Sept. 25

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

Instructions to tell Molotov that warmongering agitation in America has resulted in a military alliance between Germany Italy, and Japan, which is in no way directed against the U.S.S.R.; and to say that a letter will soon be sent to Stalin inviting Molotov to Berlin.


Sept. 26

Foreign Office Memorandum

Schnurre states that German deliveries of military supplies to the U.S.S.R. are lagging and that as a result the suspension of Soviet deliveries may be expected; Hitler must decide whether German deliveries to the U.S.S.R. are to have a priority.


Sept. 27

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

Molotov on hearing of the Three Power Pact, requests the text, including any secret clauses; he also requests the text of the agreement permitting transit of German troops through Finland, he expresses satisfaction at the promise of a letter to Stalin and of an invitation to Berlin.


Sept. 28

Foreign Office Memorandum

Schnurre reviews the lag in German deliveries to Russia, and stresses the serious consequences for the German economy, if Soviet deliveries should be suspended.


Oct. 2

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

Instructions to give Molotov the text of the agreement with Finland; and to tell him that the complete text of the Three Power Pact has been published, and that, since the Pact was not directed against the U.S.S.R., there was no obligation to consult.


Oct. 4

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

Molotov requests further information on the movement of German troops through Finland, and says he will study the German views on the Three Power Pact.


Oct. 8

Foreign Office Memorandum

Germany must intervene to prevent the U.S.S.R. from gaining control over the Petsamo nickel concession.


Oct. 9

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

Casually inform Molotov that rumors of the military occupation of Rumania by German troops are false; only a German military mission, with certain instruction units, has been sent at the request of the Rumanian government.


Oct. 10

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

Molotov listens with interest to news of the German military mission in Rumania.


Oct. 13

Letter from the Reich Foreign Minister to Stalin

Reviews events since his visit to Moscow in August 1939 points out the gains which have resulted for both parties from the German-Soviet pact, intimates the desirability of more intimate relations between the U.S.S.R. and the members of the Three Power Pact; and suggests that Molotov visit Berlin to formulate a common policy.


Oct. 18

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office

Reports that he has given Molotov the letter to Stalin.


Oct. 18

The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg)

Requests reason for delivery of the letter to Molotov rather than to Stalin.


Oct. 19

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office

Molotov would have been annoyed at an attempt to give the letter to Stalin, and Stalin would have avoided a personal meeting since he has recently shown a strong reserve in public.


Oct. 22

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office

Stalin thanks Ribbentrop for his instructive analysis of recent events, and agrees that a further improvement of relations is possible; Molotov accepts Ribbentrop's invitation.


Nov. 2

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office

For the first time, Mikoyan mentions German delivery of arms to Finland.


Nov. 12

Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Reich Foreign Minister and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R. and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V. M. Molotov, in the Presence of the Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Dekanosov, as Well as Counselor of Embassy Hilger and Herr Pavlov, Who Acted as Interpreters, Held in Berlin on November 12, 1940

Ribbentrop reviews the military situation to show that Britain is already defeated and states that Hitler favors an agreement on the spheres of influence of Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, Molotov requests a more precise definition of the respective spheres of influence.


Nov. 12

Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Führer and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, in the Presence of the Reich Foreign Minister, the Deputy People's Commissar, Dekanosov, as Well as of Counselor of Embassy Hilger and Herr Pavlov, Who Acted as Interpreters, on November 12, 1940

Hitler, after an extended review of the world situation, affirms the possibility of collaboration between the U.S.S.R. and the signers of the Three Power Pact in the task of keeping America out of Europe; Molotov agrees that collaboration is possible but asks for precise statements on Finland, on the Balkans and Turkey, and on the meaning of the New Order in Europe and Asia.


Nov. 13

Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Führer and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Molotov in the Presence of the Reich Foreign Minister and the Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Dekanosov, as Well as of Counselor of Embassy Hilger and Herr Pavlov, Who Acted as Interpreters, in Berlin on November 13, 1940

Hitler repeatedly urges an agreement on the division of the British Empire; Molotov insists that there must first be recognition of Soviet interests in Finland, the Balkans, and in Turkey.


Nov. 13

Memorandum of the Final Conversation Between Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R. and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Herr Molotov, on November 13, 1940

Ribbentrop outlines a broad division of the spheres of influence of Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.S.S.R., and suggests the terms of secret agreements defining this division and bringing the U.S.S.R. into the Three Power Pact; Molotov insists on more specific recognition of Soviet interests in the Baltic, in the Balkans, at the Straits; Molotov approves of collaboration, but only after a thorough understanding.


Nov. 15

The State Secretary in the German Foreign Office (Weizsacker) to all German Diplomatic Missions and the Offices in Paris and Brussels

The visit of Molotov took place in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and resulted in agreement on all important questions.



Draft Agreement Between the States of the Three Power Pact, Germany, Italy, and Japan, on the One Side, and the Soviet Union on the Other Side

A German draft, providing for the adherence of the U.S.S.R. to the Three Power Pact, and including two secret protocols, of which one defines the spheres of influence of each power and the other provides for free passage of Soviet warships through the Straits.


NOV. 26

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office

Molotov states that the Soviet Government is prepared to accept the draft of the Four Power Pact provided German troops are withdrawn from Finland, provided Bulgaria concludes a mutual assistance pact with the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.S.R. acquires a base within range of the Straits; and provided Japan renounces her concessions in Northern Sakhalin; he outlines five protocols to include these amendments; and he requests a statement of the German view.


Page 195



Frames 0452-0454, serial F 5

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



BERLIN, September 25, 1940.


RAM. 33/40 g. Rs.

No. 1746

Strictly secret. Exclusively for the Chargé in person.

The following instruction is only to be carried out if on Thursday you receive from my Ministerial Office by telephone or telegraph the word "Execution."

Please call on Herr Molotov on Thursday, September 26, and tell him on my behalf that in view of the cordial relations existing between Germany and the Soviet Union I was desirous of informing him in advance, in strict confidence, of the following:

1) The warmongering agitation in America, which at this stage of the final defeat of England is seeking a last outlet in the extension and prolongation of the war, has led to negotiations between the two Axis powers on the one hand and Japan on the other, which will result, presumably in the next few days, in the signing of a military alliance between the three powers.

2) This alliance, consistent with its origin, is directed exclusively against American warmongers. To be sure, this is, as usual, not expressly stated in the treaty, but can be unmistakably inferred from its terms.

3) The treaty, of course, does not pursue any aggressive aims against America. Its exclusive purpose is rather to bring the elements pressing for America's entry into the war to their senses, by conclusively demonstrating to them that if they enter the present struggle, they will automatically have to deal with the three great powers as adversaries.

Page 196

4) From the beginning of their negotiations, the three treaty powers have been in complete agreement that their alliance shall in no way affect the relationship each of them has with the Soviet Union. In order to dispel any doubt of this abroad as well, a special article was inserted in the treaty to the effect that the existing political relations [Status] between each of the three treaty powers and the Soviet Union shall not be affected by the treaty. This proviso means, therefore, that not only the treaties concluded by the three powers with the Soviet Union, particularly the German-Soviet treaties of the autumn of 1939, shall remain in full force and effect, but that this applies in general to the entire political relationship to the Soviet Union.

5) The pact would probably serve as a damper on the warmongers, especially in America, would operate against a further extension of the present war, and perhaps, in this sense would serve the restoration of world peace.

6) At this opportunity please also tell Herr Molotov that I had taken cognizance of the memorandum handed to Count Schulenburg on September 21 and that I intended shortly to address a personal letter to Herr Stalin in which I would reply to the memorandum in the spirit of German-Russian friendship, but beyond that would frankly and confidently set forth the German conception of the present political situation. I hoped that this letter would contribute anew to the strengthening of our friendly relations. Besides, the letter would contain an invitation to Berlin for Herr Molotov, whose return visit we were expecting after two visits to Moscow and with whom on this occasion I should like to discuss important questions relating to the establishment of common political aims for the future.

(Reich Foreign Minister)



Frame 112539, serial 104

Foreign Office Memorandum


W 4499g

It is necessary to obtain a decision from the Führer regarding the continuance of trade with the Soviet Union. The directives issued during the last few weeks by the Reich Marshal concerning the absolute priority of all armament contracts and the further increasing of these armament contracts make it impossible for German industry

Page 197

to execute, in addition to these contracts, the scheduled deliveries to Russia. In this state of affairs, it will be impossible to balance the considerable deficit already existing in German deliveries. On the contrary, a further great lag in German deliveries must be expected.

The Moscow negotiations on the balancing of the deliveries were broken off on the 12th of this month as the delegation had not sufficient authority to reply to the Soviet proposals. If satisfactory replies are not given Moscow soon, a suspension of the Russian deliveries to Germany is to be expected. This applies particularly to the Russian supplies of grain and oil. The continuance of the exchange of goods with the Soviet Union at the present level depends on whether the Russian transactions have a priority, as before, or at least a preferential parity with the armament contracts. This can only be decided by the Führer. The German economic authorities, especially the Reich Ministry for Economic Affairs, are finding themselves unable, because of the directives which have been issued, to deal with the question of foreign trade with Russia constructively.

Herewith to be submitted to the Reich Foreign Minister.

General Thomas informs me that the Reich Marshal expects my report on the Moscow negotiations soon. I request an opportunity to report in person first.


BERLIN, September 26, 1940.


Frames 0455-0457, serial F 5

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



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. [96]

For the Reich Foreign Minister in person.

Instruction carried out with Molotov tonight at 10 p. m. as directed.

Molotov listened very attentively to the communication. At item 6) Molotov showed evident satisfaction and said that at the moment an

[96] Reference is to the Reich Foreign Minister's telegram No. 1746 of September 25, 1940, dispatched from Berlin on September 26, ante, p. 195

Page 198

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 tool: 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 Non-aggression 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 Non-aggression Treaty, in which connection he quoted article 18 [sic] verbatim.

Page 199

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 Non-aggression 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.



Frames 0458-0462, serial F 5

Foreign Office Memorandum


W 4520/40 g Rs.

1) In the period from August 24 to September 12 of this year, negotiations took place in Moscow at the request of the Russians, for the purpose of reviewing the status of the shipments from both sides under the Commercial Treaty of February 11, 1940. The negotiations revealed that German deliveries for the first half-year fell short of the commitment in the Treaty by roughly 73 million Reichsmarks. The Russians handed in proposals for the balancing of this deficit which amounted substantially to a shortening of the delivery periods. Negotiations were temporarily broken off on September 12, in order that we might reexamine the Soviet proposals in Berlin and work out German counterproposals for additional shipments to the Soviet Union. The Russians stated that. in accordance with the Treaty provisions, they would temporarily suspend their shipments, if neither their proposals nor our counterproposals led to the projected ratio of deliveries.

Page 200

2) The German commitments for the coming half-year are:

to February 11, 1941 RM. 233 million

to May 11, 1941 RM. 311 million

including the undelivered balance of 73 million

Reichsmarks mentioned above.

This must be augmented by German shipments in return for Bessarabian grain and Bessarabian oil seed (RM. 40 million) and shipments in return for the German raw-material imports from the Baltic territories. The survey undertaken jointly with the Reich Ministry for Economic Affairs and the High Command of the Armed Forces revealed that if the armament program ordered by the Führer is carried out, neither a balancing of the existing deficit of 73 million Reichsmarks nor the delivery on schedule of the remainder of the German commitment is possible. In addition, there is the directive issued by the Reich Marshal to avoid shipments to Russia which would directly or indirectly strengthen Russia's war potential. If these decisions are upheld, the suspension of Russian shipments to Germany must shortly be expected.

3) This means that the large deliveries of raw materials, especially of grain, petroleum, cotton, precious and nonferrous metals, phosphate, will cease, at least for a time, and at the best will recommence later on a much smaller scale and with great sacrifices of German supplies. Particularly serious, in the opinion of the Reich Food Ministry, would be the effect on grain supplies. Russia has supplied us to date with almost one million tons of grain. Russia is the only country that has a good grain harvest and therefore might be in a position to continue with large shipments. The Reich Food Ministry points out that the national grain reserve will be used up in the current crop year, so that we would enter the next crop year without such a reserve.

4) The Reich Minister for Economic Affairs, the Reich Food Minister, and the High Command of the Armed Forces requested us to obtain from the Führer another decision regarding the continuation of trade with the Soviet Union. Raw material deliveries from Russia can only be kept at approximately their present level if the German shipments to the U. S. S. R. are prepared at the rate indicated under item 2 (RM. 233 million, RM. 311 million and 40 million Reichsmarks of Bessarabian grain, etc.), and, as formerly, receive a priority or at least a preferred parity rating as against the armament contracts. Since supplies of machinery, of rolling mill products and

Page 201

coal are principally involved, such an arrangement can only be made at the expense of the armament contracts.

5) The Russians, presumably reacting to the changed German attitude, have cancelled all long-range projects in the Commercial Treaty of February 11, 1940. This means that they do not wish to receive long-term deliveries of processes, installations, and capital goods, but restrict themselves to goods which will benefit their economy, especially their military rearmament, within the next 8 to 10 months. Hence the impact on our own military requirements in the resulting narrower sphere of machinery and rolling mill products is much more severe than formerly.

6) The supplies from the Russians have heretofore been a very substantial prop to the Germany war economy. Since the new commercial treaties went into effect, Russia has supplied over 300 million Reichsmarks worth of raw materials, roughly 100 million Reichsmarks of which was grain. Russia has thus far received compensation only in the amount of about 150 million Reichsmarks. The striking disproportion between German and Russian deliveries is evident from the fact that in August, as against 65 million Reichsmarks of Russian deliveries, there were only 20 million Reichsmarks of German deliveries. Our sole economic connection with Iran, Afghanistan, Manchukuo, Japan and, beyond that, with South America, is the route across Russia, which is being used to an increasing extent for German raw material imports (soy-beans from Manchukuo).

BERLIN, September 28, 1940.


Submitted to the Reich Foreign Minister as directed.


BERLIN, September 28, 1940.

[97] 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"


Frames 112554-112558, serial 104

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



BERLIN, October 2, 1940.

No. 1787

Reference your telegram No. 1041 [2041]. [98]

[98] Ante, p 197.

Page 202

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 Non-aggression Pact was pointless. The three partners

Page 203

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 Non-aggression 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 III article 3 of the German-Soviet Non-aggression 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)



Frames 112559-112560, serial 104

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



Moscow, October 4, 1940-10:40 p. m.

