Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939—1940 (diplomatic and other documents)
(Финляндия во внешней политике СССР в 1939—1940 гг.)

German diplomatic documents | Swedish and Nordic | British diplomatic dispatches | U.S. foreign relation documents


German-Soviet non-aggression pact and the secret additional protocol
- Finland, the Baltic states and the eastern part of Poland belong to the Soviet sphere of interest
Aug. 23, 1939
Molotov's address to the Supreme Soviet concerning ratification of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact.
- Signing of the non-aggression pact with Germany is of enormous positive value. Before that the Soviet Union had negotiations concerning mutual aid against aggression in Europe. The hostile attitude of Britain and France, and especially of Poland, made that impossible. The refusal of those countries were against the interests of the Soviet people, as well as, against the deep interests of peoples of other countries, too.
The relations between Germany and the Soviet Union had been tense since the rise of the National Socialists in Germany. But despite differences in outlooks and political systems the Soviet Government has always aspired to support normal business and political relations with Germany. Germany also saw needs to improve relations with the Soviet Union, which was expressed in restoration of trading and credit relations. An agreement concerning this was signed on August 19.
Some naive person might ask: How one can improve relations with a fascist type of state? But our principle is not to interfere with the internal state of a country. The same we expect with others towards us. We stand on the known basis of Lenin's principle about peaceful co-existance of the Soviet state and the capitalist countries. As we did with fascist Italy in 1933 in form of a non-aggression and neutrality pact. Since 1926 we had a contract of neutrality with Germany which was extended with the present Geman government in 1933.
On Aug. 23, 1939, a non-aggression pact with Germany was signed. Still in yesterday, the fascists pursued a hostile policy against us. Yes, yesterday on the field of foreign relations we were enemies. Today, however, the situation has changed and we ceased to be enemies. History has shown that hostility and wars between our two countries were not good. This pact puts an end to this. Thereby, the field of possible military collision has narrowed. Even if it will not be possible to avoid military collisions in Europe, the scale of these hostilities will be limited now. Dissatisfied with such situation there can be only instigators of all-out warfare in Europe, those who under mask of peaceful disposition want to fan a pan-European military fire.
There are also such "proofreaders" of the contract who see it bigger that was is written there. But this is only to generate mistrust to the contract in those and other countries. Hopelessly weakened enemies of the contract have thus exposed themselved. All this stir is conducted by seasoned imperialists. If these gentlemen want do some fighting, let them do but without the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union came into contract with Germany assured, that peace between the peoples of the Soviet Union and Germany corresponds to interests of all peoples, interests of a universal peace. The Soviet-German nonaggression pact means a turn in development of Europe, a turn towards improvement of the relations between the two biggest states of Europe. This contract not only gives to us an elimination of a threat of war with Germany, but also narrows the field of the possible military collisions in Europe, which thus serves the business of the universal peace. It should provide to us new possibilities in growing our forces, in strengthening of our positions, a further growth of influence of the Soviet Union on the international development. There is no need to stop on separate points in the pact. The Soviet of People's Commissars has the grounds to hope that the contract will meet your approval, as one of the paramount political documents of the USSR.
Aug. 31, 1939
Note of the Soviet government. Delivered to ministers and ambassadors of such countries, which maintain diplomatic relations with the USSR.
- The USSR follows a policy of neutrality in relations between the USSR and (the recipient country). The recipient countries included also Finland. Others were: Germany, Italy, Iran, China, Japan, Great Britain, France, Afghanistan, USA, Turkey, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mongolia, Denmark, Estonia, Sweden, Greece, Belgium, Rumania, Tuva, Lithuania, Norway and Hungary.
As on the front page of Pravda on Sept. 18, 1939.
As received by the Finnish legation at Moscow. Statement by Mr. Erkko, foreign minister of Finland, Sept. 18, 1939.
Sept. 17, 1939
Notes of a discussion between People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V.M. Molotov and the Finnish Minister in Moscow A.S. Yrjö-Koskinen
- The Soviet Union wants to continue trade negotiations, no new opinion about the Aaland Islands, Soviet trade routes through Finland, the Polish submarine can be hiding also in Finnish harbours
Sept. 19, 1939
Telegram of People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V.M. Molotov to V.K. Derevyanski Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Finland
- A quick arrival of the Finnish foreign minister at Moscow would be most welcomed
Oct. 6, 1939
Notes of discussion between People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V.M. Molotov and the Finnish Minister at Moscow A.S. Yrjö-Koskinen
- Molotov expresses his astonishment about delays of the Finnish government in replying to the questions of the Soviet government, in Latvia the reply was given the same evening
Oct. 7, 1939
Telegram of V.K. Derevyanski, Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- Finland has sought support from England and Germany, full scale preparations for war in Finland
Oct. 9, 1939
Telegram of the State Secretary in the German Foreign Office (Weizsäcker) to the German Minister in Finland (Blücher)
- German-Russian relations were discussed in broad political outline and a treaty of friendship has came into being. The well-known definitive line of demarcation was fixed. West of this line lie the German interests, east of it we have registered no interests. We are therefore not informed as to what demands Russia intends to make on Finland. We presume, however, that these demands would not be too far-reaching. For this reason alone a German stand on the question becomes superfluous. But after the developments cited above we would hardly be in a position, in any case, to intervene in the Russian-Finnish conversations.
Oct. 9, 1939
Telegram of V.K. Derevyanski, Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- a mobilization going on in Finland, newspapers advise to resist the demands of the Soviet Union on Finland
Oct. 11, 1939
Telegram of M. Judanov, Soviet temporary chargê in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- Cajander calms down the public, maybe islands can be discussed, the general public is very anti-Soviet, the Press not so much, people evacuated from the cities
Oct. 13, 1939
The report by L. Berija, Commissar for Internal Affairs, on telegrams from the British ambassador in Helsinki as grabbed by the Soviet intelligence in London.
- USA, Sweden nor Britain can give any advice to the Finnish government. No help to be expected from Germany
Oct. 13, 1939
Memorandum of the Government of the USSR to the Government of Finland
- The Soviet Union wants security to Leningrad and to the coasts of the Gulf of Finland, the articifial border line at Kalastajasaarento (Rybachi) should be straightened, a marine base at Hanko and anchorage at Lappohja for the Soviet navy, islands in the Gulf of Finland; land territory in Repola [Reboly] and Porajärvi [Porozero] as replacement for this, the non-aggression treaty should be complemented with regulations against hostile alliances, the fortification line in the Karelian isthmus must be teared down, Finland can deploy her troops in the Aaland islands
Oct. 14, 1939
Memorandum of the Finnish Government to Messr. Stalin and Molotov
Finland wishes her relations with the Soviet Union to remain friendly and good. To enable both these objects to be achieved, Finland is willing, for her part, to consider ways and means of meeting the requirements of the Soviet Union. The Finnish government are prepared to make an agreement to the effect that the following islands situated in the Gulf of Finland be ceded to the Soviet Union against territorial compensation: Seiskari, Peninsaari, Lavansaari and the Tyt(auml;rsaari islands. Finland is unable to consider a frontier adjustment of the magnitude of that contemplated in the Soviet Union's proposal, because Finland's own position and security would be thereby endangered. Moreover, the territory in question is a very densely populated district long inhabited by a Finnish population, and its cession would mean dragging tens of thousands of Finnish citizens out of their homes and removing them elsewhere. The mere cession of military bases to a foreign Power is in itself incompatible with unconditional neutrality. The Finnish government are prepared, if the Soviet Union so wishes, to give at any time a further assurance that they will honestly fulfil the said obligations.
Oct. 23, 1939
Memorandum of the Government of the USSR to the Government of Finland
- The claims of the USSR are minimalistic, the Soviet Union will not turn down the claim for Hanko, a 10 km wide strip of territory offered by the Finns cannot be accepted by the Soviet government, something can be bartered but not Koivisto [Primorsk]
Oct. 23, 1939
Telegram of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, to V.K. Derevyanski, Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Finland
- The are rumors that the silence on the Finnish side means a break off in the negotiations, find out!
Oct. 28, 1939
Speech of Comrade V.M. Molotov, People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs, at sitting of Supreme Soviet of USSR
Statement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Nov. 1, 1939.
Oct. 31,1939
The bulletin of Finnish Foreign Ministry concerning the public speech of Commissar Molotov in Moscow on Nov. 30, 1939
- Molotov disclosed Soviet territorial demands in hitherto confidential negotiations. This is a new situation and inevitably means a delay in them. Referring to Molotov's openly expressed threaths of using military force to make Soviet demands true, Finland points out that the current borders are agreed by both countries [in 1920] and there is a non-aggression pact between the countries up to the year 1945
Nov. 1, 1939
Notes of discussion between the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Swedish Minister in Moscow, Winther
- Swedish interference is improper, Sweden gave no protection to Finland either at the times of the czars
Nov. 2, 1939
Telegram of V.K. Derevyanski, Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- The essence in the speech of Prime Minister Cajander: The claims presented by the Soviet Union are not vital to her, these claims endanger the independence of Finland and weaken the defence, Finland will defend herself to the very last man. As you see, the government and soldiers stir up tension, casulties occur among those evacuated
Nov. 4, 1939
Telegram of M.G. Judanov, Soviet temporary chargê in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- Many versions circulate about the speech of foreign minister Erkko, the British Minister in Finland urges to turn down Soviet claims and incites war
Nov. 4, 1939
Telegram of M. Judanov, Soviet temporary chargé in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- Erkko's speech, military preparations, anti-aircraft material from Sweden
Nov. 4, 1939
Letter of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, to the leaders of the Finnish delegation for Soviet-Finnish negotiation at Moscow, J.K. Paasikivi and V.A. Tanner
- Molotov's solution for Finland to keep her neutrality: sell and incorporate Hanko to the Soviet Union, the rest of Finland now retains the neutrality. If not Hanko, maybe nearby islands? I consider that the objection contained in the memorandum of M. Paasikivi and M. Tanner, dated the 9th instant, that "Finland cannot grant to a foreign Power military bases on its territory and within the confines of its frontiers" is unfounded and indicates a misinterpretation of the attitude of the Government of the U.S.S.R. I return the memorandum of the Finnish government.
Nov. 9, 1939
Report of M. Judanov, Soviet temporary chargê in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- All ruling circles, Social-Democrats included, have encouraged the people to armed resistance against the "aggressive intentions" of the USSR. The industry is converted into a war material industry, military and other preparations show that the ruling circles turn down any attempts to find a solution, a military adventure is not excluded, the statement by Erkko, Russia is depicted as an oppressor, over 25 age classes are called into military service. The reservists grumble: over a month has passed but the Soviet Union does not seem to capture their country, discipline lessens, deserted are caught, regular reservists confront members of the civic guards, knives talk, drunken soldiers are noisy on the streets of Helsinki. Old trenches are fixed, new ones are dug, war expenses are enormous, the economy weakens, the population does not subscribe to war bonds etc.
Nov. 12, 1939
TASS repudiates news about the Soviet-Finnish negotiation in "Daily Express", which argues that Stalin has turned down the Finnish proposition.
- The Finns simply do not accept the minimum claims thus clearly indicating a lack of will for settling the matter amicably
Nov. 12, 1939
Letter of Finnish negotiators in Moscow to Commissar Molotov about not finding a basis for a treaty and of their return to Finland
- In view of the fact that, during the negotiations which we have been conducting with yourself and M. Stalin, we have unfortunately not succeeded in finding a basis for the projected treaty between the U.S.S.R. and Finland, we have felt it desirable to leave this evening for Helsinki.
