661.6231/307: Telegram

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

73. In the course of a conversation with Schnurre yesterday, he confirmed the information previously reported (see my 13, January 5, 1 p.m.) that the delay in the signing of the Soviet-German agreements had been occasioned by difficulties arising in connection with the adjustment of German-Soviet problems in the Baltic and in no sense in connection with the economic agreement. As regards the economic agreement, he said that he had been agreeably surprised by the Soviet willingness to accede to most of his proposals and that he had obtained substantially all that he had asked for but that in turn his desiderata had been based on a careful preliminary examination of the quantities of goods the Soviets were in a position to deliver and the amounts their transport system could reasonably be expected to carry. He also confirmed my previous telegram (see my 53, January 11, 2 p.m.) to the effect that the Soviet deliveries, with the exception of grain which he also confirmed had been increased to an annual figure of 2,500,000 tons were to be substantially the same as under the agreement of February 11, 1940 making due allowance for the longer period of the new agreement and the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union. He referred particularly to the deliveries of Turkestan cotton to be made to Germany under the new agreement and remarked that he assumed the Soviets would import American cotton to make good any shortage resulting in the Soviet Union from such deliveries.21

In response to my inquiry as to whether political subjects had entered into his discussions in any form or had played any role in the conclusion of the agreements entered into, he replied that with the exception of the situation in the Baltic States no political subjects had been touched upon in the course of his negotiations.

Schnurre and Mrs. Schnurre are leaving Moscow tonight to return to Berlin.

  1. In telegram No. 62, January 16, 1941, 9 p.m., the Department asked to be kept informed of “the extent to which the Soviet Government expects to carry out its obligations to Germany with the aid of imports from the United States or the Western Hemisphere.”