Received October 5, 1940-6:30 a. m.

No. 2095 of October 4

Reference your telegram of the 2d, No. 1787.

For the Reich Minister personally.

Page 204

Molotov received me today at 6 p. m., after he had at first asked me to call at 5; when I drove into the Kremlin I met the English Ambassador in his car. Molotov apologized upon greeting me, for having had to change the time of the visit because of pressure of business.

To the communications I made in accordance with instructions, Molotov made the following remarks.

I. German-Finnish Agreements.

Under the German-Russian accord, Finland, as we knew, belonged to the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union. The interest of the Soviet Union in the agreement was therefore understandable and for this reason the Soviet Union wanted to be duly informed. The Soviet Government was anxious, if possible, to be given additional, more detailed information about the German-Finnish agreement, especially regarding the number of German troops involved and the duration of the agreement (whether meant for a single action or for a longer period?), and also whether all the German troops would go only to Kirkenes.

To my query as to whether the Soviet Government had not also been informed by the Finnish Government, Molotov replied in the negative and added that the Finnish Government had informed him "at about the time of the publication of the report", but it kind not yet replied to the questions addressed to it.

I told Herr Molotov that I would communicate his wish to Berlin and remarked that, as far as I knew, it was not our intention to retain German troops in Finland and that, moreover, the agreement was conditional upon the threat to Kirkenes by England.

Upon his request, I left with Herr Molotov the text of the four points.

II. Three Power Pact.

Herr Molotov: The Soviet Government would have to examine the matter closely since my communications contained views of the German Government with regard to the interpretation of articles 3 and 4 of the German-Soviet Non-aggression pact. He could, therefore, say nothing further on this at the moment.


Page 205


Frames 112565-112566, serial 104

Foreign Office Memorandum [99]

W 4646/40g

OCTOBER 8, [1940]-7:30 p. m.

To the Office of the Reich Foreign Minister.

Please send the following by teletype to Fuschl:

In the matter of the granting of the Petsamo nickel concession the Finnish Government finds itself exposed to daily increasing pressure from the Soviet Government. The Finns are afraid that bad intentions lie concealed behind Molotov's persistence. If the Finnish Government yields to Russian pressure and by national emergency legislation cancels the present Canadian nickel concession and gives it to the Soviet Government, an unpleasant and unfavorable situation would arise for us: Our own nickel interests, which had been established in the negotiations with the Finnish Government, would be completely wiped out, as Russia will not respect the German-Finnish agreements. With the transfer of the nickel concession Soviet Russia will acquire exclusive territorial influence in this area as well and thereby border directly on the area of Kirkenes, which is protected by our troops. The military, and the Reich Marshal in particular, have voiced the hope that we shall not lose Petsamo. The deputy of the Reich Marshal, Lt. Col. Veltjens, has, among other things, obtained an option for the nickel concession, as compensation for the German supplies of arms.

Up to now the Foreign Office has been telling the Finns that Germany will confine herself to carrying out the German-Finnish nickel contracts and will not on her own initiative take up the question of the concession with the Russians. It will now be necessary to go beyond that and to strengthen the Finnish will to resist. They should be told we were in favor of their holding the question of the concession in abeyance and not definitely concluding the matter by the transfer to Russia. It is not necessary to comply with the wish of the Finns that we support their attitude in Moscow.

Minister Schnurre requests an opportunity to report personally on this situation and on the present status of the delivery of arms to Finland. The matter is urgent, since otherwise it must be expected that the Finns will give in.

[99] A notation reads "By teletype to Fuschl, No. 34." At Fuschl, near Salzburg was a residence of the Reich Foreign Minister.

Page 206


Frame 112568, serial 104

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


BERLIN, October 9, 1940.

No. 1832

Please call on Herr Molotov tomorrow, Thursday, and communicate to him the following. I request you, however, not to let this communication appear as the real reason for your call, but rather to use some other reason and merely to introduce the following as incidental to the discussion of the other subject.

Lately there have appeared in the English press various reports concerning the dispatch of fairly large German military units to Rumania. These reports are entirely tendentious. The truth of the matter is this: On the basis of the guarantee given it by the Axis Powers, the Rumanian Government some time ago made a request of us to make available to it, for the training of the Rumanian army, a German military mission with certain instruction units from the German army. In view of our interest in seeing that quiet and order are maintained in the Balkans, and in order to protect our oil and grain interests against any attempt on the part of England to disturb them, we declared ourselves willing to accede to the Rumanian request. As the Soviet Union is well aware, we have a vital interest in these territories, which we cannot leave exposed to the menace of the English, whose press continually plays with such ideas. In view of the friendly relations existing with the Soviet Government, we wished to inform her of this.

I have already informed Ambassador Shkvartsev in the same sense today.



Frames 112577-112578, serial 104

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


Moscow, October 10, 1940-11:20 p. m.

Received October 11, 1940-3:25 a. m.

No. 2142 of October 10

Reference your telegram No. 1832 of October 9.

I called on Molotov today at 6:30 p. m. I used as the occasion of my visit the message that Hilger had given to People's Commissar

Page 207

Mikoyan three days ago regarding the impending arrival of a German delegation for the purpose of resuming economic negotiations. I stressed the fact that in view of the importance of the question I was very anxious to inform him-Molotov-too, that the delegation led by Schnurre would be strengthened by influential personalities who were authorized to make independent decisions and that as a result of the preliminary work done in Berlin we had the impression that a basis for an understanding had been created.

Molotov appeared interested, inquired about the exact date of Schnurre's arrival and stated that we now had to await the results of the negotiations.

After that I brought the conversation around informally to the real purpose of my visit and gave Molotov the prescribed information, to which he listened with interest. After I had finished Molotov stated that if it were only a question of "instruction units" the numerical strength of the German troop units in Rumania could not be very large. To Molotov's question as to whether I knew the number of German troops sent to Rumania I replied in the negative, but I again stressed the vital German interest in those territories, which had to be protected against any danger from the English. Molotov did not wish to admit the existence of such danger, remarking with a smile that England now had other worries and ought to be glad to save her own life.

In conclusion, Molotov inquired regarding the information which he had recently requested in the Finnish matter, to which I replied that this information would presumably be brought back by the Ambassador, who would return in a few days.



Frames 0433-0451, serial F 5

Letter From the Reich Foreign Minister to Stalin

BERLIN, October 13, 1940.

MY DEAR HERR STALIN: Over a year ago, through your decision and the Führer's, the relations between Germany and Soviet Russia were reexamined and put on a completely new basis. I believe that the decision to reach an understanding between our two countries-which resulted from the realization that the Lebensraüme of our peoples adjoin each other but need not necessarily overlap, and which led to a delimitation of mutual spheres of influence and to the German-Soviet Russian Non-aggression and Friendship Treaties-has proved ad-

Page 208

vantageous to both sides. I am convinced that the consistent continuance of this policy of good neighborliness and a further strengthening of the political and economic collaboration will redound to the greater and greater benefit of the two great peoples in the future. Germany, at any rate, is prepared and determined to work to this end.

With such a goal, it seems to me, a direct contact between the responsible personalities of both countries becomes particularly important. I believe that such a personal contact through other than the customary diplomatic channels is indispensable from time to time in authoritarian regimes such as ours. Today I would, therefore, like to review briefly the events since my last visit to Moscow. Because of the historical importance of these events and in continuation of our exchange of ideas of last year, I would like to review for you the policy which Germany has pursued during this period.

After the conclusion of the Polish Campaign we became aware-and this was confirmed by many reports which were received during the winter-that England, faithful to her traditional policy, was building her whole war strategy on the hope of an extension of the war. The attempts made in 1939 to win over the Soviet Union to a military coalition against Germany had already pointed in this direction. They were frustrated by the German-Soviet Russian Agreement. Later on, the attitude of England and France in the Soviet Russian-Finnish conflict was similar.

In the spring of 194O, these concealed intentions became quite evident. With this began the active phase of the English policy of extending this war to other peoples of Europe. After the end of the Soviet Russian-Finnish War, Norway was selected as the first target. By the occupation of Narvik and other Norwegian bases, Germany's iron ore supplies were to be cut off and a new front established in Scandinavia. It was only due to the timely intervention of the German leadership in Berlin and to the quick blows of our troops-who chased the English and the French out of Norway-that all of Scandinavia did not become a theater of war.

Several weeks later this Anglo-French game was to be repeated in Holland and Belgium. And here, too, Germany was able at the eleventh hour to prevent the contemplated thrust of the Anglo-French armies against the Ruhr Region (of which we had been informed some time before) by decisive victories of our armies. Today, even in France, "England's continental sword," it has become apparent to most Frenchmen that their country in the last analysis had to bleed to death as a victim of this traditional "humanitarian" policy of Eng-

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land. As to the present English rulers, who declared war on Germany and who thereby plunged the British people into misfortune, even they themselves were finally no longer able to conceal their traditional British policy and their contempt for their own allies. On the contrary, when fate turned against them, all their hypocritical protestations ceased. With true English cynicism, they have treacherously forsaken their friends. In fact, in order to save themselves they slandered their erstwhile allies, and later on they even openly opposed them by force. Andalsnes, Dunkerque, Oran, Dakar, are names which-it appears to me-could sufficiently enlighten the world on the value of England's friendship. However, on this occasion we Germans, too, learned a lesson: that the English are not only unscrupulous politicians, but also bad soldiers. Our troops have routed them wherever they accepted battle. The German soldier was superior to them everywhere.

The Balkans were the next aim of the English policy of extending the war. According to reports which have reached us, all sorts of plans were repeatedly drawn up there this year, and in one instance their execution was already ordered. That those plans were not duly carried out was-as we know today-due exclusively to the almost unbelievable dilettantism and the astonishing discord among the political as well as the military leaders of England and France.

Germany's foes have endeavored to conceal from the world their measures for extending the war, and they have tried before the whole world to brand our exposure of these English methods of extending the war as n maneuver of German propaganda. In the meanwhile, fate would have it that documents of inestimable importance fell into the hands of the German armies advancing with lightning speed in the various theaters of war. As is well known, we succeeded in capturing the secret political files of the French General Staff, which were already prepared for shipment, and thereby obtained incontrovertible proof of the correctness of our reports regarding the intentions of our adversary and the conclusions we had drawn from them. A number of these documents, as you will remember, have already been published in the press, and an enormous amount of material is still being translated and examined. If needed, it is to be published in a White Book. With truly striking conclusiveness the background of the English war policy is here revealed. You will understand that we are gratified at being able to open the eyes of the world to the unprecedented incompetence as well as to the almost criminal recklessness with which the present English rulers, by their declaration of war on

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Germany, plunged into misfortune not only their own people but also other peoples of Europe. But even beyond that, the documents at our disposal prove that the gentlemen from the Thames would not have shrunk from attacking completely disinterested nations, merely because they continued their natural trade with Germany despite British representations and even threats. Undoubtedly, the Soviet-Russian oil centers of Baku and the oil port of Batum would even this year have become the victim of British attacks, if the collapse of France and the expulsion of the British Army from Europe had not broken the British spirit of aggression and put an abrupt end to these activities.

Nevertheless, recognizing the complete absurdity of continuing this war, on July 19 the Führer again offered peace to England. After the refusal of this last oder Germany is now determined to prosecute the war against England and her Empire until the final defeat of Britain. This fight to the finish is now in progress and will only end when the foe is annihilated militarily or when a real understanding is assured through elimination of the forces responsible for the war. It does not matter when this takes place.

For one thing is sure: the war as such has been won by us anyway. It is only a question of how long it will be before England, under the impact of our operations, admits to complete collapse.

In this final phase of the war, to guard against any moves which England might yet make in her desperate situation, the Axis, as an obvious precaution, was forced to secure its military and strategic position in Europe as well as its political and diplomatic position in the world. In addition, it had to safeguard the requirements for maintaining our economic life. Immediately after the end of the campaign in the West, Germany and Italy started with this task, and now they have carried it out in its broad outlines. In this connection there may also be mentioned the-for Germany-unprecedented task of securing her Norwegian coastal positions all the way from the Skagerrak to Kirkenes. Germany has therefore entered into certain purely technical agreements with Sweden and Finland, of which I have already fully informed you through the German Embassy. They are exclusively for the purpose of facilitating supply of the coastal cities in the North (Narvik and Kirkenes)-which are difficult for us to reach by land-by shipping supplies via the territory of these countries.

The policy which we have recently pursued in the Rumanian-Hungarian controversy is similarly oriented. Our guarantee to Rumania is due exclusively to the necessity of protecting this Balkan

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region-which is especially important from the standpoint of the German supplies of oil and grain-against any disturbance by war, sabotage, etc., in the interior of this area, as well as against invasion attempts from the outside. The anti-German press tried at that time to place on the guarantee of the Axis Powers to Rumania constructions the purpose of which was all too apparent. The truth of the matter is that toward the end of August-as we know-the situation between Rumania and Hungary, fomented by English agents as the notorious agitators in the Balkans, had reached such a point that the outbreak of war was imminent and, in fact, air skirmishes had already occurred. It was obvious that the peace could be saved in the Balkans only through the most rapid diplomatic intervention. There was no time for any negotiations or consultations. Matters had already gone too far from a military standpoint. This accounts for the completely improvised meeting in Vienna and the award within 21 hours. It is, therefore, probably superfluous to emphasize that the tendency shown in the anti-German press at that time-to construe these German-Italian actions as aimed against the Soviet Union-was entirely unfounded and dictated solely by the intention to disrupt relations between the Axis and the Soviet Union.

The German Military Mission, too, sent a few days ago at the request of the Rumanians, together with the attached instruction units of the German Armed Forces, which again was taken as an occasion for flimsy speculations by our foes, serves both to train the Rumanian Army and to safeguard German interests, because the German economy and the economies of these territories are closely interdependent. If England, as some reports seem to indicate, really intended to undertake some action against the oil fields of Rumania for instance, we have indeed already taken measures to give the appropriate answer to such British attempts at intervention from abroad or of sabotage from within. In view of the completely misleading and tendentious press reports, which have been increasing in number during the last few days, I informed your Ambassador, Herr Shkvarzev, a few days ago as to the true motives for our action and of the measures actually taken.

In connection with the sabotage attempts by the British, the question raised by your Government concerning reorganization of the regime on the Danube is of some importance. I may inform you that, in agreement with the Italian Government, we shall make proposals in the next few days which will take into account your wishes in the matter.

