661.6231/302: Telegram

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

54. Embassy’s No. 51, January 11. Both Pravda and Izvestiya today devote their leading editorials to the agreements signed yesterday by Germany and the Soviet Union. Izvestiya states that since the signature of the original German-Soviet pact of August 23, 193919 “relations between the two countries have developed in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual understanding (…)20 these economic relations have shown in practice during the entire period how important the normal development of economic relations is to both countries (…) the U. S. S. R. has made all the necessary efforts to the end that the agreement signed with Germany should be carried out in every detail (…) Germany for its part has also done everything that was necessary. The observance by Germany and the U. S. S. R. of the agreements concluded gave fruitful results and created the necessary basis for the further development of economic and good neighbor relations.”

“In England and in the United States,” the Izvestiya editorial continues, “there are certain leading statesmen who presume that the United States can in full conformity with international law and its position of neutrality sell anything to England, including even warships, whereas the Soviet Union cannot even sell grain to Germany without violating its policy of peace. These strange deductions are in themselves curious examples of juggling international law. But this [Page 124] more than loose treatment of the principles of international law and neutrality can only have significance as a political maneuver.”

“The economic relations between the U. S. S. R. and Germany in conformity with the agreements are above all among the most effective means of enforcing peace and friendship between the U. S. S. R. and Germany—the two most powerful states in Europe. Experience has shown that there is sufficient mutual understanding and trust between the U. S. S. R. and Germany to solve in the interests of both countries a number of the most complicated of economic and financial questions.

“The attempts of a press hostile to the Soviet Union to show that any agreement between the Soviet Union and Germany is directed against third powers cannot stand against the slightest criticism because the Soviet Union early in course of 1940 concluded and intends during 1941 to conclude commercial treaties and agreements with other states both belligerent and non-belligerent. It is time to understand that the Soviet Union as a non-belligerent power follows its own independent policy and will continue to follow it no matter what the statesmen of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres may think.”

The Pravda editorial entitled “New Triumphs of Soviet Foreign Policy” is considerably longer but is in the same vein. “The conclusion of the Agreement” it says “is a matter of great national and international significance—it is a new proof of the solidity of the relations between the two most powerful states of Europe who have agreed to live at peace between their two peoples.”

“The foreign policy of the Soviet Union as it relates to the policy of strengthening trade relations [is conducted?] with all countries which are able in their turn to make such relations with the U. S. S. R., its further development, its ever more powerful growth and the strengthening of its international weight and influence. The foreign policy of the U. S. S. R. is conducted only in the interest of the U. S. S. R., only in the interests of the people of the U. S. S. R. It calls for the U. S. S. R. to strive for the broadest possible development of economic relations with those of its neighbors who properly evaluate in their own interests the significance of their relations with the U. S. S. R.”

“Despite the efforts of the enemies of the Soviet Union to drive a wedge by various devices between the U. S. S. R. and Germany hoping to make mischief between the peoples of the U. S. S. R. and Germany, the U. S. S. R. is consistently carrying out its policy of peace and friendship with Germany as well as with all other states which are ready to carry out a like policy with the U. S. S. R.”

  1. Treaty of nonaggression signed at Moscow; for text, with secret additional protocol, see Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939–1941, p. 76; or Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, Series D, vol. vii, p. 245.
  2. Omissions in this paragraph indicated in the original telegram.