Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to ask you some questions about the shooting of officers who escaped from the Sagan Camp. As I understand your evidence, very shortly after the escape you had this interview with Hitler at which certainly Himmler was present. That is right isn't it?
KEITEL: The day after the escape this conference took place with the Führer and with Himmler.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes. Now, you say that at that conference Hitler said that the prisoners were not to be returned to the Wehrmacht but to remain with the police. They were really your words. That is right, isn't it?
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: That is what you said. So that is what you say took place. In your own mind you were satisfied when you left that conference that these officers were going to be shot, were you not?
KEITEL: No, I was not.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, will you agree with this? You were satisfied that there was a grave probability that these officers would be shot?
KEITEL: As I rode home I had a subconscious concern about it. It was not expressed at the conference.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Then you sent for General Von Grävenitz and General Westhoff, did you not?
KEITEL: Yes, that is correct.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I don't know if you can remem¬ber, because General Westhoff was a comparatively junior officer compared with yourself, but he says that it was the first occasion on which you had sent for him. Does your memory bear that out?
KEITEL: No, I did not call him. But he had been brought along to be introduced to me. I did not know him. I had summoned only General Von Grävenitz.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You had never met him before'? Do you agree that you had never met General Westhoff before, since he had come into that job?
KEITEL: I had never seen him before.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: That is what he said. Now you agree, as I understand your evidence, that you were very excited and nervous?
KEITEL: Yes, I vented my disagreement and my excitement very strongly.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: So that you agree with General Westhoff that you said something to this effect, "Gentlemen, this is a bad business" or "This is a very serious matter" or something of that kind?
KEITEL: Yes, I said, "That is an enormously serious matter".
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, General Westhoff said, in the next sentence, what you said was, "This morning Göring reproached me in the presence of Himmler for having let some more prisoners-of-war escape. It was unheard of".
KEITEL: That must be a mistake on Westhoff's part. It was a day later. We were then at Berchtesgaden and the generals Von Grävenitz and Westhoff called on me the next morning. And it must also be a mistake that I mentioned the name of the Reichsmarschall Göring in this connection.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: So you were not very sure about that, were you, as to whether or not Göring was present. You were not very sure, were you?
KEITEL: I only became uncertain about it when in a preliminary interrogation I was told that witnesses had stated that Göring was present; thereupon I said it is not completely impossible but that did not recall it.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Weil, to put it quite right, when you were interrogated, an American officer put exactly the sentence that I put to you now. He put that sentence to you from General Westhoff's statement. Do you remember that he read what I have read to you now? "Gentlemen, this is a bad business; this morning Göring reproached me in the presence of Himmler for having let some more prisoners-of-war escape. It was unheard of." Do you remember the interrogator put that to you? Didn't he?
KEITEL: It was something like that at the preliminary interrogation, but I said that I was not certain that Göring was present.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I was going to put exactly what you said - and listen carefully, and if you have any disagreement, tell the Tribunal. You said, "I request that you interrogate Jodl about the whole incident and the attitude which I displayed during the whole conference in the presence of Göring, of whose presence during that conference I am not absolutely certain, but Himmler was there." That was your view when you were interrogated on the November I0, wasn't it? You said, ".. during the whole conference in the presence of Göring, of whose presence I am not absolutely certain.." That was your view on November I0?
KEITEL: There must have been some misinterpretation in these minutes which I never read. I expressed my uncertainty about the presence of Göring and in the same connection put the request to interrogate General Jodl about it, since, in my opinion, I was not sure that Göring was not present.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You agree that you did ask that General Jodl should be interrogated?
KEITEL: I made that proposal, yes.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, what do you complain about as to the next sentence: ".. during the whole conference in the presence of Göring, of whose presence during that conference I am not absolutely certain.." Wasn't that your view?
KEITEL: Yes, I was rather surprised at this interrogation and when I was told that witnesses had confirmed that Göring had been present I was a little uncertain in this matter and asked that General Jodl be interrogated. In the meantime it became entirely clear to me that Göring was not present and that I was right as I had said at first.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Had you discussed it with Göring while you were both awaiting trial?
KEITEL: After my interrogations I had the occasion to speak with Reichsmarschall Göring and he told me, "But you must know that I was not there," and then I remembered fully.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, as you say, the Reichsmarschall said to you he had not been present at the interview. That is right, is it not?
KEITEL: General Jodl also confirmed to me Reichsmarschall Göring was not present.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, did you tell General Von Grävenitz and General Westhoff that Himmler had interfered and that he had complained that he would have to provide another 60 to 70 thousand men for the Landwache? Did you tell them that?
KEITEL: No, that is also a misinterpretation. I did not say that. It is not correct.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You said that Himmler had interfered?
KEITEL: I said only that Himmler had reported the fact of the escape and I intended not to report it to Hitler on that day, since a number of escapees had been returned to the camp. I did not intend to report it to the Führer on that day.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, whatever you said to General von Grävenitz, you agree that General von Grävenitz protested and said, "Escape is not a dishonorable offense. That is specially laid down in the Convention." Did he not say that?
KEITEL: Yes, it is true he said that. But I would like to add that the statement of General Westhoff is a reminiscence which goes back over several years.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, but you agree, as I understand your evidence, that General von Grävenitz did make a protest about the action that was taken, is that not so?
KEITEL: Yes, he did so.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And then when he made the protest did you say words to this effect? I am reading of course from General Westhoff's statement, "I do not give a damn. We discussed it in the Führer's presence and it cannot be altered." Did you say words to that effect?
KEITEL: No, it was not like that, but I do believe I said something similar.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Similar?
KEITEL:. But we are not concerned with. ..
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Similar, to that effect?
