740.0011 European War 1939/11032: Telegram

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

993. The Japanese Ambassador70 told me last night that in the course of a conversation with Molotov two days ago Molotov had said that the rumors of an impending German attack on the Soviet Union were the result of “British and American propaganda” and were entirely without foundation. Molotov had added that in fact Soviet-German relations were “excellent”.

I asked the Ambassador whether it was a fact that the Soviet Government was cooperating with Germany by increasing shipments from the Orient over the Trans-Siberian railway to which he replied: “Germany now has 140 fully trained and equipped divisions on the Soviet frontier, the Soviets have 110, of which only 34 are fully trained and equipped. I think the cooperation will steadily increase.” He confirmed the fact that shipments to Germany over the Trans-Siberian have been steadily increasing but was unable to give me the percentage of increase during the past few weeks.

Insofar as concerns Soviet-Japanese relations71 the Ambassador said that the Soviets had been “behaving somewhat better” since the signature of the neutrality pact but that the conclusion of a trade agreement had been delayed by a renewed demand for rubber by the Soviets at the last moment. He remarked that the Soviet Government had abandoned its request for tin as he believed they had located a source of supply but were most insistent upon the Japanese delivering rubber. He said that no progress had as yet been made towards a fisheries convention.

  1. Lt. Gen. Yoshitsugo Tatekawa.
  2. See vol. iv, pp. 905 ff.