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MEMORANDUM OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE U.S.S.R., HANDED AT MOSCOW ON OCTOBER 23rd, 1939, BY MM. STALIN AND MOLOTOV TO MM. PAASIKIVI AND TANNER.

With reference to the Finnish Government's memorandum of October 23rd, the Government of the Soviet Union beg to state that, in accordance with the views defined in the memorandum of the Government of the Soviet Union of October 14th, the proposals advanced by them represent their minimum terms, the attitude having been dictated by the fundamental security requirements of the Soviet Union and particularly of the city of Leningrad with its 3 million inhabitants. These proposals were expressly put forward as minimum terms and, further to this, the Soviet Union withdrew their proposal for the conclusion of a mutual assistance agreement between the Soviet Union and Finland, in order to enable Finland to maintain her strict neutrality. At the same time, the Government of the Soviet Union abandoned their proposal concerning the non-fortification of the Aaland Islands or their fortification in co-operation with the Soviet Union, substituting for these proposals their assent to the fortification of the Aaland Islands by Finland herself. The Soviet Union made these important concessions, as she relied upon Finland's friendly attitude and was also confident that Finland could agree to the minimum proposals made in the Union's memorandum of October 14th.
The exchange of views between the representatives of the Soviet Union (Molotov, Stalin) and those of Finland (Tanner, Paasikivi) on October 23rd enabled both parties to understand each other's views better, but at the same time revealed a divergence between them. Taking into account the results of this conversation and in order to pay due regard to the Finnish Government's wishes, the Government of the Soviet Union wish to make the following statement:
1) The Government of the Soviet Union are unable to withdraw their proposal that a naval base be placed at the disposal of the Soviet Union in Hanko, since they regard this proposal as an absolutely essential minimum condition for the safeguarding of the defence of Leningrad, In this connection, the Government of the Soviet Union, amending their memorandum of October 14th, would find it possible to limit to 4,000 men the land force for the protection of the naval base, and to maintain this force on the territory of Hanko only up to the end of the war between England, France and Germany in Europe.
2) The Government of the Soviet Union find it impossible to agree to the proposal that a strip of 10 versts of Finnish territory on the Isthmus of Carelia should — as proposed in the Finnish Government's memorandum of October 23rd — be ceded in return for the territory to be ceded by the Soviet Union. The Government of the Soviet Union find such a step quite inadequate as a means of providing a minimum of security for Leningrad at the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland. Being desirous, however, of meeting Finland in an accommodating spirit, the Government of the Soviet Union would find it possible, as an extreme concession, to amend their original proposal in some measure by reducing, in the manner shown in the annexed map, the area of the Isthmus of Carelia to be ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union against territorial compensation; in this connection, the original proposal of the Government of the Soviet Union regarding the Island of Koivisto remains unaltered.
3) The Soviet Government find it necessary to maintain the other proposals contained in the Soviet Government's memorandum of October 14th.
4) The Soviet Government accept the Finnish Government's proposal regarding the amendment of Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Non-Aggression Treaty.


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. 15. Suomen Kirja, Helsinki 1940.

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