KEITEL: I said something similar.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And after that did you say that your organization, the Kriegsgefangenenwesen, was to publish a notice in the prison camps where prisoners-of-war are held, telling all prisoners-of-war what action had been taken in this case, in order that it would be deterrent to other escapes?
Did you instruct these Generals, your heads of the KGW, to publish a notice in the camps saying what action had been taken in order to act as a deterrent?
KEITEL: I gave this due consideration while reading a report by the British government and I came to the conclusion that there must be some confusion as to when I gave these instructions. I am sure I did not do so at this conference. That was later, several days later.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Weil, you will find it is stated in the statement of General Westhoff that we put in, at the bottom of page 3. General Westhoff says:
"The Field Marshal gave us detailed instructions to publish a list at the camps, giving the names of those shot as a warning. That was done. That was a direct order that we could not disobey."
And in the statement which your counsel has put in, General Westhoff says:
"This must stop. We cannot allow this to happen again. The officers who have escaped will be shot. I must inform you that most of them are already dead and you will publish a notice in the prison camps where prisoners-of-war are held telling all prisoners-of-war what action has been taken in this case in order that it will be a deterrent to other escapes."
KEITEL: May I make a statement to this?
Dr. OTTO NELTE: The British Prosecutor is referring to a document which I submitted in my document book. I assume that is correct. And it is a document which the French Prosecution wanted to submit and to which I objected, since it is a compilation of interrogations which Colonel Williams prepared. I submitted this document so as to furnish proof at the hearing of General Westhoff that this document does not agree in 23 points with the testimony given by him. He has given me the necessary Information. But he will first be in the witness box tomorrow. I therefore ask, if the British Prosecutor appeals to the witness Westhoff, to produce at least his statement which he made under oath at the request of the American prosecutor Colonel Williams. This affidavit up to now has not been produced, whereas all other pieces of evidence from him contain only reports which have never been submitted to Westhoff for his signature, or for his acknowledgement, nor have been confirmed by his oath.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: My point was to make quite clear that I was not putting anything in from the first statement which was not contained in the defendant's document book. I thought that the complaint would be the other way, that if I took our own evidence alone that then it would be said that it is slightly different, for the difference, is immaterial from the documents submitted in the defendant's document book. I have carefully collated them both. There is practically no difference between them but I thought it was only fair to put both sets of words.
The PRESIDENT: The Tribunal thinks the cross-examination is perfectly proper. Of course if Dr. Nelte does call General Westhoff as a witness, he will be able to get from him any corrections which General Westhoff thinks are necessary, which he makes to the affidavit.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, My Lord. (Turning to the defendant). Now, what I want to know is: Did you give orders to General Von Grävenitz and General Westhoff that it was to be published in the camps as to what measures had been taken with regard to these officers?
KEITEL: Yes, but several days later; not on the same day that these officers were with me.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: How long later?
KEITEL: I believe 3 or 4 days later, but I can no longer tell you exactly; in any event, not before I found out that shootings had taken place.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, 3 or 4 days later would be just when the shootings were beginning, but what was published? What did you say was to be published as to the measures that had been taken?
KEITEL: In the camp a warning was to be published. In my opinion, we were not to mention shootings but only warn that those caught in flight would not be returned to the camp. I cannot remember the exact wording. It was traceable to an order which I had received from the Führer resulting from a conference I had with him on the matter of shootings.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, is this a fair way to put your recollection of the order: That it was probable, according to your recollection, that those who attempted to escape would be handed over to the SD and, certainly, that very severe measures would be taken? Is that a fair way of putting your recollection of the order?
KEITEL: My recollection is that a warning, that is a threat, was to be published to the effect that those who attempted to escape would not be returned to the camp. That was the contents of this publication, according to my recollection, which I then forwarded. I myself did not word it. Besides, only the administration of the camp, or rather the Luftwaffe were to be notified.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, General Westhoff was not content with an oral order and came back to you with a draft order in writing, did he not?
KEITEL: I do not believe that he came to me. I believe he sent me this.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I am sorry, but when I said "came back to you," I was talking in general terms; you are quite right that he passed on for your consideration a draft order in writing for you to approve; that is right, isn't it?
KEITEL: I do not believe that it was an order; but as far as remember it was just a memorandum, a note. However, I must admit that I was first reminded of this matter in the course of the interrogation by Colonel Williams.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, what General Westhoff says, is: "Contrary to Feldmarschall Keitel's order, I pretended that I had not understood properly. I worked the thing out on paper. I said to Oberstleutnant Krafft, `I want to have the word "shoot" included, so that Keitel can see it in writing. He may adopt a different attitude then."'
Now, this is a bit later: "When I got the thing back, he had written the following in the margin: "I did not definitely say "shoot"; I said "hand over to the police or hand over to the Gestapo."
Then adds General Westhoff: "So, that was a partial climb down." Now, did you put a note on it: "I did not definitely say 'shoot'; I said 'hand over to the police or hand over to the Gestapo."' Did you?
KEITEL: I cannot remember the exact wording of the note - as little as General Westhoff. But I did make a notation in the margin to the effect: "I did not say `shoot'.."
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You see the point that I'm putting to you, Defendant? I want you to have it perfectly clear. Rightly or wrongly, General Westhoff believed that you had inserted the word "shoot"; and General Westhoff, to protect himself, put it back to you and then you say, "I did not definitely say 'shoot'; I said hand over to the SD or the Gestapo."
' KEITEL: No, I did not say "shoot" either, but Colonel Williams said I had written in the margin, "I did not say `shoot."' That is on record in the minutes of my interrogation.
