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 7 of 11)

[GENERAL RUDENKO continues his cross examination of JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP]

[GENERAL RUDENKO continues his cross examination of JOACHIM VON RIBBENTROP]

[Page 285]

Q. Have you acquainted yourself with the entire document or with paragraph 4 only?

A. I have read paragraph 1 of which you spoke previously.

Q. Did you find the passage referring to the plenary powers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the transfer of the territory of Yugoslavia?

A. Yes, it says in my document that the surrender of the territory occupied by the Italians is to be prepared by a letter from the Fuehrer to the Duce and put into effect on further instructions from the Foreign Office.

Q. That is correct. That is precisely the passage which I had in view, i.e. section two of this document, which is headed "The Delimitation of the Frontiers," it is stated there - Section Two, Page Two of the document, it is stated that as far as the delimitation of the frontiers was not exactly defined, this was done in accordance with the directives received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A. Yes, I see that.

Q. I have only one question to ask in this connection. Do I assume that this document defines the part played by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the partition of Yugoslav Territory? Is this correct?

A. That appears from the fact that the Foreign Office was to take part in fixing the other frontiers, in addition to those defined here, the main lines of which were probably, already, fairly clear.

Q. This is quite evident. I should like to put two more questions to you, concerning Yugoslavia.

On the 4th June, 1941 - this no longer refers to the previous document - a conference was held in the German Embassy, presided over by the German Ambassador, Siegfried Kasche, at which it was decided forcibly to evacuate the Slovenes to Croatia and Serbia, and the Serbs from Croatia into Serbia. This conference had been sanctioned by a telegram from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, No. 389, dated the 31st May, 1941. Do you know about these measures?

A. No, I must say that I do not know them, but perhaps I may read through them.

Q. Please do.

A. I recollect that resettlement was undertaken but I do not know the details.

Q. It goes without saying that it must be very difficult for you to remember all the details at the present time. But you do remember that such deportations did actually take place and precisely in accordance with the directives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs?

A. Yes. It states here that the Fuehrer had approved a resettlement programme, but I do not know the details. At any rate, we undoubtedly had something to do with it, as this meeting definitely took place in the Foreign Office. Unfortunately I cannot add any details since I am not informed.

Q. I understand you. There is one more question in this connection. This was the enforced emigration of the population?

A. I do not know, I cannot say.

Q. You do not know? All right. And now - the last question in connection with Yugoslavia. After Germany's attack on Yugoslavia about 200 employees of the Yugoslav Foreign Office attempted to leave for Switzerland. They were

[Page 286]

arrested and then, in spite of protests addressed to your Ministry, they were forcibly taken to Belgrade whence many of them were sent to concentration camps and there died. Why did you not take the measures which you were obliged to take after such a glaring breach of diplomatic immunity?

A. I must say that at the moment I cannot recollect it at all, but as far as I know, instructions have always followed the principle that diplomats must be treated as diplomats and sent back to their own countries. If it did not happen in this case, I do not know why it was not done. However, you yourself say that they were sent back to Belgrade. That, at any rate, is certainly in accordance with my instructions. Why they were later interned in Belgrade - if they were - I must say I do not know. I do not think we had anything to do with that.

Q. You do not know that they were interned in concentration camps?

A. No, I did not know that.

Q. Very well. Now for a further series of questions. Who, besides Hitler, signed the decree regarding the Sudetenland of the 21st November, 1938? Can you remember?

A. I do not know to which order you are referring. May I look through it? I see that I am one of those who signed it. This is the law regarding the re-incorporation of the Sudetenland into the Reich.

Q. You remember that you actually signed this decree?

A. No doubt. If it says so here, then it must certainly have been so. At the moment, of course, I do not remember it exactly.

Q. That is evident. Who, besides Hitler, signed the decree regarding the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, of the 16th March, 1939, which, by its very nature, destroyed any remaining vestige of the sovereignty of the Czechoslovak Republic?

