|Hungary - The Unwilling Satellite|
ON MAY 22, 1946, the St. Louis Post- Dispatch published the following article by its correspondent at Nuremberg, Mr. Richard L. Stokes: The Post- Dispatch presents herewith what purports to be the authentic text of the famous "Secret Protocol" for partitioning Polandand disposing of the Baltic states which was signed by Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov and Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop at Moscow on the night of Aug. 23, 1939. It is followed by an amendment transferring Lithuania to Russia with recompense for Germany in Polandwhich the same statesmen executed at Moscow on Sept. 28, 1939.
The existence of the "Secret Protocol" was first mentioned during the defense of Rudolf Hess. It was brought into notice by Dr. Alfred Seidl, attorney for Hans Frank, Nazi Governor General of Poland At the insistence of the Russian prosecution, which has always shown itself acutely sensitive in this matter, Seidl was stopped in his tracks. Some weeks later he returned to the attack and after a vehement struggle was permitted to place in evidence the so- called "Gauss affidavit." This was an account of the contents of the documents which was drafted from memory by Dr. Wilhelm Gauss, legal ADVISER OF the Nazi Foreign Office, who drew up the non-aggression treaty between the Reich and the Soviet Union.
On the witness stand of the international military tribunal yesterday and this morning was a diplomat of the old school, Ernst von Weizsaecker, who served at the Foreign Office during the ministries of Constantin von Neurathand Ribbentrop and who then became the last German ambassador at the Vatican. Weizsaecker is a man with abundant white hair and a thoughtful, scholarly face.
After his direct examination was concluded, the court president, Lord Justice Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, asked as usual whether other defense counselors had questions they wished to put. Among the first to reach the microphone was the indomitable Dr. Seidl. He flourished several typewritten sheets. Like a hand grenade he tossed the following interrogation into the arena: "On Aug. 23, 1939, were there other agreements between the German and Soviet governments which are not contained in the non-aggression pact?" The chief Russian prosecutor, Gen. Roman Rudenko, was instantly on his feet. He asked that the question be ruled out on the ground that it had nothing to do with the defense of the Grand Admiral Erich Raeder. Lawrence instructed Seidl to go ahead. The witness replied that there was a secret protocol containing agreements which he himself saw and read in his capacity as state secretary in the Foreign Office.
"I have before me," Seidl continued, waving his papers, "a text in which there can be no doubt that these agreements are faithfully and authentically reproduced. I shall have this text submitted to you." The attorney explained to the court that he wished to read the documents into the record and then ask the witness whether to the best of his recollection the original text of the agreements was accurately given.
Rudenko protested that the tribunal is hearing the case of German war criminals and not examining the treaties of Allied countries.
Seidl was asked the source the documents. He answered: "I got it a few weeks ago from a man on the Allied side who seems entirely reliable to me, but I received it only on condition that I would not divulge the exact source." Rudenko objected that the papers were of unknown and anonymous origin. He was supported by the American deputy prosecutor, Thomas J. Dodd, who suggested, however, that Weizsaecker should be permitted to relate the contents of the agreement from memory. The magistrates agreed to reject the documents but to hear the version as recollected by the witness. In general, Weizsaecker's testimony corroborated the Gauss affidavit. At the writer's request Dodd obtained a German copy of the agreements from Dr. Seidl and arranged for their translation into English.
The first is dated Moscow, Aug. 23, and bears this purported superscription: "For the German Government, J. Ribbentrop; on behalf of the Government of the U.S.S.R., V. Molotov." The text is as follows: On the occasion of the signing of the non-aggression treaty between the German Reich and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics the undersigned representatives of the two parties discussed in a highly confidential conversation the problem of the demarcation of the spheres of influence of either party in Eastern Europe.
This conversation has the following result: 1. In the case of a politico- territorial change in the territories belonging to the Baltic States - - Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - - the northern frontier of Lithuania shall form also the demarcation of the spheres of interest between Germany and the U.S.S.R. Both parties recognize the interest of Lithuania in the Wilno territory.
