as a correct extract from the book, and that that document, so signed, can be produced. It may be difficult to produce it at the moment because you have handed it in to some official or to somebody in the Translation Department, and therefore you cannot produce it, but it could be arranged that it should be produced in the future. I do not mean this particular one, but in the future other defendants' counsel can produce their documents certified by themselves or by some other person of authority.

DR. HORN: That has already been done, Mr. President. Five document books of the same type, signed by me, were handed to the Tribunal.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, the rule of the Tribunal happens to be that they should be handed in in this court at the time that they are being used, as well as their being handed in to somebody for the purpose of translation. That is the rule.

But now perhaps we had better get on as we are taking up too much time over this.

DR. HORN: I have just heard that the German documents which I signed are being procured from the General Secretary, so I will be able to submit them to the Tribunal with signature, in the German.


DR. HORN: I should like to continue, and explain the aforementioned opinion of the legal consequences of the pact made between France and Russia in 1936, and I refer to Page 3, that is, Page 8 of the document book. I quote:

"Consequently, the only question is whether France by accepting these treaty obligations has kept within those limits, as regards Germany, which have been laid on it by the Rhine Pact.

This, however, the German Government must deny.

The Rhine Pact was supposed to achieve the goal of securing peace in Western Europe by having Germany on the one hand, and France and Belgium on the other, renounce for all time the employment of military force in their relations to each other. If, in the conclusion of the pact, certain reservations to this renunciation of war, going beyond the right of self-defence were permitted, the political basis was, as is generally known, solely the fact that France had already taken on certain pact obligations towards Poland and

[Page 74]

Czechoslovakia which she did not want to sacrifice to the idea of absolute peace security in the West.

Germany at that time resigned herself, with a clear conscience, to these restrictions of the renunciation of war. She did not object to the treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, put on the table of Locarno by the representative of France, only because of the self- understood supposition that these treaties adapt themselves to the structure of the Rhine Pact and do not contain any provisions on the execution of Article 16 of the Statute of the League of Nations, as are provided for in the new French-Soviet agreements. This was true also of the contents of these special agreements, which came to the knowledge of the German Government at that time. The exceptions permitted in the Rhine Pact were not expressly orientated towards Poland and Czechoslovakia, but were formulated abstractly. But it was the sense of all negotiations concerning this matter to find a balance between the German-French renunciation of war and the desire of France to maintain its already existent pact obligations. If, therefore, France now uses the abstract formulation of war possibilities, allowed for in the Rhine treaty, in order to conclude a new pact against Germany, with a highly armed State, if it thus in such a decisive manner limits the application of the renunciation of war, agreed upon by it with Germany, and if, as set forth above, it does not even observe the fixed formal juridical limits, then it has created thereby a completely new situation and has destroyed the political system of the Rhine Pact both in theory and literally."

I will omit the next paragraph and will quote from Page 9 of the document book as follows:
"The German Government has always emphasised during the negotiations of the last years that it would maintain and carry out all obligations of the Rhine Pact so long as the other partners to the treaty also were willing on their part to adhere to this pact. This natural supposition cannot any longer be regarded as fulfilled by France. France has replied to the friendly offers and friendly assurances, made again and again by Germany, with a violation of the Rhine Pact by a military pact with the Soviet Union, directed exclusively against Germany. Therefore the Rhine Pact of Locarno has lost its inner meaning and has ceased to exist in any practical sense. For that reason Germany also on her side does not consider herself bound any longer by this pact which has been rendered void."
In consideration of the Franco-Russian pact and the intentions of the French General Staff, Hitler had the defendant von Ribbentrop come to him in order to question him on the presumable attitude of England to a possible German reoccupation.

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