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Reference telegram of July 2 No. 139. (1)
In accordance with instructions, I add to my telegram No. 115 of June 28 the following:
Molotov received me in the Kremlin, after I had announced my arrival three hours before. Correct translation was secured through Hilger. Molotov's translator failed to appear.
I opened the discussion with the statement that on the basis of the talks in Berlin, particularly with the Reich Foreign Minister, I had the impression that we would welcome a normalization of relations with the Soviet Union. The State Secretary had very clearly acquainted Herr Astakhov with our position. Indicative of this position was the following: correct tone of the German press toward the Soviet Union, conclusion of non-aggression treaties with the Baltic countries and our desire for resumption of economic negotiations.
Molotov listened attentively and stated that he received this communication with satisfaction. I continued that since the conversation of the State Secretary with Astakhov we had waited for a Soviet statement as to what Molotov had meant in his conversation with me on May 20 by the words "creation of a political basis for the resumption of economic negotiations"; I would also have to point out to him that the attitude of the Soviet press in all questions concerning Germany still gave cause for serious criticism. Herr Astakhov had been told that Herr Molotov wanted to answer me personally. Among other things I had come in order to inquire whether he held anything to tell me.
In his answer Molotov did not go into the question as to the meaning of the concept "political basis," but he declared that the Soviet Government in accordance with the enunciations of its leaders desired good relations with all countries and therefore-provided there was reciprocity-would also welcome a normalization of relations with Germany. It was not the fault of the Soviet Government if these relations had become bad. He could not accept the criticism of the Soviet press, since he was not aware of any hostile attitude of the press toward Germany.
I replied that much could be said about these questions; that I had not, however, come to talk of the past, but of the future.
Thereupon, Molotov asked how we visualized further developments and what changes had occurred lately in the relations between Germany and the Soviet Union. As to the non-aggression treaties, Germany had concluded them in the first place in her own interest, and they concerned only Germany and the countries participating, but not the Soviet Union. Furthermore, he would have to doubt the permanence of such treaties after the experiences which Poland had had.
I replied that our non-aggression treaties provided the Baltic countries with additional security, in which the Soviet Union was very much interested. Poland had herself provoked the termination of the treaty with us by behaving irresponsibly and joining a combination hostile to us, which was irreconcilable with friendly relations with us. To this Molotov stated that in his opinion the treaty concluded by Poland with England was a purely defensive instrument.
I disagreed and pointed out that the word "defensive" in this connection was of only academic significance. Then I returned to Molotov's question as to how we visualized further developments and said that, in my opinion, the main task in the future would be that both countries avoid everything that would lead to a further deterioration of relations and do everything that might result in their improvement. Germany had no ill intentions against the Soviet Union, and one of the proofs for that was the Berlin Treaty, which we had extended some time ago.
Thereupon Molotov asked, "Are you convinced that the Berlin Treaty is really still in force and has not been abrogated by later treaties concluded by Germany?" I replied the following: "I know of no such treaties and have no reason to doubt the validity of the Berlin Treaty."
At the end I asked Molotov what he had to say to the question of the resumption of economic negotiations.
Molotov replied that he knew the contents of the last conversation between Mikoyan and Hilger. He approved Mikoyan's (group missing) and suggested that we give Mikoyan the desired information.
I sought to convince Molotov that it would not be in the interest of speeding up the economic negotiations if details were discussed between Mikoyan and Hilger or me, since we continuously had to request instructions from Berlin. Schnurre, on the other hand, had all the necessary authority, knowledge, and experience and would be able to conclude the negotiations quickly to mutual satisfaction
Thereupon Molotov indicated that cancellation of Schnurre's trip in February had annoyed the Soviet Union. They would leave it to Mikoyan, who had mastery of the subject matter, to ask for what he considered right. When we had given the information desired by Mikoyan, a trip by Schnurre to Moscow might perhaps prove useful.
The conversation closed in friendly spirit and with my repeated request that Molotov influence the attitude of the Soviet press.