2. In the case of a politico- territorial change in the territories belonging to the Polish state, the spheres of interest between Germany and the U.S.S.R. shall be divided approximately following the line on the rivers Narow, Vistula and San. The question as to whether the interests of both parties make it desirable to maintain an independent Polish state, and how the frontiers of this state should be fixed, can be clarified in a final manner only in the course of further political developments. In any case, both governments will solve this question by way of a friendly understanding.
3. With respect to southeastern Europe, the U.S.S.R. emphasize their interest in Bessarabia Germany declares her complete political disinterestedness in this area.
4. This protocol shall be treated by both parties in a strictly secret manner.
The second agreement with the title "Secret Agreement," is dated Moscow, Sept. 28, 1939 and is signed identically with the first. The text runs: The undersigned plenipotentiaries state that there is an agreement between the governments of the German Reich and the U.S.S.R. as follows: Paragraph No. 1 of the secret protocol of Aug. 23, 1939 is modified in that the territory of the Lithuanian state shall fall within the sphere of interest of the U.S.S.R., whereas, on the other hand, the district of Lublin and parts of the district of Warsaw shall fall within the sphere of interests of Germany. As soon as the government of the U.S.S.R. shall take special measures on Lithuanian territory for the protection of her interests, the present German- Lithuanian frontier will be rectified in order to accomplish a natural and simple frontier so that the Lithuanian territory lying in the southwest of the line marked on the attached map shall belong to Germany. Furthermore, it is stated that the economic agreements presently in force between Germany and Lithuania shall not be impaired by the measures of the Soviet Union mentioned above.
When Ribbentrop was on the stand he told of German- Russian negotiations that followed the signing of the secret agreements. These culminated, he related, in a proposal by Hitler for a virtual military alliance, to which Stalinreplied with three conditions which Hitler in turn rejected. According to Ribbentrop these were: 1. Russian occupation of Finland; 2. Soviet domination in Bulgaria; 3. Russian control of the Dardanelles and Russian access to ice- free ports in the Baltic, including a foothold in the Skagerrak.
The Gauss affidavit to which Mr. Stokes referred, is worth recording here. The text as published by the New Leader on November 30, 1946, follows: My name is Friedrich Gauss . . . Until the end of the war I was legal adviser to the Foreign Office in Berlin, my last rank was of Ambassador Extraordinary.
1. In the early Summer of 1939 . . . the then Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs, von Ribbentrop, asked the then Secretary of State of the Foreign Office, von Weizsaecker, and myself to come to his estate, Sonnenburg, near Freienwalde an der Oder, and informed us that Adolf Hitler had for some time been considering an attempt to establish better relations between Germany and the Soviet Union. This had been the reason why, as we might have noticed ourselves, the extremely sharp polemics of the German press against the Soviet Union had for some time been greatly reduced. . .
2. Sometime afterward Herr von Ribbentrop surprised me one day in Fuschl by letting me read a document which contained the draft of a special message from the Reich Government to the Soviet Government and amounted to a proposal to initiate negotiations for a political treaty. After preliminary remarks on the evolution of German- Russian relations up to that time and on the antagonism of the two systems of government, the idea was emphasized that the interests of the two states were intimately connected, but did not overlap. . . . A telegram was sent to the German Ambassador in Moscow instructing him to transmit the message and, a short time afterwards, the answer of the Soviet Government arrived; it did not reject in principle the idea of putting German- Russian relations on a new political basis, though it pointed out that extensive examination and diplomatic preparation would have to precede the initiation of direct negotiations.
A second German message was promptly sent to Moscow which expressed Germany's urgent wish immediately to initiate negotiations.... This second message- - or perhaps the first one- - proposed immediately to dispatch the Reich Foreign Minister to Moscow for the purpose of beginning political conversations. To this message an affirmative answer from the Soviet Government was received - - I think on August 21 - - which, as I was able to observe personally, caused great rejoicing to Hitler and his entourage. If my memory does not deceive me, both German messages had the outward form of an immediate personal message from Hitler to Mr. Stalinand the preliminary correspondence was confirmed to an exchange of messages on these two occasions.