Sir David MAXWEL-FYFE: Well, now, what I want to know - and it is perfectly clear - is, do you deny that that in substance represents what you put in the document: "I did not definitely say `shoot'; I said, 'hand over to the police or hand over to the Gestapo?"' Did you put words to that effect on the document?
KEITEL: It is probable that I wrote something similar to that for I wanted to make clear what I had said to those two officers. What I said was nothing new but it was a clarification of what I had said.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, the next point that I want to direct your attention to: Had you an officer on your staff called Oberst von Reurmont, on your PW staff, KGW?
KEITEL: No, he was never an my staff.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: What was his position in the OKW?
KEITEL: I believe there was a Colonel Reurmont. He was a department chief and had nothing to do with the prisoner-of-war system; he was department chief in the General Wehrmacht Office.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: In your office.
KEITEL: In the office, in the General Wehrmacht Office under General Reinecke, yes.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you know that on March 27, that is on a Monday, there was a meeting in which Colonel Von Reurmont took the chair, attended by Gruppenführer Müller from the Gestapo, Gruppenführer Nebe, and Colonel Wilde from the Air Ministry, from their PW inspector of I7; do you know that?
KEITEL: No, I never heard anything about it. It has remained entirely unknown to me.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Are you telling the Tribunal that you had this colonel in your office, a colonel from the Air Ministry, two extremely important officials from the police, and they have a meeting to discuss this matter 2 days after you had your first meeting, one day after you had seen Von Grävenitz and Westhoff, and you did not know a word about it?
KEITEL: No, I knew nothing about this meeting. I cannot remember.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, most of us are very familiar with the working of service departments. I do ask you in fairness to yourself to consider this: Are you telling this Tribunal that no report was ever made to you of that joint meeting between the representative of the OKW, high police officials, and the Air Ministry? And it never came up to you? Now, really think before you answer.
KEITEL: I cannot remember even with the best of my will. I was surprised by the communication about this conference, and I can remember nothing about it.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Do you know that - I put it in Colonel Wilde's statement when I was cross-examining the Defendant Göring - he said that at that conference it was announced that these officers were to be shot and that many of them had been shot? Did no report come to you that these officers were being shot and were to be shot?
KEITEL: No, not on the 27th. It was already discussed a while ago, when I received the first report. At that time I knew nothing about it on that day, or even an the day following this conference.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You agreed, though, that you got to learn, as I understand you, that they were being shot on the 29th; that would be a Thursday?
KEITEL: I can no longer say what day, but I do remember that it was later. I believe it was several days later.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well let us Defendant, make every point in your favor. Let us take it that it was, say, Saturday the 3Ist, or even Monday, the 2nd of April. By Monday, the 2nd of April - that is 9 days after the escape - you knew then that these officers were being shot?
KEITEL: I heard about it during these days, perhaps around the 31st, through the Führer's adjutancy when I again came to the Berghof for a situation briefing. I was not told though, that all of these officers had been shot; some of them had been shot while attempting to escape. I was told that a little before the beginning of the conference.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: They were not all shot until the 13th of April, which was nearly another fortnight. Were you told of the manner, in which they got out of the cars to relieve themselves and were then shot in the back of the head by someone with a revolver? Were you told of that?
KEITEL: No, I found out only through the adjutant that a report had been given to the Führer that shootings had followed the escape.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I want you to come to one other point, later on. You remember that my colleague, Mr. Eden, on behalf of the British Government, made a statement in the House of Commons later on, toward the end of June. Remember that?
KEITEL: Yes. I recall that.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And is it correct, as General Westhoff said, that you had told your officers not to make contact with the Foreign Office or the Gestapo, to leave this matter alone and not try and find out anything about it? Is that right?
KEITEL: I told them that since the Wehrmacht was not concerned with the means of searching for and catching the escapees, nor concerned with what happened afterwards, the KGW could not give any Information on this subject as it did not deal with the matter itself and did not know what had really happened. That is what I said.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Then the answer is yes, you did tell your office to leave the matter alone and not to get in touch with the Foreign Office or the police?
KEITEL: No, that is not quite right. The chief of the Amt Ausland was connected with the Foreign Office. I only instructed the officers not to give any Information about this case or any matters connected with it, since they had not participated and knew only from hearsay what had happened.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I should have thought that on previous questions - you just repeated the effect of my previous question; I won't argue with you. I will come to the next point. You had an officer on your staff named Admiral Bürckner, didn't you?
KEITEL: Yes, he was chief of the Amt Ausland.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: He was liaison between your office and the Foreign Office?
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, did you give him orders to prepare an answer to England, an answer to Mr. Eden's statement?
KEITEL: It is possible that I told him that, even though he could not receive any particulars from the offices of the Wehrmacht.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I don't want to read it again; I read the reply a day or two ago. But eventually the reply was drawn up, I think, by the Foreign Office in conjunction which Oberstleutnant Krafft of your office, wasn't it?
KEITEL: No, at that time…
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Don't you remember Krafft…
KEITEL: I gave instructions that the answer was to be dealt with by the RSHA but not by the KGW. I did not give any instructions to Oberstleutnant Krafft.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: But didn't he go to Berchtesgaden to assist the representative of the Foreign Office and Hitler in drawing up a reply?
KEITEL: I do not know. I did not speak with him not did see him.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You know that when they saw the reply, according to General Westhoff, all your officers touched their heads and said, "Mad." You have seen that statement, haven't you, "When we read this note to England in the newspaper we were all absolutely taken aback; we all clutched out heads - Mad' – we could do nothing about the affair." All your officers and you, yourself knew the reply was an utter and confounded lie. Wasn't it complete and utter lie? You all knew it.
