Tuesday, 19 March 1946
DR. STAHMER: With the permission of the Tribunal, I shall call as witness the civil engineer, Birger Dahlerus of Stockholm.
[The witness Dahlerus took the stand.]
THE PRESIDENT: Will you state your name?
BIRGER DAHLERUS (Witness): Birger Dahlerus.
THE PRESIDENT: Will you repeat this oath after me:
I swear by God—the Almighty and Omniscient—that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth—the whole truth—and nothing but the truth—so help me God. [The witness repeated the oath.]
THE PRESIDENT: You may sit down if you wish.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. Dahlerus, would you please tell the Court how you, as a private person and a Swedish citizen, came to work for an understanding between England and Germany?
DAHLERUS: I knew England very well, since I had lived there for 12 years, and I also knew Germany very well. I had been able to observe the first World War from both sides, as I stayed both in Germany and in England during that time.
During a visit to England at the end of June 1939, I traveled around a number of cities, Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, and London, and I found everywhere an absolute determination that the British would tolerate no further aggressive acts on the part of Germany.
On 2 July I met some friends in the Constitutional Club. We discussed the current situation and they gave a pretty clear picture of public opinion in Great Britain.
As this summary of public opinion in Great Britain was the basis for my discussions afterward with Göring, I think I should quote it.
"Outline of conclusions reached by observation of conditions in Great Britain and by conversations with people of the country:
"A. Agreement that Berchtesgaden and Czechoslovakia have shaken confidence, and that immediately after Berchtesgaden,
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before Czechoslovakia could possibly be in a position to accomplish by co-operation many things already decided upon by Germany.
`B. Public opinion in Great Britain now extremely bitter. It is resolved: so far and no farther.
"C. Great Britain from now on has obligations which did not exist at time of Berchtesgaden meeting. Poland and Danzig: An attack on Danzig means war with Poland and Britain. Great Britain will be involved automatically as a consequence of its obligations. Hence, automatically, war with Great Britain.
"D. Great Britain does not make her strength known; this is not even known to the British public."
Then follows Statement Number 2, about Lord Halifax's speech: "My personal observations indicate that England stands firmly behind its declarations...."
THE PRESIDENT: One moment. I am afraid the Russian is coming through on the French again. I am afraid the Tribunal must adjourn then.
(A recess was taken.)
THE PRESIDENT: Before the witness goes on with his evidence, the Tribunal want me to say that the system by which the earphones are connected with the interpreters was checked over after the Court rose last night, was checked over again at 9:30 this morning, and again at 9:55 this morning. But everyone who comes into this court must realize that it has not been possible to bury these cables so as to make them altogether safe. It is, therefore, of the very greatest importance that everybody who comes into this court should take real care to avoid, if possible, treading upon these cables, which may become injured by being kicked and broken, and in that way the faults in the system occur.
Everything is being done to maintain the system as efficiently as possible. It, therefore, rests with those who use this court to see that they do their best to assist in keeping the system efficient.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. Dahlerus, would you please continue.
DAHLERUS: Point Number 2:
Lord Halifax's speech: "Personal observations indicate that England stands firmly behind its declaration. Lord Halifax underestimates England's situation, which is customary with the British; that is, he makes out the state of the strength of Great Britain to be weaker than it actually is. Perhaps in Germany this is not fully realized.
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"Point Number 3: England wants peace, but not peace at any price. The German people are quite acceptable to the British, and there seems to be no good reason for an armed conflict. As before, Germany will certainly be defeated again, and will accomplish far less by war then by peaceful negotiations. England and her friends will likewise have to suffer much; possibly it will mean the end of civilization."
Having observed that there was a disinclination in the Third Reich to forward unfavorable reports, I felt both that it was my duty and that it might be of great value if these clear expressions of British opinion were to be transmitted to the highest quarters in Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. Dahlerus, may I interrupt with a question? Were these friends of yours members of the British Parliament?
DAHLERUS: No, they were people from the business world, and if the Tribunal desires, I can submit a list of the names.
DR. STAHMER: What were their names?
DAHLERUS: May I save time and submit the list of names to the Tribunal?
THE PRESIDENT: Their names are not of any great importance, are they, if they were people in the business world?
