Goering: Franz von Papen

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: On day 83, defendant Hermann Goering is cross-examined by lawyers for the defense.

Dr Egon Kubuschok (Counsel for Defendant Franz von Papen): Is it correct that Hitler authorized you to conduct all negotiations for the purpose of forming a government under Hitler as it emerged on 30 January 1933, that is, that you alone were commissioned to do this?

Goering: That is correct. I stated this the other day.

Dr Egon Kubuschok: Is it correct that you talked about the formation of a government with von Papen for the first time in January 1933?

Goering: I talked with Papen for the first time on a Sunday, 8 days prior to the formation of the Government, in Ribbentrop's home.

Dr Egon Kubuschok: If then, Papen had carried on negotiations concerning the formation of a government between 4 January, the day of the meeting with Hitler in the home of Baron Schroder, and 22 January, he would have had to do this through you, and you would have known it.

Goering: That is correct, because the Fuehrer was in Munich at that time and I was the sole authority in Berlin for the formation of this government. Besides, it was not, at all obvious at the beginning of January that within a reasonable length of time we should have to form such a government. Other negotiations were taking place which had nothing to do with Herr von Papen.

Dr Egon Kubuschok: Did the formation of a new government in the middle of January become inevitable for Hindenburg because Schleicher had no parliamentary backing and I-As efforts to receive such backing, by negotiations with Gregor Strasser to split the NSDAP were frustrated?

Goering: I believe I have said already in a general way that Schleicher did not receive a parliamentary majority and his attempt at splitting the parties failed for the reason that the Fuehrer immediately eliminated Strasser, who actually had no following among the deputies. Since Schleicher's attempts to get a majority failed, he had to govern without parliament, and that he could do only with extraordinary powers from Hindenburg. Since he had told him previously that he would be able to get a majority, the Reich President refused his demand for extraordinary powers, such as held by the previous Cabinet of Papen, and then decided to do what I stated here the other day.

Dr Egon Kubuschok: Is it correct that von Papen gave up to you the prime ministership of Prussia on 20 April 1933, because in the elections for the Prussian Landtag of March 1933 the NSDAP had, obtained a clear majority in Prussia, and the Landtag therefore intended to elect you prime minister?

Goering: It is not entirely correct, for the Prussian Landtag did not have to elect a prime minister at that time. But the fact that the NSDAP had the absolute majority, induced von Papen, in connection with my conferences in Munich, to approach the Fuehrer on his own initiative, stating that he would agree to turn over to me the Prussian prime ministership.

Dr Egon Kubuschok: One last question: You mentioned yesterday that you as the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force granted many reprieves to people in Belgium and France who were sentenced for their resistance. Is it correct that von Papen on various occasions conveyed to you wishes of relatives of those who had been sentenced; and that he did this for the reason that, in the interest of a later solidarity of the peoples, he did not wish that in such sentences, even if they were militarily justified, an impersonal attitude should develop, and that you complied with the wishes of von Papen?

Goering: I merely remember that on occasions--I remember one case especially, for a prominent name was involved--I received a request from Herr von Papen, as to whether the person concerned could not be granted a reprieve. It concerned people sentenced because they had assisted enemy airmen to escape. In this case I complied to a large extent with the request of Herr von Papen. I am no longer quite conversant with the reasons.
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