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After these measures to safeguard the position of the Axis in Europe, the principal interest of the Reich Government and of the Italian Government during recent weeks was aimed at preventing the spread of the war beyond Europe into a world conflagration. For, as the hopes of the English of finding allies in Europe faded, the English Government intensified its efforts to support particularly those circles which in the democracies overseas aimed at an entry into the war against Germany and Italy and on the side of England. In contrast to this was the interest of those peoples which were animated in the same degree by the desire for a New Order in the world as against the congealed plutocratic democracies and which saw, just as we did, these interests threatened by a further extension of the European War into a world conflagration. This condition applied particularly to Japan. Some time ago, therefore, upon orders from the Führer, I sent an emissary to Tokyo to ascertain unofficially whether the common interests could be expressed in the form of a pact directed against the further extension of the war to other peoples. The exchange of ideas which followed very soon resulted in a complete and general consensus between Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo, on the fact that, in the interest of an early restoration of peace, any further spread of war should be prevented and that the best way to counteract the warmongering of an international clique would be by a military alliance of the Three Powers. Thus, despite all the British intrigues, the Berlin Treaty was concluded with surprising rapidity-as I was able to advise you through the Embassy as soon as the final agreement had been reached on the day before the signing. I believe that the conclusion of this Treaty will hasten the downfall of the present English rulers, who are alone in opposing the final restoration of peace, and that it will thereby serve the interests of all peoples.

As to the question of the attitude toward the Soviet Union of the three partners to this Alliance, I should like to state in advance that from the very beginning of the exchange of views all Three Powers held equally to the opinion that this Pact was not aimed in any way against the Soviet Union; that, on the contrary, the friendly relations between the Three Powers and their treaties with the Soviet Union should remain completely unaffected by this agreement. This attitude has, indeed, found its formal expression in the text of the Berlin Treaty. As to Germany, the conclusion of this Pact is the logical result of a conception of foreign policy-long adhered to by the Reich Government-in which both friendly German-Soviet cooperation and friendly German-Japanese cooperation have a place side by side and

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undisturbed. Beyond that, however, friendly relations between Germany and Soviet Russia as well as friendly relations between Soviet Russia and Japan, together with the friendship between the Axis Powers and Japan, are logical elements of a natural political coalition which, if intelligently managed, will work out to the best advantage of all the powers concerned. You will remember that at the time of my first visit to Moscow I discussed similar ideas with you quite frankly and that I offered our good offices for the adjustment of differences still existing at the time between the Soviet Russians and the Japanese. I have endeavored since then to work in this direction, and I would welcome it, if the trend toward reaching an understanding with the Soviet Union-which is becoming more and more clearly manifest in Japan, too-could lead to its logical goal.

In summing up, I should like to state that, in the opinion of the Führer, also, it appears to be the historical mission of the Four Powers-the Soviet Union. Italy, Japan, and Germany-to adopt a long-range policy and to direct the future development of their peoples into the right channels by delimitation of their interests on a worldwide scale.

In order further to clarify issues of such decisive importance for the future of our peoples and in order to discuss them in concrete form, we would welcome it if Herr Molotov would pay us a visit in Berlin soon. I should like to extend a most cordial invitation to him in the name of the Reich Government. After my two visits to Moscow, it would now be a particular pleasure for me personally to see Herr Molotov in Berlin. His visit would then give the Führer the opportunity to explain to Herr Molotov personally his views regarding the future molding of relations between our two countries. Upon his return, Herr Molotov will be able to report to you at length concerning the aims and intentions of the Führer. If then-as I believe I may expect-the opportunity should arise for further elaboration of a common policy in accordance with my foregoing statements, I should be happy to come to Moscow again personally in order to resume the exchange of ideas with you, my dear Herr Stalin, and to discuss-possibly together with representatives of Japan and Italy-the bases of a policy which could only be of practical advantage to all of us.

With best regards I remain

Respectfully yours,


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Frame 0430, serial F 5

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office



Moscow, October 18, 1940-12:08 a. m.

Received October 18, 1940-1:50 a. m.


No. 2200 of October 17

For the Reich Foreign Minister.

Today I handed Herr Molotov the letter intended for Herr Stalin and strongly urged him to accept the invitation to Berlin as soon as possible. Molotov stated again that he could not deny that he owed a visit to Berlin, but that he would have to reserve his answer until after he had studied the letter.

I then touched upon the complaints of the resettlement commissions in the Balkan countries and in Bessarabia. Molotov, of course, attempted to dispute the justice of the complaints, but in the end he promised to reexamine them.



Frame 0429, serial F 5

The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg)



SONNENBURG, October 18, 1940.

Received Berlin October 18, 1940-3:30 p. m.

Transmitted to Moscow, 5:15 p. m.


No. 1878

For the Ambassador personally.

I request immediate information by wire as to why my letter to Stalin was not delivered to the Soviet Russian Government until October 17, and why, in keeping with the importance of its contents and the entire matter, the letter addressed to Stalin was not-as I had taken for granted-delivered by you to Herr Stalin at a personal audience.


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Frames 0427-0428, serial F 5

The German, Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office



Moscow, October 19, 1940-3:20 p. m.

Received October 19, 1940-6 p. m.


No. 2209 of October 19

Reference your telegram of the 18th, No. 1878.

For the Reich Foreign Minister.

I handed Molotov the letter intended for Stalin after careful examination of the factual and personal situation here. After I had informed Molotov, in accordance with instructions of some time ago, of your intention to address a letter to Stalin and of its probable contents, a proposal on my part to hand the letter directly to Stalin would have caused serious annoyance to Herr Molotov. It seemed to me imperative to avoid this, in view of the fact that Molotov is the closest confidant of Stalin and that we will have to deal with him on all great political issues in the future.

In addition, Stalin has recently shown a strong reserve in public, and I was therefore justified in assuming that he would avoid a personal meeting with me on some pretext or other. In this connection, I may recall the statement in the Soviet press of September 7, according to which Stalin had not seen me for more than 6 months. Insistence upon a reception by Stalin might easily have been construed on the Soviet side as a reaction to this published statement.

That the letter was not delivered until October 17 is explained by the fact that I did not arrive in Moscow until the evening of October 15, because the plane was late. Before the letter was handed over, we first had to translate it into Russian, since we know from experience that translations made by the Soviets are bad and full of inaccuracies. Considering the extraordinary political significance of the letter it was extremely important to transmit to Stalin a translation that was flawless as to form and content lest the letter convey an inaccurate impression. Because of the length and importance of the letter it was not possible, despite the most strenuous efforts, to translate it into Russian and to prepare a final copy in Russian in a shorter space of time.


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Frames 0431-0432, serial F 5

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office



Moscow, October 22, 1940-5:02 a. m.

Received October 22, 1940-7:35 a. m.

No. 2236 of October 21

Reference your telegram of October 20, No. 1890. [1]

For the Reich Foreign Minister personally.

Tonight Molotov handed me Stalin's sealed answer together with a copy. The form and style of the letter leave no doubt that the letter was composed by Stalin personally.

Literally translated, the letter reads as follows:

"MY DEAR HERR VON RIBBENTROP: I have received your letter. I thank you sincerely for your confidence, as well as for the instructive analysis of recent events which is contained in your letter.

I agree with you that a further improvement in the relations between our countries is entirely possible on the permanent basis of a long-range delimitation of mutual interests.

Herr Molotov admits that he is under obligation to pay you a return visit in Berlin. He hereby accepts your invitation.

It remains for us to agree on the date of arrival in Berlin. The time from the 10th to the 12th of November is most convenient for Herr Molotov. If it is also agreeable to the German Government, the question may be considered as settled.

I welcome the desire expressed by you to come to Moscow again in order to resume the exchange of ideas begun last year on questions of interest to both our countries. and I hope that this wish will be realized after Herr Molotov's trip to Berlin.

As to joint deliberation on some issues with Japanese and Italian participation, I am of the opinion (without being opposed to this idea in principle) that this question would have to be submitted to a previous examination.

Most respectfully yours"

Molotov added orally that he planned to arrive in Berlin on the 10th, 11th or 12th of November. No decision has yet been reached concerning the duration of his stay. It was to be made dependent upon the exigencies of the situation.

Hilger will arrive in Berlin Thursday morning, will bring along Stalin's original letter and discuss further details of the visit there.

[1] Not printed.

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Molotov requested that the whole affair be treated in strict confidence for the time being.



Frame 112626, serial 104

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office



Moscow, November 2, 1940-2:30 a. m.

Received November 2, 1940-7:50 a. m.

No. 2313 of November 1

Reference my telegram No. 2310. [2]

For the State Secretary.

In today's discussion between Schnurre and Mikoyan, Mikoyan complained in a tone of obvious annoyance that we were not willing to undertake the delivery of war materiel desired by the Soviet Government, yet we were delivering war materiel to Finland and other countries.

This is the first time that our deliveries of arms to Finland have been mentioned by the Soviets.


[2] Not printed.


Frames 46290-46313, serial 66

Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Reich Foreign Minister and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R. and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V. M. Molotov, in the Presence of the Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Dekanosov, as Well as Counselor of Embassy Hilger and Herr Pavlov, Who Acted as Interpreters; Held in Berlin on November 12, 1940

RM 41/40

After some introductory words the Reich Foreign Minister stated that since the two visits which he had made to Moscow last year much had happened. Referring to the talks which he had had in Moscow with the Russian statesmen, and supplementing what he had recently written in the letter to Stalin, he now wanted to make a few more statements regarding the German view of the general situation and on Russo-German relations, without thereby anticipating the Führer,

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who would talk in detail with Herr Molotov in the afternoon and would give him his considered opinion regarding the political situation. After this discussion with the Führer, there would be further opportunities for talks with the Reich Foreign Minister, and it might he assumed that this German-Russian exchange of views would have a favorable effect upon the relations between the two countries.

Molotov replied that the contents of the letter to Stalin, which already contained a general review of events since last fall, were known to him, and he hoped that the analysis given in the letter would be supplemented by oral statements of the Führer with regard to the over-all situation and German-Russian relations.

The Reich Foreign Minister replied that in the letter to Stalin he had already expressed the firm conviction of Germany, which he wished to stress again on this occasion, that no power on earth could alter the fact that the beginning of the end had now arrived for the British Empire. England was beaten, and it was only a question of time when she would finally admit her defeat. It was possible that this would happen soon, because in England the situation was deteriorating daily. Germany would, of course, welcome an early conclusion of the conflict, since she did not wish under any circumstances to sacrifice human lives unnecessarily. If, however, the British did not make up their minds in the immediate future to admit their defeat, they would definitely ask for peace during the coming year. Germany was continuing her bombing attacks on England day and night. Her submarines would gradually be employed to the full extent and would inflict terrible losses on England. Germany was of the opinion that England could perhaps be forced by these attacks to give up the struggle. A certain uneasiness was already apparent in Great Britain, which seemed to indicate such a solution. If, however, England were not forced to her knees by the present mode of attack, Germany would, as soon as weather conditions permitted, resolutely proceed to a large-scale attack and thereby definitely crush England. This large-scale attack had thus far been prevented only by abnormal weather conditions.

On the other hand, England hoped for aid from the United States, whose support, however, was extremely questionable. Regarding possible military operations by land, the entry of the United States into the war was of no consequence at all for Germany. Germany and Italy would never again allow an Anglo-Saxon to land on the European Continent. The aid which England could get from the American fleet was also very uncertain. Thus, America would confine herself to

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sending war materiel, primarily planes, to the British. How much of this materiel would really arrive in England it was difficult to say. It might be assumed, however, that as a result of the measures taken by the German Navy, shipments from America would arrive in England only in very meagre quantities, so that in this respect, too, American support was more than doubtful. Under these circumstances, the question of whether America would enter the war or not was a matter of complete indifference to Germany.

As to the political situation, the Reich Foreign Minister remarked that now, after the conclusion of the French campaign, Germany was extraordinarily strong. The Führer would probably give Herr Molotov further information on this point. The course of the war had brought neither losses of personnel-as regrettable as the sacrifices might be for the families directly afflicted-nor material losses of any importance. Germany, therefore, had at her disposal an extraordinarily large number of divisions, and her air force was constantly growing stronger. The submarines and other naval units were continually being augmented. Under those circumstances, any attempt at a landing or at military operations on the European Continent by England or by England backed by America was doomed to complete failure at the start. This was no military problem at all. This the English had not yet understood, because apparently there was some degree of confusion in Great Britain and because the country was led by a political and military dilettante by the name of Churchill, who throughout his previous career had completely failed at all decisive moments and who would fail again this time.

Furthermore, the Axis completely dominated its part of Europe militarily and politically. Even France, which had lost the war and had to pay for it (of which the French, incidentally, were quite aware) had accepted the principle that France in the future would never again support England and de Gaulle, the quixotic conqueror of Africa. Because of the extraordinary strength of their position, the Axis Powers were not, therefore, considering how they might win the war, but rather how rapidly they could end the war which was already won.

As a result of this whole development, i. e., the natural desire of Germany and Italy to end the war as rapidly as possible, both countries had looked around for friends who pursued the same interest, that is, who were against any extension of the war and aimed at a speedy conclusion of the war. The Tripartite Pact between Germany,

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Italy, and Japan had been the result of these efforts. The Reich Foreign Minister could state confidentially that a number of other countries had also declared their solidarity with the ideas of the Three Power Pact.

In this connection the Reich Foreign Minister emphasized that during the talks on the Three Power Pact, which were concluded very rapidly, as he had already stated in the letter to Stalin, one idea had been paramount in the minds of all three participants, namely, that the Pact should not in any way disturb the relationship of the Three Powers to Russia. This idea had been advanced by the Reich Foreign Minister and had been at once spontaneously approved by Italy and Japan. Japan, in particular-whose friendship for Germany, in view of the warmongering agitation in the United States, was of special importance in the interest of preventing a spread of the war-had given it her backing. Relations with Russia were clarified in article 5 of the Tripartite Pact of Berlin and had actually been the first subject settled.