DAHLERUS: After having agreed with my friends on the advisability of a trip to Germany, I left for Germany and received an appointment with Göring for 6 July at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, at Karinhall.
I told him what I had observed in England and strongly emphasized the necessity of doing everything to avoid the possibility of a war. Göring expressed doubts as to whether these observations were not perhaps an attempt by the English to bluff. He likewise pointed out that he was of the opinion that England wanted to control developments on the Continent.
I told him that I did not want him to accept statements of mine, of a neutral citizen, and I suggested to him that a meeting should be arranged where he and some other members of the German Government might have the opportunity of meeting British citizens who had absolute knowledge of conditions. I suggested that such a meeting could well take place in Sweden, possibly on the invitation of the King of Sweden, or the Swedish Government.
On 8 July I received from Göring a reply that Hitler had agreed to this plan, and I left for Sweden to ascertain whether it would be possible to make such an arrangement in Sweden.
The Swedish Government, for certain reasons, considered it inadvisable for the Swedish King or the Swedish Government, to
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extend such an invitation, but they had no objections to private persons arranging such a meeting.
Count Trola Wachmeester willingly placed his castle, Trola Beelda, at the disposal of such a meeting. I left then on 19 July for London to begin the preparations.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr. Stahmer, can you not take the witness on, in order to save time, to the actual negotiations? All these preliminaries do not seem to the Tribunal to be very important. Can you not take him on to the actual negotiations?
DR. STAHMER: Yes, he will come directly to the meeting, to the preliminary meeting that took place on 7 August at Soenke Nissen Koog.
Witness, will you tell us of the meeting. You were about to state that on 19 July you flew to London and there, on the 20th met Lord Halifax?
DR. STAHMER: I consider this statement very material. Would you tell the Tribunal of the content of this meeting with Lord Halifax?
DAHLERUS: I met Lard Halifax on 20 July. He said particularly that he did not want any members of the British Government or Parliament to participate. However, His Majesty's Government would await the results of the meeting with the greatest interest. The meeting took place at Soenke Nissen Koog, in Schleswig Holstein, near the Danish border. The house belongs to my wife. Seven Englishmen, Göring, Bodenschatz, and Dr. Schoettl were present.
DR. STAHMER: On what day was this?
DAHLERUS: It was on 7 August, and the meeting started at 10 o'clock. The meeting started with Göring's request to the Englishmen to put to him any questions they desired. Then, a long discussion took place on political developments, particularly with reference to relations between Great Britain and Germany. Finally, both sides came to the question of Munich and the events after Munich. The English representatives emphasized that the policy of aggression in Europe would have to cease. Then the question of the Corridor and Danzig was discussed.
The Englishmen made it perfectly clear that if Germany were to try with force to occupy any foreign territory, the British Empire, in accordance with its obligations to Poland, would stand at the side of Poland.
Göring indicated, on his word of honor as a statesman and a soldier, that although he had the control and command of the strongest air force in the world and might be tempted to lead this
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air force into battle, he would do everything in his power to prevent a war.
The result of the meeting was that all present agreed on the fact that it would be of the greatest value if a meeting could be arranged as soon as possible by representatives of England and Germany. The conference ended late at night, but next morning the English delegates suggested that such a conference should be extended to include four nations, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany. I went to Sylt, where Göring was staying, and he was prepared to consent, in the name of Germany, to this modified proposal.
DR. STAHMER: Did English Members of Parliament participate in this meeting?
DAHLERUS: No, English businessmen only.
DR. STAHMER: Was a full report on this visit given to Lord Halifax?
DAHLERUS: The English participants left Germany early on 9 August and immediately on their return submitted a report to the Foreign Office.
DR. STAHMER: Did this meeting that was planned then materialize, or how did the matter further develop?
DAHLERUS: I received a confirmation from Göring personally that Hitler agreed to such a conference. The matter was then discussed in London, and on 19 August, a request came to me to go to Paris, evidently to receive a reply from the British side. Before I left, on 21 August, I was informed that a commercial agreement had been concluded between Russia and Germany. On the following day this was extended to an agreement covering other political questions. On 23 August I was requested by Göring, who telephoned me in the morning at 10:30 to come to Berlin, if possible, at once.