KEITEL: They all knew it. I, too, learned, of the reply; and was cIear to me that it was not based on the truth.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: So that it comes to this, Defendant, doesn't it, that you will go as far as this: You were present at the meeting with Hitler and Himmler. That is what you said. At that meeting Hitler said that the prisoners who were caught by the police were to remain in the hands of the police. You had a strong feeling that these prisoners would be shot and with that you used this incident as a deterrent to try and prevent other prisoners-of-war from escaping. All that you admit, as I understand you answers this morning, don't you?
KEITEL: Yes, I do admit; but I have not been interrogated on this matter as to just what my position was with Hitler and I have not testified as to that and that I did not give this warning, but that this warning was an order of Hitler and was the cause for another severe collision between Hitler and me when the first report of the shootings reached me. That is how it was.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I won't go through the details again. One other point: When did you learn of the use of cremation and the sending of cremation urns to this camp?
KEITEL: This remained unknown to me and I do not recall ever having heard of it. The matter was afterwards purely a concern of the Luftwaffe, in which I was later involved, through my simple presence; I do not know. whether I ever heard or saw anything about this.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: But you will agree with me, Defendant, that anyone in the world who has had to deal with prisoner-of-war problems would be horrified at the thought of bodies of shot officers being cremated; it is simply asking for trouble, isn't it, from the protecting powers and everyone else, to put it at its lowest? You will agree with that I am sure you have had a good deal more to do with prisoners-of-war than I. Don't you agree it would horrify anyone who has to deal with prisoners-of-war that bodies should be cremated - that the protecting powers at once would be put on suspicion?
KEITEL: I am entirely of the same opinion that it is horrible.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And if any service finds that its camps are receiving 50 urns of ashes of cremated bodies of escaped prisoners-of-war, that would be a most serious matter which would be taken to the highest ranks of any service, isn't that so?
KEITEL: Yes, even though I had nothing to do with the prisoner-of-war camps of the Luftwaffe apart from having inspectional powers.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I won't ask you further about the Luftwaffe. Now I think we can deal quite shortly with the question of the lynching of Allied airmen. (documents were handed to the defendant and also to the Tribunal). Now, Defendant, I would like to remind you that there was a report of a conference on June 6, document 735-PS, which has been put in against the Defendant Von Ribbentrop; it is a report of General Warlimont, Exhibit GB-151, with regard to the criteria to be adopted for deciding what were terror-fliers. You must remember the document, because you yourself dealt on Friday with the note.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: .. against legal procedure which you already dealt with.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, you said during your evidence - you remember you told us why you did not want legal procedures because it was a difficult problem for a court-martial to decide and also it meant a 3-month delay in reporting the death sentence to the protecting powers.
KEITEL: Yes, I did make those statements.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And then you said that you had a discussion with Göring, who said that lynching should be turned down. Do you remember saying that on Friday.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, that was not accurate was it? Because I want to just show you what did happen. That' document which you annotated was that June 6. And on June 14 ..
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE:.. it is Document D-774, which will be Exhibit GB-307, initialed Warlimont - your office sent a draft letter to the Foreign Office for the attention of Ritter, sending on this formulation of what were terror-fliers. And if you look it over it says that it is necessary to formulate, unambiguously, the concept of the facts which are to constitute a criminal act. And then the draft letter, document D-775, Exhibit GB-308, to the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force, for the attention of Colonel Von Brauchitsch, which says that:
"On the basis of the preliminary talks and in agreement with the Reichsaußenminister and the head of the Security police and SD" - the Defendant Kaltenbrunner - "the following facts are to be considered terroristic acts which are to be taken into consideration when publishing a case of lynch law or which justify the handing of enemy airmen from the Air Force Reception Camp of Oberursel to the SD for special treatment."
And then you set out what was agreed and you say: "Please obtain the consent of the Reichsmarschall to this formulation of the facts and, if necessary, give the Commandant of the Air Force Reception Camp of Oberursel verbal instructions to act accordingly. "It is further requested that you obtain the Reichsmarschall's consent also to the procedure intended for the handling of public announcements."
And then if you look at Document D-776, Exhibit GB-309, this is a letter from you to the Foreign Office, a draft letter for the attention of Ritter, dated June 15 to the same effect. You ask him to confirm by the 18th. And then Document D-777, Exhibit: GB-310, is a similar draft letter to Göring, marked for the attention of Colonel Von Brauchitsch and asking him to reply by the 18th. Then Document D-778, Exhibit GB-311, records a telephone call from Ritter saying that the Foreign Office will have to delay for couple of days in giving their view. Document D-779, Exhibit GB-312, gives the first note from the Defendant Göring. It says on June 19:
"The Reichsmarschall has made the following notes with regard to the above letter:
"The population's reaction is, in any case, not in our hands but, if possible, the population must be prevented from acting against other enemy fliers" - I ask you to note the word "other," that is, enemy fliers that do not come within the category of enemy terror-fliers - "to whom the above state of affairs does not apply. In my opinion, a state of affairs as above can also" - and I ask you to note the word "also"¬ - at any time be tried by a court, as it is here a question of murders which the enemy has forbidden his fliers to commit."
Then, in Document D-780, Exhibit GB-313, there is another copy of the memorandum from the Foreign Office which I read in some detail when I was presenting the case against the Defendant Von Ribbentrop; and it is interspersed with comments of your officer, General Warlimont, in general agreement with the memorandum. I do not want to go through that again.
Then, in Document D-781, Exhibit GB-314, your office wanted to get quite clear what the Defendant Göring meant, so you write to him again for the attention of Von Brauchitsch: "It is unfortunately not possible to gather from your letter whether the Reichsmarschall has concurred with the facts communicated to him, which in the publication of a case of lynch law are to be regarded as terrorist actions and whether he is prepared to give the Commandant of the Air Force Reception Camp of Oberursel the verbal instructions to this effect.