The Reich Foreign Minister pointed out that from the very first moment of his Moscow visit he had made clear his view that in the basic foreign policy of the New Germany, friendship with Japan (as expressed in the Tripartite Pact) and friendship with Russia were not only absolutely consistent with each other but could be of positive value in the realization of this foreign policy so far as the desire for a speedy end to the war is concerned-a desire which was surely shared by Soviet Russia. Molotov would recall that the Reich Foreign Minister had stated in Moscow that Germany would very much welcome an improvement in relations between Russia and Japan. He (the Reich Foreign Minister) had taken with him to Germany Stalin's concurrence in the idea that it would also be in the Russian interest if Germany would exert her influence in Tokyo in favor of a Russo-Japanese rapprochement. The Reich Foreign Minister pointed out that he had consistently exerted this influence in Tokyo, and he believed that his work had to a certain degree already been effective. Not only since his Moscow visit, but even seven to eight years ago, he (the Reich Foreign Minister) in conversations with the Japanese had always advocated Russo-Japanese accord. He took the position that just as it had been possible to delimit the mutual spheres of interest between Soviet Russia and Germany, a delimitation of interests could also be achieved between Japan and Russia. With regard to her Lebensraum policy, Japan now was oriented not toward the East and North, but toward the South, and the Reich Foreign Minister

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believed that by his influence he had contributed something to this development. Another reason why Germany had striven for an understanding with Japan was the realization that England would some day go to war against the Reich. Therefore, in good season Germany had adopted an appropriate policy toward Japan.

The Führer now was of the opinion that it would be advantageous in any case if the attempt were made to establish the spheres of influence between Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan along very broad lines. The Führer had considered this question long and thoroughly, and he had reached the following conclusion: By reason of the position which the four nations occupied in the world, a wise policy would normally direct the momentum of their Lebensraum expansion entirely southward. Japan had already turned toward the South, and she would have to work for centuries in order to consolidate her territorial gains in the South. Germany had defined her spheres of influence with Russia, and after the establishment of a new order in Western Europe she would also find her Lebensraum expansion to be in a southerly direction, i. e., in Central Africa in the region of the former German colonies. Similarly Italian expansion was to the south in the African portion of the Mediterranean. i. e. North and East Africa. He, the Foreign Minister, wondered whether Russia in the long run would not also turn to the South for the natural outlet to the open sea that was so important for Russia. These were, the Reich Foreign Minister stated in conclusion, the great concerns which during recent months had frequently been discussed between the Führer and himself and which were also to be presented to Molotov on the occasion of the Berlin visit.

To a question by Molotov as to which sea the Reich Foreign Minister had meant when he had just spoken of access to the sea, the latter replied that according to German opinion great changes would take place all over the world after the war. He recalled the fact that he had declared to Stalin in Moscow that England no longer had the right to dominate the world. England was pursuing an insane policy, for which she would some day have to pay the cost. Germany believed, therefore, that great changes would occur in the status of British imperial possessions. Thus far, both partners had benefited from the German-Russian Pact, Germany as well as Russia, which was able to carry out her rightful revisions in the West. The victory of Germany over Poland and France had contributed considerably to the successful achievement of these revisions. Both partners of the German-Russian Pact had together done some good business.

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This was the most favorable basis for any pact. The question now was, whether they could not continue in the future also to do good business together and whether Soviet Russia could not derive corresponding advantages from the new order of things in the British Empire, i. e., whether in the long run the most advantageous access to the sea for Russia could not be found in the direction of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, and whether at the same time certain other aspirations of Russia in this part of Asia-in which Germany was completely disinterested-could not also be realized.

The Reich Foreign Minister further brought up the subject of Turkey. Thus far that country had outwardly had an alliance with France and England. France had been eliminated by her defeat, and England's value as an ally would become more and more questionable. Therefore, Turkey had been clever enough in recent months to reduce her ties with England to a level that amounted really to nothing more than the former neutrality. The question arose as to what interest Russia had in Turkey. In view of the imminent end of the war, which was in the interest of all countries, including Russia, he believed that Turkey should be induced to free herself more and more from the tie with England. He (the Reich Foreign Minister) did not want to pass final judgment on details, but he believed that with the adoption of a common platform by Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan Turkey ought gradually to be steered toward these countries. Thus far, he had not discussed these matters with the Turks in any concrete way. He had only stated in a confidential talk with the Turkish Ambassador that Germany would welcome it if Turkey, by pursuing in intensified degree her present political line, would arrive at absolute neutrality, and he had added that Germany did not make any claims whatsoever to Turkish territory.

The Reich Foreign Minister further declared that in this connection he understood completely Russia's dissatisfaction with the Straits Convention of Montreux. Germany was even more dissatisfied, for she had not been included in it at all. Personally he (the Reich Foreign Minister) was of the opinion that the Montreux Convention, like the Danube Commissions, must be scrapped and replaced by something new. This new agreement must be concluded between those powers that were particularly interested in the issue, primarily Russia, Turkey, Italy, and Germany. It was clear that Soviet Russia could not be satisfied with the present situation. Germany found the idea acceptable that in the Black Sea Soviet Russia and the adjacent countries should enjoy certain privileges over other countries of the

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world. It was absurd that countries that were thousands of miles away from the Black Sea should claim to have the same rights as the Black Sea powers. The new Straits agreement with Turkey would, moreover, have to secure certain special privileges to Russia, on the details of which he could not yet comment at the moment, but which would have to grant to the warships and merchant fleet of the Soviet Union in principle freer access to the Mediterranean than heretofore. Russia was entitled to that. He (the Reich Foreign Minister) had already discussed these matters with the Italians, and the arguments which he had just indicated had received most sympathetic consideration in Italy. It appeared advisable to him that Russia, Germany, and Italy should pursue a common policy toward Turkey in order to induce that country without loss of face to free herself from her ties with England, which could hardly be pleasing to the three countries. Turkey would thereby not only become a factor in the coalition of powers against the spread of war and for an early establishment of peace, but she would also be prepared to scrap the Montreux Convention voluntarily and, in conjunction with these three countries, to create a new Straits convention which would satisfy the just demands of all and give Russia certain special privileges. In this matter they might consider jointly whether it would not be possible to recognize the territorial integrity of Turkey.

The Reich Foreign Minister summed up the matter by stating that the following issues were involved-

1. To consider jointly how the countries of the Tripartite Pact could reach an agreement of some kind with the Soviet Union, expressing the Soviet Union's solidarity with the aim of the Tripartite Pact, namely the prevention of the spread of war and the early establishment of world peace.

Moreover, other common issues could be designated on which the countries wished to collaborate and, finally, mutual respect for one another's interests might be agreed upon. These were approximately the guide lines for such a contemplated agreement. The details would have to be discussed further. If these arguments appeared acceptable to the Soviet Government, a joint declaration by the Soviet Government and the powers of the Tripartite Pact pledging the early restoration of peace would in effect result.

2. Joint examinations as to whether in some way the interests of the four countries could be clarified for the future on a very long-range scale.

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3. The issue of Turkey and the Straits question were also involved.

On all these points, it was to be kept in mind that the Reich Foreign Minister did not yet wish to make any concrete proposals; he had only presented a summary of the ideas which the Führer and he had in mind when the letter to Stalin was sent. If, however, these ideas appeared feasible to the Soviet Government, the Reich Foreign Minister would be quite ready to come to Moscow himself and discuss the matters personally with Stalin. He wondered whether the simultaneous presence of his Italian and Japanese colleagues, who, as far as he knew, were also prepared to come to Moscow, could be of advantage in the matter. Of course, the relationship of Russia to the Axis, as well as relations between Russia and Japan, would first have to be clarified through diplomatic channels.

At the end the Reich Foreign Minister added another remark regarding his recent conversation with the Chinese Ambassador. He had not been prompted from any direction to hold this conversation, but he had had indications that the Japanese would not have any objections to it. In line with the efforts to bring about a speedy end to the war, he had asked himself whether there was not the possibility of reconciling the differences between Chiang Kai-shek and Japan. He had not, by any means, offered Germany's mediation, but, in view of the long and friendly relations existing between Germany and China, had merely informed Marshal Chiang Kai-shek of the German view. Japan was about to recognize the Nanking Government; on the other hand, reports were current to the effect that Japan as well as China desired to seek a compromise. Whether these reports were based on fact could not be definitely ascertained. It would undoubtedly be well, however, if a compromise between the two countries could be found. For this reason he (the Reich Foreign Minister) had summoned the Chinese Ambassador in order to communicate to him the German position on this question, since he did not consider it impossible that something was being initiated between Japan and China of which he wished to inform Molotov during this exchange of ideas.

Molotov agreed with the remark concerning the advantages of a Sino-Japanese accord and replied to the statements of the Reich Foreign Minister by saying that they had been of great interest to him and that an exchange of ideas regarding the great problems concerning not only Germany and Soviet Russia but also other states as well might, indeed, be useful. He had well understood the statements of the Reich Foreign Minister regarding the great importance of the

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Tripartite Pact. As the representative of a non-belligerent country, however, he had to ask for a number of explanations in order to ascertain more clearly the meaning of the Pact. When the New Order in Europe and the Greater East Asian Sphere were discussed in the Treaty, the concept of a "Greater East Asian Sphere" was quite vague, at least for a person who had not participated in the preparation of the Pact. Therefore, it would be important for him to obtain a more accurate definition of this concept. Moreover, the participation of the Soviet Union in the actions envisaged by the Reich Foreign Minister must be discussed in detail, and that not only in Berlin, but also in Moscow.

The Reich Foreign Minister replied that the concept of the Greater East Asian Sphere had been new to him, too, and that it had not been defined to him in detail either. The formulation had been suggested in the last few days of the negotiations, which, as already mentioned, had proceeded very rapidly. He could state, however, that the concept of a "Greater East Asian Sphere" had nothing to do with the vital Russian spheres of influence. During the pact negotiations, as already mentioned, the first matter discussed was that nothing aimed directly or indirectly against Russia might be included in the Pact.

Molotov replied that precision was necessary in a delimitation of spheres of influence over a rather long period of time. Therefore, he had asked to be informed of the opinion of the authors of the Pact or, at least, of the opinion of the Reich Government on this point. Particular vigilance was needed in the delimitation of the spheres of influence between Germany and Russia. The establishment of these spheres of influence in the past year was only a partial solution, which had been rendered obsolete and meaningless by recent circumstances and events, with the exception of the Finnish question, which he would discuss in detail later. It would necessarily take some time to make a permanent settlement. In this connection, in the first place, Russia wanted to come to an understanding with Germany, and only then with Japan and Italy, after she had previously obtained precise information regarding the significance, the nature, and the aim of the Tripartite Pact.

At this point the conversation was interrupted in order to give the Russian delegates time for breakfast in a small circle before the conversation with the Führer began.



BERLIN, November 13, 1940.

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Frames 0281-0259 [sic], serial F 3

Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Führer and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Molotov, in the Presence of the Reich Foreign Minister, the Deputy People's Commissar, Dekanosov, as Well as of Counselor of Embassy Hilger and Herr Pavlov, Who Acted as Interpreters, on November 12, 1940


Füh. 32/40 g. Rs.

After some words of welcome, the Führer stated that the idea that was uppermost in his mind in the conversations now taking place was this: In the life of peoples it was indeed difficult to lay down a course for development over a long period in the future and the outbreak of conflicts was often strongly influenced by personal factors; he believed, nevertheless, that an attempt had to be made to fix the development of nations, even for a long period of time, in so far as that was possible, so that friction would be avoided and the elements of conflict precluded as far as humanly possible. This was particularly in order when two nations such as the German and Russian nations had at their helm men who possessed sufficient authority to commit their countries to a development in a definite direction. In the case of Russia and Germany, moreover, two very great nations were involved which need not by nature have any conflict of interests, if each nation understood that the other required certain vital necessities without the guarantee of which its existence was impossible. Besides this, both countries had systems of government which did not wage war for the sake of war, but which needed peace more than war in order to carry out their domestic tasks. With due regard for vital needs, particularly in the economic field, it should really be possible to achieve a settlement between them, which would lead to peaceful collaboration between the two countries beyond the life span of the present leaders.

After Molotov had expressed his entire agreement with these arguments, the Führer continued that it was obviously a difficult task to chart developments between peoples and countries over a long period. He believed, however, that it would be possible to elaborate clearly and precisely certain general points of views quite independently of personal motives and to orient the political and economic interests of peoples in such a manner as to give some guarantee that conflicts would be avoided even for rather long periods. The situation in which

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the conversation of today was taking place was characterized by the fact that Germany was at war, while Soviet Russia was not. Many of the measures taken by Germany had been influenced by the fact of her belligerency. Many of the steps that were necessary in the course of the war had developed from the conduct of the war itself and could not have been anticipated at the outbreak of war. By and large, not only Germany but also Russia had gained great advantages. On further consideration, the political collaboration during the one year of its existence had been of considerable value to both countries.

Molotov stated that this was quite correct.

The Führer declared further that probably neither of the two peoples had realized its wishes 100 percent. In political life, however, even a 20-25 percent realization of demands was would a good deal. He believed that not every wish would be fulfilled in the future either, but that the two greatest peoples of Europe, if they went along together, would, in any case gain more than if they worked against each other. If they stood together, some advantage would always accrue to both countries. If they worked against each other, however, third countries would be the sole gainers.

Molotov replied that the argument of the Führer was entirely correct and would be confirmed by history; that it was particularly applicable to the present situation, however.

The Führer then went on to say that proceeding from these ideas he had again quite soberly pondered the question of German-Russian collaboration, at a time when the military operations were in effect concluded.

The war had, moreover, led to complications which were not intended by Germany, but which had compelled her from time to time to react militarily to certain events. The Führer then outlined to Molotov the course of military operations up to the present, which had led to the fact that England no longer had an ally on the continent. He described in detail the military operations now being carried out against England, and he stressed the influence of atmospheric conditions on these operations. The English retaliatory measures were ridiculous, and the Russian gentlemen could convince themselves at first hand of the fiction of alleged destruction in Berlin. As soon as atmospheric conditions improved, Germany would be poised for the great and final blow against England. At the moment, then, it was her aim to try not only to make military preparations for this final struggle, but also to clarify the political issues which would be of

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importance during and after this showdown. He had, therefore, reexamined the relations with Russia, and not in a negative spirit, but with the intention of organizing them positively-if possible, for a long period of time. In so doing he had reached several conclusions:

1. Germany was not seeking to obtain military aid from Russia;

2. Because of the tremendous extension of the war, Germany had been forced, in order to oppose England, to penetrate into territories remote from her and in which she was not basically interested politically or economically;

3. There were nevertheless certain requirements, the full importance of which had become apparent only during the war, but which were absolutely vital to Germany. Among them were certain sources of raw materials which were considered by Germany as most vital and absolutely indispensable. Possibly Herr Molotov was of the opinion that in one case or another they had departed from the conception of the spheres of influence which had been agreed upon by Stalin and the Reich Foreign Minister. Such departures had already occurred in some cases in the course of Russian operations against Poland. In a number of cases, on calm consideration of the German and Russian interests, he (the Führer) had not been ready to made concessions' but he had realized that it was desirable to meet the needs of Russia half-way, as, for instance, in the case of Lithuania. From an economic point of view, Lithuania had, it is true, had a certain importance for us, but from a political point of view, we had understood the necessity of straightening out the situation in this whole field in order thereby to prevent in the future the spiritual revival of tendencies that were capable of causing tension between the two countries of Germany and Russia. In another case, namely, that of the South Tyrol, Germany had taken a similar position. However, in the course of the war, factors had arisen for Germany which could not have been anticipated at the outbreak of the war, but which had to be considered absolutely vital from the standpoint of military operations.