DR. STAHMER: Did he, during this conversation, point out the gravity of the situation?
DAHLERUS: Yes. Göring stated that the situation had in the meantime become very serious.
DR. STAHMER: When did you meet Göring then?
DAHLERUS: I arrived in Berlin on the 24th and saw Göring at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
DR. STAHMER: What was the subject of your discussion?
DAHLERUS: He told me that the situation had become very serious owing to the fact that no agreement had been reached between Poland and Germany. He asked me whether I could not go to London and explain the situation there.
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DR. STAHMER: Were you to point out there in particular that Germany was prepared to come to an understanding with England?
DAHLERUS: Yes. Göring stated that Germany wanted to come to an understanding with England.
DR. STAHMER: Then when did you leave for London?
DAHLERUS: The following morning, on the 25th, a Friday.
DR. STAHMER: Did this trip take place with Hitler's agreement?
DAHLERUS: That I cannot say.
DR. STAHMER: With whom then did you have a discussion in London on the evening of the 25th?
DAHLERUS: The important meeting took place late in the afternoon at 6:30 with Lord Halifax.
DR. STAHMER: What did Halifax tell you on this occasion?
DAHLERUS: He informed me that on the same day Henderson had spoken with Hitler, and that Henderson was expected in London on Saturday, the 26th. He expressed the hope then that now the official channels were open an agreement might really become possible. He thanked me for my efforts, and assured me that he did not think my services would be required any longer.
DR. STAHMER: Did you on the same evening have a telephone conversation with Göring?
DR. STAHMER: What was discussed?
DAHLERUS: At 8 o'clock in the evening I tried to reach him on the telephone, but only after I had obtained help from the Foreign Office was I able to establish the connection. Göring revealed to me then that the situation had become extremely serious and asked me to do everything in my power to arrange a conference between representatives of England and Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Did you inform Lord Halifax of this conversation?
DAHLERUS: Yes. Mr. Roberts of the Foreign Office received the exact wording of our conversation, and before midnight Lord Halifax had the report in his hands.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then on the next morning, that is on Saturday, 26 August, have another conversation with Lord Halifax? What was the nature of that conversation?
DAHLERUS: I met Lord Halifax on Saturday, the 26th at 11 o'clock. I told him that I had learned that the German Government was trying to bring about a decision with all haste. And I stressed the importance of such an attempt in order to make it clear
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to him that in such a serious situation it was necessary to proceed with greatest sense of responsibility and care. I asked him to emphasize to the German Government that the British Government wanted an understanding.
DR. STAHMER: Did anyone state that Göring was the only man on the German side who could prevent war?
DAHLERUS: Well, I personally had the impression that Göring was the member of the German Government who was most probably working for peace. I had this impression from the conversations that I had with him.
DR. STAHMER: What suggestion did you make then to Lord Halifax?
DAHLERUS: I suggested to Lord Halifax that he should write a letter to Göring. I would go at once to Berlin and deliver it to him personally.
DR. STAHMER: Was your suggestion taken?
DAHLERUS: Yes, Lord Halifax conferred with Chamberlain, and afterwards wrote an excellent letter in which he indicated in very clear and distinct words the desire of his Majesty's Government to bring about a peaceful settlement.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then fly back to Berlin with this letter?
DAHLERUS: Yes. I arrived in Berlin in the evening, and met Göring at about 10 o'clock that evening.
DR. STAHMER: Describe to the Tribunal the purport of this conversation that you had as a consequence of your talk with Halifax.
DAHLERUS: I met Göring in his train which was just on the way to headquarters. I told him how matters looked in London and emphasized that there was no doubt that, if the German Government proceeded against Danzig, it would immediately be at war with England, but that I was convinced that the German Government was prepared to do everything in its power to avert the crisis. After I had said this to him, I handed him the letter. He tore it open, and after having read it, he placed it before me and asked me to translate it exactly, because it was of greatest importance that the contents should be understood correctly. He sent for his adjutant to come immediately, but the train stopped at the next station, and he declared that in his opinion Hitler must be informed immediately of the contents of this letter. I followed him in a car to Berlin, and exactly at 12 o'clock, midnight, we arrived at the Reich Chancellery. Göring went in immediately to talk with Hitler, and I went to my hotel.
