The Reich Foreign Minister to the German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg)
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BERLIN, August 18, 1939-10:48 p. m.
Received Moscow, August l9, 1939-5:45 a. m.

No. 185 of August 18

For the Ambassador personally.

Reference your telegram No. 182. (1)

Please arrange immediately another conversation with Herr Molotov and do everything possible to see that this conversation takes place without any delay. At this conference, I would ask you to speak with Herr Molotov in the following sense:

The Reich Government, to its great satisfaction, has learned from his last statement the favorable attitude of the Soviet Government with regard to the remolding of German-Russian relations. We, too, under normal circumstances, would naturally be ready to pursue a re-alignment of German-Russian relations further through diplomatic channels and to carry it out in the customary way. But the present unusual situation made it necessary, in the opinion of the Führer, to employ a different method which would lead to quick results.

German-Polish relations were becoming more acute from day to day. We had to take into account that incidents might occur any day that would make the outbreak of hostilities unavoidable. To judge from the whole attitude of the Polish Government, the developments in this respect by no means rested with us. The Führer considers it necessary that we be not taken by surprise by the outbreak of a German-Polish conflict while we are striving for a clarification of German-Russian relations. He therefore considers a previous clarification necessary, if only to be able to consider Russian interests in case of such a conflict, which would, of course, be difficult without such a clarification.

The statement made by Herr Molotov refers to your first communication of August 15th. My supplementary instruction had gone beyond this and stated clearly that we were in complete agreement with the idea of a non-aggression pact, a guarantee of the Baltic States, and German pressure on Japan. All factual elements for immediate commencement of direct verbal negotiations and for a final accord were therefore present.

Furthermore, you may mention that the first stage mentioned by Herr Molotov, namely, the conclusion of negotiations for a new German-Russian economic agreement, has today been completed, so that we should now attack the second stage. (2)

We were, therefore, now asking for an immediate reaction to the proposal made in the supplementary instruction regarding my immediate departure for Moscow. Please add in this connection that I would come with full powers from the Führer, authorizing me to settle fully and conclusively the total complex of problems.

As far as the non-aggression pact especially is concerned, it seems to us so simple as to require no long preparation. We have in mind here the following three points, (3) which I would ask you to read to Herr M., but not to hand to him.

ARTICLE 1. The German Reich and the U.S.S.R. will in no event resort to war or to any other use of force with respect to each other.

ARTICLE 2. this agreement shall enter into force immediately upon signature and shall be valid and undenounceable thereafter for a term of twenty-five years.

Please state in this connection that I am in a position, with regard to this proposal, to arrange details in verbal discussions at Moscow and, if occasion arises, to comply with Russian wishes. I am also in a position to sign a special protocol regulating the interests of both parties in questions of foreign policy of one kind or another; for instance, the settlement of spheres of interest in the Baltic area, the problem of the Baltic States, etc. Such a settlement, too, which seems to us of considerable importance, is only possible, however, at an oral discussion.

Please emphasize in this connection, that German foreign policy has today reached a historic turning point. This time please conduct conversation, except for above articles of agreement, not in the form of a reading of these instructions, but by pressing emphatically, in the sense of the foregoing statements, for a rapid realization of my trip and by opposing appropriately any possible new Russian objections. In this connection you must keep in mind the decisive fact that an early outbreak of open German-Polish conflict is probable and that we therefore have the greatest interest in having my visit to Moscow take place immediately.



(1) supra. Back

(2) For a summary of the German-Soviet Trade Agreement of August 19, 1939, see the memorandum by Schnurre of August 29, 1930, post, p 83. Back

(3) In a telegram of August 19, 1939, 1:44 p. m. (Moscow, No. 180, not printed here) Ambassador Schulenburg called attention to the fact that the following draft of a non-aggression treaty contained only two articles. Back

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