He (the Führer) now had pondered the question how, beyond all petty momentary considerations, further to clarify in bold outline the collaboration between Germany and Russia and what direction future German-Russian developments should take. In this matter the following viewpoints were of importance for Germany:

1. Need for Lebensraum [Raumnot]. During the war Germany had acquired such large areas that she would require one hundred years to utilize them fully.

2. Some colonial expansion in Central Africa was necessary.

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3. Germany needed certain raw materials, the supply of which she would have to safeguard under all circumstances. And

4. She could not permit the establishment by hostile powers of air or naval bases in certain areas.

In no event, however, would the interests of Russia be selected. The Russian empire could develop without in the least prejudicing German interests. (Molotov said this was quite correct.) If both countries came to realize this fact, they could collaborate to their mutual advantage and could spare themselves difficulties, friction, and nervous tension. It was perfectly obvious that Germany and Russia would never become one world. Both countries would always exist separate from each other as two powerful elements of the world. Each of them could shape its future as it liked, if in so doing it considered the interests of the other. Germany herself had no interests in Asia other than general economic and commercial interests. In particular, she had no colonial interests there. She knew, furthermore, that the possible colonial territories in Asia would probably fall to Japan. If by any chance China, too, should be drawn into the orbit of the awakening [erwachenden] nations, any colonial aspirations would be doomed to disappointment from the start in view of the masses of people living there.

There were in Europe a number of points of contact [Berührungsmomenten] between Germany, Russia, and Italy. Each one of these three countries had an understandable desire for an outlet to the open sea. Germany wanted to get out of the North Sea, Italy wanted to remove the barrier of Gibraltar, and Russia was also striving toward the ocean. The question now was how much chance there was for these great countries really to obtain free access to the ocean without in turn coming into conflict with each other over the matter. This was also the viewpoint from which he looked upon the organization of European relations after the war. The leading statesmen of Europe must prevent this war from becoming the father of a new war. The issues to be settled had, therefore, to be settled in such a manner that, at least in the foreseeable future, no new conflict could arise.

In this spirit, he (the Führer) had talked with the French statesmen and believed that he had found among them some sympathy for a settlement which would lead to tolerable conditions for a rather long period and which would be of advantage to all concerned, if only to the extent that a new war did not again have to be feared immediately. Referring to the preamble of the Armistice Treaty with France, he had pointed out to Pétain and Laval that, as long as the

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war with England lasted, no step might be taken which would in any way be incompatible with the conditions for ending this war against Great Britain.

Elsewhere, too, there were problems such as these, but ones which arose only for the duration of the war. Thus, for instance, Germany had no political interests whatsoever in the Balkans and was active there at present exclusively under the compulsion of securing for herself certain raw materials. It was a matter of purely military interests, the safeguarding of which was not a pleasant task, since, for instance, a German military force had to be maintained in Rumania, hundreds of kilometers away from the supply centers.

For similar reasons the idea was intolerable to Germany that England might get a foothold in Greece in order to establish air and naval bases there. The Reich was compelled to prevent this under any circumstances.

The continuation of the war under such circumstances was of course not desirable. And that is why Germany had wanted to end the war after the conclusion of the Polish campaign. At that time England and France could have had peace without personal sacrifices; they had, however, preferred to continue the war. Of course, blood also creates rights, and it was inadmissible that certain countries should have declared and waged war without afterward paying the cost. He (the Führer) had made this clear to the French. At the present stage of developments, however, the question was which of the countries responsible for the war had to pay more. At any rate, Germany would have preferred to end the war last year and to have demobilized her army in order to resume her peacetime work, since from an economic point of view any war was bad business. Even the victor had to incur such expenses before, during, and after the war that he could have reached his goal much more cheaply in a peaceful development.

Molotov concurred in this idea, stating that in any case it was vastly more expensive to attain a goal by military measures than by peaceful means. The Führer pointed out further that under the present circumstances Germany had been forced by wartime developments to become active in areas in which she was politically disinterested but had at most economic interests. Self-preservation, however, absolutely dictated this course. Nevertheless, this activity of Germany-forced upon her in the areas in question-represented no obstacle to any pacification of the world which would later be undertaken, and which would bring to the nations working toward the same end that for which they hoped.

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In addition, there was the problem of America. The United States now pursuing an imperialistic policy. It was not fighting for England, but only trying to get the British Empire into its grasp. They were helping England, at best, in order to further their own rearmament and to reinforce their military power by acquiring bases. In the distant future it would be a question of establishing a great solidarity among those countries which might be involved in case of an extension of the sphere of influence of this Anglo-Saxon power, which had a more solid foundation, by far, than England. In this case, it was not a question of the immediate future; not in 1945, but in 1970 or 1980, at the earliest, would the freedom of other nations be seriously endangered by this Anglo-Saxon power. At any rate, the Continent of Europe had to adjust itself now to this development and had to act jointly against the Anglo-Saxons and against any of their attempts to acquire dangerous bases. Therefore, he had undertaken an exchange of ideas with France, Italy, and Spain, in order with these countries to set up in the whole of Europe and Africa some kind of Monroe Doctrine and to adopt a new joint colonial policy by which each of the powers concerned would claim for itself only as much colonial territory as it could really utilize. In other regions, where Russia was the power in the foremost position, the interests of the latter would, of course, have to come first. This would result in a great coalition of powers which, guided by sober appraisal of realities, would have to establish their respective spheres of interest and would assert themselves against the rest of the world correspondingly. It was surely a difficult task to organize such a coalition of countries; and yet, to conceive it was not as difficult as to carry it out.

The Führer then reverted to the German-Russian efforts. He understood thoroughly Russia's attempts to get ice-free ports with absolutely secure access to the open sea. Germany had enormously expanded her Lebensraum in her present eastern provinces. At least half of this area, however, must be regarded as an economic liability. Probably both Russia and Germany had not achieved everything they had set out to do. In any case, however, the successes had been great on both sides. If a liberal view were taken of the remaining issues and due regard were taken of the fact that Germany was still at war and had to concern herself with areas which, in and for themselves, were of no importance to her politically, substantial gains for both partners could be achieved in the future, too. In this connection the Führer again turned to the Balkans and repeated that Germany

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would at once oppose by military action any attempt by England to get a foothold in Salonika. She still retained unpleasant memories from the last war of the then Salonika Front.

To a question of Molotov's as to how Salonika constituted a danger, the Führer referred to the proximity of the Rumanian petroleum fields, which Germany wished to protect under all circumstances. As soon as peace prevailed, however, the German troops would immediately leave Rumania again.

In the further course of the conversation, the Führer asked Molotov how Russia planned to safeguard her interests in the Black Sea and in the Straits. Germany would also be prepared at any time to help effect an improvement for Russia in the regime of the Straits.

Molotov replied that the statements of the Führer had been of a general nature and that in general he could agree with his reasoning. He was also of the opinion that it would be in the interest of Germany and the Soviet Union if the two countries would collaborate and not fight each other. Upon his departure from Moscow, Stalin had given him exact instructions, and everything that he was about to say was identical with the views of Stalin. He concurred in the opinion of the Führer that both partners had derived substantial benefits from the German-Russian agreement. Germany had received a secure hinterland that, as was generally known, had been of great importance for the further course of events during the year of war. In Poland, too, Germany had gained considerable economic advantages. By the exchange of Lithuania for the Voivodeship of Lublin, all possible friction between Russia and Germany had been avoided. The German-Russian agreement of last year could therefore be regarded as fulfilled, except for one point, namely, Finland. The Finnish question was still unsolved, and he asked the Führer to tell him whether the German-Russian agreement, as far as it concerned Finland, was still in force. In the opinion of the Soviet Government, no changes had occurred here. Also, in the opinion of the Soviet Government the German-Russian agreement of last year represented only a partial solution. In the meanwhile, other issues had arisen that also had to be solved.

Molotov then turned to the matter of the significance of the Tripartite Pact. What was the meaning of the New Order in Europe and in Asia, and what role would the U.S.S.R. be given in it? These issues must be discussed during the Berlin conversations and during the contemplated visit of the Reich Foreign Minister to Moscow, on which the Russians were definitely counting. Moreover, there were issues

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to be clarified regarding Russia's Balkan and Black Sea interests with respect to Bulgaria, Rumania, and Turkey. It would be easier for the Russian Government to give specific replies to the questions raised by the Führer, if it could obtain the explanations just requested. It would be interested in the New Order in Europe, and particularly in the tempo and the form of this New Order. It would also like to have an idea of the boundaries of the so-called Greater East Asian Sphere.

The Führer replied that the Tripartite Pact was intended to regulate conditions in Europe as to the natural interests of the European countries and, consequently, Germany was now approaching the Soviet Union in order that she might express herself regarding the areas of interest to her. In no case was a settlement to be made without Soviet Russian cooperation. This applied not only to Europe, but also to Asia, where Russia herself was to cooperate in the definition of the Greater East Asian Sphere and where she was to designate her claims there. Germany's task in this case was that of a mediator. Russia by no means was to be confronted with a fait accompli.

When the Führer undertook to try to establish the above-mentioned coalition of powers, it was not the German-Russian relationship which appeared to him to be the most difficult point, but the question of whether a collaboration between Germany, France, and Italy was possible. Only now that he believed this problem could be solved, and after a settlement in broad outlines had in effect been accepted by the three countries, had he thought it possible to contact Soviet Russia for the purpose of settling the questions of the Black Sea, the Balkans, and Turkey.

In conclusion, the Führer summed up by stating that the discussion, to a certain extent, represented the first concrete step toward a comprehensive collaboration, with due consideration for the problems of Western Europe, which were to be settled between Germany, Italy, and France, as well as for the issues of the East, which were essentially the concern of Russia and Japan, but in which Germany offered her good offices as mediator. It was a matter of opposing any attempt on the part of America to "make money on Europe." The United States had no business either in Europe, in Africa, or in Asia.

Molotov expressed his agreement with the statements of the Führer regarding the role of America and England. The participation of Russia in the Tripartite Pact appeared to him entirely acceptable in principle, provided that Russia was to cooperate as a partner and not be merely an object. In that case he saw no difficulties in the matter

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of participation of the Soviet Union in the common effort. But the aim and the significance of the Pact must first be more closely defined, particularly because of the delimitation of the Greater East Asian Sphere.

In view of a possible air raid alarm the talk was broken off at this point and postponed until the following day, the Führer promising Molotov that he would discuss with him in detail the various issues which had come up during the conversation.


BERLIN, November 16, 1940.


Frames 154-190, serial F 18

Memorandum of the Conversation Between the Führer and the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Molotov in the Presence of the Reich Foreign Minister and the Deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Dekanosov, as Well as of Counselor of Embassy Hilger and Herr Pavlov, Who Acted as Interpreters, in Berlin on November 13, 1940

Füh. 33/40

The Führer referred to the remark of Molotov during yesterday's conversation, according to which the German-Russian agreement was fulfilled "with the exception of one point: namely, of Finland."

Molotov explained that this remark referred not only to the German-Russian agreement itself, but in particular to the Secret Protocols too.

The Führer replied that, in the Secret Protocol, zones of influence and spheres of interest had been designated and distributed between Germany and Russia. In so far as it had been a question of actually taking possession, Germany had lived up to the agreements, which was not quite the case on the Russian side. At any rate, Germany had not occupied any territory that was within the Russian sphere of influence.

Lithuania had already been mentioned yesterday. There could be no doubt that in this case the changes from the original German-Russian agreement were essentially due to Russian initiative. Whether the difficulties-to avoid which the Russians had offered their suggestion-would actually have resulted from the partition of Poland, could be left out of the discussion. In any case, the Voivodeship of Lublin was no compensation, economically, for Lithuania. However,

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the Germans had seen that in the course of events a situation had resulted which necessitated revision of the original agreement.

The same applied to Bucovina. Strictly speaking, in the original agreement Germany had declared herself disinterested only in Bessarabia. Nevertheless, she had realized, in this case too, that revision of the agreement was in certain respects advantageous for the other partner.

The situation regarding Finland was quite similar. Germany had no political interest there. This was known to the Russian Government. During the Russo-Finnish War Germany had meticulously fulfilled all her obligations in regard to absolutely benevolent neutrality.

Molotov interposed here that the Russian Government had had no cause for criticism with regard to the attitude of Germany during that conflict.

In this connection the Führer mentioned also that he had even detained ships in Bergen which were transporting arms and ammunition to Finland, for which Germany had actually had no authority. Germany had incurred the serious opposition of the rest of the world, and of Sweden in particular, by her attitude during the Russo-Finnish War. As a result, during the subsequent Norwegian campaign, itself involving considerable risks, she had to employ a large number of divisions for protection against Sweden, which she would not have needed otherwise.

The real situation was as follows: In accordance with the German-Russian agreements. Germany recognized that, politically, Finland was of primary interest to Russia and was in her zone of influence. However, Germany had to consider the following two points:

1. For the duration of the war she was very greatly interested in the deliveries of nickel and lumber from Finland, and

2. She did not desire any new conflict in the Baltic Sea which would further curtail her freedom of movement in one of the few merchant shipping regions which still remained to her. It was completely incorrect to assert that Finland was occupied by German troops. To be sure, troops were being transported to Kirkenes via Finland, of which fact Russia had been officially informed by Germany. Because of the length of the route, the trains had to stop two or three times in Finnish territory. However, as soon as the transit of the troop contingents to be transported had been completed, no additional troops would be sent through Finland. He (the Führer) pointed out that

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both Germany and Russia would naturally be interested in not allowing the Baltic Sea to become a combat zone again. Since the Russo-Finnish War, the possibilities for military operations had shifted, because England had available long-range bombers and long-range destroyers. The English thereby had a chance to get a foothold on Finnish airports.