Nov. 13, 1939
Telegram of I.M. Maisky, Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Great Britain, to V.M. Molotov, the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs
- (As regards Finland:) Churchill OK's that the Soviet Union is the mightest power in the Baltics, Soviet claims for the Isthmus and Hanko are legitimate. Maisky says that the British diplomats in Finland and Scandinavia disagrees with this. If this is true they, according to Churchill, counteract their own country, a showdown in Finland would, however, be harmful to Anglo-Soviet relations
Nov. 13, 1939
Report of the Ninth Army commander to the High Commander of the Leningrad Military District on steps and advancing of troops in the planned offensive Nov. 25, 1939
Pravda: A Buffoon holding the post of Prime Minister Nov. 26, 1939
Impudent provocation by Finnish warmongers ("Pravda")
- Soviet troops are shelled by the Finns near the border at the village of Mainila
Nov. 26, 1939
Note of M. Molotov on provocative shelling of Soviet territory and casualties thereof
Nov. 26, 1939
Report of M. Yudanov, Soviet chargé d'affaires in Finland, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- The Finnish foreign minister Erkko tries to serve the incident as a "Russian provocation" in a Swedish newspaper interview. Already before the Soviet note Finnish troops are transferred to the Karelian Isthmus, military high alert in Helsinki
Nov. 27, 1939
A. Reply note of the Finnish government. B. Soviet reply note to this
- Finland: We are happy to have been able to dispel this misunderstanding the very day after the receipt of the Soviet proposal. USSR: The Finnish reply reflects the deep-rooted hostility of the Finnish government. In consequence, the Government of the U.S.S.R. are obliged to state that they consider themselves, as from to-day, released from the obligations ensuing from the Treaty of Non-Aggression concluded between the U.S.S.R. and Finland, obligations which are being systematically violated by the Finnish government.
Nov. 27-28, 1939
New provocations by the Finnish military clique
- new Finnish attacks in Kalastajasaarento [Rybachi] and Käsnäselkä area
Nov. 28, 1939
Soviet political and economical representatives are recalled from Finland
- constant new aggressions by the Finns prevent maintaining normal relations, the USSR political and economical representatives are recalled
Nov. 29, 1939
Note of the Finnish Minister Yrjö-Koskinen to M. Molotov
- The Finnish government are prepared to come to an understanding with the Government of the U.S.S.R. concerning the withdrawal of the defence troops on the Carelian Isthmus to such a distance from Leningrad that it can no longer be claimed that they threaten the security of that town.
Nov. 29, 1939
Note of M. Molotov to Minister A.S. Yrjö-Koskinen
- The Government of the U.S.S.R. can no longer maintain normal relations with Finland and find themselves compelled to recall their political and economic representatives from Finland.
Nov. 29, 1939
Radio speech of Comr. V. M. Molotov, Chairman of Council of People's Commissars of USSR
- The only purpose of our measures is to insure the security of the Soviet Union and particularly of Leningrad. We cannot make the solution of this vital and urgent state problem dependent on the ill will of the present rulers of Finland. This problem will have to be solved by the efforts of the Soviet Union in friendly cooperation with the people of Finland. — We do not doubt that the favorable solution of the problem will provide the foundation for indestructible friendship between the USSR and Finland.
Nov. 29, 1939
Instructions by the NKVD for the safety of the People's Government of Finland to be located at Terijoki after it soon has become occupied by Soviet troops Nov. 29, 1939
Telegram of the Deputy USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.P. Potemkin, to V.K. Derevyanski, Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Finland
- a note was left to the Finnish Minister Yrjö-Koskinen about ceasing of diplomatic relations, Derevyanski and the whole staff should immediately quit Finland with their families, please, inform the day and route of departure urgently
Nov. 29, 1939
Telegram of K.A. Umanski, the USSR plenipotentiary representant in the USA to the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs
- The Finnish Minister has been informed that the US is ready to mediate. Please, quick reply is expected, now Finland can be presented as victim
Nov. 29, 1939
Telegram of K.A. Umanski, the USSR plenipotentiary representant in the USA to the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs
- Anti-Soviet press campaign has reaches its climax
Nov. 30, 1939
Diplomatic relations are established between the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Finland Dec. 1, 1939
Pact of mutual assistance and friendship between the Soviet Union and the Democratic Government of Finland (Heninen) Dec. 2, 1939
Audience of American ambassador Steinhardt with V.M. Molotov
- What Roosevelt says about bombing civilian targets is based on a misunderstanding. Of course, from America, which is situated 8.000 km afar, one cannot see the matter but this is a fact. — Replacing the Cajander government with Tanner's does not help. Appointing Tanner would be a complete failure, he was the evil spirit of the negotiations, if it had been Paasikivi only, everything would have already been agreed on. Furthermore, the Kuusinen government change the negotiation atmosphere and give the Soviet government a hope of finding a satisfactory solution to the crisis.
Report of the US ambassador in the Soviet Union, Steinhardt, to the US Secretary of State on Dec. 2, 1939.
Dec. 2, 1939
Letter of the Deputy USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, S.A. Lozovski, to the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov
- The proposition of the Swedish government to act as a protector of Finnish interests is unnecessary. The Soviet Union has recognized the Kuusinen government, which have taken over this role
Dec. 2, 1939
Soviet front magazine story: Soviet pilots over Viipuri, Dec. 7, 1940
- The Red Army does not fight against the people of Finland. The Soviet pilots do not bomb peaceful inhabitants. The interests, life and peace of the people of Finland are much more closer to them than ever to the hirelings of imperialists, the clique of Cajander-Tanner-Erkko. — And yes, the Soviet pilots did had a full reason to level it [Viipuri power station] down onto the ground. The energy from this station will be used to the needs of the White Finn military bases in the Karelian isthmus. At any minute the current could be switched into the barbed wire obstacles on the isthmus. But the Soviet pilots are far-sighted. They think about tomorrow. Better days will soon dawn to the much suffered people of Finland. The working people of this city, one of the largest in Finland, have the need for this power station.
Dec. 2, 1939
Telegram of K.A. Umanskii, Plenipotentiary of the USSR to USA, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- In spite of the aggravating campaign to break off the relations, I regard this, as before, extremely improbable. In addition to interpretations of earlier reasons, this impression is supported by a report from London, where at least a part of the British cabinet is against an American-Soviet break-off which would promote an even closer rapprochement of the USSR to Germany. — So, most probably the anti-Soviet pursuit will be further stimulated, Steinhardt is recalled, we are accused of intervening in internal affairs, all sorts of faults are picked up with our economic organisations, "recommendations" to refrain from bargaining with us are probably given to the aviation industry, and furthermore the People's Government are not recognised and Helsinki is encouraged to resist. Hull has not yet summoned me.
Dec. 2, 1939
Report of the Tula rayon NKVD on attitudes among the population.
- A hard blow will be given to Finland, the Finns will rise against their rulers; but also The Soviet Union will find itself in war with England and France, the Soviet Union will meet its end, any argument about Finnish aggression is a Soviet provocation to conquer Finland.
2. jouluk. 1939
Correspondence between the Soviet government and the General Secretary of the League of Nations
- The telegraphic reply of the Finnish government. Molotov: The Soviet Union is not in a state of war with Finland and does not threaten the people of Finland with war. Therefore, the reference to the Covenant of the League of Nations is inappropriate. The Soviet government would not find it possible to take part in these meetings. This decision is still invigorated by the fact that the communication of the Secretary-General of the League of Nations in convening of the Council and the Assembly, repeating the text of the insulting and slanderous letter of Mr. Holsti, is obviously incompatible with the due respect for the Soviet Union.
Dec. 4, 1939
Notes of discussion between People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, and the Ambassador of Germany, F. Schulenburg
- (Concerning Finland:) The Swedish Minister really handed him (Molotov) a negotiation offer of the so called government of Finland. Discussion was unnecessary because the Soviet Union recognizes only the Democratic Government. We are not at war with Finland, the Red Army assists this government, we believe in quick advance even though for the moment weather conditions and difficult terrain, British mines hidden by White Finns cause some trouble
Dec. 4, 1939
Telegram of K.A. Umanskii, Plenipotentiary of the USSR to USA, to the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- The US administration believes in "eyewitness" accounts about bombings of civilian targets, anti-Soviet campaign accelerates, all this explains Roosevelt's "moral embargo", in comments on aviation we are equated with Japan, a bomber of civilian targets
Dec. 4, 1939
Audience of Swedish Minister Winther with V.M. Molotov
- The Soviet government do not recognize the so called government of Finland, which already have left Helsinki to a site unknown
Dec. 4, 1939
To embassies in Moscow: USSR naval blockade on Finland
- On the request of the Democratic Government of Finland a naval blockade [by the Soviet Navy] is imposed on Finland. From 9th of December on [the described maritime area of Finland] is dangerous. No safety guarantees will be given to vessels that ignore this warning.
The Soviet Union asks German support to maintain Soviet submarines in the Gulf of Bothnia, Dec. 9, 1939.
The Soviet government protests strongly British measures to block export and import to Germany from neutral countries, Dec. 10, 1939.
[Dec. 7, 1939]
Dec.  9, 1939
Dec. 10, 1939
Notes of discussion between People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, and the Ambassador of Germany, F. Schulenburg
- Finland receives assistance from Sweden but the activities of Italy are particularly impudent. According to newspaper reports Italy sent 50 planes with pilots. It is told that they go through Germany. Schulenburg commented that Scandinavia is hostile to Germany. He interpreted the reports to be attempts to harm relations between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Dec. 9, 1939
Telegram of A.A. Shkvartsev, Plenipotentiary of the USSR to Germany, to V.M. Molotov, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs
- Italian arms transit through Germany is due to an old order. In the new situation it has been stopped. Germany has also turned down the request of Finland for a transit permit. Germany deplores that TASS publishes this kind of news without letting them first be checked by German authorities. It is recommended that in future before releasing news the German Embassy in Moscow is consulted. — Because of war not all material requested from Germany can be supplied
Memorandum of Dec. 11, 1939, by Reichs Minister von Ribbentrop.
Dec. 11, 1939
From the diary of I.M. Maisky, the Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Great Britain
- The war in Finland advances slowly, all the natural conditions are against us. On the Karelian Isthmus there is s strong protective fortification, all this will be won but with time. The slowdown in advancing nurtures a continuation in the anti-Soviet campaign already run for two weeks. England will also publish a "White Book" over the negatiation with the Soviet Union during the summer. The blame will be put on the Soviet Union. Tomorrow the League of Nations decision will be published, it will not contain open military support, people here wonder, who is the enemy nr. 1 — Germany or the USSR, however, no talk about breaking off the diplomatic relations. With some exceptions all our friends has buried their heads in the sand. The sooner things resolve, the faster matters will clear.The British love faits accomplis
Dec. 12, 1939
Reply of the Soviet government to the telegram of M. Caiero da Matta, the president of the League of Nations committee.
- da Matta requests the Soviet Union to stop immediately the military actions and asks her willingness to negotiations mediated by the League. Molotov refers to previous announcements and repeats that the Soviet Union is not going to take part in the process.
Dec. 13, 1939
From the diary of I.M. Maisky, the Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Great Britain
- The League of Nations expelled the Soviet Union, England and France conducted it all, England will, however, continue her normal relations, now the USSR is free, nothing to worry about
Dec. 15, 1939
Pravda: Expulsion from the League of Nations. TASS authorized circles' comment on this. Dec. 16, 1939
Notes of discussion (extract) of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Ambassador of Germany, F. Schulenburg
- Schulenburg reports that Soviet submarines have torpedoed German ships, even before the blockade. Molotov denies the accusations and suspects provocation. Schulenburg: Guarantees are needed that this will not be repeated because Germany is willing to continue trading with Finland. Molotov gives no promises, Germany applies to England the model that now is used by the Soviet Union in Finland, says Molotov.
