The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg)
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BERLIN, March 28, 1940.

No. 543

For the Ambassador personally. Secret.

During my recent visit to Rome, where-as you know-I worked on the improvement of Italian-Russian relations among other things, I already contemplated carrying out the plan of a visit by Herr Molotov to Berlin. Although I did not mention this idea to anyone, the Anglo-French propaganda, correctly guessing my intentions, spoke of it with the hope of interfering with the plan and thereby with the further consolidation of our relations with Russia. I could have denied the Anglo-French report without any trouble, but refrained from doing so out of consideration for Molotov. Then, the Russian press for its part issued a denial.

Nevertheless, I have not given up the idea of a visit by Molotov to Berlin. On the contrary, I should like to retain it, and if it can be realized I should like to put it into effect in the near future. It goes without saying that the invitation is not to be confined to Herr Molotov; it would suit our own needs better, as well as our really ever-closer relations with Russia, if Herr Stalin himself came to Berlin. The Führer would not only be particularly happy to welcome Stalin in Berlin, but he would also see to it that he would get a reception commensurate with his position and importance, and he would extend to him all the honors that the occasion demanded.

An invitation both to Herr Molotov and to Herr Stalin has, as you know, already been issued orally by me in Moscow and was accepted by both of them in principle. In what manner the invitation should now be repeated, and its definite acceptance and realization attained, you yourself can judge best. During the conversation to be conducted you will have to word the invitation to Herr Molotov more definitely, whereas you will have to state the invitation to Herr Stalin in the name of the Führer in less definite terms. We must, of course, avoid receiving a clear-cut refusal from Stalin.

Before you take any action, I request that you comment on the subject immediately, reporting to me by wire your opinion as to the procedure to be followed by you and the prospects for its success.


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