In addition, there was a purely psychological factor which was extremely onerous. The Finns had defended themselves bravely, and they had gained the sympathies of the world-particularly of Scandinavia. In Germany too during the Russo-Finnish War, the people were somewhat annoyed at the position which, as a result of the agreements with Russia, Germany had to take and actually did take. Germany did not wish any new Finnish War because of the aforementioned considerations. However, the legitimate claims of Russia were not affected by that. Germany had proved this again and again by her attitude on various issues, among others the issue of the fortification of the Aaland Islands. For the duration of the war, however, her economic interests in Finland were just as important as in Rumania. Germany expected consideration of these interests all the more, since she herself had also shown understanding of the Russian wishes in the issues of Lithuania and Bucovina at the time. At any rate, she had no political interest of any kind in Finland, and she fully accepted the fact that that country belonged to the Russian zone of influence.

In his reply Molotov pointed out that the agreement of 1939 had referred to a certain stage of the development which had been concluded by the end of the Polish War, while the second stage was brought to an end by the defeat of France, and that they were really in the third stage now. He recalled that by the original agreement, with its Secret Protocol, the common German-Russian boundary had been fixed and issues concerning the adjacent Baltic countries and Rumania, Finland, and Poland had been settled For the rest, he agreed with the remarks of the Führer on the revisions made. However, if he drew up a balance sheet of the situation that resulted after the defeat of France, he would have to state that the German-Russian agreement had not been without influence upon the great German victories.

As to the question of the revision of the original agreement with regard to Lithuania and the Voivodeship of Lublin, Molotov pointed out that the Soviet Union would not have insisted on that revision if Germany had not wanted it. But he believed that the new solution had been in the interest of both parties.

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At this point the Reich Foreign Minister interjected that, to be sure, Russia had not made this revision an absolute condition, but at any rate had urged it very strongly.

Molotov insisted that the Soviet Government would not have refused to leave matters as provided in the original agreement. At any rate, however, Germany, for its concession in Lithuania, had received compensation in Polish territory.

The Führer interjected here that in this exchange one could not, from the point of view of economics, speak of adequate compensation.

Molotov then mentioned the question of the strip of Lithuanian territory and emphasized that the Soviet Government had not received any clear answer yet from Germany on this question. However, it awaited a decision.

Regarding Bucovina, he admitted that this involved an additional territory, one not mentioned in the Secret Protocol. Russia had at first confined her demands to Northern Bucovina. Under the present circumstances, however, Germany must understand the Russian interest in Southern Bucovina. But Russia had not received an answer to her question regarding this subject either. Instead, Germany had guaranteed the entire territory of Rumania and completely disregarded Russia's wishes with regard to Southern Bucovina.

The Führer replied that it would mean a considerable concession on the part of Germany, if even part of Bucovina were to be occupied by Russia. According to an oral agreement, the former Austrian territories were to fall within the German sphere of influence. Besides, the territories belonging to the Russian zone had been mentioned by name: Bessarabia, for example. There was, however, not a word regarding Bucovina in the agreements. Finally, the exact meaning of the expression "sphere of influence" was not further defined. At any rate, Germany had not violated the agreement in the least in this matter. To the objection of Molotov that the revisions with regard to the strip of Lithuanian territory and of Bucovina were not of very great importance in comparison with the revision which Germany had under taken elsewhere by military force, the Führer replied that so-called "revision by force of arms" had not been the subject of the agreement at all.

Molotov, however, persisted in the opinion previously stated: that the revisions desired by Russia were insignificant.

The Führer replied that if German-Russian collaboration was to show positive results in the future, the Soviet Government would have to understand that Germany was engaged in a life and death struggle,

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which, at all events, she wanted to conclude successfully. For that, a number of prerequisites depending upon economic and military factors were required, which Germany wanted to secure for herself by all means. If the Soviet Union were in a similar position, Germany on her part would, and would have to, demonstrate a similar understanding for Russian needs. The conditions which Germany wanted to assure did not conflict with the agreements with Russia. The German wish to avoid a war with unforeseeable consequences in the Baltic Sea did not mean any violation of the German-Russian agreements according to which Finland belonged in the Russian sphere of influence. The guarantee given upon the wish and request of the Rumanian Government was no violation of the agreements concerning Bessarabia. The Soviet Union had to realize that in the framework of any broader collaboration of the two countries advantages of quite different scope were to be reached than the insignificant revisions which were now being discussed. Much greater successes could then be achieved, provided that Russia did not now seek successes in territories in which Germany was interested for the duration of the war. The future successes would be the greater, the more Germany and Russia succeeded in fighting back to back against the outside world, and would become the smaller, the more the two countries faced each other breast to breast. In the first case there was no power on earth which could oppose the two countries.

In his reply Molotov voiced his agreement with the last conclusions of the Führer. In this connection he stressed the viewpoint of the Soviet leaders, and of Stalin in particular, that it would be possible and expedient to strengthen and activate the relations between the two countries. However, in order to give those relations a permanent basis, issues would also have to be clarified which were of secondary importance, but which spoiled the atmosphere of German-Russian relations. Finland belonged among these issues. If Russia and Germany had a good understanding, this issue could be solved without war, but there must be neither German troops in Finland nor political demonstrations in that country against the Soviet-Russian Government.

The Führer replied that the second point could not be a matter for debate, since Germany had nothing whatsoever to do with these things. Incidentally, demonstrations could easily be staged, and it was very difficult to find out afterward who had been the real instigator. However, regarding the German troops, he could give the

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assurance that, if a general settlement were made, no German troops would appear in Finland any longer.

Molotov replied that by demonstrations he also understood the dispatch of Finnish delegations to Germany or receptions of prominent Finns in Germany. Moreover, the circumstance of the presence of German troops had led to an ambiguous attitude on the part of Finland. Thus, for instance, slogans were brought out that "nobody was a Finn who approved of the last Russo-Finnish Peace Treaty", and the like.

The Führer replied that Germany had always exerted only a moderating influence and that she had advised Finland and also Rumania, in particular, to accept the Russian demands.

Molotov replied that the Soviet Government considered it as its duty definitively to settle and clarify the Finnish question. No new agreements were needed for that. The old German-Russian agreement assigned Finland to the Russian sphere of influence.

In conclusion the Führer stated on this point that Germany did not desire any war in the Baltic Sea and that she urgently needed Finland as a supplier of nickel and lumber. Politically, she was not interested and, in contrast to Russia, had occupied no Finnish territory. Incidentally, the transit of German troops would be finished within the next few days. No further troop trains would then be sent. The decisive question for Germany was whether Russia had the intention of going to war against Finland.

Molotov answered this question somewhat evasively with the statement that everything would be all right if the Finnish Government would give up its ambiguous attitude toward the U.S.S.R., and if the agitation against Russia among the population (bringing out of slogans such as the ones previously mentioned) would cease.

To the Führer's objection that he feared that Sweden might intervene in a Russo-Finnish War the next time, Molotov replied that he could not say anything about Sweden, but he had to stress that Germany, as well as the Soviet Union, was interested in the neutrality of Sweden. Of course, both countries were also interested in peace in the Baltic. but the Soviet Union was entirely able to assure peace in that region.

The Führer replied that they would perhaps experience in a different part of Europe how even the best military intentions were greatly restricted by geographical factors. He could, therefore, imagine that in the case of a new conflict a sort of resistance cell would be formed

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in Sweden and Finland, which would furnish air bases to England or even America. This would force Germany to intervene. He (the Führer) would, however, do this only reluctantly. He had already mentioned yesterday that the necessity for intervention would perhaps also arise in Salonika, and the case of Salonika was entirely sufficient for him. He had no interest in being forced to become active in the North too. He repeated that entirely different results could be achieved in future collaboration between the two countries and that Russia would after all, on the basis of the peace, receive everything that in her opinion was due her. It would perhaps be only a matter of six months or a year's delay. Besides, the Finnish Government had just sent a note in which it gave assurance of the closest and friendliest cooperation with Russia.

Molotov replied that the deeds did not always correspond with the words, and he persisted in the opinion which he had previously expressed: that peace in the Baltic Sea region could be absolutely insured, if perfect understanding were attained between Germany and Russia in the Finnish matter. Under those circumstances he did not understand why Russia should postpone the realization of her wishes for six months or a year. After all, the German-Russian agreement contained no time limits, and the hands of none of the partners were tied in their spheres of influence.

With a reference to the changes made in the agreement at Russia's request, the Führer stated that there must not be any war in the Baltic. A Baltic conflict would be a heavy strain on German-Russian relations and on the great collaboration of the future. In his opinion, however, future collaboration was more important than the settlement of secondary issues at this very moment.

Molotov replied that it was not a matter of war in the Baltic, but of the question of Finland and its settlement within the framework of the agreement of last year. In reply to a question of the Führer he declared that he imagined this settlement on the same scale as in Bessarabia and in the adjacent countries, and he requested the Führer to give his opinion on that.

When the Führer replied that he could only repeat that there must be no war with Finland, because such a conflict might have far-reaching repercussions, Molotov stated that a new factor had been introduced into the discussion by this position, which was not expressed in the treaty of last year.

The Führer replied that during the Russo-Finnish War, despite the danger that in connection with it Allied bases might be established

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in Scandinavia, Germany had meticulously kept her obligations toward Russia and had always advised Finland to give in.

In this connection the Reich Foreign Minister pointed out that Germany had even gone so far as to deny to the Finnish President the use of a German cable for a radio address to America.

Then the Führer went on to explain that just as Russia at the time had pointed out that a partition of Poland might lead to a strain on German-Russian relations, he now declared with the same frankness that a war in Finland would represent such a strain on German-Russian relations, and he asked the Russians to show exactly the same understanding in this instance as he had shown a year ago in the issue of Poland. Considering the genius of Russian diplomacy, ways and means could certainly be found to avoid such a war.

Molotov replied that he could not understand the German fear that a war might break out in the Baltic. Last year, when the international situation was worse for Germany than now, Germany had not raised this issue. Quite apart from the fact that Germany had occupied Denmark. Norway, Holland, and Belgium, she had completely defeated France and even believed that she had already conquered England. He (Molotov) did not see where under those circumstances the danger of war in the Baltic Sea should come from. He would have to request that Germany take the same stand as last year. If she did that unconditionally, there would certainly be no complications in connection with the Finnish issue. However, if she made reservations, a new situation would arise which would then have to be discussed.

In reply to the statements of Molotov regarding the absence of military danger in the Finnish question, the Führer stressed that he too had some understanding of military matters, and he considered it entirely possible that the United States would get a foothold in those regions in case of participation by Sweden in a possible war. He (the Führer) wanted to end the European War, and he could only repeat that in view of the uncertain attitude of Sweden a new war in the Baltic would mean a strain on German-Russian relations with unforeseeable consequences. Would Russia declare war on the United States, in case the latter should intervene in connection with the Finnish conflict?

When Molotov replied that this question was not of present interest, the Führer replied that it would be too late for a decision when it became so. When Molotov then declared that he did not see any indication of the outbreak of war in the Baltic, the Führer replied that in that

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case everything would be in order anyway and the whole discussion was really of a purely theoretical nature.

Summarizing, the Reich Foreign Minister pointed out that

(1) the Führer had declared that Finland remained in the sphere of influence of Russia and that Germany would not maintain any troops there;

(2) Germany had nothing to do with demonstrations of Finland against Russia, but was exerting her influence in the opposite direction, and

(3) the collaboration of the two countries was the decisive problem of long-range importance, which in the past had already resulted in great advantages for Russia, but which in the future would show advantages compared with which the matters that had just been discussed would appear entirely insignificant. There was actually no reason at all for making an issue of the Finnish question. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding only. Strategically, all of Russia's wishes had been satisfied by her peace treaty with Finland. Demonstrations in a conquered country were not at all unnatural, and if perhaps the transit of German troops had caused certain reactions in the Finnish population they would disappear with the end of those troop transits. Hence, if one considered matters realistically, there were no differences between Germany and Russia.

The Führer pointed out that both sides agreed in principle that Finland belonged to the Russian sphere of influence. Instead, therefore, of continuing a purely theoretical discussion, they should rather turn to more important problems.

After the conquest of England the British Empire would be apportioned as a gigantic world-wide estate in bankruptcy of 40 million square kilometers. In this bankrupt estate there would be for Russia access to the ice-free and really open ocean. Thus far, a minority of 40 million Englishmen had ruled 600 million inhabitants of the British Empire. He was about to crush this minority. Even the United States was actually doing nothing but picking out of this bankrupt estate a few items particularly suitable to the United States. Germany, of course, would like to avoid any conflict which would divert her from her struggle against the heart of the Empire, the British Isles. For that reason, he (the Führer) did not like Italy's war against Greece, as it diverted forces to the periphery instead of concentrating them against England at one point. The same would occur during a Baltic war. The conflict with England would be fought to the last ditch, and he had no doubt that the defeat of the British Isles would

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lead to the dissolution of the Empire. It was a chimera to believe that the Empire could possibly be ruled and held together from Canada. Under those circumstances there arose world-wide perspectives. During the next few weeks they would have to be settled in joint diplomatic negotiations with Russia, and Russia's participation in the solution of these problems would have to be arranged. All the countries which could possibly be interested in the bankrupt estate would have to stop all controversies among themselves and concern themselves exclusively with the partition of the British Empire. This applied to Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and Japan.

Molotov replied that he had followed the arguments of with interest and that he was in agreement with everything that he had understood. However, he could comment thereon less than the Führer, since the latter had surely thought more about these problems and formed more concrete opinions regarding them. The main thing was first to make up their minds regarding German-Russian collaboration, in which Italy and Japan could be included later on. In this connection nothing should be changed that had been started rather, they should only contemplate a continuation of what had been begun.

