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The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Embassy in the Soviet Union


rush Berlin, October 2, 1940—8:25 p.m.
No. 1787

Reference your telegram No. 1041 [2041].

An appended handwritten note reads as follows: "The contents of the Memorandum were read to the Reich Marshal, who agreed with the views of Minister Schnurre.
Sch [?]30/9"

Please call on Herr Molotov again and, in reply to his statement tell him as follows:

The German-Finnish agreement he mentioned involved a purely technical matter of military communications without political implications. Just as we reached an understanding with Sweden about similar transport through Swedish territory to the areas of Oslo, Trondheim, and Narvik, an understanding was reached with Finland about transit to the area of Kirkenes. The area of Kirkenes, which needed military protection against England because of the mines there, can be reached by us by land only through Finnish territory. The transport went by way of Uleaborg and Vasa, but not by way of Pori. In view of the purely technical communications aspect of the matter we naturally saw no reason expressly to notify the Soviet Government of it. The understanding with Finland was reached by an exchange of notes, which contains verbatim the following four points:

"1. The Finnish Government, upon request of the Government of the Reich, grants the through-transport of matériel with escort personnel from the northern ports of the Baltic Sea by way of Rovaniemi and the northern Arctic Ocean Road to Kirkenes in Northern Norway.
"2. The Government of the German Reich shall duly indicate to the Finnish Government the ports of debarkation selected, the number of the transport vessels, the dates of sailing and arrival, and the scheduled daily stages of the transports in Northern Finland.
"3. The Government of the German Reich shall notify the Finnish Government at least one day in advance of the arrival of the transport vessels.
"4. Ordnance shall be shipped apart from the troops in separate freight cars. A special agreement will be made regarding the number of officers and men for the guard details on the freight cars carrying ordnance."

Should Herr Molotov expressly ask for it, you are authorized to hand him the text of the foregoing four points in the form of a memorandum.

In respect to the Three Power Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan, Herr Molotov will surely have seen from the contents of the Pact, which have meanwhile been published, as well as from the official statement made by the German Government in connection with it, that the question raised by him in regard to articles 3 and 4 of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact was pointless. The three partners were from the beginning in complete agreement that their accord should in no way affect the Soviet Union. Therefore the most comprehensive formula imaginable was selected in article 5 of the Pact, which made it clear that not only the treaties concluded with the Soviet Union, but also the entire political relationship to the Soviet Union was left entirely unchanged by the Pact. Therefore there can be no question of a coalition of powers which was directly or indirectly aligned against the Soviet Union in the sense of article 4 of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. On the contrary, it was clearly stated in the declaration of the German Government that the parties to the Three Power Pact were looking toward further favorable developments in the relations already existing with the Soviet Union.
Since the whole relationship of Germany, and the relationship of Italy and Japan to the Soviet Union as well, was left out of the picture by an express stipulation in the Three Power Pact, it therefore did not affect common German-Soviet interests and thus did not come under the provision for consultations in article 3 of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. Nevertheless, I considered it proper to inform Herr Molotov as soon as there was a definite prospect that the Pact would be signed. Actually, the last decisions in this connection were not made in Tokyo until September 27.
Moreover, you are explicitly authorized by me to tell Herr Molotov most emphatically that no agreements of any sort have been made with Japan other than the published text of the Treaty. There were no secret protocols nor any other secret agreements.
In a few days I expect to dispatch to Herr Stalin the letter which I promised.

(Reich Foreign Minister)

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. 142, HMSO, London 1961)

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