The Holocaust Historiography Project

Translation of document 3575-PS

[Rubber Stamp] Submitted to the Minister

[Handwritten note]  Dispatched 20 November

Berlin, 19 November 1938

Memorandum concerning the meeting of the Reich Defense
Council [Reichsverteidigungsrat] on 18 November 1938

Chairman: Field Marshal Goering

All Reich Ministers and State Secretaries, with a few
exceptions, were present, as were the Commander-in-Chief of
the Army, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, the Chiefs of
the General Staff of the three branches of the Armed Forces,
Reichsleiter Bormann for the Deputy of the Fuehrer, General
Daluege, SS Major General [SS Gruppenfuehrer] Heydrich, the
Reich Labor Leader [Reicharbeitsfuehrer], the Price Control
Commissar, the President of the Reich Labor Office, and

The meeting consisted solely of a three-hour lecture by the
Field Marshal. No discussion took place.

These were the most important points raised at the meeting:

        I. Organization of the Reich Defense Council


The Reich Defense Council had already been created through
decisions of the cabinet in 1933-1934, but never met.
Through the Reich Defense Law of 4 September 1938 it was
reactivated. The chairmanship is vested in the Fuehrer, who
has deputized Field Marshal Goering as his permanent

The Field Marshal termed it the task of the Reich Defense
Council to correlate all the forces of the nation for
accelerated building-up of German armament.

He stated that armament in the narrow sense of the term
would remain the responsibility of the Departments of the
Armed Forces, while integration of the economy would remain
the task of the Plenipotentiary-General for the Four-Year-
Plan, or in some other form.

As a rule only the Reich Ministers concerned in each case
with the particular questions would be convoked, not such a
large group as today. As a rule the Reich Ministers
themselves should attend. Should they be prevented from
attending, their representatives would have to be authorized
to take part in binding decisions during the meeting itself.
Ministers could bring their State Secretaries. Special
consultants could be brought into the ante-chamber and would
be summoned in each case when their
specialty was discussed. Particular questions could be
referred for discussion to the Reich Defense Committee
[Reichsverteidigungsausschuss] by the Reich Defense Council.
The minutes of the former would then be returned to the
Reich Defense Council for decision.

The terms “jurisdiction” and “sphere of authority” were
unknown to him, the Field Marshal, and he did not care to
hear them again. The agency best suited for a particular
field of work would be entrusted with it in each case.

The Ministers represented in the Reich Defense Council would
have to relegate to the background all individual wishes of
their departments, however justifiable they might appear, if
they did not serve the single purpose of arming the people,
and they would have to make all decisions with a view to the
general interest, not from the point of view of their

Negotiations and decisions of the Reich Defense Council and
Reich Defense Committee are absolutely secret and may be
divulged, even within a department, only insofar as
necessary to carry out the assignments.

                   II. The Physical Tasks

The assignment is to raise the level of armament from a
current index of 100 to one of 300.

This goal is confronted by almost insuperable obstacles
because already now there is a scarcity of labor, because
factory capacity is fully utilized, because the tasks of
last summer exhausted our reserves of foreign currency, and
because the financial situation of the Reich is serious and
even now shows a deficit. In spite of this, the problem must
be solved.

The first task is to safeguard the basic food supply, the
second task is to increase armament production, the third,
equally important, a substantial increase of exports as a
source of foreign exchange.

Organizational measures would have to be taken for the
marshalling of manpower, for stockpiling of materiel, for
expansion and exploitation of the producing plant and
finally for finances and foreign exchange.

1. Marshalling of Manpower

By establishing a National Card Index [Volkskartei] (General
Daluege) a complete survey of all Germans will be created,
which shall lead to planning of correct commitment of labor.
Material already on hand at the Employment offices will be

Employment Offices, Labor Front, Industry and the Armed
Forces must cooperate for this task.

It will be the responsibility of the Reich Defense Council
to determine the importance of state offices and other
organizations from the point of view of National Defense.
Within the offices economy must be practiced; the
enforcement of which is the duty of the Plenipotentiary-
General for Administration. In fields in which the State has
already assumed responsibilities it would be superfluous for
other organizations to also devote themselves to the same
questions. Basic simplification of the legal system would
have to be accomplished by 15 February; the task of bringing
the legal system closer to the people is connected with this
at the same time. Substantial savings of manpower could be
accomplished in fiscal administration by a radical
simplification of tax legislation.

It is doubtful whether the Labor Service did not withdraw
too much manpower from the task set. In spite of that he,
the Field Marshal, was in favor of retaining it, primarily
so as to have reserves for massed commitment in case tasks
should suddenly arise.

The Women’s Labor is to be expanded. Measures to remedy the
task of farm laborers.

The Four-Year-Plan would have to be retained for our
generation. The most important raw materials to be
controlled are iron, steel, and cement; their allocation
would take place through a Plenipotentiary-General.

The great building projects of the Fuehrer would be carried
through because of their importance for morale and
psychology. For everything else, strictest building
restrictions. For this purpose a special agency, to be
directly subordinate to the Field Marshal.

Basic changes in automotive matters by the Plenipotentiary-
General appointed for this purpose. Economy through the most
extensive standardization possible.

Reorganization of the Reich Railroads [Reichsbahn].

Determination of the priority of all projects. Special small
commission with the Four Year Plan for this purpose.

Check of all manufacturing plants for essentiality. Check of
the working process acceleration of working speed. Trade
school education, retraining, etc. Most intensive promotion
of export industries. Decision in each individual case
whether the task of rearmament or the promotion of exports
is more important.

No more supply of armament to foreign countries against
political credits, but only against payment in foreign
currency or, in exceptional cases, by taking into account
the political relationship with the particular country, if
vital raw materials are supplied.

Absolute prohibition of any destruction of real values, such
as occurred in the case of the recent anti-Jewish
manifestations or the manifestations against Bishops;
expressly approved by the Fuehrer.

Continued expansion of national auto highway

Very critical situation of the Reich Exchequer. Relief
initially through the billion [milliarde] imposed on Jewry,
and through profits accruing to the Reich in the
aryanization of Jewish enterprises.

Prospect of a “National Thanksgiving Sacrifice” without
commitment to this term) in the form of a single surrender
of property, which will represent many times the value of
the Armament Contribution [Wehrbeitrag] of the pre-war era.
No details about date and particulars. Its tasks is to
secure armament production, on a large scale.

Strict economy measures at all points.

Additional task of the Reich Defense Council: new
formulation of all war-time legislation.

Concerning foreign policy the Field Marshal mentioned that
it would have to be conducted in such a way that the planned
armament program could be carried out.

(Signed) Woermann