"It is again requested that the Reichsmarschall be induced to give his consent and that this office be notified if possible, by the 27th instantly." Then, just passing along, Document D-782, Exhibit GB-315-it says that the Foreign Minister will reply in a day or two; and in Document D-783 of the 26th, that will be Exhibit GB-316, comes the answer, a telephone memorandum, a telephone call, adjutant's office of the Reichsmarschall, Captain Bräuner: "The Reichsmarschall agrees with the formulation of the concept of terror-fliers as stated and with the proposed procedure. He asks for information this very day about measures taken."
So it is not right, is it, Defendant, that Defendant Göring disagreed with the procedure? Here is a call from his adjutant's office - and it is noted by your office - saying that he agrees with the formulation of the concept and with the proposed procedure. This must be right, must it not?
KEITEL: Yes. I had never seen this document; but I understand, under the applied measures, transfer to the Oberursel camp for Air Force prisoners-of-war, not lynch law. Perhaps I may add something about the discussion I had with the Reichsmarschall.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: It is quite clear. I am not going through the correspondence again. I pointed it out as we went along. Your letters are saying both lynching and the measures to be taken for the publication of lynching and the other procedure of segregating these people in the hands of the SD, pending confirmation of suspicion of terror-fliers. It is quite clear. I have taken you through nearly 10 letters in which it is stated implicitly that it is put to the Reichsmarschall on both these points, publication of lynching and segregation from other prisoners-of-war. He is saying, "I agree with the proposed procedure."
KEITEL: May I add something?
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, please do.
KEITEL: I recall very distinctly my discussion with Reichsmarschall Göring at the Berghof. We waited for Hitler who was to give a speech to the generals. This must have been at about the same time. In this discussion two points were mentioned. Point one was the conception of the desired - or how should I say - of the planned or the conceived lynch law. The second question was that my influence with Hitler had not been strong enough to definitely settle this matter. These two points I talked over with Göring that day. We established that the entire method discussed here should be the prerequisite for the free use of lynch law, that we agreed that as soldiers we rejected it; and secondly, I asked him most urgently to use his influence with Hitler again so that he might desist from such measures. This discussion took place at the Berghof in the anteroom of the hall where Hitler addressed the generals. I remember this very distinctly.
I just looked over the correspondence which was exchanged all along. I only recognize certain fragments. They deal with the deliberations on a measure desired by Hitler which, thank goodness, never was adopted, as corresponding orders were not issued.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Would you look at the next document, Document D-784, Exhibit GB-317. That is a note from General Warlimont to you. Paragraph 1 says that the Foreign Office has agreed; Ambassador Ritter telephoned on the 29th that the Reichsaußenminister has agreed to this draft. Paragraph 2 says: "The Reichsmarschall is in agreement with the formulation of the concept of terror-flier as proposed by the OKW and with the method suggested." That is sent to you and on it there is a penciled note, initialed by Warlimont: "We must act at last. What else is necessary for this?" Didn't you act on it?
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Then, why ..
KEITEL: As a matter of fact ..
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Then why, if you did not act on it, were you asking the Luftwaffe, 4 days later if they had given instructions to the camp at Oberursel? Look at Document D-785, Exhibit GB-318.
The PRESIDENT: Sir David, it appears to be initialed by the defendant – D-784.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: My copy is initialed "W", Warlimont.
The PRESIDENT: D-784, on the copy I have, is initialed "K" at the top, alongside Warlimont's note.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Oh, yes. I am sorry, My Lord. The fault is entirely mine. My Lord is quite right. (Turning to the defendant) So, before I pass from D-784, this was submitted to you and initialed by you?
KEITEL: No, I only put my "K" on document D-784 to show that I saw it. I wrote nothing on it.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: But the document was submitted to you and so you did see that document? You knew that both the Foreign Office and Göring were agreeing to this procedure being adopted?
KEITEL: I read it. I wrote "K" on it.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And 4 days later, in D-785, your department is asking Göring through Von Brauchitsch as to whether they have been carried out:
"Please report whether instructions have been given to the Commandant of the Air Force Reception Camp of Oberursel in the sense of the statements of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces, Operational Staff, of I5 June, or when it is intended to do so."
KEITEL: I have not seen this document before, but it seems me to confirm the accuracy of my viewpoint, that in these inquiries to the Reichsmarschall the transfer to Oberursel was the only point in question and not whether he wanted lynch law, approved it, or whether he considered it as right. That seems to be quite obvious from this question. I do not know anything about the question itself.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Please look at Document D-786. Exhibit GB-319. You were going beyond that the next day. This the 5th of July. It is actually a report of the meeting on July 4. It says that Hitler decreed the following: "According to press reports, the Anglo-Americans intend in the future to attack from the air small places, too, which are of no importance militarily or to the war economy, as a retaliatory measure against the V-I. Should this news prove true, the Führer wishes it to be made known through the radio and the press that any enemy airman who takes part in such an attack and is shot down will not be entitled to be treated as a prisoner-of-war but, as soon as he falls into German hands, will be treated as a murderer and killed. This measure is to apply to all attacks on small places which are not military targets, communications centers, armament targets and the like, and therefore, are not of importance to the conduct of war. At the moment nothing is to be ordered; the only thing to be done is to discuss such a measure with the Wi. Rü and the Foreign Office."
So that, far from modifying the matter, you were increasing the severity of the measures to be taken, that is to say, Hitler increasing the severity of the measures to be taken.