3. On August 23, around noon, the plane of the Reich Foreign Minister, whom I had to accompany as legal adviser in view of the planned negotiations for a treaty, arrived in Moscow. In the afternoon of the same day the first meeting of Herr von Ribbentrop and Mr. Stalintook place. . . .
The Reich Foreign Minister returned very satisfied from this meeting, which had lasted a long time, and expressed the opinion that an accord was as good as certain on the agreements aimed at by Germany. . . .
I personally participated in the second meeting and, also, Count Schulenburg, and Embassy Councillor Hilger. The Russians were represented in the negotiations by Messrs. Stalinand Molotov who were assisted by Mr. Pavlov, as interpreter.
Agreement on the text of the German- Soviet Non- Aggression Pact was reached promptly and without difficulty. . . .
In addition to the Non- Aggression Pact a longer negotiation took place on a special secret document which, as far as I remember, was designated as "Secret Protocol" or "Secret Additional Protocol" and whose contents amounted to a delimitation of the spheres of interest of both parties in the European territories situated between the two states . . . In the document Germany declared that she was politically disinterested in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, but she considered Lithuania part of her sphere of interest. At first there was a controversy with regard to the political disinterestedness of Germany in the two Baltic countries mentioned in as much as the Foreign Minister, according to his instructions, wanted to exclude a certain part of the Baltic territories from this political disinterestedness; this was, however, not accepted by the Soviets, especially because of the ice- free ports which were situated precisely in this part of the territory.
The Reich Foreign Minister had put in a long distance call to Hitler because of this point which, apparently, had already been discussed during his first meeting (with the Russians). The long distance call did not come through until during the second meeting, and, in a direct conversation with Hitler, the Reich Foreign Minister was empowered by him to accept the Soviet point of view. For the Polish territory a line of demarcation was decided upon....
In regard to the Balkan countries it was established that Germany had only economic interests there. The Non- Aggression Pact and the secret document were signed the same night at a rather late hour. . . .
(In a second affidavit, Gauss corrected himself: Not the Balkan States but Bessarabiawas excluded from the German sphere of interest.) 4. During the time when copies of the final text were being prepared, refreshments were served; a conversation developed during which Herr von Ribbentrop told how a public speech by Mr. Stalin which he made in the Spring, had contained a sentence which, though Germany was not expressly mentioned, had been understood by Hitler as a hint on the part of Stalinthat the Soviet Government considered it possible or desirable to establish better relations also with Germany. (Ribbentrop obviously referred to Stalins report to the Eighteenth Congressof the Communist Party in March, 1939.) Mr. Stalinanswered by a short remark which, according to the translation by the interpreter Pavlov, meant: "That was the intention." In this connection Herr von Ribbentrop also mentioned that Hitler had recently shown to him a film of a public ceremony in Moscow and that he, Hitler, found this film and the Soviet personalities shown in it "very likable" (sympathisch). An additional matter which deserves to be mentioned, since I have also been questioned about it, is the fact that, both during these conversations and the official negotiations, the Reich Foreign Minister chose his words so as to represent a military conflict between Germany and Polandnot as something that had been definitely decided upon, but only as a probable possibility. The Soviet statesmen did not make any utterances in regard to this point which would have amounted to approval of such a conflict or encouragement of it. In this connection the Soviet representatives merely took note of the statements of the German representatives.
5. During the negotiations on the second German- Soviet political treaty, which took place about a month later, the second document . . . was modified, in accordance with the proposal submitted by the Soviet Government to Berlin on an earlier date; by this modification Lithuania, with the exception of a small "tip" adjoining Eastern Prussia, was also taken out of the German sphere of interest, while in exchange the line of demarcation on Polish territory was shifted farther to the East. As a result of later negotiations through diplomatic channels, which, as far as I remember, did not take place until the end of 1940 or the beginning of 1941, this Lithuanian "tip" ultimately was also renounced by Germany.
|Hungary - The Unwilling Satellite|