RESPONSE OF THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT TO MEASURES OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT AGAINST GERMAN EXPORTS
December 10, 1939
On November 28th the British government published a decree on measures against German export business. By this decree the British government forbids all transport of goods from German ports as well as all goods of German origin also from neutral ports. The British government requires that ships carrying the indicated goods should call British or French ports where their cargoes will be confiscated and subjected to enforced sale. Ships from neutral countries departing from ports where Germany has entry, carrying whatever cargoes, should sail for inspection to British and French ports.
In connection with this decree the British ambassador in Moscow was handed a note on the 10th of December entering the protest of the Soviet government against the indicated British measures that violate the rights and interests of neutral countries.
It is reminded in the note that on October 25th this year the Soviet government declared that it will not approve those measures of the British government that on the pretext of fighting against war contraband violate the principles of international justice and wreck merchant shipping.
The measures taken against German export following the decree of November 28th, inflict a new damage to the interests of neutral countries. The methods of economic war, adopted by Great Britain, have no precedent in the history of international relations. They represent a further breach of norms of the international right, according to which no one can forbid neutral countries import goods they need from territories of warring countries and paying no attention to their origins.
A similar breach of the international right is forbidding transport of German goods from one port to another.
Finally, the Soviet government consider as fully frivolous the British request that irrespective of the origins of carried cargoes ships from ports of such neutral countries, which allow German entry, should head for British or French ports for inspection.
Expressing a protest for the indicated measures of Great Britain, the USSR government will reserve the right to demand compensation for damages inflicted in the event that mercantile ships of the USSR are forcefully brought to British or French ports, or if applying of the decree of November 28th causes any other damage to the foreign export of the USSR.
Source: [The highest party school of the Central Committee of the CPSU.] The foreign policy of the USSR. A collection of documents. Vol. 4. Nr. 385, Moscow 1946. — Translation (by Pauli Kruhse) is based on the Finnish text in Kuusinen government front propaganda newspaper "Kansan Valta" (People's Power), nr. 8, December 13, 1939. This "People's Government of Finland" was introduced by the Soviet government at the newly conquered Finnish border town of Terijoki (now Zelenogorsk).
The naval blockade of Finland, declared on Dec. 7th by the Soviet Union, "on the request of People's Government of Finland" (in Russian).
Finland in the Soviet foreign policy of 1939-1940