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Joachim von Ribbentrop:
Establishment of a “European Committee”

April 5, 1943

Ribbentrop issued instructions for the establishment of a ‘European Committee’ in the Foreign Ministry and directives as to its work. With one exception there is no evidence in the Ministry files that it actually met or performed any functions.

Decree

  1. A European Committee (Euro-Ausschuss) will be formed under my direction with the Foreign Office, which will be composed of the following members:
    State Secretary von Steengracht (at the same time deputy director)
    Ambassador Gaus
    Ambassador von Rintelen
    State Under-Secretary Hencke
    Ministerial director Wiehl
    Minister Albrecht
    Minister Schmidt (Press)
    Minister Rühle 
    Minister Professor Berber
    Dr. Megerle
    Senior Legation Councilor (sic) von Schmieden
    Legation Councilor Wagner
    Brigadeführer Six
    Brigadeführer Frenzel
    Legation councilor von Trützschler is appointed secretary for the European Committee.
  2. The European Committee will meet only when required and it work is of confidential nature. I shall reserve the right to determine the exact time when interested Reich Departments and party offices are to be informed of the establishment of the European Committee and when they shall be asked to send delegates.
  3. In preparation for the meeting of the European Committee the following teams will be established now already:
    Team A: Direction Prof. Berber
    It is the task of this team to compile a graphical survey of historical, geographical and statistical material on individual European countries. Furthermore, it is the duty of this team to prepare historical data on the political developments in Europe, thereby giving special consideration to previous forms of European alliances. The political advisers for foreign countries of the individual departments within the Foreign Office are to currently assist Prof. Berber in compiling material on the individual countries.
    Team B: Under direction of Ambassador von Rintelen
    This team shall investigate the problems which require a legal settlement in the future realization of the New European Order. Of particular importance for compilation are those complexes of questions, for which an all European settlement must be reached or which must be uniformly regulated with all prospective signatories. In the tasks assigned to this team the department heads belonging to the European Committee are authorized to appoint deputies, which are to be selected from advisers belonging to this department.
    Team C: Under direction of Minister Schmidt (press)
    This team is charged with the supervision of and if necessary with the guidance of propaganda concerning the European issue, above all the control and coordination of the press, treaty matters etc. along uniform lines. The department heads of the press, treaty matters etc. along uniform lines. The department heads of this team too are authorized to appoint deputies, which are to be selected from among advisers to their department of this particular work.
  4. The material acquired by these teams during their activities will be constantly collected and deposited with the secretary of the Committee, Legation Councilor von Trützschler, in order to have it on hand at any given moment. Legation Councilor von Trützschler, as usually, continues to collect data on the enemy’s war aims and other important foreign statements with regard to the European issue.

Headquarters at the front, 5 April 1943
                          (signed) Ribbentrop

 

Directives
on the work of the European Committee

  1. The main task of the Committee at this present stage of the war is the collection of material and the preparation of data to be used for the future settlement of the New European Order after the war has ended. For this time being there will be no elaborating on definite plans for the shaping of future Europe as a whole. It must be proceeded from the point of view that in future, Greater Germany’s relations with the individual European countries will be either of a closer or of a loose nature and cannot be designed according to a static formula. A separate decision will have to be made in the case of each individual country and nation when the time comes. It is however, certain now already that future Europe can exist only if Greater Germany’s predominant position asserts itself successfully. Securing this predominant position is therefore to be regarded as the core of the future New Order. Of particular importance is furthermore the examination of those issues for which an all European settlement must be reached.
  2. As to the propagandistic treatment of the European issue, we must at first limit ourselves to general formulations whenever the opportunity is offered to express the fact that our aim is the creation of a just New Order which will secure existence for the European nations in close economical and cultural relations with each other and under elimination of foreign tutelage. To make more detailed reference to the political structure of the future Europe is as yet out of the question. If we were to proclaim principles for this, they would have to meet the demands of these nations for self-government and independence and make promises in the respect in order to be successful from a propagandistic point of view, whereas it is a certainty already today that just on the contrary the safety of the future Europe against an outside menace will demand restriction of independence and sacrifices from each of these countries. In addition, Europe’s complicated state and national structure does not permit to set up standard rules in this respect for all countries. We must therefore first limit ourselves to promising the various nations that each of them will find its proper place in the Europe of the future. In general, however, it must be refrained from going deeper into discussions about such matters.
  3. The proper exploitation of the fear commonly shared by all countries that Bolshevism might penetrate into Europe may prove to be an effective asset in preparing the European nations for the necessity of the future New Order. The more obvious it becomes that Soviet Russia, in the case of an Allied victory, will tolerate only those governments in Europe which suit Moscow, and which consequently are Bolshevistic, and the more it is realized by all nations that only the German Wehrmacht can prevent this danger, the sooner all countries will recognize the need for a European New Order, which above all, must be designed in such a way as to prevent in future the recurrence of such a perilous situation. Likewise to be emphasized is the necessity for keeping the Western Powers out of Europe – i.e. England and the U.S. – and the hindering of future interference for the sake of keeping peace in Europe. To clarify the war aims of our enemies, especially those of Moscow, is therefore the best propaganda we can use at present in order to make plausible the need for the future European New Order. Europe must be organized in such a way that such a perilous situation cannot happen again. There is no particular need for a propagandistic emphasis on the conclusion which may be drawn from the present crisis for the shaping of future Europe. The more public opinion in the various countries can be directed to draw its own conclusion, so much the better it will be.

(signed) Ribbentrop

See the original document (in German)