A. I believe that I was one of those who signed that one, too. At least so I assume. Yes, I see that I signed it; here it is.

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, surely all these documents speak for themselves. The defendant has not challenged his signature upon these documents.

GENERAL RUDENKO: I understand, Mr. President. I only want to remind the defendant. Since he appears to forget I simply present the documents to him.

You also signed the decree of i2th October, 1939 regarding the occupation of the Polish territories. Do you remember that?

A. 12th October, 1939. No, I do not remember it. I signed a great many things during these years, but I cannot remember them in detail.

Q. This is dated 12th October.

THE PRESIDENT: General Rudenko, if he does not dispute his signature why should you waste time in putting these documents to him? His signature is on the document. He does not dispute it. This is a mere waste of time.


Q. Your signature also appears on the decree of the 18th May, 1940, regarding the annexation, by Germany, of the Belgian territories, Malmedy et alia.

I put these questions so that I may conclude with the following question. Am I right in stating that each time a decree issued by the Hitler Government attempted to offer some semblance of a pretext for fresh territorial annexations, this decree invariably bore the signature of the Reich Minister Ribbentrop?

A. I believe not. If any territorial changes were undertaken, it was the Fuehrer who ordered them, and, as is probably evident from these documents, the various ministers who were in any way concerned then countersigned the Fuehrer's order or the laws decreed by the Fuehrer, and, of course, I probably countersigned most of these orders myself.

Q. Now, I should like you to acquaint yourself with the document already submitted in evidence to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 120. It is your agreement with Himmler for the organisation of Intelligence work. I should like you to acquaint yourself with sub-paragraph 6 (m) of this document. It is an extensive

[Page 287]

document and the time of the Tribunal should not be taken up unduly. It is stated here, and I quote:
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives every possible assistance to the Secret Intelligence Service. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, as far as possible, in the foreign affairs, will provide certain employees for the Intelligence Service, and they will be put amongst the foreign representatives of Germany."
I want to omit one long paragraph and will read the final paragraph:
"The responsible employee of the intelligence service must keep the head of the mission informed on all important aspects of secret intelligence service activities in the country in question."
You did sign such an agreement? Is that true?

A. Yes.

Q. We are therefore forced to the conclusion that the foreign organisation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Germany was actually engaged in espionage work?

A. No, you cannot really say that, for the following reasons:

I mentioned once before this morning in the course of the examination that there were differences of opinion between Himmler and myself in regard to the Intelligence Service abroad. Thanks to the efforts of the defendant Kaltenbrunner that agreement was eventually signed. We planned to co- operate; and I do not deny that we intended to work Intelligence Service personnel into the Foreign Office organisation. This, however, was not put into practice. The agreement could not become effective because it was concluded so late that the end of the war intervened. I think the date of the conclusion of this agreement, which is lacking in this copy, must have been 1944 or even 1945. Thus, there was no actual co-operation. Such co-operation was, however, planned, and I was particularly interested therein. There had been all sorts of differences and I wanted to end them and put matters on a more uniform basis. That was the reason. In any case, I think that is a part of the procedure which all countries had to employ abroad. I do not think it is anything unusual.

Q. I am not asking you about the activities. I was interested in this document it is true that you did sign such an agreement. You replied in the affirmative? I am not asking you any questions about this document.

A. Yes. I replied in the affirmative - yes.

Q. I have another document from this series. Do you remember a letter of the defendant Kaltenbrunner in which he asked for one million Tumans for bribery in Iran?

A. One million ...? What is that? I did not hear it; please repeat it. I did not hear the word very well ...

Q. Tumans are Iranian currency. I should like you to acquaint yourself with this document; it is a short one.

A. May I see it, please?

Q. Of course.

A. Yes, I recollect the matter, and I think certain funds were placed at their disposal.

Q. The money was placed at Kaltenbrunner's disposal?

A. I do not know the details, but I believe I did give instructions to the Foreign Office at the time that financial support should be given in this matter. That is correct.