Dec. 17, 1939
From the diary of I.M. Maisky, the Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Great Britain
- Opposition to the Soviet Union has slightly decreased. Reasons: Even if Mannerheim & Co. make whatever noise, the Finnish question is already solved. What sense it makes to the British government to shake their fists and spoil relations with the Soviet Union, when they have no way to "rescue" Finland? The farce played by the "anti-Comintern" block in Geneva has made the people in the Left to a new thinking. My impression is that the relations to England will deteriorate in future and, maybe, even break off.
Dec. 21, 1939
Telegram of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, to I.M. Maisky, the Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Great Britain
- In reference to your report concerning deterioration of relations between Britain and the USSR, one has to state that we carried out the necessary measures for the security of Leningrad paying no attention to other considerations. — Any talk about an alliance between the Soviet Union and Germany against England and France are groundless. We are going to eliminate the Mannerheim-Tanner clique and will carry through the war with determination.
Dec. 25, 1939
Telegram of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (b) to the leader of Germany, A. Hitler
- thanks for your congratulations on my 60th birthday
"Moscow News" reporting on Jan. 1, 1940, about the congratulations
Dec. 26, 1939
Memorandum of the Swedish Government to the governments of Great Britain and France
- Sweden is endeavouring to assist Finland by all means in her power short of military intervention. Contributions have been very considerable, and only a minor part of their total amount has been brought to public knowledge. The material in question has been sent to such an extent that Sweden, in order to safeguard her own security, is now bound to endeavour to replace this material from abroad with the utmost speed. An eventual common action by the two great Baltic Powers [Russia, Germany] would, in addition to other consequences for Sweden herself, with great probability lead to a speedy breaking down of the resistance of Finland, without, as far as the Swedish Government can see, the Powers outside the Baltic being able to prevent this. The Swedish Government would, in consequence, strongly recommend that assistance should be given in such a way that Sweden would not appear to take part in an international action; that deliveries of war material be given the character of Finnish purchases of war material from abroad; and that those technicians who are eventually considered necessary to accompany the war material in question be volunteers proceeding to Finland in a private capacity.
Jan. 4, 1940
The German ambassador in Moscow comments the war against Finland to the German Foreign Ministry
- The situation came about owing to the fact that the Soviet government were not sufficiently prepared for such a war, since it expected Finland finally to yield to its demands, just as the Baltic countries did. A misjudging of the situation on the part of the Finnish government caused the Soviet government to feel obliged to use force in order to avoid a loss of prestige after it had laid down a definite minimum program in Molotov's speech before the Supreme Soviet on October 21. The war against Finland was from the very beginning unpopular with the population of the Soviet Union. The fear of war, which has always been strong among the masses here and which had temporarily been diminished by the conclusion of the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany, has been given new fuel in the Finnish conflict. This sentiment has gained strength by the absence of victories at the Finnish front, by increasing supply difficulties, by reports about imminent price increases, and the large number of Red soldiers with frozen limbs who are crowding the provincial hospitals. When I remarked that the Finns could not simply by the nature of things expect the ultimate victory and would therefore probably be ready to enter into negotiations with the Soviet government, Molotov did not, interestingly enough, give an entirely negative reply but answered with the words that it was "late, very late" for this and that it would have been better for the Finns to accept the Soviet demands in the first place.
Jan. 8, 1940
Repudiation of the Staff of the Leningrad Military District
- On the second three weeks period the military situation remains the same. News agencies, like Havas, spread disinformation about Soviet losses, the staff has no time to refute them all. Any talk of losses of 14,000 men in the 44th division are ridiculous as the whole size of the division is only 10,000. The losses are only 900 mainly inflicted by the frost, not by Finnish troops. Foreign gossip-mongers are carefully silent about the Finnish losses, e.g. of the 2,000 troops, wounded, whom that members of the civic guards killed in cold blood to prevent them to be taken prisoners by Soviet troops. The Finns have not cut the Murmansk railway. German "experts" are not redeploying Soviet troops in Petsamo or anywhere else. It is hard to believe that foreign propagandists have sunken so deep.
Jan. 14, 1940
Pravda: Soviet relations with Sweden and Norway
- The ambassador's statement noted further that space was found in the Swedish press for outright appeals for war against the Soviet Union, and demands for armed intervention by Sweden in the war on the side of the Ryti-Tanner government against the USSR. — In this campaign it was calculated that provoking complications between the USSR and Sweden would meet with no opposition from the Swedish government. Moreover, certain official persons are openly taking part in the organization of military assistance for the Ryti-Tanner government; up to forty-seven recruiting stations were opened in Swedish towns by 7 December, under the patronage of the Swedish authorities. The number of 'volunteers' recruited runs into thousands. — The Soviet government direct the attention of the Swedish government to the facts enumerated above and to the actions of the Swedish authorities directed against the USSR. The Soviet government think it timely to point out to the Swedish government that these actions are not only inconsistent with Sweden's policy of neutrality, but may also lead to undesirable complications in the relations between Sweden and the Soviet Union. — Of late certain circles in Norway close to the Government, and the Norwegian press, have been conducting a wholly intolerable campaign against the Soviet Union which can have no other result than to damage and complicate relations between the USSR and Norway. —- The statement pointed out that together with outright calls for war against the Soviet Union, the Norwegian press also publishes demands that the Norwegian government should give military support to the Ryti-Tanner government against the Soviet Union. — It shows that the Swedish and Norwegian Governments are not putting up the necessary resistance to the activities of those Powers which are trying to drag Sweden and Norway into war against the USSR.
Jan. 15, 1940
The Estonian general Laidoner comments the Russo-Finnish conflict to the German minister in Estonia
- The General explained that he had on the whole gained the impression from Stalin's statements that the latter was not actually striving to incorporate Finland into the territory of the Soviet Union. Rather he evidently intended, as in the case of the Baltic countries, to content himself with obtaining certain strategic spots and clarifying Soviet-Finnish relations to the end that Finland could not align herself with the enemies of the Soviet Union. He evidently considered this solution adequate and more advantageous for the over-all interests of the Union than incorporation. — Nevertheless it was clear that now, once she had started, the Soviet Union had to continue her campaign if only for prestige reasons; she would not permit herself to be diverted by the setbacks which the Russian troops had suffered at the hands of the Finns. In their extreme sentimental leaning toward the Scandinavian-British orientation, the Finns had to a considerable extent lost sight of actual realities and for their part, too, underestimated the Russians. At first it had been believed that the latter were not actually in earnest; this turned out to be an illusion. It now seemed that Finland was placing great hopes in the Geneva resolution of the League of Nations, the declarations of sympathy by many countries, prominent among them England and France, and the occasional support in the form of gifts, volunteers, etc.; these, too, would turn out to be illusory. — The Soviet Union will not, in his opinion, be disinclined to reach a compromise agreement with Finland, though perhaps not precisely at the present moment, when the Red Army had just suffered setbacks for which Soviet Russia's prestige required compensation. He thought the psychological moment might come very soon, however, The General did not consider Kuusinen's government any real obstacle, for he believed that Stalin would abandon Kuusinen without hesitation if he thought this conducive to a solution appearing acceptable to the Russians, since Kuusinen was merely a pawn to Stalin, not a real power factor
Jan. 19, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the US ambassador L.A. Steinhardt
- several governments have asked Pres. Roosevelt to survey, if the conflict can be solved. It was Roosevelt who recognized the Soviet Union as thus distinguished himself from the opinions of the previous presidents and the general public. He is requested to break off relations what he hasn't done. The Republican presidential candidates call for this. Molotov stated that one reason to Hoover's failure was hostility against the Soviet Union. The ambassador is asked by the president to seek ways to solve the conflict. Molotov said that nothing is impossible. Molotov said that he listens to the ambassador's opinions. Fears, presented by the ambassadors, that fallen soldiers spread diseases, Molotov considered to be exaggerated. The ambassador said that this is only a passing comment. The most important matter is putting an end to military operations. Maybe the moment is not appropriate? Molotov said that presently the moment is not acceptable but there is nothing insurmountable preventing finding a solution. It must be based on same grounds as the agreement with the Democratic Government of Finland. The ambassador said that even more important than the territorial adjustments is independence. A government amicable to the Soviet Union can easily be chosen. Molotov spoke good about Paasikivi. Molotov didn't want to specify in what way Finland could threaten the Soviet Union but in the present world situation Finland could become a hotbed of war. On the independence of Finland the Soviet Union has no claims. Molotov knows that the Finnish government would now accept the previous conditions but, as blood is spilled, its attitude shows the deep hostility and previous conditions will not be enough. Molotov does not want to state precise conditions but the negotiations start within a few days. The Soviet claims will be fixed today or tomorrow. If the US government have other proposals then the Soviet government are ready to hear them.
Feb. 1, 1940
Repudiation of the Staff of the Leningrad Military District
- the hired foreign news agents spread unfounded information about Finnish bombardments in the Soviet territory. It might seem so now when on the Western front in Europe only microscopic operations take place, a confrontation of a company or two here is "a big event"
Feb. 4, 1940
President Roosevelt denounces Soviet attack on Finland on Feb. 10,1940: Newsreel clip (36s, mkv; Turner Cold War series, 1 (1996),YouTube). Subtitles in Russian.
- Roosevelt (Address to the Delegates of the American Youth Congress. Washington, D.C.): "More than twenty years ago, while most of you were very young children, I had the utmost sympathy for the Russian people. In the early days of Communism, I recognized that many leaders in Russia were bringing education and better health and, above all, better opportunity to millions who had been kept in ignorance and serfdom under the imperial regime. I disliked the regimentation under Communism. I abhorred the indiscriminate killings of thousands of innocent victims. I heartily deprecated the banishment of religion—though I knew that some day Russia would return to religion for the simple reason that four or five thousand years of recorded history have proven that mankind has always believed in God in spite of many abortive attempts to exile God.
- I, with many of you, hoped that Russia would work out its own problems, and that its government would eventually become a peace-loving, popular government with a free ballot, which would not interfere with the integrity of its neighbors.
- That hope is today either shattered or put away in storage against some better day. The Soviet Union, as everybody who has the courage to face the fact knows, is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world. It has allied itself with another dictatorship, and it has invaded a neighbor so infinitesimally small that it could do no conceivable possible harm to the Soviet Union, a neighbor which seeks only to live at peace as a democracy, and a liberal, forward-looking democracy at that."
Feb. 10, 1940
Telegram of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, to I.M. Maisky, the Soviet plenipotentiary representant in Great Britain
- motivations behind the Soviet claims now extended up to Viipuri [Vyborg]
Feb. 21, 1940
Denial of the Staff of the Leningrad Military District
- allegations about air raids on civilians, poisonous gases etc. are pure imagination
March 4, 1940
Telegram of the Deputy USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, S.A. Lozovski, to K.A. Umanskii, Plenipotentiary of the USSR to USA
- The friction between the US and the USSR is based on misunderstanding. The election of Roosevelt as president is a fine thing, the campaign for Finland in the US has damaged relations although the USSR has done nothing against the US. Speaking about peace is premature, even now the stubborn Ryti-Tanner government do not understand what time it is, [our] soldiers are against peace as well as the government, in waging war the Soviet economy is self-sufficing. The discussion was held in a friendly and vivid atmosphere.