The Führer mentioned here that the further efforts in the sense of the opening up of great prospects would not be easy and emphasized in this connection that Germany did not want to annex France as the Russians appeared to assume. He wanted to create a world coalition of interested powers which would consist of Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Soviet Russia, and Japan and would to a certain degree represent a coalition-extending from North Africa to Eastern Asia-of all those who wanted to be satisfied out of the British bankrupt estate. To this end all internal controversies between the members of this coalition must be removed or at least neutralized. For this purpose the settlement of a whole series of questions was necessary. In the West, i. e. between Spain, France, Italy, and Germany, he believed he had now found a formula which satisfied everybody alike. It had not been easy to reconcile the views of Spain and France for instance, in regard to North Africa; however, recognizing the greater future possibilities, both countries finally had given in. After the West was thus settled, an agreement in the East must now be reached. In this case it was not a matter of relations between Soviet Russia and Turkey only, but also of the Greater Asian Sphere. The latter consisted not only of the Greater East Asian Sphere, but also of a purely Asiatic area oriented toward the south, that Germany even now recognized as Russia's sphere of influence. It was a matter of

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determining in bold outlines the boundaries for the future activity of peoples and of assigning to nations large areas where they could find an ample field of activity for fifty to a hundred years.

Molotov replied that the Führer had raised a number of questions which concerned not only Europe but, beyond that, other territories too. He wanted to discuss first a problem closer to Europe, that of Turkey. As a Black Sea power, the Soviet Union was tied up with a number of countries. In this connection there was still an unsettled question that was just now being discussed by the Danube Commission. Moreover, the Soviet Union had expressed its dissatisfaction to Rumania that the latter had accepted the guarantee of Germany and Italy without consultation with Russia. The Soviet Government had already explained its position twice, and it was of the opinion that the guarantee was aimed against the interests of Soviet Russia, "if one might express oneself so bluntly." Therefore, the question had arisen of revoking this guarantee. To this the Führer had declared that for a certain time it was necessary and its removal therefore impossible. This affected the interests of the Soviet Union as a Black Sea power.

Molotov then came to speak of the Straits, which, referring to the Crimean War and the events of the years 1918-19, he called England's historic gateway for attack on the Soviet Union. The situation was all the more menacing to Russia, as the British had now gained a foothold in Greece. For reasons of security the relations between Soviet Russia and other Black Sea powers were of great importance. In this connection Molotov asked the Führer what Germany would say if Russia gave Bulgaria, that is, the independent country located closest to the Straits, a guarantee under exactly the same conditions as Germany and Italy had given one to Rumania. Russia, however, intended to agree beforehand on this matter with Germany and, if possible, with Italy too.

To a question by Molotov regarding the German position on the question of the Straits, the Führer replied that the Reich Foreign Minister had already considered this point and that he had envisaged a revision of the Montreux Convention in favor of the Soviet Union.

The Reich Foreign Minister confirmed this and stated that the Italians also took a benevolent attitude on the question of this revision.

Molotov again brought up the guarantee to Bulgaria and gave the assurance that the Soviet Union did not intend to interfere in the internal order of the country under any circumstances. "Not a hairs-breadth" would they deviate from this.

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Regarding Germany's and Italy's guarantee to Rumania, the Führer stated that this guarantee had been the only possibility of inducing Rumania to cede Bessarabia to Russia without a fight. Besides, because of her oil wells, Rumania represented an absolute German-Italian interest, and, lastly, the Rumanian Government itself had asked that Germany assume the air and ground protection of the oil region, since it did not feel entirely secure from attacks by the English. Referring to a threat of invasion by the English at Salonika, the Führer repeated in this connection that Germany would not tolerate such a landing, but he gave the assurance that at the end of the war all German soldiers would be withdrawn from Rumania.

In reply to Molotov's question regarding Germany's opinion on a Russian guarantee to Bulgaria, the Führer replied that if this guarantee was to be given under the same conditions as the German-Italian guarantee to Rumania, the question would first arise whether Bulgaria herself had asked for a guarantee. He (the Führer) did not know of any request by Bulgaria. Besides, he would, of course, have to inquire about the position of Italy before he himself could make any statement.

However, the decisive question was whether Russia saw a chance to gain sufficient security for her Black Sea interests through a revision of the Montreux Convention. He did not expect an immediate answer to this question, since he knew that Molotov would first have to discuss these matters with Stalin.

Molotov replied that Russia had only one aim in this respect. She wanted to be secure from an attack by way of the Straits and would like to settle this question with Turkey; a guarantee given to Bulgaria would alleviate the situation. As a Black Sea power Russia was entitled to such security and believed that she would be able to come to an understanding with Turkey in regard thereto.

The Führer replied that this would conform approximately with Germany's views, according to which only Russian warships might pass freely through the Dardanelles, while the Straits would be closed to all other warships.

Molotov added that Russia wanted to obtain a guarantee against an attack on the Black Sea via the Straits not only on paper but "in reality" and believed that she could reach an agreement with Turkey in regard thereto. In this connection he came back again to the question of the Russian guarantee to Bulgaria and repeated that the internal regime of the country would remain unaffected, whereas on the

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other hand Russia was prepared to guarantee Bulgaria an outlet to the Aegean Sea. He was again addressing to the Führer-as the one who was to decide on the entire German policy-the question as to what position Germany would take with regard to this Russian guarantee.

The Führer replied with a counter-question as to whether the Bulgarians had actually asked for a guarantee, and he again stated that he would have to ask the Duce for his opinion.

Molotov stressed that he was not asking the Führer for a final decision, but that he was asking only for a provisional expression of opinion.

The Führer replied that he could not under any circumstances take a position before he had talked with the Duce, since Germany was interested in the matter only secondarily. As a great Danubian power, she was interested only in the Danube River, but not in the passage into the Black Sea. For if she were perchance looking for sources of friction with Russia, she would not need the Straits for that.

The talk then turned again to the great plans for collaboration between the powers interested in the British Empire's bankrupt estate. The Führer pointed out that he was not, of course, absolutely sure whether these plans could be carried out. In case it was not possible, a great historical opportunity would be missed, at any rate. All these questions would perhaps have to be examined again in Moscow by the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Italy, and Japan together with Herr Molotov, after they had been appropriately prepared through diplomatic channels.

At this point in the conversation the Führer called attention to the late hour and stated that in view of the possibility of English air attacks it would be better to break off the talk now, since the main issues had probably been sufficiently discussed.

Summarizing, he stated that subsequently the possibilities of safeguarding Russia's interests as a Black Sea power would have to be examined further and that in general Russia's further wishes with regard to her future position in the world would have to be considered.

In a closing remark Molotov stated that a number of important and new questions had been raised for Soviet Russia. The Soviet Union, as a powerful country, could not keep aloof from the great issues in Europe and Asia.

Finally he came to speak of Russo-Japanese relations, which had recently improved. He anticipated that the improvement would con-

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tinue at a still faster pace and thanked the Reich Government for its efforts in this direction.

Concerning Sino-Japanese relations, it was certainly the task of Russia and Germany to attend to their settlement. But an honorable solution would have to be assured for China, all the more since Japan now stood a chance of getting "Indonesia."


BERLIN, November 15, 1940.


Frames 136-153, serial F 18

Memorandum of the Final Conversation Between Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and the Chairman of the council of People's Commissars of the U.S.S.R. and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Herr Molotov, on November 13, 1940


RM 42/40

Duration of conversation: 9:46 p. m. until 12 midnight.

Because of the air raid alert that had been ordered, Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop and Herr Molotov went into the Reich Foreign Minister's air raid shelter after the supper at the Embassy of the U.S.S.R. at 9:40 p. m. on November 13, 1940, in order to conduct the final conversation.

The Reich Foreign Minister opened the conversation with the statement that he wanted to take the opportunity to supplement and give more specific form to what had been discussed thus far. He wanted to explain to Herr Molotov his conception of the possibility of establishing a joint policy of collaboration between Germany and the Soviet Union for the future and to enumerate the points which he had in mind in this connection. He had to stress explicitly however, that this was merely a matter of ideas which were still rather rough, but which might perhaps be realized at some time in the future. By and large, it was a matter of achieving future collaboration between the countries of the Tripartite Pact-Germany, Italy, and Japan-and the Soviet Union, and he believed that first a way must be found to define in bold outlines the spheres of influence of these four countries and to reach an understanding on the problem of Turkey. From the very beginning it was clear in this connection that the problem of the delimitation of the spheres of influence concerned all

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four countries, whereas only the Soviet Union, Turkey, Italy, and Germany were interested in the settlement of the Straits question. He conceived the future developments as follows: Herr Molotov would discuss with Herr Stalin the issues raised in Berlin; then, by means of further conversations, an agreement could be reached between the Soviet Union and Germany; thereupon the Reich Foreign Minister would approach Italy and Japan in order to find out how their interests with respect to the delimitation of spheres of influence could be reduced to a common formula. He had already approached Italy as to Turkey. The further modus procedendi between Italy, the Soviet Union, and Germany would be to exert influence upon Turkey in the spirit of the wishes of the three countries. If they succeeded in reducing the interests of the four countries concerned to a common denominator-which, given good will, was entirely possible-it would undoubtedly work to the advantage of all concerned. The next step would consist in attempting to record both sets of issues in confidential documents. If the Soviet Union entertained a similar view, that is, would be willing to work against the extension, and for the early termination of the war (the Reich Foreign Minister believed that Herr Molotov had indicated his willingness in the previous discussions), he had in mind as the ultimate objective an agreement for collaboration between the countries of the Tripartite Pact and the Soviet Union. He had drafted the contents of this agreement in outline form and he would like to inform Herr Molotov of them today, stressing in advance that he had not discussed these issues so concretely either with Japan or with Italy. He considered it necessary that Germany and the Soviet Union settle the issues first. This was not by any means a matter of a German proposal, but-as already mentioned-one of still rather rough ideas, which would have to be deliberated by both parties and discussed between Molotov and Stalin. It would be advisable to pursue the matter further, particularly in diplomatic negotiations with Italy and Japan, only if the question had been settled as between Germany and the Soviet Union.

Then the Reich Foreign Minister informed Herr Molotov of the contents of the agreement outlined by him in the following words:

The Governments of the states of the Three Power Pact Germany, Italy, and Japan on the one side, and the Government of the U. S. S. R. on the other side, motivated by the desire to establish in their natural boundaries an order serving the welfare of all peoples concerned and to create a firm and enduring foundation for their common labors toward this goal, have agreed upon the following:

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Article 1

In the Three Power Pact of September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan agreed to oppose the extension of the war into a world conflict with all possible means and to collaborate toward an early restoration of world peace. They expressed their willingness to extend their collaboration to nations in other parts of the world which are inclined to direct their efforts along the same course as theirs. The Soviet Union declares that it concurs in these aims and is on its part determined to cooperate politically in this course with the Three Powers.


Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union undertake to respect each other's natural spheres of influence. In so far as these spheres of influence come into contact with each other, they will constantly consult each other in an amicable way with regard to the problems arising therefrom.


Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union undertake to join no combination of powers and to support no combination of powers which is directed against one of the Four Powers.

The Four Powers will assist each other in economic matters in every way and will supplement and extend the agreements existing among themselves.

The Reich Foreign Minister added that this agreement was intended for a period of ten years, with the provision that the Governments of the Four Powers, before the expiration of this term were to reach an understanding regarding the matter of an extension of the agreement.

The agreement itself would be announced to the public. Beyond that, with reference to the above-mentioned agreement, a confidential (secret) agreement could be concluded-in a form still to be determined-establishing the focal points in the territorial aspirations of the Four Countries.

As to Germany, apart from the territorial revisions to be made in Europe at the conclusion of the peace, her territorial aspirations centered in the Central African region.

The territorial aspirations of Italy, apart from the European territorial revisions to be made at the conclusion of the peace, centered in North and Northeast Africa.

The aspirations of Japan would still have to be clarified through diplomatic channels. Here too, a delimitation could easily be found, possibly by fixing a line which would run south of the Japanese home islands and Manchukuo.

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The focal points in the territorial aspirations of the Soviet Union would presumably be centered south of the territory of the Soviet Union in the direction of the Indian Ocean.

Such a confidential agreement could be supplemented by the statement that the Four Powers concerned, except for the settlement of individual issues, would respect each other's territorial aspirations and would not oppose their realization.

The above-mentioned agreements could be supplemented by a second secret protocol, to be concluded between Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union. This second secret protocol could perhaps read that Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union, on the occasion of the signing of the agreement between Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union, were agreed that it was in their common interest to release Turkey from her previous ties and win her progressively to a political collaboration with them.

They declare that they would pursue this aim in close contact with each other, in accordance with a procedure to be established.

Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union would jointly exert their influence to the end that the Straits Convention of Montreux, presently in force, would be replaced by another convention which would accord to the Soviet Union the unrestricted right of passage through the Straits for her warships at any time, whereas all other powers except the other Black Sea countries, but including Germany and Italy, would renounce in principle the right of passage through the Straits for their warships. Transit through the Straits for merchant ships would, of course, have to remain free in principle.

In this connection, the Reich Foreign Minister stated as follows:

The German Government would welcome it if the Soviet Union were prepared for such collaboration with Italy, Japan, and Germany. This matter was to be clarified in the near future by the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der Schulenburg, and the Soviet Ambassador in Berlin. In conformity with the statement contained in Herr Stalin's letter, that he was not adverse to a fundamental examination of the question, which had been confirmed by Herr Molotov during his stay in Berlin, a conference of the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Italy, and Japan for the purpose of signing such an agreement might be envisaged as the ultimate goal. He, the Reich Foreign Minister, was of course aware that such questions required careful examination; he did not, therefore, expect any answer from Herr Molotov today, but he was happy to have had the opportunity to inform Herr Molotov in this slightly

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more concrete form of the thoughts that had recently been motivating Germany. Furthermore, he wished to tell Herr Molotov the following:

As Herr Molotov knew, he (the Reich Foreign Minister) had always shown a particular interest in the relations between Japan and the Soviet Union. He would appreciate it if Herr Molotov could say what the state of these relations was at the present time. As far as the German Government was informed, Japan was anxious to conclude a non-aggression treaty. It was not his intention to interfere in matters which did not directly concern him, but he believed that it would be useful if this question were also discussed between him and Molotov. If a mediating influence on the part of Germany were desired, he would be glad to undertake this office. To be sure, he still clearly recalled Herr Stalin's remark, when Herr Stalin said that he knew the Asiatics better than Herr von Ribbentrop did. Nevertheless, he wished to mention that the willingness of the Japanese Government to come to a broad understanding with the Soviet Union was known to him. He also had the impression that if the non-aggression pact materialized the Japanese would be prepared to settle all other issues in a generous manner. He wished to stress explicitly that Japan had not asked the German Government to mediate. He, the Reich Foreign Minister, was, however, informed of the state of affairs, and he knew that, in case of the conclusion of a non-aggression pact, Japan would be willing to recognize the Russian spheres of influence in Outer Mongolia and Sinkiang, provided an understanding with China were reached. An agreement could also be reached on possible Soviet aspirations in the direction of British India, if an understanding were reached between the Soviet Union and the Tripartite Pact. The Japanese Government was disposed to meet the Soviet wishes half-way in regard to the oil and coal concessions on Sakhalin Island, but it would first have to overcome resistance at home. This would be easier for the Japanese Government if a non-aggression pact were first concluded with the Soviet Union. Thereafter, the possibility would undoubtedly arise for an understanding on all other points also.

