MEMORANDUM OF THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT HANDED IN MOSCOW ON OCTOBER 23rd, 1939, BY MM. PAASIKIVI AND TANNER TO MM. STALIN AND MOLOTOV.

After carefully examining the proposal of the Government of the Soviet Union for the regulation of relations between Finland and the Soviet Union, the Finnish Government hereby define their attitude as follows:
Finland understands the efforts which the Soviet Union is making to render the defence of Leningrad more secure. As she had repeatedly stated before, Finland wishes her relations with the Soviet Union to remain friendly and good. To enable both these objects to be achieved, Finland is willing, for her part, to consider ways and means of meeting the requirements of the Soviet Union. This, of course, is subject to the proviso that Finland's own security requirements shall be given all due consideration and that care shall be taken to uphold Finland's complete neutrality. Such a policy represents the best possible contribution to the reinforcement of peace in Northern Europe, whilst, in Finland's opinion, it is at the same time the policy most advantageous to her neighbour — the Soviet Union.
The Finnish Government are convinced that, given mutual good will, it is possible, without detriment to Finland's security and without violating her neutrality, to achieve the objects referred to above and which the Soviet Union's memorandum to Finland itself indicates as the basis of Soviet policy.
To achieve these objects, the Finnish Government are prepared to agree to the arrangements indicated below, subject to their being approved also by the Finnish Parliament:
1) The Finnish Government are prepared to make an agreement to the effect that the following islands situated in the Gulf of Finland be ceded to the Soviet Union against territorial compensation: Seiskari, Peninsaari, Lavansaari and the Tytarsaari islands. In addition, the Finnish Government are willing to discuss an arrangement concerning Suursaari which shall take due account of the interests of both parties.
2) In view of the proximity of Leningrad to the Finnish frontier and in order to enable the security of that city to be increased through a frontier adjustment, the Finnish Government are prepared, in return for territorial compensation, to make an agreement providing for the adjustment of the frontier on the Isthmus of Carelia at those points at which the frontier is, in this respect, inconvenient to the Soviet Union. The frontier would run from Rajajoki, east of Haapala, straight to the Gulf of Finland on the eastern side of the church of Kellomaki. Thus the so-called Kuokkala salient would disappear. At the same time, the frontier would be moved 13 kilometres westward at this point. Finland is unable to consider a frontier adjustment of the magnitude of that contemplated in the Soviet Union's proposal, because Finland's own position and security would be thereby endangered. Moreover, the territory in question is a very densely populated district long inhabited by a Finnish population, and its cession would mean dragging tens of thousands of Finnish citizens out of their homes and removing them elsewhere.
3) So far as the port of Hanko, with the adjoining territory, and the bay of Lappohja are concerned, the Finnish Government are bound to uphold Finland's integrity. The mere cession of military bases to a foreign Power is in itself incompatible with unconditional neutrality, as this is understood in Finland and elsewhere. The idea that armed forces of a foreign Power would be stationed on Finnish territory continuously over a long period cannot be accepted by Finland; these forces could also be used for an attack upon Finland. Such an arrangement would be a source of constant disagreement and unnecessary irritation, and this would not conduce to an improvement in the relations between the two countries, which is the aim of the present arrangement.
4) The Soviet Union has intimated her desire to strengthen the Non-Aggression Treaty between herself and Finland by an undertaking between the Contracting Parties that they would not join any groups or alliances of States directly or indirectly hostile to either of the Contracting Parties. The Finnish Government are, however, of opinion that Article 3 of the said Non-Aggression Treaty, prohibiting adherence to agreements of every kind which are openly hostile to the other Contracting Party and which conflict, either in form or in substance, with the said Treaty, already covers everything which States entertaining friendly relations can reasonably claim from each other in this respect, without endangering their good relations with other States and the attitude of strict neutrality. The Finnish Government are prepared, if the Soviet Union so wishes, to give at any time a further assurance that they will honestly fulfil the said obligations. As regards Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Non-Aggression Treaty, in which the Contracting Parties undertake to observe neutrality in cases where the other Contracting Party becomes the victim of aggression by a third State, the Finnish Government would be prepared, as an earnest of good-will, to have this paragraph redrafted in clearer and more definite terms, so that the Contracting Parties would be pledged not to support such an aggressor State; the term »support» should not, however, be construed to cover any attitude in conformity with the general rules of neutrality such as continuance of normal exchange of goods and transit trade.
5) The Finnish Government note with satisfaction that the Soviet Union does not object to the fortification of the Aaland Islands at Finland's own undertaking. This being so, the Finnish Government wish to state that it has always been their intention that this fortification should be carried out by Finland herself at her own expense and to such extent as may be required to maintain the neutrality of the said islands, having regard to the neutrality obligations of the Convention of 1921 which are still in force.


Source: The development of Finnish-Soviet relations during the autumn 1939 in the light of official documents. Publication of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Doc. nr. 14. Suomen Kirja, Helsinki 1940

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