March 4, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Ambassador of Germany, F. Schulenburg
- (As of Finland:) The ambassador wishes that when the Red Army conquers Finnish cities no restrictions will imposed on German honorary consuls [Schulenburg was not aware that the whole population was evacuated to inner parts of the country]. He congratulates Molotov for the successes of the Red Army and wishes to be informed it something new happens. Molotov tells that the case of Viipuri [Vyborg] must be solved. The city will be conquered within few days. A proposal for negotiations has come through the Swedes but pre-hostilities conditions does not hold good any more. Molotov tells of territorial demands saying that they are the minimum and that soldiers disagreee
March 5, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Ambassador of the US, L. Steinhardt
- Steinhardt did his best to prevent deterioration in US-Soviet relations but he is subjected to a huge pressure. The are 15 m. Scandinavians in the US with a considerable influence on the general public. I, says he, do not wish to interfere with the negotiations, which as I am told are going on here with the Finnish delegation, but if there is something we could do to end the conflict, please tell it to us. I believe that after the conflict our relations will return to normal. — The US Secretary of State Welles is making a tour in Europe in order to find out the motives of each warring country, the ambassador commented.
March 8, 1940
French Prime Minister on aid to Finland
- M. Daladier made a statement in the Chamber this afternoon in reply to the interpellations regarding French aid to Finland. The decision was taken at the Supreme War Council of 5th February. As far as France is concerned, since 26th February French troops have been organised, specially equipped and assembled, and transports have been ready in two great ports on the Channel and the Atlantic. But military intervention in Finland is only possible if Finland appeals to the Allies. M. Daladier's statement was applauded by the Left and Centre, but received in silence by the Right.
March 12, 1940
Treaty of Peace between the USSR and Finland (Heninen) March 12, 1940
"Pravda" comments the Peace Treaty
- The Soviet demands for the security of its north-western frontier are now completely fulfilled. This new victory of the Soviet peace policy is greeted with great satisfaction not only by the Soviet people but also by workers throughout the world. The peace makes mutual strong relations possible. — The Soviet Union has the right of passage through Petsamo to Norway and the right of transit traffic for goods to Sweden. The USSR and Finland will not join alliances directed against one party. The conditions for peace are identical with those in the radio speech of comrade Molotov, chairman of the Soviet government. In accordance with its peace policy the Soviet Union does not threaten the independence of other countries. Its neighbour, unlike the Soviet government, has not always respected the rights and interests of the Soviet people but has prepared a military stronghold in the near vicinity of Leningrad. The Soviet government's responsibility to its people, who does not want to take part in the collision of imperialistic powers, is to conduct its own policy and avoid being thrown into a war that has brought unforeseen calamities to peoples of the world. The agreements with the Baltic States strengthened peace in eastern Europe. The peace proposed by the Soviet government is advantageous to both parties. — Negotiations in October-November did not reach a conclusion for reasons outside the Soviet Union. Anglo-French imperialistic circles agitated Finland, like Poland and other countries at their times, for a war against the Soviet Union by making promises for illusory security guarantees. Three months was enough to make the illusions collapse. Anti-Soviet slanders and lies were told to the world. The heroic Red Army broke the fortifications on the Karelian Isthmus, which were declared by the Anglo-French technique as invincible. Inspired by patriotism soldiers, commanders and political workers of the Red Army and Navy showed that there are no fortifications that the Bolsheviks, the Red Army, the firm protector of the Soviet Union and a formidable sword against the enemies cannot conquer. The plans of imperialists have collapsed. The obscure appearance of the League of Nations did not help. In vain the imperialistic press called volunteers to fight against the Soviet Union. The sympathy of millions of workers was on side of the Soviet Union. — The Soviet Union has won what she wanted. The heroic deeds of the Red Army will eternally be kept in the mind of the Soviet people. There is peace on Soviet frontiers. This is a great victory for Stalin's peace policy. Warmongers suffered a huge defeat. They lost one of their most important bridgeheads in their campaign against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union stands without shaking as guardian of peace, as support and hope for the working people.
The leading article of the "Völkischer Beobachter", organ of the NSDAP, commenting the peace treaty.
March 13, 1940
Order of the Day nr. 42 to troops of the North-Western Front
- Comrades, Red Army soldiers, commanders, commissars and political workers! The war between Finland and the Soviet Union has ended. The Red Army with its mighty power has brought peace and security to our borders. Anglo-French war provacateurs threw Finland to a criminal adventure against the Soviet Union. The Red Army by the will of the Party and Government gave a strike to warmongers. The enemy tried to fight against the Red Army by strengthening the "Mannerheim Line" built under the direction of the British and French. The greatest obstacles were natural conditions. But nothing of this kind stops the army built by Lenin and Stalin. The concrete of the Mannerheim Line was pulverized. Not a single army has assaulted against a fortification of such modernity. No assault has conquered the fortifications on the German-French border. — The troops in the North-Western front write a new chapter of heroic deeds in the history of the Red Army. The whole Soviet people is proud of the deeds of its sons, which brought victory over the enemy, security on our borders and a permanent peace to the coasts of the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The war council of the North-Western front expresses its gratitude to everyone who did his duty with heroism and honestly fulfilled the mission given him by the Motherland. Flags at half-mast honour those sons of the Soviet people who lost their lives in fight for the honour, dignity and security of their Motherland. We salute and wish the wounded a quick recovery. — Long live the victorious Red Army! Long live our great leader, in whose name our troops went to battles and won, dear comrade Stalin! — S. Timoshenko, A. Zhdanov, I. Sorodin
March 14, 1940
Tass on negotiations to form a "defensive alliance" between Finland, Sweden and Norway
- TASS is authorized to inform that a "defensive alliance" is, which is made clear by the statements of the speaker of the Norwegian Storting, Mr. Hambro, pointed against the Soviet Union and thus contrary to the Peace Treaty
March 20, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the delegation of the government of the Republic of Finland
- practicalities of the peace treaty, border commission, release of [emigré Communists detained for subversion in Finland] Antikainen and Taimi, Hanko military base, a defensive alliance is against the peace treaty
March 21, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Kingdom of Sweden, P. Assarsson
- Sweden sees the defensive alliance as most useful, it would also prevent revanchist thoughts in Finland. Sweden wishes that the Soviet Union would hold back its comments before the guidelines in the alliance are publicized. Molotov: Reasons brought out by TASS prevent the alliance. Especially what Hambro said must be emphasized. If Sweden now changes her foreign policy, the Soviet Union will re-evaluate its relations to her. The Swedish say that passing statements should not be emphasized too much
March 25, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Kingdom of Norway, E. Maseng
- similar comments as with Assarsson
March 25, 1940
Report on the foreign policy of the Government. Delivered by Comrade V.M. Molotov, Chairman of Council of People's Commissars and People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs, at Sitting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
- the desire for peace expressed by Germany at the end of last year was rebuffed by the Governments of Great Britain and France, and, as a result, preparations for extending the war were further intensified by both sides. British and French governments have proclaimed that their aim in this war is to smash and dismember Germany, although this aim is still being concealed from the masses of the people under cover of slogans of defending the "democratic" countries and the "rights" of small nations. The Soviet Union refused to become an abettor of England and France in this imperialist policy. — The meaning of these events [war that took place in Finland] lay in the necessity of safeguarding the security of the northwestern frontiers of the Soviet Union and, above all, of safeguarding the security of Leningrad. It was not merely Finnish troops that our troops encountered, but the combined forces of the imperialists of a number of countries, including British, French and others, who assisted the Finnish bourgeoisie with every form of weapon, especially artillery and aircraft, as well as with their men in the guise of "volunteers", with gold and every kind of supplies, and with their frenzied propaganda all over the world for the purpose of kindling a war against the Soviet Union in every way. — Finland also received military aid from such a devotee of "peace" as the United States of America. — It is well known that the Governments of Great Britain and France made desperate efforts to prevent the termination of the war and the restoration of peace in Finland, although they were not bound by any obligations toward Finland. If proofs were needed that the British and French imperialists have not yet discarded these hare-brained plans, the recent events in Finland have dispelled all doubt on this score. These plans were again thwarted, not because of a lack of zeal on the part of anti-Soviet forces in England and France, and not merely because at the last moment the leading circles of Finland, and also in Sweden and Norway, finally showed some common sense. — The truth lies elsewhere; it is that the Soviet Union, having smashed the Finnish army and having every opportunity of occupying the whole of Finland, did not do so and did not demand any indemnities for its expenditures in the war, as any other power would have done, but confined its desires to the minimum and displayed magnanimity toward Finland. — It must be admitted that the treaties concluded by the Soviet Union with Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania have served to strengthen the international position both of the Soviet Union and of Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In spite of the scare raised by the imperialist circles hostile to the Soviet Union, the state and political independence of Esthonia, Latvia or Lithuania has not suffered in any way, while the economic intercourse between these countries and the Soviet Union has begun markedly to increase. — In summing up the events of this past period, we see that we have achieved no mean successes as regards safeguarding the security of our country in this period. And it is this that makes our enemies furious. Confident, however, in our cause and in our strength, we will continue consistently and unswervingly our foreign policy.
British chargé comments on Molotov's speech, March 31, 1940
March 29, 1940
Announcement of handing over the Petsamo area to the Finns
- official announcement of the transfer
April 9, 1940
Announcement of the staff of Leningrad military district
- Finland has officially announced the number of her losses as 66,406 persons, 19,576 as in action killed and 3,263 as those disappeared. — The staff of the Leningrad military district is obliged to inform that figures announced strongly contradict the real losses of Finns. The number of those killed in action is 85,000 at least, and when the wounded are included, the figures reach 250,000 and over. As the numerical size of the Finnish army is 600,000, those figures tell that at the time fighting ended Finland had actually no army. — Despite of boasting the Finns had to share the fate of the Napoleonic army in Russia, to capitulate right after the first serious blow of the Soviet army, even though they got considerable assistance from Norway, Sweden, England, the US, France and other countries. The Finns speak about "considerable losses" but they don't tell, how large. The staff of the Leningrad military district has calculated that starting from the 11th of February, when the Soviet troops began their operations, up to March 12, one day before the peace treaty, the losses where at least 2,000 a day. — The staff finds it necessary to publish these figures in order to repudiate the ridiculous lies about the Finns' situation in the Finnish, European and American press.
June 3, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Comrade Molotov called Minister Paasikivi and said that the Soviet Union is interested in the nickel mining area in Petsamo [in Lapland not far away from the Arctic Sea] and wishes to be granted a concession. If the Finns wish, a joint company can be established. The USSR is aware of concessions already granted but expects anyway being informed about a satisfactory answer. Paasikivi said that there are no legal objection against an arrangement like this. However, the matter is far from clear as the British-Canadian company already has a concession. Comrade Molotov said this being a pure formality and stressed the Soviet government's interest in the mine. — Comrade Molotov discussed about the statement of the government of Finland concerning the change of Enso area [on SE border] to another area in the Soviet Union. Paasikivi says that the area proposed by the Soviet Union is not equivalent with Enso.
The Finnish Minister Paasikivi's telegram of June 23, 1940.
June 23, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- The Finnish government are willing to sell 50 percent of the nickel ore of the present licensee to the Soviet Union. The Germans are also interested in the ore and certain promises have been made. Comrade Molotov said that this is no explanation because the concession or a joint company with Finns is what is desired.
Paasikivi's telegram of June 27, 1940 to the Finnish Foreign Ministry. The telegram of June 28, 1940. And the telegram of July 10, 1940.
