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Frames 0455-0457, serial F 5

The German Chargé in the Soviet Union (Tippelskirch) to the German Foreign Office


very urgent
strictly secret
state secret
Moscow, September 27, 1940-5:13 a. m.
Received September 27, 1940-9:15 a. m.
No. 2041 of September 26

Reference your telegram of the 26th, No. 1746.
For the Reich Foreign Minister in person.
Instruction carried out with Molotov tonight at 10 p. m. greeted. Molotov listened very attentively to the communication. At item 6) Molotov showed evident satisfaction and said that at the moment an indication of his attitude was not necessary, as the reply to the letter that the Reich Foreign Minister intended to send to Stalin would provide an opportunity for it.
Before Molotov went into the matter of the military alliance with Japan, he inquired—on the basis of a telegraphic report from the Soviet Embassy in Berlin—regarding a German-Finnish agreement, which, according to a Finnish communiqué, provided for the granting of passage for German troops through Finland to Norway, and which was referred to by Press Chief Schmidt at his press conference. At the same time Molotov mentioned a report from the Berlin Office of the United Press, which was broadcast over the radio, stating that German troops had landed in the Finnish port of Vasa. I said that I had no further information on the subject.
Thereafter Molotov stated as follows on the subject of the military alliance: He gratefully took note of the communication from the Reich Foreign Minister. The Soviet Embassy in Tokyo had a few days ago reported on a plan for such an agreement. The Soviet Government, was, of course, extremely interested in this question, because it involved a neighboring country to which the Soviet Union was linked by numerous interests. Hence it was understandable that the Soviet Government not only had a great interest, but also the desire to be informed in advance regarding the agreement and its contents. This desire the Soviet Government based on articles 3 and 4 of the Nonaggression Treaty. If the reverse were the case, the Soviet Government would also inform us in advance and communicate to us the contents of the treaty. The Soviet Government so construed article 4 that it was entitled to see the treaty between the Axis Powers and Japan and to receive information of any secret protocols and agreements as well, for which confidential treatment was promised in advance. He asked to be informed whether the German Government concurred in his interpretation of article 4 and reiterated his desire to be acquainted with the contents of the treaty before its signing, in order to be able to express his views on it. If, contrary to his expectation, the German Government did not agree with his interpretation of article 4, he asked that the position of the German Government be communicated to him.
As particularly significant in Molotov's utterances appear to me:
1) The great interest he showed in the treaty with Japan.
2) The constant harping on article 3 and especially article 4 of the Nonaggression Treaty, in which connection he quoted article 18 [sic] verbatim.
3) The insistence on seeing the text of the treaty, including the secret portions.
After Molotov had concluded his statements on the question of the military alliance, he reverted again to the German-Finnish agreement referred to at the beginning and declared that for the last three days the Soviet Government had received reports relative to the landing of German troops at Vasa, Uleaborg and Pori, without having been informed thereof by Germany.
The Soviet Government wished to receive the text of the agreement on the passage of troops through Finland, including its secret portions. This demand, too, was based on articles 3 and 4 of the Nonaggression Treaty. If we concurred in this interpretation of the articles mentioned, he asked to be informed as to the object of the agreement, against whom it was directed, and the purposes that were being served thereby. The agreement was being discussed in public, while the Soviet Government knew nothing about it.
I told Molotov that I would communicate his statements to my Government.


Source: Nazi-Soviet relations 1939-1941. Documents from the Archives of The German Foreign Office. Washington, Department of State, publication 3023, 1948. (Also in Documents on German foreign policy, Series D, XI, Nr. 113, HMSO, London 1961)

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Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940