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LETTER OF M. MOLOTOV, COMMISSAR FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, HANDED IN MOSCOW ON NOVEMBER 9th, 1939, TO MM. PAASIKIVI AND TANNER.

Having taken note of the memorandum of the Finnish Government which you handed to me to-day (November 9th), I find that in this memorandum the declaration of the Government of the U.S.S.R. dated November 3rd, has been incorrectly set forth.
In point of fact, on the 3rd instant, the Government of the U.S.S.R. made the following proposals:
1) The Government of the U.S.S.R., taking into consideration the declaration of the Finnish Government that it cannot consent to a garrison or naval base of another Power being situated "on the territory of Finland", proposed to the Finnish Government that a corresponding piece of territory situated in the vicinity of the port of Hanko should be sold to the U.S.S.R. This solution would mean that the objection that such a piece of land formed part of the territory of Finland would cease to apply, since, after having been sold to the U.S.S.R., it would, ipso facto, become Soviet territory.
2) Furthermore, the Government of the U.S.S.R. stated that it would propose to the Finnish Government that if, for any reason, a piece of land situated in the vicinity of Hanko could not be sold or exchanged, the islands of Hermansö, Koön, Hästö-Busö, Långskär, Furuskär, Ekön and certain other islands situated near them should be sold or exchanged, as the Finnish Government agreed to do on a previous occasion, when it ceded to the U.S.S.R. certain islands in the Gulf of Finland and some territory on the Carelian Isthmus.
By reason of the foregoing, I consider that the objection contained in the memorandum of M. Paasikivi and M. Tanner, dated the 9th instant, that "Finland cannot grant to a foreign Power military bases on its territory and within the confines of its frontiers" is unfounded and indicates a misinterpretation of the attitude of the Government of the U.S.S.R.
It is obvious that if either the region of Hanko or the islands situated to the east of Hanko were sold or exchanged for a corresponding piece of territory in the U.S.S.R., they could no longer form part of the territory of Finland or be situated within the confines of the Finnish frontiers.
Accordingly, I return your memorandum of November 9th.
V. Molotov.


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. 20. Suomen Kirja, Helsinki 1940.

Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940