Foreign Office Memorandum : May 5, 1939
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To W IV 1493

This afternoon I asked the Soviet Charge, Counselor of Embassy Astakhov, to come to see me and informed him that we had agreed, as requested by his Ambassador on April 17, to carry out the Soviet supply contracts with the Skoda Works. Appropriate instructions had already been given. I asked him to inform his Government of this.

Counselor of Embassy Astakhov was visibly gratified at this declaration and stressed the fact that for the Soviet Government the material side of the question was not of as great importance as the question of principle. He inquired whether we would not soon resume the negotiations which had been broken off in February. To this I replied that I could not yet give him any answer to that, as the examination of the numerous problems which the last Russian answer had raised was not yet completed.

Then Astakhov touched upon the dismissal of Litvinov and tried without asking direct questions to learn whether this event would cause a change in our position toward the Soviet Union. He stressed very much the great importance of the personality of Molotov, who was by no means a specialist in foreign policy, but who would have all the greater importance for the future Soviet foreign policy.

BERLIN, May 5, 1939.

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