Q. It was precisely that point which interested me. The document speaks for itself.

I now proceed to a following series of questions.

You have testified that in August- September, 1940, in the castle of Fuschl, you met the defendant Keitel to discuss a memorandum on the possibility of an attack

[Page 288]

by Germany on the Soviet Union. Consequently, nearly one year prior to that attack on the Soviet Union, you were informed of the plans for this attack.

A. No, that is not correct. The defendant Keitel was with me at the time at Fuschl, and on that occasion he mentioned to me that the Fuehrer had certain misgivings regarding Russia and could not leave the possibility of a conflagration out of his calculations. He said that, for his part, he had prepared a memorandum which he proposed to discuss with the Fuehrer. He had doubts as to the wisdom of any conflict of that kind in the cast; and he asked me at the time if I would also use my influence with the Fuehrer in that direction. I agreed to do so. But the question of an attack was discussed, as I might say, more from a staff point of view. He made no mention to rue of anything more concrete.

Q. I do not want to take up the time of the Tribunal on this question, because it has already been sufficiently investigated.

You replied to Keitel during this conversation that you would express your opinion regarding the war with the U.S.S.R. to Hitler. Did you have a conversation with Hitler on that subject?

A. I discussed the subject several times with Hitler, and when occasion arose I spoke of the danger of preventative wars to him. Hitler told me of his misgivings, which I have already mentioned here.

Q. Yes, you have testified in that sense. Tell me, did you know that the so-called "Green File" of the defendant Goering, containing directives for the plunder and exploitation of the temporarily occupied territories of the Soviet Union was prepared a long time prior to the attack on the Soviet Union.

A. No, I did not know that. I heard the term "Green File" here for the first time.

Q. All right - you did not know the name. And when did you learn about the contents? The contents of this file?

A. Neither the file nor the name.

Q. You did not know. All right. You knew that already before the war directives were drafted for the extermination of the peaceful Soviet population?

A. No, I did not know that either.

Q. And when did you know about that?

A. I heard nothing at all about such plans.

Q. And the directives?

A. Regarding the preparation of such plans ...

Q. And regarding the directives concerning jurisdiction in the "Barbarossa" region? You evidently did know about that beforehand?

A. Regarding what? I did not understand that.

Q. Regarding jurisdiction in the "Barbarossa" region - it is a supplement to Plan "Barbarossa"?

A. No, I must say that I have never occupied myself personally with that subject. It is possible that some department in my office did have a hand in it somewhere, but as far as I remember I myself was never concerned with the subject of jurisdiction; for after the conflict with the Soviet Union began, the Foreign Office had nothing more to do with these territories.

Q. I should like you to take cognisance of a telegram which you addressed on the 10th July, 1941, at 1451 hours, to the German Ambassador in Tokyo. We are submitting this document, 2896-PS, to the Tribunal as Exhibit USSR 446. You must remember this telegram?

A. To whom is it addressed? It does not say here.

Q. To the German Ambassador in Tokyo.

A. Oh, Tokyo, yes.

Q. You apparently remember it. I must ask you to pay attention to the words on Page 4 at the end of this document. They are underlined, in pencil, for the sake of convenience. Have you found the passage? I shall only read that part into the record.

[Page 289]

A. Which part are you referring to? The last page?

Q. It is on page 4. It is underlined.

A. Yes, I have found it now.

Q. I am going to read this passage into the record.

"I request you to use every means in your power to influence Matsuoka in the way I have indicated, so that Japan will declare war on Russia as soon as possible; for the sooner this happens the better it will be. Naturally, it must still be our aim to shake hands with Japan on the Trans-Siberian railway before the winter. With the collapse of Russia the position of the countries participating in the Three Power Pact will be so strong that the collapse of England or the complete annihilation of the British Isles will only be a question of time."
Have you found this passage

A. Yes, I have the passage; yes.

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