760D.61/1163: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State

202. A member of the German Embassy, who has just returned from Berlin with the Ambassador,85 has stated in strict confidence [Page 548] that there appears to be no prospect of any settlement of or Soviet acceptance of any settlement of the Finnish conflict by negotiation. He stated that the informal approach made by the German Ambassador in early January (see my telegram No. 134, February 2, 10 p.m.86) was made on the Ambassador’s own initiative and not under instructions from Berlin but that in this informal discussion Molotov had been quite definite in his statement that the Soviet Government would only negotiate with “a friendly Finnish government”, which from the context of his remarks clearly referred to the Kuusinen government87 or some government in Helsinki which would be completely subservient to Moscow. My informant said that insofar as he is aware there has been no change in the Soviet Government’s attitude and expressed the opinion that under the circumstances there was little possibility of any offer of mediation from the German government.

In respect to Soviet-German relations in general my informant stated that both the political and economic relations had now been clearly defined and that in the absence of any new developments in the general European situation or French and British action against the Soviet Union no change in the present status of Soviet-German relations was to be anticipated. He specifically denied any intention at the present time on the part of either the Soviet Union or the German Government to conclude a military alliance. In this connection he reiterated the view previously expressed by members of the German Embassy here that a military alliance would be detrimental rather than beneficial to both Germany and the Soviet Union since assistance of an economic or other nature which the Soviet Union was in a position to furnish Germany could be best accomplished with Russia at least formally neutral. He further expressed the opinion that in view of its preoccupation with the Finnish conflict the Soviet Government had postponed indefinitely the question of the acquisition of Bessarabia and at the present time had no intention of taking any initiative in the Balkans.88

  1. Friedrich Werner, Count von der Schulenburg.
  2. Ante, p. 284.
  3. The Soviet-supported puppet government of the “Democratic Republic of Finland” set up at Terijoki at the beginning of December 1939, with Otto W. Kuusinen as President.
  4. For correspondence concerning activities of the Soviet Union in the Balkans and the seizure of Bessarabia, see pp. 444 ff.