DR. STAHMER: That was then on 27 August, in the night, was it not, or early in the morning on 27 August?
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DR. STAHMER: Did you then have a further conversation with Hitler?
DAHLERUS: I was visited by two officers at a quarter past twelve, midnight, who requested me to go with them immediately to Hitler. I was received by him immediately upon my arrival. He was alone with Göring.
DR. STAHMER: Will you describe this conversation somewhat more exactly in detail.
DAHLERUS: Hitler began, in his usual way to describe German policy to me at length. That lasted about 20 minutes, and I thought that my visit would not prove useful. When he inveighed against the English and England, I interrupted him and stated that I had worked in Great Britain, as a workman, as an engineer, and as a manager of industrial enterprises, that I knew the English people well, and that I could not agree with his statements. A long discussion resulted. He asked many questions about England and the English people. Thereafter, he began to explain to me how well equipped the German fighting forces were. Then he seemed very excited, walked up and down the room, and in the end got himself into a very agitated condition and told me that, if it came to a war, he would build U-boats, U-boats, and more U-boats. He seemed really to speak as though he were not aware that there was still anybody in the room. After a while he shouted that he would build airplanes, airplanes, and still more airplanes, and that he would win the war. Then he calmed down again and talked again about England and said, "Herr Dahlerus, tell me please, why I have not been able to arrive at an agreement with the British Government. You seem really to know England so well. Perhaps you can solve the riddle for me?" I hesitated at first, but then I told him that, with my intimate knowledge of the English people, I was personally of the opinion that their lack of confidence in him and his Government was the reason.
The conversation continued. He gave me a long report on his discussions on Friday with Henderson, and finally he asked me to go to London at once and explain his viewpoint. I refused, naturally, and told him that I could not go there as an emissary of Germany. If, however, the British Government expressed the wish that I should come, I would, of course, be prepared to do this. The condition was such, however, that I must know definitely what conditions and proposals he had to make. We spent an hour and a half, during which he explained the various points in greater detail than he had been able to do with Henderson.
DR. STAHMER: What proposals were you specifically to make?
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DAHLERUS: In condensed form, they were as follows:
(1) Germany wanted an agreement or an alliance with England.
(2) England was to help Germany in the annexation of Danzig and the Corridor.
(3) Germany gave the assurance that it would guarantee Poland's boundaries.
(4) An agreement should be reached on Germany's colonies.
(5) Adequate guarantees should be given for the treatment of German minorities.
(6) Germany gave its word to defend the British Empire with the German Wehrmacht wherever it should be attacked.
DR. STAHMER: Mr. Dahlerus, regarding Point 2, was not Poland assured of a free harbor in Danzig? You may want to add something as to what assurance Poland was to receive. That was Point 2?
DAHLERUS: Yes. This was, of course, only an outline. These proposals were naturally far more extensive.
DR. STAHMER: Is it correct that Poland was to receive a free harbor in Danzig, that it was to receive a corridor to Gdynia, according to the proposals?
DAHLERUS: That was what Hitler said.
DR. STAHMER: Yes, thank you. What was the further course of the conversation?
DAHLERUS: I left on a special plane the next morning, after I had got in touch with London. I met Mr. Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Sir Horace Wilson, and Sir Alexander Cadogan.
DR. STAHMER: This was on 27 August, was it not?
DAHLERUS: On 27 August, yes.
DR. STAHMER: Where?
DAHLERUS: In Downing Street, Number 10.
DR. STAHMER: What transpired in this conference with Lord Halifax and Mr. Chamberlain?
DAHLERUS: We discussed in full detail the proposals I had brought. On certain points, as is seen from the British Blue Book, these proposals were not the same as those made to Henderson. I therefore suggested to the British Government that, if they had full confidence in me as an intermediary, they should tell me how far they could accept the proposals and how far not. I would go back to Berlin the same day and discuss the English views with Hitler and Göring. They should keep Henderson in London until Monday, so that the answer could be given after they had been informed how Hitler regarded the English standpoint.
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DR. STAHMER: Did you also have a conference that day with Sir Alexander Cadogan?
