760H.6111/3: Telegram

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

697. My 679, April 4, 10 p.m.48 Although the Pravda editorial summarized in my 695, April 6, 5 p.m.,49 interprets the Soviet-Yugoslav pact50 as an effort to avoid the spread of war and to maintain peace, it is clear that the real object of the Soviet Government was to insure Yugoslav resistance to German aggression.

I understand that the German Embassy in Moscow was aware on the evening of April 4 that the Soviet Government had agreed to enter into a pact of nonaggression and friendship with Yugoslavia and it must have been obvious to the Kremlin at the time the pact was signed that it was the intention of Germany to attack Yugoslavia.

In view of the circumstances outlined above, under which the pact was concluded, there can be little doubt that it constitutes a violation of the spirit if not the letter of clause 2 of the nonaggression pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. Although it may thus be interpreted as marking a turning point in Soviet-German relations, I have no reason to believe that the Soviet Union contemplates any action at this time other than the possible furnishing of supplies to Yugoslavia. It is to be expected, however, that the Soviet Union will continue to furnish and transport raw materials to Germany and will be careful to avoid any action which would be likely to provoke a German attack.51

  1. Post, p. 300.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For a summary of the negotiations leading to the signature of this treaty, see telegram No. 698, April 6, from the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, p. 301.
  4. For observations by Ambassador Steinhardt on the reported failure of Germany to fulfill in substantial part the return deliveries to the Soviet Union during the past year under the trade agreement of February 11, 1940, see his telegram No. 640, April 1, p. 733.