June 27, 1940
Communiqué about signing of a trade treaty between the USSR and Finland
- A trade treaty between the USSR and Finland is concluded. The volume of the trade is on both sides 7.5 mill. US dollars. Finland will deliver tug-boats, barges, electrical appliances, copper cable, leather, technical paper, animal fat, meat and other products. The Soviet Union will provide rye and wheat, oil products, manganese ore, cotton, tobacco and other products.
June 28, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Paasikivi told that there will be no problems in eliminating the British-Canadian company and that negotiations with us will soon start. Comrade Molotov wished that Finland will not furnish the Aaland islands with arms. For ascertainment of this the Soviet Union desires to establish a consular office on the islands. Finally comrade Molotov handed a memorandum about the borderline at Enso.
July 3, 1940
Proposal for transit traffic to the Soviet marine base at Hanko. Submitted by the Soviet Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- In order to transport to the area the necessary land and air forces, the maintenance of which is presupposed by Article 4 of the [peace] treaty, and in order to supply the forces in question, it is essential that an agreement be made between the USSR and Finland whereby Soviet trains will be allowed to travel on Finnish railways to and from Hanko.
July 9, 1940
Telegram of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, to A.A. Shkvartsev, the plenipotentiary representative of the Soviet Union in Germany
- (As regards Finland:) The German government do not approve confiscation of the properties of German citizens in Western Ukraine, in Western Bielorussia and in Finland and suggests that the movable properties of German citizens in those areas, especially that of Käkisalmi paper mill, will be returned or compensated. — I indicated that the suggestion made by Schulenburg to return the property is unreasonable.
July 13, 1940
Notes of discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the ambassador of Germany in the Soviet Union, F. Schulenburg
- (A regards Finland:) The German government presented a memorandum, in which it tells of being assured that the Soviet government will pay attention and respects the economic interests of Germany. The political aspect is no interest of Germany. Schulenburg stated that the German government accept the proposal of the Soviet government that 60 percent of the nickel ore in Petsamo will be allocated to Germany. The German government have negotiated for long with the Finnish government about transferring the concession as well as building a nickel refinery at the site and reserve the right to submit proposals to this to the Soviet government. Comrade Molotov said that neither Germany or Finland have informed in due time about negotiations between them. The Finns are favourable to this and only one moth was considers to be enough to transfer the concession from the British-Canadian company. According to treaties of 1920 and 1940 the Soviet Union holds special political and economic interests in the Petsamo area. Schulenburg said that he will report his government especially about this.
July 17, 1940
Commissar Molotov complains that the Finnish government oppose the work of the Society for the Friendship and Peace between Finland and the USSR. Likewise on Aug. 4th. The Finnish Minister Paasikivi's reply on Aug. 22.
- Commissar Molotov complained to me today that the members of the Finnish government, especially Minister Tanner, oppose the work of the "Society for the Friendship and Peace between Finland and the USSR". — (Paasikivi:) The people and the Government of Finland do strive for good relations. This is shown by the fact that things in general have been settled all right. The latest illustration of this is furnished by the Hanko railroad agreement, which was not mentioned at all in the Peace Treaty, and in which we agreed to a big concession. M. Molotov admitted that the Hanko railway matter was not mentioned in the Peace Treaty, but said that the transportation of Russian troops and material does not cause us any disadvantages. I replied to this that it is not pleasant to have the military of a foreign Power travel through our country. — When I stated that in Finland there exists a general effort to establish good relations with the USSR. It has been stated in our government circles, [Molotov] claimed, that nobody who accepts the Peace of Moscow is a Finn. He also claimed that we were hard at work on defenses in Hanko and along our border, and that hatred of the USSR is spread among the soldiers. I referred to my earlier statement concerning the duty of an independent state to look to its defenses, and I denied the stimulation of hatred among the soldiers. M. Molotov suggested that we are counting on some new turn, favorable to us, in the present Great War. I told him that this was the first time I had heard that thought expressed. In spite of my explanations, M. Molotov held on to his contentions, as he has ever done.
July 24, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the deputy foreign minister of the Kingdom of Sweden, E. Boheman
- The negotiations of Boheman with Mikoyan have finished successfully. The Swedish government have made great sacrifices to bring them to a fine end. Sweden has in the Baltics substantial property interests. Loans to governments and private owners rise to 35 mill. Swedish crowns. Now, Swedish factories have been nationalized. Their nominal value is 30 mill. crowns. The figures are only preliminary. — The Swedish government wish to make a deal about them with the Soviet government. As a good-will gesture Sweden returns the gold of those countries, which has been in Sweden. She will do this because she is fully confident about the will of the Soviet government to respect the rights and interests of the Swedes. Comrade Molotov answered that Sweden should not regret returning the gold. Molotov is not intimated with the requests Sweden presented. They should be examined. — Parts of the credits were used against the Soviet Union and it is clear that they cannot be submitted to discussions. The matter will be re-entered later and maybe something can be done in favour of Sweden. Boheman disputed the argument that any loans had been used against the Soviet Union. They were loans for construction of industrial buldings. Comrade Molotov said that before making any decision he has to intimate with the subject. Boheman said that he desires to hand a list about Swedish requests. Molotov refuted this saying that it will be needed in the second phase when the governments of those countries and representatives of the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs will familiarize themselves with the matter. Molotov said that he will urge the case. — Boheman stated that the Swedish government are interested in preserving peace in our corner of the world and asks Molotov's view on this. The Swedish government desire that relations are good and wants to make contributions to this. — (Molotov:) Military preparations that are conducted by the Finns on the Soviet border and statements hostile to the USSR in certain government circles in Finland have aroused justified puzzlement in the Soviet Union. Like slogans "you can't call a Finn a person, who tolerates the situation caused by the peace treaty" or "who is not for return of what we have lost". Especially Mannerheim has said these things. Assarsson refutes claims about Mannerheim nurturing thoughts of a revanche. Mannerheim was against war, says Paasikivi. Boheman is sure that the majority of Finns is for good relations. The resignation of Tanner showed this. Military measures near Soviet borders should be interpreted as signs of fear prevailing now everywhere. — Comrade Molotov agrees that the people of Finland does not want war. Citizens in any country do not want war. But in government circles one can find deviating opinions. If only two people voted against war with the Soviet Union, as Assarsson told, does it not prove the existence of adventuristic policy in Finnish governmental circles. Tanner has not completely vanished. He has disappeared in shadows but he has allies in the government. The Finnish government inflame anti-Soviet tendencies. The Soviet government are aware of the military preparations but it does not know what the Finns are looking for with this. The Finnish government are playing a double game: it pretend to fight against anti-Soviet expressions but, in reality, it is supporting them. The Soviet Union, on her side, has gone to improve relations by meeting the Finnish wishes in economy. — Bogeman said that comrade Molotov is not sufficiently informed. Adventuristic elements, which do exist, will not determine the policy of Finland. He recently had a long conversation with [Prime Minister] Ryti. — The Soviet government are informed about the military preparations on the Finnish side. Maybe they are reflections of similar thing on the Soviet side. The USSR - the greatest power in Europe - has nothing to fear about. Especially now, as the Soviet military still stays untouched. Poor Finns cannot do anything to the Soviet Union. — Comrade Molotov said that his information can be defective but it is correct. Despite of all this we have to be patient.
Aug. 19, 1940
Pravda: Anniversary of the Soviet-German pact
- A year ago a non-agression pact between the Soviet Union and Germany was concluded in Moscow. This pact is one of the most important documents in the history of our times. It meant a complete about-turn in Soviet-German relations and "was a turning point in the history of Europe, and not only of Europe" (Molotov). It ended enmities between Germany and the Soviet Union which enmities were artificially inflamed by war provocateurs. The friendship of peoples of the Soviet Union and Germany drove them to a dead-end. As history has proved, fostering enmity has never brought any advantage neither to the people of Germany or of the Soviet Union. Difference in political systems should not be any obstacle to good relations. Comrade Stalin formulated a consistent policy of peace in the 18th Party congress. Germany has defined her policy based on same principles and on the major role of the Soviet Union in international politics and her influence in the whole international development. The pact was concluded at the time when clouds of war hovered over Europe, at the time of gradual preparation for it in diplomatic chancelleries of London and Paris. — Later events confirmed that war provocateurs expected a war to break out between Germany and the Soviet Union, between two big countries in Europe. Plans for this were found and published, against the wills of their planners. This aim, provoking an armed conflict between the Soviet Union and Germany, served the notorious "non-interference" policy of Anglo-French diplomacy, a throughout Munich-style policy, trying to incite Germany to attack the Soviet Union. — Comrade Stalin gave in the 18th Party congress a crushing characterization of the policy of non-interference, which is part of the imperialistic war in Europe. A war into which Anglo-French imperialists wanted to tie the Soviet Union. He called alertness so that war provocateurs do not draw our country into conflicts. In negotiations with England and France the Soviet Union tried to implement her political duty in securing Western borders, as Anglo-French diplomacy, ignoring the objectives of the Soviet Union, was organizing a war and tried to involve the Soviet Union in it. — The maneuvers of imperialists collapsed in Moscow and Berlin. For reason, the peoples of Germany as well as of the Soviet Union regarded this historical document, which lays the foundation to the friendship of these peoples, as a triumph for an anti-war policy. Through signing of this pact the threat of eastern Europe becoming a theatre of war was removed. The Anglo-French imperialistic press started a fight against the Soviet-German pact, raised an angry howling, instigated a furious slander campaign against the Soviet Union. The news of Soviet-German pact was the last warning to organizers and instigators of an imperialistic war. However, this did not have any effect. The first victim was to the score rotten Polish state, which hurried to an adventurous war relying on the notorious "guarantees" of London and Paris. Poland of the pans collapsed like a house of cards without getting any help from her allies. Despite of setbacks the Anglo-French block did not give up its plans. — The German-Soviet trade agreement of Sept. 28, 1939, created a strong foundation to a permanent peace in eastern Europe. After Polish collapse Germany proposed ending the war to Britain and France. The Soviet Union supported the German proposal. But it evoked no response. The sufferings of all those peoples, which these organizers of war had succeeded in dragging to their war, continued. The German-Soviet agreement facilitated the Soviet Union in preserving her neutral status and in carrying on her policy of peace. — A year has lapsed. The German-Soviet pact has passed the examination, even when this examination took place in special circumstances, under a war between the largest capitalistic countries, enlarged into an enormous scale, with known international elements constantly and stubbornly trying to drive a wedge between German-Soviet relations.
Aug. 23, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- During the audience he spoke to Paasikivi about three items: 1. We need railway transportations to Hanko and the matter must be settled this year. 2. I insist speeding up the reply of the Finnish government in question of granting the Soviet Union a nickel concession or creating a joint Finnish-Soviet company in Petsamo, where the licensee now is a British-Canadian company. Paasikivi promised to urge this matter. 3. The Finnish proposal for the agreement on Aaland islands can be taken as ground paper with certain changes of which I will inform you later. Paasikivi made a comment on difficulties in changing "international" agreements. I said that circumstances have changes since 1921 and stood firmly behind our demands.
Aug. 30, 1940
Paasikivi's report on discussion between him and Commissar Molotov about the nickel affair in Petsamo.
