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No. 317 of September 10
Supplementing my telegram No. 310 of September 9 and with reference to telephone conversation of today with the Reich Foreign Minister.
In today's conference at 4 p. m. Molotov modified his statement of yesterday by saying that the Soviet Government was taken completely by surprise by the unexpectedly rapid German military successes. In accordance with our first communication, the Red Army had counted on several weeks, which had now shrunk to a few days. The Soviet military authorities were therefore in a difficult situation, since, in view of conditions here, they required possibly two to three weeks more for their preparations. Over three minion men were already mobilized.
I explained emphatically to Molotov how crucial speedy action of the Red Army was at this juncture.
Molotov repeated that everything possible was being done to expedite matters. I got the impression that Molotov promised more yesterday than the Red Army can live up to.
Then Molotov came to the political side of the matter and stated that the Soviet Government had intended to take the occasion of the further advance of German troops to declare that Poland was falling apart and that it was necessary for the Soviet Union, in consequence, to come to the aid of the Ukrainians and the White Russians "threatened" by Germany. This argument was to make the intervention of the Soviet Union plausible to the masses and at the same time avoid giving the Soviet Union the appearance of an aggressor.
This course was blocked for the Soviet Government by a DNB report yesterday to the effect that, in accordance with a statement by Colonel General Brauchitsch, military action was no longer necessary on the German eastern border. The report created the impression that a German-Polish armistice was imminent. If, however Germany concluded an armistice, the Soviet Union could not start a "new war."
I stated that I was unacquainted with this report, which was not in accordance with the facts. I would make inquiries at once.