DAHLERUS: After the meeting with the members of the Government that I have mentioned, I had a long conversation with Cadogan.
DR. STAHMER: Did you receive certain proposals from him?
DR. STAHMER: What were they?
DAHLERUS: I must say that the English made the greatest effort to deal in a fair and peaceable way with the various points. Naturally, Point 6, the offer to defend the British Empire, was rejected. Similarly, they did not want to have any discussion on the colonies as long as Germany was not demobilized. With regard to the Polish boundaries, they wanted these boundaries to be guaranteed by the five great powers: Russia, Germany, England, France, and Italy.
Concerning the Corridor, they proposed that negotiations with Poland be undertaken immediately.
With reference to the first point, England was willing in principle to come to an agreement with Germany.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then return to Germany with these proposals?
DAHLERUS: Yes; after I had telephoned Berlin. As the English Government had promised to send Henderson back the same day, I obtained confirmation from Berlin that they were agreeable to Henderson's returning only on Monday. I left that same evening and shortly before midnight was back in Berlin.
DR. STAHMER: Did you have a conversation there with Göring?
DAHLERUS: I met Göring about 11:10 on Sunday evening and told him the results.
DR. STAHMER: Can you describe that conversation somewhat more in detail?
DAHLERUS: He did not consider the reply very favorable. I told him, however, that in view of the events of the last year he could hardly expect the English to be satisfied with the guarantees of Poland's boundaries by Germany only. With reference to the colonial question, I made it clear to him that any British Government would be overthrown at once that tried to force this point in Parliament as long as Germany's forces were mobilized.
In reference to the sixth point, I tried to make it clear to him that England, or the British Empire, preferred to look after their own affairs themselves. Finally he said that it would probably be
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better if he talked with Hitler alone. He went immediately to the Reich Chancellery and I went to my hotel. At about 1 o'clock on Monday morning, the 26th, I received a telephone call and heard that Hitler would accept the English standpoint provided that the reply expected from Henderson on the next day was, in general, what I had said.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then, that same night, go to the British Embassy?
DAHLERUS: Yes. I went straight to the British Embassy and gave Sir Ogilvie Forbes a report of the results of my conversation with Göring, and he cabled to London at once.
DR. STAHMER: Did you inform Göring of the substance of this conversation that you had with Forbes?
DAHLERUS: Of course. I acted quite openly, and therefore I told Göring what I planned to do. The German Government knew, indeed, that I would have this conversation with Forbes.
DR. STAHMER: When did you see Göring again then?
DAHLERUS: I saw him again on Monday, the 28th, in the morning, at his headquarters.
DR. STAHMER: It must have been Tuesday morning, was it not?
DAHLERUS: No, Monday morning. It was Monday morning, the 28th.
DR. STAHMER: What was said during this conversation with Göring?
DAHLERUS: In general, we discussed the situation. He seemed to be satisfied that Forbes had cabled London.
DR. STAHMER: Did you visit Forbes again then?
DAHLERUS: Yes, I saw Forbes later. But that was of no significance any longer.
DR. STAHMER: And you met Göring again on Tuesday, did you not, on Tuesday morning?
DAHLERUS: Well, the most important development was that on Tuesday morning, or at 1:15, that is, shortly after midnight, on the 29th, I received a telephone call from the Reich Chancellery, made at Göring's request by Lieutenant Colonel Konrad. He told me that Henderson had submitted his reply in writing, that it was highly satisfactory, and there was every hope that the threat of a war was past.
I met Göring again then and he told me that he was highly pleased that the matter had developed so well.
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DR. STAHMER: Did he not make a statement of this kind: "We shall have peace; peace is assured?"
DAHLERUS: Yes. He said something similar to that.
DR. STAHMER: Then sometime on 29 August you were called up again by Göring, were you not? What occasioned this?
DAHLERUS: I was in my hotel, late in the evening, about 10:30. Forbes called me up and said he had to see me at once. He came to my hotel, and said that Henderson and Hitler had had a meeting on Tuesday evening which had taken a very unsatisfactory course. They had parted after a big quarrel. He asked me what I could suggest under these circumstances.
