THE TELEGRAM OF THE PEOPLE'S COMMISSAR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE USSR OF V. M. MOLOTOV TO THE PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE USSR IN GREAT BRITAIN I. M. MAISKY
On February 21, 1940.
About the question of Finland and Sweden with Norway, mentioned in your conversation with Butler, you can report to Butler the following about the position of the Soviet government:
1) To Sweden and Norway the Soviet government has no claims. Butler's statement for the danger allegedly menacing these countries from the USSR is all but groundless, it does not want to touch neither Sweden, nor Norway if they do not enter war on the side of Finland formally or actually. Another matter is, if Swedes or Norwegians break their neutrality and enter the war. In this case the USSR will be compelled to come up weapons in hand. This applies not only to Sweden and Norway, but also to any other state which decides to break its neutrality concerning the Soviet Union, in the matter of protecting safety of Leningrad.
2) The Soviet Union does not object to negotiations and an agreement with Ryti-Tanner government. But as it is known to you from some sources, this government does not want to understand that after opening of hostilities and after blood it is shed not through our fault, the situation changed radically. Ryti and Tanner do not understand that the conditions of the Soviet government stated in negotiations with Tanner and Paasikivi for the sake of avoidance of war, are already insufficient after hostilities opened and blood is plentifully spilled. Now it became absolutely clear for the Soviet government that Finland was and remains the ready base for attack to Leningrad. Therefore the USSR cannot be satisfied with those guarantees of the safety of Leningrad that were told prior to the beginning of hostilities; in view of that, the USSR is compelled to demand new additional guarantees of the safety of Leningrad. Our military demand not only receiving for renting the peninsula of Hanko with adjacent islands, but also receiving all Karelian Isthmus, including the Vyborg—Sartavalla [Sortavala] line — the northern coast of Lake Ladoga. Our military consider that these conditions are only a real minimum guarantee of the safety of Leningrad. It is demanded by our military, and this is what our government supports entirely. It is most likely that in case of further extension of hostilities these conditions will appear also insufficient. It is clear that there can be no talks about any territorial compensation from the USSR. It is clear also that in case of acceptance, now by the Ryti-Tanner government, of the conditions of the Soviet government, the Soviet armies will be evacuated from Petsamo region. The Soviet government appreciates mediation of the English government but in order to avoid any misunderstanding the Soviet government warns the English government that it will go on to the negotiations and to the agreement with Ryti—Tanner government only in the case of acceptance of the stated conditions for the guarantees for the safety of Leningrad by it.
AVP RF, f. 059, op. 1, p. 326, d. 2238, p. 44—53.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Documents of foreign policy. 1940 — on June 22 1941. XXIII:1. No. 49. Moscow: Mezhdunar. relations, 1995.
Machine assisted translation by Pauli Kruhse.
Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940