RECORD OF THE CONVERSATION OF THE PEOPLE'S COMMISSAR FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE USSR V.M. MOLOTOV WITH THE AMBASSADOR OF GERMANY IN THE USSR F. Schulenburg
December 9, 1939.
Comr. Molotov says that the Soviet government has information about the supply of weapons and military equipment to Finland from several countries. It is known, for example, that Sweden is sending people and weapons there, and England is trying to foment this matter, but Italy is behaving particularly provocatively. Recently, the entire foreign press wrote about how Italy sent 50 fighters with pilots to Finland. Italy does not refute this. There is accurate information that Italy carried the specified aircrafts through Germany. Comr. Molotov expresses astonishment, how Germany, with the existing friendly relations with the USSR, lets these planes pass.
Schulenburg showed an extreme degree of surprise about this message and said that he could not believe that such a fact, as the transport of aircraft from Italy through Germany, took place. It is possible that the planes were heading to Denmark or Sweden, and from there they seep through to Finland, but he considers also this possibility to be incredible. The ambassador did not read anything in the foreign press about this, perhaps due to the late receipt of the foreign press. So, today, December 9th, he only read newspapers from December 6th.
Comr. Molotov qualifies Italy’s position as defiant and outrageous. It may force the USSR to react seriously to this. Comr. Molotov once again expresses surprise at how Italy could pass planes through Germany.
In response, Schulenburg remarked that only yesterday he received special instructions from the German government on all matters relating to relations with the Scandinavian countries, and in particular with Finland. The Scandinavians have always been against Germany and have with all means counteracted her revival as a strong power. Therefore, the German government and the German public have no reason and do not want to intervene in the conflict between the USSR and Finland, or, especially, to express sympathy for Finland and Scandinavia. On the contrary, it is confirmed that the German government will continue to stand on the official point of view, reflected in the recent report of the German News Agency about Germany's disinterest in Finnish affairs.
Comr. Molotov doubted that the ambassador did not know anything about Italy’s supply of airplanes with pilots to Finland, which the entire Italian, French, American, British and other press have already written about for several days. He emphasized his surprise and indignation at the fact of admission of the planes through Germany.
Schulenburg suggested that someone is trying to spoil relations between the USSR and Germany. He will immediately cable his government and hopes to receive a satisfactory answer already tomorrow.
The conversation was attended by advisor to the German Embassy Hilger.
Interview recorded by
Foreign policy documents RF, f. 06, op. 1, p. 1, d. 4, l. 96—97.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Foreign policy documents. 1939. XXII: 2. Nr. 848. Moscow: Intern. relations, 1992. Computer assisted draft translation by Pauli Kruhse.
Finland in the
Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940