The German Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Schulenburg) to the German Foreign Office; March 30, 1940
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Moscow, March 30, 1940-11:40 p. m.
Received March 31, 1940-8:15 a. m.

No. 599 of March 30

For the Reich Foreign Minister personally.

Reference your telegram of the 28th, No. 543.

I. I personally believe firmly-as I reported on the occasion of my inquiry of October 17, telegram No. 554 [61]-that Molotov, conscious of his obligation, will visit Berlin as soon as the time and circumstances appear propitious to the Soviet Government. After careful examination of all factors known to me I cannot, however, conceal the fact that I consider the chances slight for the acceptance of an invitation at the present time. My opinion is based on the following considerations:

1. All our observations, particularly the speech of Molotov on March 29, confirm that the Soviet Government is determined to cling to neutrality in the present war and to avoid as much as possible anything that might involve it in a conflict with the Western powers. This must have been one of the main reasons why the Soviet Government broke off the war against Finland, abandoning the People's Government.

2. The Soviet Government having this attitude, it probably fears that a demonstration of the relations between the Soviet Union and Germany such as a visit by Molotov or by Stalin himself to Berlin might, at present, involve the risk of severance of diplomatic relations or even of warlike developments with the Western powers.

3. Indicative of the situation is the Tass denial mentioned by you which denies with rather striking plainness and firmness all rumors about an allegedly impending; trip to Germany by Molotov.

4. It is a known fact that Molotov, who has never been abroad has strong inhibitions against appearing in strange surroundings. This applies as much if not more to Stalin.

Therefore, only very favorable circumstances or extremely important Soviet advantages could induce Molotov or Stalin to make such a trip, in spite of disinclinations and "wariness;" furthermore, Molotov, who never flies, will need at least a week for the trip, and there is really no suitable substitute for him here.

II. Although the prospects for success therefore appear to be slight, I will, of course, do everything in my power in order to try to realize the plan, in case it is to be pursued any further. A suitable starting point for an informal conversation on that subject can be found without much trouble. The course of the conversation will reveal whether and how far I can go into the subject. As regards the invitation to Stalin, the possibility of a meeting in a border town would have to be left open from the very beginning.


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