- I had a conversation with Commissar Molotov about the nickel affair. It was very disagreeable, as I had expected. He said it depended on the Finnish government whether or not the matter was arranged. When I emphasized the point that the government had no right to cancel the concession when the owners of the concession do not give their consent, he asked whether he was to understand the matter to mean that the Finnish government are prepared to arrange the matter, provided a proper legal formula is found. This was possibly a hint that the USSR would be able to make arrangements with the British company. He repeated, what he has said before, that it was not only the nickel that was important to the USSR, but the area itself, and that only Finland and the USSR were involved in the area.
Sept. 14, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the German chargé, V. Tippelskirch
- Top secret. Special casing. Sent to: Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Mikoyan. — Tippelskirch said that he has two important notices sent by Ribbentrop. Molotov thanked about the prior notice concerning Japan. He said that in accordance with the article 4 of the 1939 pact the Soviet Union had given a similar prior notice, if she had been an active part in something. The article says, that "the parties do not take part in any agreements which directly or indirectly are aimed against the other party". This obligation is of mutual character. Therefore it is completely natural that the German government inform the Soviet government beforehand. — Recent news in Berlin tell that Germany has made an agreement on military matters with Finland. Comrade Molotov asked Tippelskirch if this is true. He answered that he does not know. Molotov read telegrams from the Soviet ambassador in Berlin. In the press conference of German Foreign Ministry on 25th of September head of department Schmidt told that the Finnish government had published a communiqué about transit of German troops through Finland to Norway. United Press published news about arrival of German troops in Vaasa on 24th of September and the lodging of high officers who arrived with the troops. Tippelskirch repeated that his is not aware of the matter. The Soviet government request a full information about the agreement, including secret protocols. This agreement affects also Soviet interests in Finland. It is related to the articles 3 and 4 in the pact. If the German government interpret the matter similarly, comrade Molotov expects that his request will be carried out accordingly.
The report of German chargé Tippelskirch to Reichs Foreign Ministry on Sept. 27, 1940
Sept. 26, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- About the Aaland islands agreement. Details. [Molotov made ironic comments on the Finnish view of need to inform other international parties:] Has Finland given information also to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania? Why is Italy among the signatories? [Paasikivi:] A modification of the agreement cannot come into force without normal change of ratifications. [Molotov:] Yes, but why the peace treaty of March 12, 1940, was implemented at once but ratified later? — Comrade Molotov asked if Paasikivi has any matters to inform. No. He himself had two points. He wanted the texts of the agreement of German troops transit and detailed information where-to in Norway they go. Paasikivi said that he has no official information about this. — Comrade Molotov said that they have information about an agreement between Finland and Sweden. Paasikivi said that nothing of the kind exists. Comrade Molotov reminded Paasikivi that no response is given concerning the nickel concession and urged the matter.
Finnish Minister Paasikivi's telegram on Sept. 28, 1940. The telegram of Sept. 29, 1940.
Discussion of the British Minister, Mallet, in Stockholm with Swedish Foreign Minister Günther and with the Soviet Envoy, Mme. Kollontay, Sept. 27, 1940.
- German agreement with Finland for the transit of troops to North Norway. M. Günther told me that it had come as a complete surprise to him and also to the Finnish Minister here. He was inclined to regard it as a political gesture with the object of warning Russia to keep her hands of Finland and admitted that it was not without some indirect advantage to Sweden. He then went on to give me the confidential figures regarding German troop transits through Sweden from the beginning up to last week. It was obvious that they were there more to watch Russia than anything else, and to be in a position if trouble came to seize the Petsamo harbour and nickel mines immediately. Later this afternoon I had occasion to call upon my Soviet colleague. Mme. Kollontay at once asked me what I thought about the Vasa transit question. I said that it did not seem to me to be of great military importance because the numbers which could pass up the Arctic highway would not be very great. She replied that her military attaché had been discussing the question with her this morning and that they agreed with this view. Later on Mme. Kollontay reverted to the Vasa transit, which evidently puzzled and rather worried her. I tried to find out whether the German Government had given Moscow prior notice of their intentions. She made it fairly clear that, if her Government had known, they had anyhow not informed her, and my impression was that, the Soviet Government had been kept in the dark.
Sept. 27, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Debate about the ratification of the Aaland islands agreement: Molotov makes remarks about the earlier peace treaty and the fact that it was ratified afterwards. Paasikivi insisted on following the Finnish legislative procedure
The Finnish Minister Paasikivi's telegram on Oct. 1, 1940.
Sept. 30, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Practicalities of the Aaland islands agreement — (Paasikivi:) Transit of German troops. It covers about 2,000 persons. Where they are heading for is unknown to Finland, from here they go to Kirkenes. They will not remain in Finland. Comrade Molotov asked, if the agreement is one-time only, and is this 2,000 persons already transported. Paasikivi promised to make inquires. — There is no secret agreement between Finland and Sweden. — Paasikivi promises a quick answer to the nickel concession agreement within a few days. Comrade Molotov wondered the reasons for a delay. Paasikivi told that the Finnish government have not succeeded in making an agreement with the British-Canadian company, which resists it. Comrade Molotov said that there is no sense in making references to that company as the British ambassador Cripps already on June 23 commented that the British government are glad, if the Soviet Union and Finland reach an agreement about joint exploitation of nickel and even promised British technical assistance to this. Paasikivi promised to take this message of Cripps to his government. Molotov urged a quick response to this.
Oct. 9, 1940
Agreement Between Finland and the Soviet Union Concerning the Aaland Islands
- The USSR is granted the right to maintain its own consular office in the Aaland Islands. In addition to ordinary consular functions, it shall also control the observance of the demilitarization and nonmilitarization of the Aaland Islands. In the event that the USSR consular representative observes circumstances which in his opinion run counter to the provisions of this agreement for the demilitarization and nonfortification of the Aaland Islands, he has the right to notify Finland's authorities, through the Provincial government of the Aaland Province, of the holding of a joint investigation.
Oct. 11, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Kingdom of Sweden, P. Assarsson
- Excluding the special agreement with Germany concerning German property, Sweden is the only country, which is offered a compensation in Estonia, Latvia ans Lithuania. Comrade Molotov wishes that Sweden will accept it. There is no compensation for German property in Western Ukraine or Byelorussia, Bessarabia or in northern Bukovina. The USSR made an agreement cooncerning these areas without any offer for compensation. — Assarsson will forward this to his government and thanked comrade Molotov for good-will. Assarsson asked about continuation of cooperation with Sweden in construction of a hydro-electric plant in Latvia. Molotov answered that he is not intimate with the matter and promised to answer later. — The minister wishes to express the opinions of the minister of economic control Erickson and comrade Kollontai, with whom he had discussed in Stockholm about the general situation and German transit traffic through northern Finland. The minister sees Sweden feeling being encircled from every direction. The situation in Norway arouses worries. Comrade Molotov said that one can't but agree with this. Sweden and the Soviet Union should come closer to each other and cooperate. This is a conclusion that must be drawn. Assarsson said that the same is wanted in Sweden. — Assarsson said that people in Sweden are very worried about situation in Finland. Sweden wants to give good advice to Finland to maintain good relations with the Soviet Union because of their own sake. Comrade Molotov also considers this as desirable. The minister said that before leaving Sweden he spoke with some representatives of the government. They shared his opinion. The present government of Finland are loyal and correct in its relations with the USSR but there are elements in Finland that counteract this. Comrade Molotov said that the Soviet government are not completely satisfied with the attitude of the Finnish government although some progress with relations between the Soviet Union and Finland can be observed. One of these is the agreement of demilitarization of the Aaland islands. As regard to the transit traffic of German troops comrade Molotov said that he has some information from both Finland and Germany but for the moment no clear picture can't be made. — Assarsson stated that presently the Finnish government have a great esteem towards the Swedes. The channel through government of Sweden is also available. Comrade Molotov expressed his gratitude and said that he possibly will find some use of it in the future. Molotov added that he had told Paasikivi that the relations are not completely in order. — The Minister said that there is a great interest in Sweden for Finland. The common history of past 700 years is a natural cause for this. They want to save Finland from dangerous games in future, they want to do it in cooperation with the Soviet government. Sweden wants to see Finland as independent. The exists some anxiety about attempts by certain elements to change the government of Finland using Moscow's support. Comrade Molotov stated that he has never heard about any demands of the USSR to change the government of Finland. The Finns themselves have invented this. It is true that we can't deny our sympathy for the persecuted "Society of Friendship with the Soviet Union", with which, by the way, the Soviet government have nothing to do, or worries about Finnish military preparations near the Soviet border. They do not make us feel frightened but they give us the right picture for the opinions. — The minister commented that the Finns are afraid that comrade Molotov requests [Prime Minister] Ryti's and [foreign minister] Witting's resignation from the government even when both have a loyal opinion towards the USSR. Furthermore, the Minister emphasized that also Sweden invests in strengthening the defense and in the event, in which some-one puts demands on military bases in Sweden, the people and government of Sweden will resist it. Comrade Molotov said that the Soviet government cannot approve the current anti-Soviet agitation among the population. This has found expressions in statements like "a Finn can't be a person who is satisfied with the treaty of March 12". Assarsson said that the Finnish government itself are not propagating this sort of agitation. Ryti, Witting, Paasikivi are for good relations with the USSR. "Therefore Paasikivi should keep distance from the government" — said comrade Molotov and ended the discussion.
Oct. 11, 1940
Discussion of the British Ambassador in Moscow, Sir Stafford Scripps, with the Swedish minister, Assarsson
- Swedish Minister had seen Molotov on Oct. 18. Molotov was very much concerned about German troops. Soviet Government were not likely to forget this incident, which, Swedish Minister gathered, he blamed on Germany rather than Finland. He was very annoyed at the enthusiastic pro-German and anti-Russian feeling displayed in Finnish press and otherwise publicly. Though Molotov said he trusted the Finnish Minister here and Prime Minister of Finland as being desirous of a genuine friendly feeling towards Russia, there were others with a different outlook. Swedish Minister stated that he thought that the attitude of Finland towards coming of German troops was very foolish. If it got them into trouble with Russia, Sweden would not help them out of it, as it would be their own fault. He is convinced of the fundamental hostility towards, and reprobation of, Germany in Russia among 90 per cent, of the people and in the Soviet Government. Molotov is pro-German and very anti-British in his views.
Oct. 19, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Paasikivi arrived after a call. Comrade Molotov first paid attention to the lack of response from the Finnish government to the Soviet request for a nickel concession. The Finnish government had already promised to sell 10 percent of the ore this year as well as to carry on with practical arrangements. Secondly, to the furious anti-Soviet campaign in Finland. Comrade Molotov also said that referring to resistance in the British-Canadian concession or to a negative answer of the British government are unsatisfactory. The negative answer given to the British minister in Helsinki came out not until now while the well-known answer of Cripps to comrade Lozovski was delivered already in June. Comrade Molotov commented also that the agitation hostile to the USSR is served by tens of anti-Soviet books published in Finland. Nothing good to Finland cannot follow from this. All this demonstrate the unwillingness of the Finnish government to establish normal economic and political relations with the USSR and will only bring counter-measures from the Soviet side. mdash; Paasikivi tried to give defenses. He promised to inform about the answer of the Finnish government within five days. Moreover, Paasikivi said that neither the Germans receive any nickel ore, because the mine is not working, and that he is not aware of the anti-Soviet agitation but he will revert to the matter. — Furthermore, Paasikivi handed a memorandum about regulation of the water level at river Vuoksi and about construction of a hydroelectric plant at Enso, and a memorandum for concluding an agreement between the USSR and Finland on prevention of border incidents, a draft for agreement and execution protocol.
Finnish Minister Paasikivi's discussion with Deputy Commissar Vyshinski on Oct. 30, 1940. Discussion with Commissar Molotov on Nov. 2, 1940.