During our conversation I was called on the phone by Göring, and he asked me to come to his house immediately. He told me the same story and seemed very upset at the development. He showed me the German reply to the British note and went through it point by point. He tried to explain to me the reasons for the contents of this note. Finally he told me I should go back to London again immediately and make every effort to explain this unfortunate incident to the British Government. He concluded then by saying that Hitler was busy, and that he was working out a proposal for Poland which should probably be ready the next day.
After a talk with Sir Kingsley Wood, the Air Minister, about another visit to England, I left again by plane on Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock. Immediately after my arrival in London I met the same members of the British Government.
DR. STAHMER: Who were they?
DAHLERUS: The same personages, Mr. Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Sir Horace Wilson, Sir Alexander Cadogan.
DR. STAHMER: What was said in this discussion?
DAHLERUS: It was obvious that by that time the British Government had become highly mistrustful, and rather inclined to assume that whatever efforts they might make, nothing would now prevent Hitler from declaring war on Poland. The British Government had made the greatest effort. They had expressed the wish through their ambassador in Warsaw that the Polish Government should exert the greatest effort to avoid any border incidents. They explained to me at the same time that it was hardly fair to expect the Polish Government to send delegates to Berlin to negotiate, when it was known what experience other countries had had in the past years when they had been in Berlin on similar missions.
I telephoned Berlin, and asked to be connected with Göring, in order to persuade him to arrange a meeting of the delegates outside Germany. He merely said, however, that this was impossible; that
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Hitler was in Berlin, and the meeting would have to take place in Berlin. It was said, too, that proposals had been made to Poland, and that the members of the British Government viewed these proposals with the greatest suspicion. The entire Polish Government was to meet in the afternoon, and would cable the result of the session to Berlin. In the meantime I returned to Berlin.
DR. STAHMER: When did you meet Göring there?
DAHLERUS: I met Göring ...
THE PRESIDENT: Can you not make this a little bit shorter, Dr. Stahmer?
DR. STAHMER: I believe this testimony is quite short, considering that it deals with the essential circumstances leading to war. However, I think that we shall not take too much more of the Tribunal's time.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dahlerus, the Tribunal wish you to come to the crucial matter as soon as possible.
DAHLERUS: I met Göring shortly after midnight on Wednesday, and he told me the nature of the proposals made to Poland. He showed me the note. I called up Forbes to give him this information. He then told me that Ribbentrop had refused to give him the note, after he had read it through very quickly. I went to Göring immediately and told him it was impossible to treat the ambassador of an empire like Great Britain in this way. I suggested to him that he should allow me to telephone Forbes and give Forbes the contents of the note on the telephone. I did this at about 1 o'clock on Thursday morning.
DR. STAHMER: Did Göring not emphasize that he was taking a great responsibility on himself in giving you this permission?
DAHLERUS: Yes. Göring emphasized that he was doing this on his own responsibility.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then on the next morning go to the British Embassy in order to convince yourself as to whether your telephonic communication had been understood correctly?
DAHLERUS: Yes, I saw Henderson on Thursday morning, the 31st, at 10 o'clock, discussed the note with him, and he requested me then to go at once to the Polish Ambassador, M. Lipski, and give him a copy.
DR. STAHMER: Was that done?
DAHLERUS: He sent Forbes with me to Lipski, and I read the note to Lipski, but he did not seem to grasp its purport. I, therefore, left the room, dictated a note to the secretary, and handed it to him.
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In the meantime, Lipski stated to Forbes that he would not be interested in discussing this note with the German Government.
DR. STAHMER: Would you reconstruct this conversation as far as you are able? It seems to me particularly important.
DAHLERUS: He said that he had no reason to negotiate with the German Government. If it came to war between Poland and Germany, he knew—since he had lived 5 1/2 years in Germany—that a revolution would break out in Germany, and that they would march on Berlin.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then inform London of your conversation by telephone?
DAHLERUS: I telephoned at once from the British Embassy and informed Sir Horace Wilson of the conference that we had had.
DR. STAHMER: Was there then another discussion in the afternoon with Göring?
DAHLERUS: I saw Göring at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. He received then a copy of the cablegram from the Polish Government to Lipski, to the effect that Lipski should not, without special instruction from Warsaw, negotiate with the German Government. It was obvious that the Poles under those circumstances were afraid to take any action. The German Government was, however, much disturbed at this telegram.
