TELEGRAM OF THE PLENIPOTENTIARY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE USSR IN GERMANY A. A. SHKVARTSEV TO THE PEOPLE'S COMMISSAR FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE USSR V. M. MOLOTOV
December 11, 1939
On December 11, Ribbentrop invited me to his office and made the following statements. The first statement: "Two days ago, TASS delivered a message from Swedish newspapers, released and launched with doubt by England. The message shows that Germany is supplying weapons to Finland and that from Germany the planes took off for Finland. I checked this message and offered to publish a refutation. The essence of the question is as follows: a) this summer Finland ordered anti-aircraft artillery guns from Germany, which must be supplied to Finland within 2 months in exchange for German nickel deliveries. From the beginning of war between Finland and the USSR all deliveries of arms to Finland were stopped; b) the Italian government asked the German government in October to allow 50 airplanes to go by air to Finland. War between Finland and the USSR was not foreseen. The Italian government was told about the undesirability of the flight, but no objections against transportation by rail was presented. After this the Italian government did not return to this issue, and the issue of aircraft transit was neither raised from the Finnish side; c) The Finnish government recently asked the German government to allow the transit of weapons ordered from Belgium. The request was rejected. Therefore, since the beginning of the war between Finland and the USSR, neither the supply of arms from Germany, nor the transit of arms through Germany, nor the flight of the German territory by airplanes to Finland took place. I regret that the official TASS agency, without prior agreement with the German embassy in Moscow, published in a prominent place such a tendentious message from Sweden, certainly launched by England with the intention of dimming Soviet-German relations. In the future, in the case of such biased messages, I would ask to contact the German embassy in Moscow or Berlin. Given the clear loyal stance of Germany in the Soviet-Finnish conflict, it would go without saying that it was in the interests of the USSR and Germany not to provide England with the opportunity to darken Soviet-German relations."
The second statement: "In Moscow, I and Molotov agreed on a common basis for the Soviet-German trade agreement. During the negotiations in Berlin, members of the Soviet delegation made far-reaching claims. I instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the broad assistance in fulfilling their desires. In Moscow, it was decided to develop German-Soviet trade relations. This is also my intention in the future. But I would ask the government of the USSR to take into account that we are in a state of war, and first of all, we ourselves need military materials. I heard that the Soviet Commission expressed a desire relating the negotiations primarily to be for the purchase of weapons. Germany is ready to satisfy this desire. But I would ask you to inform Moscow that the commission on several points has gone too far. I believe that we will come to an agreement. In the interest for a smooth course in negotiations, I would welcome if the Soviet demand did not extend orders to certain areas that Germany could not fulfill, especially for being at war.
Third statement: "The Soviet government asked the German government next year about the possibility of organizing a supply of Soviet submarines by German ships. There is a basic consent of the German government for this, the technical possibilities for the implementation of this request are being studied by the Ministry of the Navy in a positive direction. I will report the results to the German embassy in Moscow. "
I promised to convey this statement to Moscow, expressing my gratitude for the third message. During a brief conversation, after the above oral statements, Ribbentrop, by the way, said that an article "Germany and the Finnish Question", written by him, was published in the newspaper "Völkischer Beobachter" on December 8.
Documents of Foreign Policy RF f. 059, op. 1, p. 294, d. 2037, l. 282—285.
MID RF. Documents of foreign policy 1939. XXII:2. Nr 852.
Moscow: Internat. relations, 1992.
Finland in the
Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940