Nov. 1, 1940
Discussion of the USSR first deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, A.J. Vyshinski, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- 1) according to Paasikivi [Prime Minister] Ryti had discussed with the USSR minister in Helsinki, Zotov, about the nickel concession to be granted to the Soviet Union in Petsamo. Ryti had said that Finland can accept the agreement provided that Britain will accept it. I replied to Paasikivi that the subject was recently discussed with the British ambassador Cripps in Moscow. He had said that the information possessed by the British minister in Helsinki is not up-to-date and that he, Cripps, has received a telegram from his government that restated that it does not oppose transferring the concession to the Soviet Union or to a joint Soviet-Finnish company. — At the same time I emphasized that here we have the essential approval of the British government, although setting reservations for its temporal validity, recently brought out by Cripps, and thus everything else relies on the Finnish government. Paasikivi tried many times to remark that the British government have agreed on temporary rather than permanent conditions for a Soviet concession. After I repeated that the solution now rests with the Finnish government, Paasikivi asked if we have discussed the matter with German government. I replied that the German government do not object granting the concession to the Soviet Union and that in negotiations between Molotov and the German ambassador at Moscow, Schulenburg, an agreement was reached in which Germany gets 60 percent and the USSR 40 percent of the ore mined in Petsamo in 1940. Paasikivi returned to the subject inquiring if this is confirmed by the German ambassador. To these efforts by Paasikivi I replied that I see no need for this because the opinion of the German government is completely clear and requires no clarification. — I said to Paasikivi that it is time for the Finnish government to stop dawdling and red tape because all formal provisos set forth by Finland are now eliminated and and all the preconditions have now been met. Paasikivi promised to be immediately in contact with his government and to give a reply. 2) Paasikivi informed that on Nov. 1 the USSR consul in Mariehamn [Aaland islands] gave a map of mine fields, which should be blasted under his control and that the matter is in condition now. — 3) Paasikivi informed that he just two ours before this discussion received a reply to his message concerning anti-Soviet literature. The Finnish government explained that this sort of literature can be published because there is no censorship. Paasikivi said that he has read one of the books mentioned by V.M. Molotov and send a report of it to Helsinki. It is his duty to inform that this book is "indecent and unacceptable in content" and that the Finnish authorities have already confiscated it and that the Finnish government express its regret at this. All other books will be examined and if found anti-Soviet, they will be confiscated. 4) At the end of discussion Paasikivi handed a memorandum concerning Finnish archives in the area now ceded to the USSSR. I answered Paasikivi of being aware of the memorandum and that I will give him an answer on Nov. 10-11.
Declaration of the Foreign Ministry of Finland to the Soviet Minister in Finland on Oct. 31, 1940.Finnish Minister Paasikivi's report on discussion with Deputy Commissar Vyshinski on Nov. 6. The British government on Petsamo nickel concession on Nov. 7.
Nov. 5, 1940
Communiqué about the visit of the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, in Berlin
- Acccepting the invitation of the German government and returning the last year's visit of the German foreign minister von Ribbentrop in Moscow the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov will visit in near future in Berlin in the framework of the friendly relations between both countries in order to revive personal contacts and to deepen the ongoing change of opinions.
Nov. 10, 1940
Discussion of the USSR first deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, A.J. Vyshinski, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Paasikivi said that his very first message is to inform that he has an announcement concerning granting a concession to the Soviet Union or a joint Soviet-Finnish company for mining of the Petsamo nickel ore. The Finnish government regard the matter unsolved because of the reservations set by the British government and therefore difficulties has risen. The government of Finland have asked its minister in London to clarify the opinion of the British government. The minister reported the Finnish government that the British have not made a final decision and cannot give an answer to Finland. Paasikivi said that if the Soviet government settle the question with the British government, the Government of Finland will settle it accordingly. The British minister in Helsinki, Vereker, gave a statement that contradicts with that of Cripps, the British ambassador in Moscow. Finally Paasikivi stated that the Government of Finland see that the Government of the Soviet Union, a great power, should discuss this with other great powers (Germany, Britain). Paasikivi said that the staement of the British minister in Helsinki is decisive and therefore the question of concession cannot be solved. — We do not see that this sort of reply were satisfactory. The solution to this rests completely with the Finnish government. A reference to a minister or that the Finnish law prevents the Finns from making a decision, arouses disbelief. This is not any private conversation but a political matter depending completely on the Finnish government. Last time I told Paasikivi that the information given by Vereker does not coincide with reality and the British government accept transfer of concession to the USSR although on temporary basis. But in these circumstances no attention should be paid to this. It is essential to revoke the present contract and make a new one with us. Lastly I said to Paasikivi that this question should be taken care at once and finally, all red tape should be stopped and practical work should be started immediately. Our demands are clear, I insist on an affirmative answer and practical measures to transfer the concession. Finally I said that if this matter is not within few days solved appropriately, we are going to take appropriate measures ourselves. Paasikivi said that he will tell all this to his government and gives the answer at once. — Then Paasikivi asked from me, if I am aware of the memorandum handed by the Finnish legation on Nov. 1 concerning regulation of water level in river Vuoksi and construction of a hydroelectic plant at Enso. I replid that I don't. — Finally Paasikivi asked if I know the Finnish proposition for an agreement to avoid border incidents. I replied that I hadn't time to obtain it.
The Finnish Minister Paasikivi' report on discussion with Deputy Commissar Vyshinski.
Nov. 12, 1940
Notes of discussion of the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs Comrade Molotov V.M. with Reichs Chancellor A. Hitler
German memorandum about this discussion
Nov. 13, 1940
Discussion of the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the German ambassador in the USSR, F. Schulenburg
- Schulenburg stated that he, acting on behalf of Ribbentrop, wishes to say a few words about Finland to save time in discussions with the Führer — The rights of the Soviet Union concerning Finland are in full force. They do not contain any territorial demands. Molotov: On the political side some clarification in the Finnish question is expected from Germany. If Germany considers that there exists a need to renew or change last year's pact, we'd like to know, says comrade Molotov, if Germany is willing to fully keep what was said in the protocol, which both Germany and the USSR have kept excluding this question. Even then, when we are satified with the peace treaty with Finland, things cannot be strictly confined with the treaty. It is important that its conditions are fulfilled. We see hesitation in the side of the Finnish government. This is reflected in slogans like "he is no Finn who is satisfied with the peace treaty of March 12, 1940". One should be alerted in a situation like this and do not trust plain paper. From the statements of the ambassador he, comrade Molotov, can see that Germany confirms Finland being a part of the Soviet sphere of interest. He, comrade Molotov, hopes that the German government draw the appropriate practical conclusions from this.
Nov. 13, 1940
Communiqué about negotiations of the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with leaders of the German government
- During his visit of Nov. 12-13 this year the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars V.M. Molotov met Reichs Chancellor A. Hitler and the Foreign Minister Herr von Ribbentrop. The change of opinions took place in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and strengthened understanding in all important questions of mutual concern. V.M. Molotov had also discussion with Reichs Marshall Herr Göring and with the deputy of Herr Hitler in the National Socialist Party, Herr Hess. In the morning of November the 14th the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars and the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs V.M. Molotov left for Moscow.
Nov. 14, 1940
Discussion of the USSR first deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, A.J. Vyshinski, with the ambassador for Great Britain in the USSR, R.S. Cripps
- (As regards Finland:) Cripps said that he has three matters: — The Government of Finland have made an inquiry to the British government to find out its stand towards transfer of concession of the Petsamo nickel or establishing a joint Soviet-Finnish company. Cripps confirms his previous statement that an affirmative attitude is possible if only two conditions are met: the nickel will not end up in German hands; the fransfer is temporary and valid only to the end of the present war. If the Soviet government accept these conditions, the British government are prepared to give any assistance needed in the transfer or setting up a joint company. — (Vyshinski:) 3) Commenting the Petsamo concession I said to Cripps that his present statement is different from the previously delivered statement of th British government. I will inform my government but personally I doubt that the conditions will not be accepted. I especially pointed out that the question is not about contribution of the British government but about its approval that is now loaded with new conditions as I understood from the answer of the ambassador. Cripps said that on these conditions the British government are ready to put pressure on the Finnish government to transfer the concession to the USSR.
Nov. 19, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- Comrade Molotov said that all obstacles in giving an affirmative answer to the transfer of nickel concession are created by the Finnish government. References to England and Germany are ungrounded. The German government told comrade Molotov during his trip to Berlin, in addition to the information that Germany is not politically interested in Finland, also that Germany will give up seeking the concession. That is a repetition of the German announcement in July. As to Britain, comrade Molotov said that in the discussion of today Cripps confirmed to Vyshinski that the British government are consenting to a temporary transfer of the contract to the Soviet Union but she will not approve the nickel going to Germany. — The incomprehensible behaviour of the Finnish government in answering the question, especially when I have warned about this, promises no good to be expected. It is well know that the minister [Paasikivi] promised already in July to hasten the decision but no affirmative answer has not been received up to this day. We draw such a conclusion from this that the Finnish governments tests our patience but all the patience, however, has its bounds. Referring ti this, comrade Molotov gives an advice to stop plotting by methods of bureaucracy in granting the transfer of concession to the Soviet Union and simply give an undelayed answer to the key question. — Paasikivi tried again to go back to the British answer, which forbids the delivery of ore to Germany as well as Finnish legislation with the requirement for the consent of the British Canadian trust to halt production and that no such consent exists. However, Paasikivi mentioned that the Finnish government can follow Vyshinski's advice to create a special law to cut the concession off. — Molotov agree with the usefulness of this kind of law and, furthermore, Paasikivi commented the consent of the the British government and his previous undue comments on the trust. In deliverance of the ore comrade Molotov said this question is solved byt the Finnish government with full powers, but the Soviet government seek only 50 % and this year only 40 %. If considered more comfortable by the Finnish goverment it, of course, is fully entitled to sell all the ore to the Soviet Union which eliminates the question of how and to whom the ore will be exported from the Finnish government. Even after this Paasikivi tried to insist that the British government consented only to a temporary transfer and claimed that this makes the solution more troublesome. Comrade Molotov to this: "Well, let us sign today a temporary agreement on transferring the nickel concession to the Soviet Union for a time that the war continues, and of selling the whole of nickel to us, and it will be wholly our worry, how this nickel is utilized." — As an answer Paasikivi unclearly muttered that now we a completely new formulation of the question and that he will report this to Helsinki. — As he left Paasikivi asked if there is a proposal for a joint Soviet-Finnish company. Comrade Molotov said yes.
Paasikivi's telegram to the [Finnish] Foreign Ministry.
Nov. 19, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the German ambassador in the USSR, F. Schulenburg (extract)
- Schulenburg and Schnurre try to find excuses to keep Russians out of nickel business
Nov. 25, 1940
German Ambassador's message to the Reichs Foreign Office
- [The Soviet government are prepared to accept the draft of the Four Power Pact] provided that the German troops are immediately withdrawn from Finland, which, according to the pact of 1939, belongs to the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. At the same time the Soviet Union undertakes to ensure peaceful relations with Finland and to protect German economic interests in Finland (export of lumber and nickel).