DR. STAHMER: On that afternoon did you again meet Göring, together with the British Ambassador?
DAHLERUS: The situation already seemed to have become impossible. Hitler had quarreled with Henderson. Ribbentrop, too, had quarreled with him. Therefore, I was of the opinion that the only possibility lay in Göring coming to an understanding with Henderson. I suggested a meeting between them. This took place at. 4:50 in the afternoon, at Göring's house. Forbes was present, and I too.
DR. STAHMER: What was said during this meeting?
DAHLERUS: Even before the meeting, Henderson expressed his suspicion that the German Government would try to arrange a settlement with Britain and cause a break between England and Poland. Henderson was therefore very cautious during the 2-hour session, and the result of the conversation was only that both parties agreed that a meeting of delegates from both countries would be necessary if war were possibly to be avoided.
DR. STAHMER: Did you on this occasion likewise suggest that Göring should meet the British delegates immediately?
DAHLERUS: I suggested that a meeting in Holland should be arranged at once, at which Göring should represent Germany.
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DR. STAHMER: How did Henderson react to this proposal?
DAHLERUS: Henderson promised to submit this proposal to his Government. However, I had the impression that he already knew that German military forces were on the march, and it did not seem to me that he had much confidence in any fortunate outcome.
DR. STAHMER: Are you acquainted with a statement of Göring to the effect that if the Poles did not give in, Germany would kill them like lice; and if Britain should decide to declare war, he would regret it very much but it would be very unwise of Britain?
DAHLERUS: I cannot recollect these words, but it is possible that during the 2-hour conversation they were uttered.
DR. STAHMER: How did this conference end then?
DAHLERUS: At 7 o'clock in the evening it broke up and both parties were agreed that they would endeavor to arrange for a meeting in Holland.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then on 1 September meet Göring again?
DAHLERUS: On 1 September I met Göring at 8 o'clock at his headquarters. After some hesitation he told me that the war had broken out because the Poles had attacked the radio station of Gleiwitz and blown up a bridge near Dirschau. Later he gave me more details from which I concluded that the full force of the German Army was employed in the attack on Poland.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then on 3 September meet Göring again, and did you on this occasion, make the suggestion that Göring should fly to London immediately for a personal conference?
DAHLERUS: Well, before I mention what happened then, I should like to mention that I met Hitler on 1 September, immediately after his Reichstag speech in the Kroll Opera House. He was at that time exceedingly nervous and very agitated. He told me he had all along suspected that England wanted the war. He told me further that he would crush Poland and annex the whole country. Göring interrupted, and pointed out that they would advance as far as certain given points. But Hitler was in an uncontrollable frame of mind. He began to shout he would fight for 1 year, 2 years, and ended up in great agitation that he would, in fact, fight 10 years.
Then, on Sunday, 3 September, I was informed early in the morning by Forbes that at 9 o'clock that morning an ultimatum would be given. The conditions were that the hostilities must cease immediately and the German forces must be withdrawn to the German border. I went immediately to Göring's headquarters near Potsdam. He was there and not with Hitler. I appealed to him to try at least to arrange for a reasonable reply to the ultimatum. I had the impression that certain members of the German Government
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were in favor of war and I was afraid if a written reply were given it would not be worded so as to avoid war with England. I therefore suggested that Göring should declare himself prepared to go to England, at once, before 11 o'clock, to negotiate there.
DR. STAHMER: How did Göring react to this suggestion?
DAHLERUS: He accepted this suggestion and telephoned Hitler, who likewise concurred with it.
DR. STAHMER: Did you then telephone London?
DAHLERUS: Yes. I telephoned London and got in touch with the Foreign Office. They gave the reply that they could not consider this proposal before they had received a written reply to the ultimatum.
DR. STAHMER: Did you forward this communication to Göring?
DAHLERUS: Yes, I told Göring this.
DR. STAHMER: What impression did your communication make on Göring?
DAHLERUS: Göring seemed to be sorry that the proposal was not accepted.
DR. STAHMER: Then on 4 September did you speak once more with Göring?
DAHLERUS: Yes, I had a short conversation with Göring on 4 September, but it was not of great importance.
