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The fight for access to the Confidential Defense file 2000-2018

In the army, for accident files such as that of La Minerve, the "Confidential Defense" classification is automatic, whatever the content. Its lifting is subject to a rigorous procedure and is done before a mixed commission of parliamentarians and soldiers.

The secret about the Secret Defense file

The controversies that arose in 2000 drew  the attention of parents and relatives of the disappeared to the existence of this confidential file relating to defense the Minerva.

Attempts will multiply to gain access to it, most will end in failure.

Christophe Agnus, son of Lieutenant Jean Agnus will be the first to make an attempt to access it in 2001. He will have made it with each change of minister after each change of President of the Republic.

Il  recounts his attempt.

Le Telegramme Christophe Agnus.JPG

 “I have, on three occasions, requested the opening of the Minerve file, covered by the defense secret. I had three refusals. The third time, I was invited to lunch by Admiral Orsini, then head of the strategic submarine forces. I was received by a host of senior officers and admirals telling me in essence: "don't try to find out: there is nothing to know, the file is empty". My reaction, natural, was to say: "if the file is empty, it should not be a big violation of a secret defense to show it...". The answer was always, "No, we won't show, but it's empty." I had a hard time following the logic. Even years later. Today, I expect that one day, this file will be opened. Because I really want, one day, to know the truth. And I have a feeling the Navy knows her. »

"After the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, I made a new request and I then received a letter from the chief of the private staff of the president inviting me to contact the commander of the archives of the Navy of Vincennes , who had been notified of my request and the president's acceptance. So I contacted this commander, a captain, and we made an appointment. On the appointed day, he was waiting for me, having gathered all the archives in one room (if I remember correctly, 5 large boxes). I was able to consult them freely. The commander had told me, in the introduction, that following my letter he had examined the archives and replied to the presidency that there was nothing, in the archived documents, which justifies such a long defense secret. I didn't actually see anything special. It was late 2007 I believe. I think these are the same archives that are now open to everyone. »

The fight of Jean-Paul KRINTZ


Jean-Paul Krintz was one of those who have been called the "Survivors of Minerva" (seeHERE the page dedicated to them).

Retired after a career as a policeman, he will undertake a long fight to perpetuate the memory of his fallen comrades. 

He too will try to find out what happened and will try to gain access to the file.

Jean Paul recounts how his visit unfolded:

“At the request of the families of the friends who disappeared aboard the Minerve, I accompanied them in October 2009, to the Fort de Vincennes (headquarters of the archives of the French Navy) to consult the archives on the drama of this submarine which occurred on January 27, 1968.

 [ There was  Mr. Antoine Coustal and Gérard Coustal,  father and brother of Marcel_cc754-1bb-debb-3 136bad5cf58d_Coustal, Mrs. Marie Joseph Bassière and her husband  Michel Bassière, sister of Alain Guérin Christophe Bassière, nephew of Alain Guérin, Isabelle Helmer sister of Bernard Helmer,_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d Mr. and Mrs. Lucien Messaien father and mother of Patrick Messaien, Monique Trichery sister of Gérard Lambert Anne-Marie Loichet mother of Maurice Loichet and Jean Paul Krintz.]

We were received by a commander representing the Minister of Defence. 
No response to specific questions. A commander knowing nothing about submarines, except to question the youth and inexperience of the crew. 

Last question asked: Will the archives be available for consultation in 2018?

Answer: No, in 2028.

In 2028 if I am still alive I will be 83 years old. Can I hope to consult them?

Doubt dresses me in a big lie from this Royal that I served with honor et loyalty.

In fact we are being lied to all along, because voices will be raised; discordant official speeches. My heart aches for these families who are waiting for only one thing: the truth to mourn. 

I feel guilty for being alive and not being by their side, at my auxiliary post. Thank you for reading me and that perhaps this reflection will one day give its share of truth.

Jean Paul will upload many documents on You Tube. It was he who obtained from his friend the famous journalist Yves Mourousi, who died in 1998, whom he had met in his career, a copy of the 1967 report produced for television on La Minerve 2 months before his disappearance. The crew is essentially the one that was to disappear 2 months later.

The report is online on this site clickHERE or onYoutube

On October 3, 2010, in his village, Caylus, in the Tarn et Garonne, the street where he lives was renamed "Rue du Sous-Marin Minerve". On this occasion de  very many families come, Admiral Jacques Blanc, president of the AGASM (General Association of Friends of Submariners) and many representatives of the Navy.

See Jean-Paul Krintz's speech by clickingHERE

Il  tirelessly pursues its fight, impatiently awaiting the day when access to the archives will finally be authorized. He was unfortunately struck down by a heart attack in March 2017 a few months before the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the disappearance of La Minerva.

CAYLUS - 2 & 3  Octobre 2010 - 189[2].jp

Jean-Paul Krintz giving his speech at the inauguration of the Rue du Sous-Marin Minerve in Caylus

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