The German Foreign Office to the Reich Foreign Minister; June 17, 1940
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Frames 214862-214864, serial 407


To Baumschule

BERLIN, June 17, 1940.

Reference telegram Baumschule No. 57 of June 16, 1940.

I. The cooperation between the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is based on the Treaty of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation concluded for ten years by these three States on September 12, 1931. In addition, Latvia and Estonia signed a mutual defense pact on November 1, 1923. In practice, the political cooperation consisted mainly of semiannual conferences of Foreign Ministers and joint press conferences; on the other hand, there has often been an abundance of discord and rivalry within the Baltic Entente. Latvia and Estonia explicitly indicated their disinterestedness in the Memel and Vilna questions, which were important to Lithuania. The assertion, now made by Russia, that Lithuania had joined the Estonian-Latvian military pact, is, according to information available here, without any foundation. Because of the very similar economic structure of these countries, the economic cooperation between the three States, in spite of much effort during the last few years, made no appreciable progress. Since the conclusion of the Soviet Mutual Assistance Pact with the Baltic countries in September-October 1939 there has been no closer cooperation in an anti-Russian sense among the Baltic States. In view of the occupation of their countries by Soviet Russian troops, the three Baltic Governments were aware of the danger of such a policy.

II. For the same reason, there can be no question-during the last few months-of dependence in foreign policy on Germany by the Baltic States. The Lithuanian Government, to be sure, has probably not been quite certain until the last few days whether or not we were politically completely disinterested in Lithuania, so that in many circles, as for instance in the case of the Lithuanian Minister here, there was perhaps some hope that Germany would, in case of further Russian demands, put in a good word for Lithuania in Moscow, although there was never, of course, any occasion given on our part for such an assumption.

On the other hand, our economic relations with the Baltic States have been strengthened very much since the beginning of the war. Regarding the great importance of the Baltic States to the war economy of the Reich, please see the attached memorandum from Minister Schnurre.



Foreign Office Memorandum

The economic importance of the three Baltic States for our supply of food and of raw materials essential for war has become quite considerable as a result of the commercial treaties concluded with these three States during the last year. In the course of the last six months, we have furthermore concluded secret agreements with all three States whereby the entire export of these countries, except the small part going to Russia and another small portion which goes to neutral countries, will be sent to Germany. That means for all three States about 70 percent of their total exports. German imports from the three Baltic States will in the current year amount to a total of approximately 200 million Reichsmarks-comprising grain, hogs, butter, eggs, flax, lumber, seeds, and in the case of Estonia, petroleum.

The consolidation of Russian influence in these areas will seriously endanger these necessary imports. For one thing, the Russians will do their utmost to keep the raw materials, and especially food, at home for their own use. On the other hand, if part continues to go to Germany, they will make quite different demands in regard to deliveries of German products from those made in the past by the Baltic States, so that in effect the previous exchange of goods will break down. We were able to make the deliveries desired by the Baltic States much more easily, and in many cases, under the stress of circumstances, we were able to put these States off till later.

In contrast, the economic interests of the Soviet Union in the three Baltic States are of minor importance. The Soviet Union was able to secure only about 10 percent of the export trade of these countries for itself by means of the treaties it recently concluded.


BERLIN, June 17, 1940.

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