pursuant to the German view, he ordered submarines to attack all merchant ships in convoy, and all that refused to stop or used their radio upon sighting a submarine. When his reports indicated that British merchant ships were being used to give information by wireless, were being armed, and were attacking submarines on sight, he ordered his submarines on 17 October 1939 to attack all enemy merchant ships without warning on the ground that resistance was to be expected. Orders already had been issued on 21 September 1939 to attack all ships, including neutrals, sailing at night without lights in the English Channel.

On 24 November 1939 the German Government issued a warning to neutral shipping that, owing to the frequent engagements taking place in the waters around the British Isles and the French Coast between U-boats and Allied merchant ships which were armed and had instructions to use those arms as well as to ram U-boats, the safety of neutral ships in those waters could no longer be taken for granted. On 1 January 1940 the German U-boat Command, acting on the instructions of Hitler, ordered U-boats to attack all Greek merchant ships in the zone surrounding the British Isles which was banned by the United States to its own ships and also merchant ships of every nationality in the limited area of the Bristol Channel. Five days later a further order was given to U-boats to "make immediately unrestricted use of weapons against all ships" in an area of the North Sea, the limits of which were defined. Finally on 18 January 1940, U-boats were authorized to sink, without warning, all ships "in those waters near the enemy coasts in which the use of mines can be pretended". Exceptions were to be made in the cases of United States, Italian, Japanese, and Soviet ships.

Shortly after the outbreak of war the British Admiralty, in accordance with its Handbook of Instructions of 1938 to the Merchant Navy, armed its merchant vessels, in many cases convoyed them with armed escort, gave orders to send position reports upon sighting submarines, thus integrating merchant vessels into the warning network of naval intelligence. On 1 October 1939 the British Admiralty announced that British merchant ships had been ordered to ram U-boats if possible.

In the actual circumstances of this case, the Tribunal is not prepared to hold Dönitz guilty for his conduct of submarine warfare against British armed merchant ships.

However, the proclamation of operational zones and the sinking of neutral merchant vessels which enter those zones presents a different question. This practice was employed in the war of 1914-18 by Germany and adopted in retaliation by Great Britain. The Washington Conference of 1922, the London Naval Agreement of 1930, and the Protocol of 1936 were entered into with full knowledge that