Foreign Office Memorandum
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[October ?, 1939.]


1) The credit and trade treaty of August 19 of this year is not to be tampered with from either side. However, for our benefit, we must attempt to obtain a more expeditious delivery of raw materials (180 million Reichsmarks).

2) My principal task in the negotiations will be to find out whether Russia, over and above the treaty of August 19, 1939, could and would compensate for the loss in imports by sea and to what extent this might be done. The military and civil agencies have handed me a schedule of requirements totaling 70 million marks of immediate additional supplies. (Enclosure 1. (1)) The requests which I shall present in Moscow will go far beyond this schedule, as the German war needs are several times as great as the proposal of the Departments for the negotiations. (See enclosure 2. (1)) But the relatively modest schedule of departmental requirements shows how low the actual capacity of Russia for supplying raw materials is estimated. The reasons are inadequacies of transportation, of organization, of production methods, etc.

3) The plan to be proposed to the Russians would be as follows:

Apart from the treaty of August 19, 1939, the Soviet Union shall supply us X millions worth of raw materials, both such as are produced in Russia and such as Russia buys for us from other neutrals. The German quid pro quo for these raw materials could not follow at once, but would have to take the form of a supply and investment program, to extend over a period of about five years. Within this time we would be prepared, in order to meet our obligations arising from Russian deliveries of raw material, to set up plants in Russia in accordance with a large-scale program to be agreed upon. (See enclosure 3. (1))

4) Within the framework of purely economic negotiations, the difficulties actually existing in Russia cannot be overcome, especially as we demand of the Russians performance in advance. A positive achievement can really only be expected, if an appropriate directive is issued by the highest Russian authorities, in the spirit of the political attitude toward us. In that respect these negotiations will be a test of whether and how far Stalin is prepared to draw practical conclusions from the new political course. The raw materials deliveries requested by us can only be carried out, in view of the unsatisfactory domestic supply situation of Russia, at the expense of their own Russian consumption.

5) Depending on the result of my conversations, it will be necessary that the raw materials program be taken up again from the strictly political point of view by a qualified personage.

6) In the Moscow negotiations it should furthermore be ascertained to what extent our imports heretofore made from Iran, Afghanistan, Manchuria, and Japan, can be transmitted via Russia.


(1) Not printed. Back

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