Nov. 25, 1940
From a political letter of the plenipotentiary representant of the USSR in Finland to the USSR People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs
- The previous foreign policy of Finland was oriented towards England, which had a strong influence on the economical and political life in the country, but now as a result of a changing situation and power of balance Finland is in the course towards Germany. However, she is not seeking a break off in relations to England that has control over traffic in the North. — The economic influence of Germany, with links to a political pressure, was expressed in conditions for the transit of German trops in Finland. — The increased propaganda in favour of Germany, praising of the Fascist regime, servile fawning on Germans, the willingness to "include" Finland to the general sphere of German interests in fear of otherwise being late, serve all for finding security from Germany. The arrival of German troops in the cities of Vaasa, Oulu and Rovaniemi, import of arms and by deploying them to the most vulnerable parts of Finland as well as setting up fuel stockpiles, enlarging airfields, and supply of weapons [are the price of the ruling circles for their serious support for Germany.] — The arrival of German troops strengthened anti-Soviet activity in reactionary circles and expection of a revanche in the army. Massive publication of anti-Soviet literature, setting up of all kinds of civic guard organizations, growing persecution of members of the Society for peace and friendship, and finally, decoration of those succumbed in the 1939/40 war with all sorts of "honours" give a proof of ruling circle's hostility towards the USSR. — Unilateral orientation towards Germany is not popular in broad circles in the population because it basically leads to the same enslavement that the toiling class had to undergo up to the war. — The army of the Society of peace and friendship, with increasing in power every day, mood of opposition among Social Democrats, trade unions etc. give a sign of a strong movement against the present reactionary regime and for an approach towards the Soviet Union as a tool for peace and tranquillity.
Nov. 27, 1940
Telegram of minister Paasikivi to the Finnish Foreign ministry concerning Commissar Molotov's allegation of subordinating of Finnish foreign policy to that of Sweden's
- The Soviet government take the view that such a situation, were it actually to come into being in relations between Helsinki and Stockholm, would denote the liquidation of the Peace Treaty and submitting Finland into a state of vassalage, unable to assume responsibility for the fulfillment of the treaty.
Moscow's comment on the forthcoming presidential election in Finland. An earlier comment on relations with Sweden, Sept. 28, 1940.
Dec. 7, 1940
Discussion of the plenipotentiary representant of the USSR in Germany, V.G. Dekanozov, with the German Foreign Minister, J. Ribbentrop
- (As regards Finland:) I asked him (Ribbentrop) permission to discuss with him a certain matter that our government wish to pay attention to. We have received a report from our minister in Stockholm that a pact is in preparation between Finland and Sweden about the Finnish foreign policy. I asked Ribbentrop if he is aware of this and what the opinion of the German government is. I added that the opinion of the Soviet government is extremely negative. I mentioned that in the agreement of March 12, 1940, the Soviet government see that the question is about an independent Finnish state, which fulfills its regulations and not a state in vassalage, the foreign policy of which is subordinate to some third country. Ribbentrop replied that he is not aware of this and neither believes that anything of thekind is in preparation. It might be possible to hear such things in Sweden but we cannot assume that Finland and Sweden has any serious intentions to agree about this. I had to add that according to Kollontai she had talked with persons who wished to relieve Finland from German influence. I said that my government is strongly against this. Ribbentrop does not believe in this matter. Indeed, Swedes and Finns are sister nations, and thinking of this sort might occur, but there is no information about this.
Dec. 12, 1940
Discussion of the USSR first deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, A.J. Vyshinski, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- I called Paasikivi at 8 PM and handed a memorandum about construction of railway between Kandalaksha-Kemijärvi. I have been told that on the Soviet side the railway is constructed up to the state border of the USSR and Finland. While in Finland not one kilometer of this railway is built. Emphasizing this I requested him to inform Helsinki that the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs insists a hasty completion of the railway construction in the Finnish side. Paasikivi tried to reject the information I told saying that not a single road is built with this speed. I replied to Paasikivi that my argument is based on the information given by the Finish Foreign Ministry to our plenipotentiary representant. Paasikivi was a little bit embarrassed when learning that this is based on official information from the [Finnish] Foreign Ministry and was compelled to say that he will forward my statement to Helsinki. He promised to influence on urging the construction. — At the end of discussion Paasikivi handed a memorandum on the reverend Reino Julenin who was arrested in Narva on June 23. Paasikivi urged for a quick return of the pastor to Finland. I promised to go into the matter and give a quick answer. (No résumé for the attachment here.)
Information given by Foreign Minister Witting to the Soviet ambassador, Zotov, on Dec. 3, 1940. Memorandum of the People's Commissariat on Dec. 18, 1940 (extract).
Dec. 18, 1940
Discussion of the USSR People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, V.M. Molotov, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- First of all comrade Molotov expressed his astonishment that his statement of Dec. 6 was not replied by either the Finnish nor the Swedish government and by now, no reply from the Finnish government has not yet been given. Comrade Molotov asked that does this not prove better than anything else that the Finnish policy is subordinate to Stockholm. — Paasikivi replied that already on the third day he got a reply from the Finnish government and requested for an audience at comrade Molotov. But as he learned that Assarsson had already discussed this matter, he dropped it because it was a common matter for both Finland and Sweden. Paasikivi then read the reply of the Finnish government: "According to the information possessed by us the statement of Swedish foreign minister Günther to Kollontai, the USSR minister in Stockholm, has given cause for some misunderstanding. Günther said on November 27 that, on the Swedish initiative, an opportunity to a closer cooperation in the fields of coordination of defense and foreign policy is seeked. The Finnish minister in Stockholm, Wasastjerna, told Kollontai that this kind of opportunity to both Finnish and Swedish neutrality is now studied. This does not mean that the leadership of the Finnish foreign policy is subordinate to Stockholm. This has not the slightest effect on Finnish foreign obligations and the suggested cooperation with Sweden respects fully the Moscow treaty of March 12, 1940. We want to emphasize that the primary premise in foreign policy cooperation is preservation of the current boundaries. Günther's statement to Kollontai also shows the will to avoid any concealment. On the contrary, the Soviet Union is informed." — Comrade Molotov said on this that the reply of the Finnish government does not change the opinion of the Soviet government that was already told in discussion with Paasikivi on Dec. 6. Furthermore, comrade Molotov said that in March, at the sitting of the Supreme Soviet a military alliance between Finland, Sweden and Norway was considered being against the peace treaty between the USSR and Finland. Now we see that these plans are not abandoned, an opportunity to subordinate the Finnish foreign policy to Stockholm came out. In its statement of Dec. 6 the Soviet government clearly said that a subordination of the Finnish foreign policy to Stockholm is an annulment of the peace treaty and Finland is sliding into a state of vassalage deprieved of responsibility in fulfilling the agreement. The Soviet govrnment has expressed its opiniuon to the government of Finland and as comrade Molotov said, this is not simply a piece of paper but a serious warning. — Then comrade Molotov stated that Assarsson's statement shows that it is belief of the Swedish that the German government has nothing against execution of these plans. Comrade Molotov asks that is it not so, that Germany has not taken part in these negotiations and hasn't the Finnish government receive any statement from the Swedish government? — Paasikivi answered that he has no idea but he does not believe that the Finnish government had contacted the Germans. Comrade Molotov asked Paasikivi if the latter is aware of the British or American opinion in the plans of Sweden and Finland. Paasikivi replied that he does not know. Now Paasikivi asked that if these countries do not oppose, would the Soviet government then oppose itself? Comrade Molotov said that he is aware of the attitudes of those countries, of which one has a direct contact with the Swedish government. As to the USSR, he has alreaddy expressed his opinion and evaluation on Dec. 6. Paasikivi argued that by coordination the Finnish and Swedish foreign policy the government of Finland aims at preserving status quo but it seems that these powers see this negatively. Here comrade Molotov commented that this would change the staus quo and are contrary to the peace treaty of March 12 — As a reply Paasikivi state that the peace treaty has already been fulfilled. Comrade Molotov said that unfortunately, the peace treaty has not been fully implemented. For example, there is no railway continuing through Finland. In this connection comrade Molotov asked Paasikivi to give an account of the construction. Paasikivi promised to give this in the next few days.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry's telegram to Minister Paasikivi on Dec. 11, 1940. His telegram to the Foreign Ministry on Dec. 18. A new telegram on Dec. 19. — The official Soviet memorandum on railway between USSR and Finland on Dec. 18.
Dec. 18, 1940
Discussion of the USSR first deputy People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, A.J. Vyshinski, with the Minister for Republic of Finland, J. Paasikivi
- I received Paasikivi at 9 PM. He had himself asked for an audience. He handed me 1) a memorandum of the Finnish government about its desire of concluding an agreement on timber floating. Along with the memorandum Paasikivi handed a proposal for the agreement. 2) Two memorandums about agreeing on establishing of airline connections between the USSR and Finland. He also handed a proposal for the agreement. 3) — I promised to examine the matters presented by Finland and return to them soon. — Paasikivi handed me an invitation, addressed to V.M. Molotov, to the Soviet Union to take part in the work of the Baltic Sea geodetic commission. Verbally Paasikivi announced that the Finnish government have consented to the desire of the Soviet government to open a vice consulate in Rovaniemi [Lapland]. Paasikivi remarked that the Finnish government expect a similar affirmative response to opening of a Finnish consulate in Leningrad. I thanked Paasikivi for telling of the consent of the Finnish government to open a vice consulate in Rovaniemi. I then promised to urge opening of the Finnish consulate in Leningrad. — I then handed a memorandum of the acceptance of Soviet authorities for transferring Finnish citizens, Gefwert and Julonen, to Finland. — At the end of discussion I called Paasikivi's attention to the need of hastening the reply of Finland in exploiting the Petsamo nickel mines in a Soviet-Finnish joint company. I remarked that 6 days have lapsed since the Finnish delegation left but no answer has yet received. Paasikivi supposed that this is because of the presidential elections and Christmas time in Finland. Paasikivi promised to urge the matter and told that according to what he knows the delegation will be back in Moscow soon after Jan. 1st. — Then I told Paasikivi that according to my sources the Finnish police authorities have created a completely unacceptable police procedure, on the pretext of safeguarding the Soviet minister, which means that our employees are isolated from outer world and Finnish social circles. The Finnish police terrorizes visitors in the Soviet legation predisposing them to all kinds of police unpleasantnesses. [Soviet] Minister Zotov told about this already earlier to [Finnish foreign minister] Witting but no improvements have happened. I said to Paasikivi that directives for this sort of practise with our minister cannot be acceptable if the Finnish authorities do not want to worsen relations with the Soviet Union. I insist on immediate stop to this. After hearing my statement Paasikivi promised to make this known to his government at once, He expressed his astonishment at what I said and promised to take proper actions to remove the unconventional measures I described.
Note of the Finnish Foreign Ministry to the Soviet Minister in Finland, Dec. 21, 1940.
Dec. 30, 1940


The main sources of documents: 1) The highest party school of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Soviet Union(b). The foreign policy of the USSR. A document collection. Volume IV. Moscow, 1946. — 2) The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation. Documents of foreign policy. 1939 XII:2. Moscow, 1992. — 3) Idem. Documents of foreign policy. 1940—June 22, 1941. XXIII:1. Moscow, 1995. — 4) Idem. Documents of foreign policy. 1940—June 22, 1941. XXIII:2. Moscow, 1998. 5) Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The development of Finnish—Soviet relations during the autumn of 1939 in the light of official documents. Helsinki, 1940. 6) [Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.] Finland reveals her secret documents on Soviet policy, March 1940—June 1941. Wilfred Funk, New York 1941.


Machine translation was used in producing English translations from official Russian/Soviet sources. Revised and adjusted by Pauli Kruhse.

Readers are kindly requested to comment on found errors in interpretation or elsewhere. Better résumés or full translations are all welcomed.



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