KEITEL: I do not remember this; but if that note was made at that time, something like that must have been mentioned by him in this conference, but I do not remember the incident.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I only want to put this point to you. You have said twice, on Friday and again today, that no order of the Wehrmacht had been issued. It would not need an order of the Wehrmacht to encourage the population to lynch fliers who have crashed. All that would be required to produce that result would be to hold off the police from arresting people who murdered them, would it not? You would not need an order of the Wehrmacht to encourage your population to murder fliers who had crashed would you?
KEITEL: No, there was only the Wehrmacht which had the exclusive right to take a shot-down or landed airman into custody and protect him against lynching by the population, and prevent anything like that from happening.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You will agree with me that once an American or British airman was handed over to the SD, his chances of survival would not be – what - one in a million? He would be killed, would he not?
KEITEL: I did not know it then; I only heard it here. I did not know it at the time.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You will agree that that was in fact what happened; when an airman was handed over to the SD, he would be killed, would he not? That is what would happen?
KEITEL: I did not know that it was so, but in this.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I am not saying what you believe. Now we know what would happen?
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You have told us several times that you did not know anything about the SD. In fact, at one time, you were a sort of a court of appeal from the SD in France, were you not? You confirmed the killings by the SD in France, did you not?
KEITEL: I do not recall that I should have made any regulation.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: French Exhibit, Document Number RF-1244. I am afraid that I do not have a German copy, but this is what it says: Paris, 6 August 1942.
"In the criminal proceedings against the French citizens:
(1) Jean Maréchal, born an 15 October 1912.
(2) Emmanuel Thepault, born an 4 June 1916.
"Field Marshal Keitel, acting within the powers given to him on 26 and 27 June 1942 by the Führer in his office as Com¬mander-in-Chief of the Army, has refused to pardon these two men condemned to death and has ordered that the sen¬tences should be executed within the scope of the General punishments." They were sentenced by the Tribunal de la Feldcommandantur at Evreux, and this was sent to the Commandant de Ia police de Sürete et du SD - sent to the Commandant of the police of the Sürete and of the SD. Does that not show that you were dealing with a confirmation of sentences of death and passing on your confirmation to the SD?
KEITEL: This entire incident is an enigma to me. It happened in several cases that the Führer, to whom I submitted all decisions which, as Supreme Commander, he had to ratify; that I may have put the signature, "By order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Keitel." By order - that might have been possible, otherwise I know nothing about it.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, it does not look like that. Let me remind you of the words "Maréchal Keitel, dans le cadre des pouvoirs qui lui ont été donnés les 26 et 27 Juin 1942." That date. It is acting within the powers given to you by the Führer. Had you not been given the powers?
KEITEL: No, I did not have any such powers in that case. That is a mistake. However, I may have put a signature, "By order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Keitel, Field Marshal."
The PRESIDENT: Are you passing from that?
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes, I was going to pass on.
The PRESIDENT: Well, isn't Document D-775 relevant to that? The last line of the first paragraph.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, I am very grateful to you.
The PRESIDENT: D-775. As I understand it, the defendant was saying that he did not know what would necessarily happen to these prisoners if they were handed over to the SD. Those are the last words of the first paragraph.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Very good, My Lord. (Turning to the defendant) The words are, ".. the handing over of airmen from the Air Force Reception Camp at Oberursel to the SD for Sonderbehandlung."
We know, Defendant, that "Sonderbehandlung" means death. Didn't you know, in 1944, what "Sonderbehandlung" meant?
KEITEL: Yes, I know what "Sonderbehandlung" meant. I do know that.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, there is just one other point in the document which my friend General Rudenko put to you on Saturday, I think it was on Friday evening - document EC-338. You remember General Rudenko put this. This document is the report of Admiral Canaris about treatment of prisoners-of-war, dealing with the position of the Soviet Union as not being signatory to the Convention. You remember the point that Admiral Canaris put to you, that although they were not signatories, since the I8th century there had been established a practice that war captivity was neither revenge nor punishment, but solely protective custody. Do you remember the document? It was a report from Canaris to you as of September 15, 1941, putting out the position of prisoners-of-war of a country that had not signed the Convention. You remember, you said you agreed with it but that you had to put on this statement that it was nonsense from the point of view of the present situation because it arose from a military concept of chivalrous warfare, that this was the destruction of an ideology. You said that you had to put that on, on Hitler's instructions. Do you remember?
KEITEL: I had submitted to him the procedure and I asked that he read this, and upon that, I wrote out this note.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Yes. Now, there is a paragraph 3-aa which I want you to have in mind at the moment on the point I am dealing with now:
"The screening of the civilians and politically undesirable prisoners-of-war, as well as the decision over their fate, is effected by the action detachments (Einsatzgruppen) of the Security police" – Sicherheitspolizei - that is underlined in purple, that is, it is your underlining, and opposite it is your penciled note: "very efficient." That is, "Einsatzgruppen of the Security police, very efficient." Then it goes on, ".. and the SD." Then Admiral Canaris says, ".. along principles which are unknown to the Wehrmacht authorities." And you have put opposite "unknown to the Wehrmacht authorities": "not at all." Do you remember doing that?
KEITEL: I cannot recall it at the present moment. I must have made this remark in reference to the fact that this was unknown to the Wehrmacht. I think that is right. Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You see, it is perfectly clear. Admiral Canaris says it is unknown to the Wehrmacht authorities and you put opposite to that, in your penciled notation, "not at all.' You could not have gotten that from Hitler; that must have been your own point, was it not, if you put in, in pencil, "not at all"' You must have thought that they were known to the Wehrmacht.