The Reich Foreign Minister concluded by requesting Herr Molotov to inform him of his views on the issues presented by him.

Herr Molotov replied that, concerning Japan, he had the hope and conviction that they would now make more progress on the road to understanding than had previously been the case. Relations with Japan had always been fraught with difficulties and reverses. Never-

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theless, there now seemed to be prospects of an understanding. The Japanese Government had suggested the conclusion of a non-aggression treaty to the Soviet Government-in fact, even before the change of government in Japan-in which connection the Soviet Government had put a number of questions to the Japanese Government. At present, the answer to these questions had not yet been received. Only when it arrived could negotiations be entered into-negotiations which could not be separated from the remaining complex of questions. The solution of the problem would therefore require some time.

As for Turkey, the Soviet Union assumed that they would have to reach an understanding with Turkey on the Straits question first of all. Germany and the Soviet Union were agreed that the Convention of Montreux was worthless. For the Soviet Union, as the most important Black Sea power, it was a matter of obtaining effective guarantees of her security. In the course of her history, Russia had often been attacked by way of the Straits. Consequently paper agreements would not suffice for the Soviet Union; rather, she would have to insist on effective guarantees of her security. Therefore, this question had to be examined and discussed more concretely. The questions which interested the Soviet Union in the Near East, concerned not only Turkey, but Bulgaria, for instance, about which he, Molotov, had spoken in detail in his previous conversation with the Führer. But the fate of Rumania and Hungary was also of interest to the Soviet Union and could not be immaterial to her under any circumstances. It would further interest the Soviet Government to learn what the Axis contemplated with regard to Yugoslavia and Greece, and, likewise, what Germany intended with regard to Poland. He recalled the fact that, regarding the future form of Poland, a Protocol existed between the Soviet Union and Germany for the implementation of which an exchange of opinion was necessary. He asked whether from the German view-point this Protocol was still in force. The Soviet Government was also interested in the question of Swedish neutrality, and he wanted to know whether the German Government still took the stand that the preservation of Swedish neutrality was in the interest of the Soviet Union and Germany. Besides, there existed the question of the passages out of the Baltic Sea (Store Belt, Lille Belt, Oeresund, Kattegat, Skagerrak). The Soviet Government believed that discussions must be held regarding this question similar to those now being conducted concerning the Danube Commissions. As to the Finnish question, it was sufficiently clarified

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during his previous conversations with the Führer. He would appreciate it if the Reich Foreign Minister would comment on the foregoing questions, because this would facilitate the clarification of all other questions which Herr von Ribbentrop had previously raised.

In his answer the Reich Foreign Minister stated that he had no comment to make on the Bulgarian question, other than what the Führer had already told Herr Molotov; that, first, it would have to be determined whether Bulgaria desired a guarantee at all from the Soviet Union, and that, moreover, the German Government could not take a stand on this question without previously consulting Italy. On all other questions he felt he had been "queried too closely" ["überfragt"], by Herr Molotov. As to the preservation of Sweden's neutrality, we were just as much interested in it as the Soviet Union. As to the passages out of the Baltic Sea, the Baltic Sea was at present an inland sea, where we were interested in the maintenance of the free movement of shipping. Outside of the Baltic Sea, however, there was war. The time was not yet ripe for discussing the new order of things in Poland. The Balkan issue had already been discussed extensively in the conversations. In the Balkans we had solely an economic interest, and we did not want England to disturb us there. The granting of the German guarantee to Rumania had apparently been misconstrued by Moscow. He wanted to repeat again, therefore, that at that time it was a matter of averting a clash between Hungary and Rumania through quick action. If he, the Reich Foreign Minister, had not intervened at that time, Hungary would have marched against Rumania. On the other hand, Rumania could not have been induced to cede so much territory, if the Rumanian Government had not been strengthened by the territorial guarantee. In all its decisions, the German Government was guided solely by the endeavor to preserve peace in the Balkans and to prevent England from gaining a foothold there and from interfering with supplies to Germany. Thus our action in the Balkans was motivated exclusively by the circumstances of our war against England. As soon as England conceded her defeat and asked for peace, German interests in the Balkans would be confined exclusively to the economic field, and German troops would be withdrawn from Rumania. Germany had-as the Führer had repeatedly declared-no territorial interests in the Balkans. He could only repeat again and again that the decisive question was whether the Soviet Union was prepared and in a position to cooperate with us in the great liquidation of the British Empire. On

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all other questions we would easily reach an understanding if we could succeed in extending our relations and in defining the spheres of influence. Where the spheres of influence lay had been stated repeatedly. It was therefore-as the Führer had so clearly put it-a matter of the interests of the Soviet Union and Germany requiring that the partners stand not breast to breast but back to back, in order to support each other in the achievement of their aspirations. He would appreciate it if Herr Molotov would comment on this matter. Compared to the great basic issues, all others were completely insignificant and would be settled automatically as soon as an over-all understanding was reached. In conclusion, he wished to remind Herr Molotov that the latter owed him an answer to the question of whether the Soviet Union was in principle sympathetic to the idea of obtaining an outlet to the Indian Ocean.

In his reply Molotov stated that the Germans were assuming that the war against England had already actually been won. If, therefore, as had been said in another connection, Germany was waging a life and death struggle against England, he could only construe this as meaning that Germany was fighting "for life" and England "for death." As to the question of collaboration, he quite approved of it, but he added that they had to come to a thorough understanding. This idea had also been expressed in Stalin's letter. A delimitation of the spheres of influence must also be sought. On this point, however, he (Molotov) could not take a definitive stand at this time. since he did not know the opinion of Stalin and of his other friends in Moscow in the matter. However, he had to state that all these great issues of tomorrow could not be separated from the issues of today and the fulfillment of existing agreements. The things that were started must first be completed before they proceeded to new tasks. The conversations which he-Molotov-had had in Berlin had undoubtedly been very useful, and he considered it appropriate that the questions raised should now be further dealt with through diplomatic channels by way of the ambassadors on either side.

Thereupon Herr Molotov cordially bade farewell to the Reich Foreign Minister, stressing that he did not regret the air raid alarm, because he owed to it such an exhaustive conversation with the Reich Foreign Minister.


Moscow, November 18, 1940.

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Frames 177500-177501, serial 273

The State Secretary in the German Foreign Office (Weizsäcker) to All German Diplomatic Missions and the Offices in Paris and Brussels

[Circular telegram]

Multex 425

BERLIN, November 15, 1940.

The conversations between the German and the Soviet-Russian Governments on the occasion of the presence of Molotov in Berlin were conducted on the basis of the treaties concluded last year and resulted in complete agreement regarding the firm determination of both countries to continue in the future the policy inaugurated by these treaties. Beyond that, they served the purpose of coordinating the policy of the Soviet Union with the policy of the Tripartite Pact. As already expressed in the final communiqué regarding the visit of Molotov, this exchange of views took place in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and resulted in agreement by both sides on all important questions of interest to Germany and the Soviet Union. This result clearly proves that all conjectures regarding alleged German-Russian conflicts are in the realm of fantasy and that all speculations of the foe as to a disturbance in the German-Russian relationship of trust and friendship are based on self-deception.

This is particularly stressed by the friendly visit of Molotov in Berlin. [This sentence added in Ribbentrop's handwriting.]

Same text to all missions.

Please acknowledge receipt.



Frames 183883-183889, serial 292

Draft [3]


The Governments of the states of the Three Power Pact, Germany, Italy and Japan, on the one side,


the Government of the U. S. S. R. on the other side, motivated by the desire to establish in their natural spheres of influ-

[3] This draft was found in the secret files of the German Embassy in Moscow. It bears no date, apparently it formed the basis for Schulenburg's conversation with Molotov reported on November 26, 1940.

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ence in Europe, Asia, and Africa a new order serving the welfare of all peoples concerned and to create a firm and enduring foundation for their common labors toward this goal, have agreed upon the following:


In the Three Power Pact of Berlin, of September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan agreed to oppose the extension of the war into a world conflict with all possible means and to collaborate toward an early restoration of world peace. They expressed their willingness to extend their collaboration to nations in other parts of the world which are inclined to direct their efforts along the same course as theirs. The Soviet Union declares that it concurs in these aims of the Three Power Pact and is on its part determined to cooperate politically in this course with the Three Powers.


Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union undertake to respect each other's natural spheres of influence. In so far as these spheres of interest come into contact with each other, they will constantly consult each other in an amicable way with regard to the problems arising therefrom.

Germany, Italy, and Japan declare on their part that they recognize the present extent of the possessions of the Soviet Union and will respect it.


Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union undertake to join no combination of powers and to support no combination of powers which is directed against one of the Four Powers.

The Four Powers will assist each other in economic matters in every way and will supplement and extend the agreements existing among themselves.


This agreement shall take effect upon signature and shall continue for a period of ten years. The Governments of the Four Powers shall consult each other in due time, before the expiration of that period, regarding the extension of the agreement.

Done in four originals, in the German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian languages.

Moscow, 1940.

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Upon the signing today of the Agreement concluded among them, the Representatives of Germany, Italy, Japan and the Soviet Union declare as follows:

1) Germany declares that, apart from the territorial revisions in Europe to be carried out at the conclusion of peace, her territorial aspirations center in the territories of Central Africa.

2) Italy declares that, apart from the territorial revisions in Europe to be carried out at the conclusion of peace, her territorial aspirations center in the territories of Northern and Northeastern Africa.

3) Japan declares that her territorial aspirations center in the area of Eastern Asia to the south of the Island Empire of Japan.

4) The Soviet Union declares that its territorial aspirations center south of the national territory of the Soviet Union in the direction of the Indian Ocean.

The Four Powers declare that, reserving the settlement of specific questions, they will mutually respect these territorial aspirations and will not oppose their achievement.

Moscow, on ....



On the occasion of the signing today of the Agreement among Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Soviet Union, the Representatives of Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union declare as follows:

1) Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union agree in the view that it is in their common interest to detach Turkey from her existing international commitments and progressively to win her over to political collaboration with themselves. They declare that they will pursue this aim in close consultation, in accordance with a common line of action which is still to be determined.

2) Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union declare their agreement to conclude, at a given time, a joint agreement with Turkey, wherein the Three Powers would recognize the extent of Turkey's possessions.

3) Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union will work in common toward the replacement of the Montreux Straits Convention now in

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force by another convention. By this convention the Soviet Union would be granted the right of unrestricted passage of its navy through the Straits at any time, whereas all other Powers except the other Black Sea countries, but including Germany and Italy, would in principle renounce the right of passage through the Straits for their naval vessels. The passage of commercial vessels through the Straits would, of course, have to remain free in principle.

Moscow, 1940.


Frames 112669-112670, serial 104

The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office



Moscow, November 26, 1940-5:34 a. m.

Received November 26, 1940-8:50 a. m.


No. 2362 of November 20

For the Reich Minister in person.

Molotov asked me to call on him this evening and in the presence of Dekanosov stated the following:

The Soviet Government has studied the contents of the statements of the Reich Foreign Minister in the concluding conversation on November 13 and takes the following stand:

"The Soviet Government is prepared to accept the draft of the Four Power Pact which the Reich Foreign Minister outlined in the conversation of November 13, regarding political collaboration and reciprocal economic [support [4]] subject to the following conditions:

1) Provided that the German troops are immediately withdrawn from Finland. which, under the compact of 1939, belongs to the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. At the same time the Soviet Union undertakes to ensure peaceful relations with Finland and to protect German economic interests in Finland (export of lumber and nickel).

"2) Provided that within the next few months the security of the Soviet Union in the Straits is assured by the conclusion of a mutual assistance pact between the Soviet Union and Bulgaria, which geographically is situated inside the security zone of the Black Sea boundaries of the Soviet Union, and by the establishment of a base for land and naval forces of the U.S.S.R. within range of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles by means of a long-term lease.

[4] "Unterstützung" in Moscow Embassy draft; garbled in text as received in Berlin.

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"3) Provided that the area south of Batum and Baku in the general direction of the Persian Gulf is recognized as the center of the aspirations of the Soviet Union.

"4) Provided that Japan [renounces [5]] her rights to concessions for coal and oil in Northern Sakhalin.

"In accordance with the foregoing, the draft of the protocol concerning the delimitation of the spheres of influence as outlined by the Reich Foreign Minister would have to be amended so as to stipulate the focal point of the aspirations of the Soviet Union south of Batum and Baku in the general direction of the Persian Gulf.

"Likewise, the draft of the protocol or agreement between Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union with respect to Turkey should be amended so as to guarantee a base for light naval and land forces of the U.S.S.R. On [am] the Bosporus and the Dardanelles by means of a long-term lease, including-in case Turkey declares herself willing to join the Four Power Pact-a guarantee of the independence and of the territory of Turkey by the three countries named.

"This protocol should provide that in case Turkey refuses to join the Four Powers, Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union agree to work out and to carry through the required military and diplomatic measures, and a separate agreement to this effect should be concluded.

"Furthermore there should be agreement upon:

"a) a third secret protocol between Germany and the Soviet Union concerning Finland (see Point 1 above).

"b) a fourth secret protocol between Japan and the Soviet Union concerning the renunciation by Japan of the oil and coal concession in Northern Sakhalin (in return for an adequate compensation).

"c) a fifth secret protocol between Germany, the Soviet Union, and Italy, recognizing that Bulgaria is geographically located inside the security zone of the Black Sea boundaries of the Soviet Union and that it is therefore a political necessity that a mutual assistance pact be concluded between the Soviet Union and Bulgaria, which in no way shall affect the internal regime of Bulgaria, her sovereignty or independence."

In conclusion Molotov stated that the Soviet proposal provided five protocols instead of the two envisaged by the Reich Foreign Minister. He would appreciate a statement of the German view. [6]


[5] "Verzichtet" in Moscow Embassy draft; omitted in text as received in Berlin.

[6] The next account of a discussion of the proposed treaty found in the German Foreign Office files appears in Ambassador Schulenburg's telegram to the Foreign Office No. 122 of January 17, 1941, post, p. 270.