DR. STAHMER: On this occasion did Göring say to you that, come what might, he would endeavor to carry on the war as humanely as possible? That Germany would under no circumstances begin hostilities against England first, but if England should attack Germany then the answer would be forthcoming?
DAHLERUS: Yes, that is correct.
DR. STAHMER: Did you publish a book entitled Last Attempt?
DR. STAHMER: Is the account given in this book in accordance with the truth?
DAHLERUS: Yes, it was written with greatest care. The contents are absolutely accurate and correct.
DR. STAHMER: Is this account based on notes that you took on these events?
DR. STAHMER: When did you write these notes?
DAHLERUS: I wrote them immediately after my return to Sweden on 5 September 1939.
19 March 46
DR. STAHMER: Mr. President, I have three more brief questions—should I stop now?—they pertain to the subsequent period.
THE PRESIDENT: I think you could ask them now.
DR. STAHMER: [Turning to the witness.] On 24 September 1939, did you speak to Forbes in Stockholm?
DAHLERUS: No, I met Forbes on 24 September in Oslo. That was after the occupation of Poland. It was an endeavor to ascertain if there was still a possibility of averting a world war. He gave me in writing the viewpoint of the British Government. It was briefly as follows: "The British and French Governments ..."
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a moment. What has this got to do with the Defendant Göring?
DR. STAHMER: This is evidence that he made efforts even later to bring about peace.
I have only one more question which concerns Göring directly.
THE PRESIDENT: The fact that he met Sir George Ogilvie Forbes in Oslo on 24 September does not at present appear to have anything to do with Göring.
DR. STAHMER: It appears significant in that it was the occasion for Mr. Dahlerus to get in touch with Berlin and Göring again in order to try once more, at this stage of events, to bring about peace.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, go on with our next question then.
DAHLERUS: The conditions were: "to save Europe from continued German aggressions and to enable the peoples of Europe ..."
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. What has the letter that Sir George Ogilvie Forbes wrote got to do with Göring?
DR. STAHMER: Dahlerus discussed this letter, the contents of this letter on 26 September with Göring, and tried on this basis to reach an agreement.
MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: Your Honor, may I enter a further objection?
It has nothing to do with the Indictment. We have not charged that the war against England was an aggressive war. The charge is that the war against Poland was an aggressive war. All of this negotiation to keep England out of the war while they took Poland is utterly irrelevant to the Indictment. I respectfully submit that because it has nothing to do with the Indictment, with the charge, it should be rejected.
THE PRESIDENT: Dr: Stahmer, if the witness had an interview with Göring afterwards, you can come to that, but not to preliminary conferences with Sir George Ogilvie Forbes.
19 March 46
DR. STAHMER: But that will not be comprehensible; he really must state what Forbes told him. He saw Forbes, Forbes made certain suggestions to him and with these suggestions Mr. Dahlerus went to Berlin and, of course, informed Göring what Forbes said to him. Thus, it will not otherwise be possible at all ...
THE PRESIDENT: Let the witness give the account of his meeting with Göring.
DR. STAHMER: Very well.
[Turning to the witness.] Mr. Dahlerus, you then on 26 September looked up Göring in Berlin, did you not?
DAHLERUS: Yes, I met both Göring and Hitler on 26 September.
DR. STAHMER: Did you inform Göring of the proposals Forbes had made to you?
DAHLERUS: I discussed with Hitler on what conditions he would be prepared to make good the harm he had done to Poland, and make peace. To my great disappointment he then definitely declared that he was not prepared at all to discuss the question of Poland. Poland was occupied and that was no business any longer of Great Britain. I then realized that his aim had been to split Poland and Britain and thus, with the consent of Great Britain, to have the opportunity of occupying Poland without running the risk of being involved in a war with Great Britain and France.
DR. STAHMER: In July 1940 did you again meet Göring?
DAHLERUS: Yes, Göring suggested in July, 1940 that His Majesty, the King of Sweden, should endeavor to bring the various powers together for peace negotiations.
DR. STAHMER: I have no further questions.
THE PRESIDENT: The Tribunal will adjourn until 2:10 p.m.
[The Tribunal recessed until 1410 hours.]