KEITEL: Not at all. (The defendant reads the document). I cannot clarify this statement. I put these remarks down in a hurry. I cannot identify or define them, neither can I give a clear explanation, because I do not know. However, I have the recollection that I wanted to make, or did make, a note to the effect that it remained unknown to the Wehrmacht and that is correct.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, I just want to take you quite shortly on the last of my points, and then ask you one question about it. You have said to the Tribunal, I should think probably at least 25 times, that you were not interested in politics, that you simply took your orders as to military preparations. I just want to ask you a little about that.
First of all, let us take the Austrian problem. I only want to put one document to you there. You remember Defendant General Jodl's account in his diary about the pretended military movement which, according to Defendant Jodl - I gather that you said that General Lahousen took a different view - had an immediate effect in Austria? Do you remember that? You must remember that.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, you suggested, did you not, these false military movements?
KEITEL: No, I neither devised nor suggested them; but it was an instruction of the Führer as he dismissed me that evening. I would not have thought of that myself.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You have the document books that I gave you. Just look at that. It is 113 of the German document book. It is 131 of Your Lordship's document book, the larger document book.
Now, this is your document of the 13th, Defendant.
KEITEL: Yes, I recall.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: And it says, if you look at paragraph 1, to take no real preparatory measures in the Army or Luftwaffe, no troop movements or redeployments, to spread false but quite credible news which may lead to the conclusion of military preparations against Austria. And it is through people in Austria and your customs personnel and through agents that you sent out the news, and by a make-believe wireless exchange and through maneuvers.
Now, you put that up to Hitler, and on the 14th Captain Eberhard gives the Information by phone that the Führer has given his approval on all points. You were putting up what the false new and the false preparations were to be in order to get a political effect in Austria, were you not?
KEITEL: I made the proposal on the basis and instigation of instructions which had been given to me on my return to Berlin.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well now, I only want to deal quite shortly with this and I think I can, but I want to show the same point with regard to Czechoslovakia.
Before you became Chief of the OKW you had been under Von Blomberg at the Ministry of War. Had you seen Von Blomberg's plan for the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the directive dated 24 June 1937?
KEITEL: Yes, I knew that.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: You have?
KEITEL: Yes. It was no directive for an invasion; it was the annual preparatory work for mobilization. That is what it was and what I know.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Well, paragraph 2 reads:
"The task of the German Wehrmacht is to prepare in such a way that the bulk of the whole strength can break into Czechoslovakia quickly, by surprise, with the greatest force."
I should have thought that was a preparation for an invasion. All I want, at the moment, is to know this: You knew of that plan, Defendant, did you not?
KEITEL: I believe, yes, that I read it at that time, but of course I do not remember the details any more.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Now, you told this Tribunal that the first that you heard of the Führer's plans against Czechoslovakia in 1938 was the interview with the Führer that you had on April 21, 1938. It is very easy to forget something, and I am not putting it to you that you are lying, Defendant, on this point. But that is not accurate, is it? You had correspondence with the Defendant Von Ribbentrop as early as March 4, 6 weeks before, on this point, had you not, about the liaison with the Hungarian High Command? Isn't that correct?
KEITEL: I cannot remember that; I have no idea.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: Just look at it. You see my point? You are stating that you were not dealing with politics, but if you will look at this document that I will give you in a moment - it is 2786-PS - you will see that it is apparently a letter from the Defendant Von Ribbentrop to you:
"Most Honored General: Enclosed I forward to you the minutes of a conference with the local Hungarian Ambassador for your confidential cognizance. As you can judge from it, Mr. Sztojay suggested that possible war aims against Czechoslovakia be discussed between the German and Hungarian Armies. I have many doubts about such negotiations. In case we should discuss with Hungary possible war aims against Czechoslovakia, danger exists that other parties as well would be informed about this. I would greatly appreciate it if you would notify me briefly whether any commitments were made here in any respect." And the Foreign Ministry encloses the minutes of his conversation with the ambassador.
KEITEL: I remember this incident only so far as an invitation by General Von Ratz was concerned. I did not know at all just what was to be discussed. Von Blomberg had been invited by Von Ratz also and in my ignorance I questioned Hitler whether I should make such a visit. Hitler agreed and told me that he considered it appropriate. However, an operational General Staff meeting did not take place, it was just a hunting visit with General Ritter von Ratz.
The PRESIDENT: The Court will recess now.
(A recess was taken. )
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: I want to ask you very few questions on this part of the case, Defendant. Do you remember you told the Tribunal that on April 21, when you saw Hitler, that he had either read to you or handed you a copy of the minutes which appear there, taken by Schmundt, about the basis of the "Fall Grün" against Czechoslovakia?
The PRESIDENT: Sir David, isn't this really a matter of argument rather than a matter for cross-examination? The witness says that insofar as the part he took in all these matters, it was military. The case of the Prosecution is that the part he took was political.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, if I may say so, it is a very fair comment and received with greatest respect. The difficulty is, when a witness has said several times "it is political" – I mean, "it is only military". I wanted to bring out the points that show it is political and I don't want to cross anything which the Tribunal had in mind.
The PRESIDENT: Well, I think the Tribunal have all the documents before them upon which they can judge, really, unless you have new documents.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: My Lord, there are not; and, My Lord, I will of course, accede at once to what the Tribunal says My Lord, I should like to point out one document.
The PRESIDENT: Sir David, I think the Tribunal does feel that the cross-examination is apt to get a little bit too long and sometimes too detailed.
