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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Germany,   pp. 319-405 PDF (32.6 MB)

Page 404

prevent information leaking out to other members of the above referred
to conspiracy. While this is no doubt the law it would seem that in a
case involving an American citizen where the Government has shown
as much interest as in Hirsch's case some exception should be made.
It is true that the Ministry of Justice, stretching its authority, did
give the Consul General recently oral indications of the alleged plot.
It is also a fact that in Hirsch's letter to his family, copy of which was
given to the Consul General by Hirsch's lawyer and transmitted to
the Department, he admitted his original intention of participation
in the alleged plot as he did in conversation with the Consulate Gen-
eral, in the presence of the prosecuting attorney however. Despite all
of this and the German law on the matter we deplore the fact that in
the case of an American citizen condemned to death representatives of
his Government should be denied access to the evidence prior to
  The Consul General's request to see Hirsch yesterday evening was
refused on the basis that Hirsch had not asked to see him and per-
mission for such a visit could only be given if this were the case. The
prosecuting attorney even refused to inform Hirsch that the Consul
General was at hand and had a message from his family. Likewise as
regards the evidence, we were told we would be shown this after the
execution. If it was not considered harmful to the interests of the
German Government for us then to be shown the evidence it is diffi-
cult to see why it could be considered harmful for us to see the evi-
dence 48 hours or so earlier. The refusal of the visit and of access to
the evidence before execution and Hitler's original order that we
were not to be informed of his denial of clemency until after execution
(this came to us in strict confidence) all naturally invite suspicions
which might easily have been avoided by a more intelligent handling
of the case by the German authorities.
  I am not sufficiently familiar with our own legislation on this subject
to make a definite recommendation to the Department that it protest
energetically to the German Government on this question of a refusal
to postpone execution and make the evidence available to us but I feel
strongly that if the Department considers the facts warrant it such
action should be taken immediately.
862.1121 Hirsch, Helmut/63: Telegram
  The Amba8sador in Germnany (Dodd) to the Secretary of State
                                     BEMiN, June 9, 1937-2 p.m.
                                     [Received June 9-12: 10 p.m.]
  132. Department's 57, June 7, 6 p. M.15
  1Not printed.

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