Sir David MAXWELL-FYFE: If Your Lordship please, I am sorry if that has been done, but, My Lord, the witness was in examination-in-chief, I think, 2 full days and in examination by the other defense counsel for half a day and so far the Prosecution have only spent just 4 hours. So I hope Your Lordship won't hold it too much against us. My Lord, the only document which I should like to - I shall not pursue the point in view of what Your Lordship has said - it is Page 31 of the document book. I only wanted you to have this in mind, because Your Lordship will remember that the witness said that the state of German preparations was such that he himself and the other generals did not think that a campaign against Czechoslovakia would succeed. Your Lordship will see that on that day General Halder, then Chief of Staff, said that the operation will definitely succeed and almost will be reached on the second day. My Lord, I only want to pass on that and I think it is only fair that the Tribunal should have that point in mind. I don't think it has been referred to before. I will leave that point, as Your Lordship has indicated, and I will leave the other points on this part of the case, which I intended to do. I only want to deal with a different point entirely and then I shall finish.
(Turning to the defendant) Defendant, the document which I have now passed to you is a document which gives the account of a conference between Hitler and yourself on October 20, 1939 with regard to the future shape of Polish relations, and I want you to look at paragraph 3, the second subparagraph. I want to put one interview to you that arose out of that. That paragraph says: "The Polish intelligentsia must be prevented from forming a ruling class. The standard of living in the country is to remain low. We want only to draw labor forces from there."
Now, do you remember General Lahousen giving evidence? He said that Admiral Canaris had protested vehemently to you against, first of all, the projected shooting and extermination measures that were proposed.
Dr. NELTE: Once more, therefore, I am having the Canaris document shown to you, USSR-356, from which General Rudenko has presented to you your handwritten note and also the documents submitted by the British Prosecutor, D-762, 764, 766, 765, and 770.
According to statements made during the cross-examination your explanation regarding responsibilities appears to require a supplementary clarification. You have said that you passed on Hitler's orders in cognizance of their contents. And now I come back to Mr. Dodd's question and in light of the judgment to be passed on you, I must ask you, for it is of the greatest importance, how was it possible and how do you want to explain that these ruthless orders, in violation of the law of war, could be carried out by you or how, as it says in the note in the Canaris document, you could support them? You did have objections. You told us so. This is a matter that can be explained only by you, by yourself, since it is a personal affair and cannot be clarified with the help of documents, as such. A number of times you have told me, and now again you have emphasized it, that you desired to help us find a thorough and truthful explanation for everything.
Thus, I am asking you how was it possible and how do you explain that those orders and instructions were carried out and passed on by you and how is it that no effective resistance was met with?
KEITEL: About this clearing up, I realize that many orders and also notes which I wrote on documents that have been found and orders which I passed on, must seem incomprehensible to third parties, to outsiders, and particularly to foreigners.
To find an explanation for this, I must say that you had to know the Führer, that you have to know in what atmosphere I worked in, day and night, for years; you must not fail to consider just what the circumstances were, under which these events occurred. I have often testified here that I wanted to give expression to my scruples and objections and that I did so. The Führer would then advance arguments which to him appeared decisive and he did so in his own, I must say, forceful and convincing way, stating the military and political necessities and making felt his concern for the welfare of his soldiers and their safety, as well as his concern about the future of our people. I must state that, because of that, but also because of the ever increasing emergency, militarily speaking, in which we found ourselves. I convinced myself and often allowed myself to become convinced of the necessity and the rightness of such measures. So I would transmit the orders that were given and promulgate them without letting myself be deterred by any possible effects they might have.
Perhaps this may be considered as weakness and perhaps I shall be accused of the same guilt. But at any rate, what I have told is the truth. During the examination by Sir David I myself admitted and acknowledged that I often had serious conflicts of conscience and that I often found myself in a position where I myself in some way or another was able to draw the consequences of these matters. But never did it enter my mind to revolt against the head of the state and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces or refuse him obedience. As far as I am concerned and as a soldier, loyalty is sacred to me. I may be accused of having made mistakes, and also of having shown weakness towards the Führer, Adolf Hitler, but never can it be said that I was cowardly, dishonorable, or faithless.
This is what I had to say.
Dr. NELTE: Mr. President, I have reached the end of my examination. I should like to ask you, if I may, only that the documents which have been offered to the Tribunal in the course of this examination, bearing the numbers I and 2 in document book 2 named documents Keitel-8 and Keitel-9, be admitted in evidence without the necessity of my reading any parts thereof. The Prosecution know the documents and they are agreeable.
The PRESIDENT: Defendant, there is one question I should like to ask you. Are you suggesting that you ever put your protest or objections to the orders of Hitler in writing?
KEITEL: Once I handed him a protest in writing, yes. That I know for certain. In the other cases and as far as I can recollect, the matters were discussed verbally.
The PRESIDENT: Did you keep a copy of that protest?
KEITEL: I have nothing left, Mr. President, not a single piece of paper.
The PRESIDENT: Did you keep a copy of the protest? I did not ask you whether you had a copy; I asked you whether you kept a copy. Did you make a copy?
KEITEL: I had a draft as well as the handwritten document which I also had given to him through the chief adjutant. I think I had the draft in my personal files, but now I no longer have it and I do not know where these files have gone. They could possibly have been in the hands of the chief of the Armed Forces central office, which dealt with personal matters in my office, or later on they may have gotten into the hands of the chief adjutant of the Führer, General Schmundt, I do not know.
There, I think, the original of that document I sent at that time ought to be available.
The PRESIDENT: And what was the occasion of the protest?
KEITEL: It was made in connection with another crisis in our relationship during which he had expressed his distrust, and in connection with the current controversies on basic matters of the conduct of the war.
The PRESIDENT: But when?
KEITEL: I believe it was in 1940-1939-1940, in the winter of 1939-1940.
The PRESIDENT: And you cannot say more about it than that it was made on basic matters?
KEITEL: I clearly asked for permission to resign on account of the accusations made against me and for the reasons which I was quoting.
The PRESIDENT: That is all. The defendant can return to his seat.
(The defendant left the stand)