761.9411/4–545: Telegram

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

1054. Following is the text, as received from press section of Foreign Office, of item under today’s date which has been broadcast over Soviet radio and will appear in tomorrow’s press:

“Today at 3 p.m. People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR V. M. Molotov received the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. N. Sato, and made the following statement to him in the name of the Soviet Government:

‘The neutrality pact between the Soviet Union and Japan was concluded on April 13, 1941,21 that is, before the attack of Germany on the USSR and before the outbreak of war between Japan on the one hand and England and the United States on the other. Since that time the situation has been basically altered. Germany has attacked the USSR, and Japan, the ally of Germany, is aiding the latter in its war against the USSR. Furthermore Japan is waging war with the USA and England, which are the allies of the Soviet Union.

In these circumstances the neutrality pact between Japan and the USSR has lost its sense, and the prolongation of that pact has become impossible.

On the strength of the above and in accordance with Article 3 of the above mentioned pact, which envisaged the right of denunciation one year before the lapse of the 5-year period of operation of the pact, the Soviet Government hereby makes known to the Government of Japan its wish to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941.’

The Japanese Ambassador, Mr. N. Sato, promised to inform the Japanese Government of the statement of the Soviet Government.”22

  1. For documentation regarding the negotiation of this neutrality pact, see Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iv, pp. 905 ff.; for text of the pact, see ibid., p. 944; and for a statement on April 14, 1941, by Secretary of State Cordell Hull, see ibid., p. 948. See also Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, pp. 153186.
  2. For the eventual declaration of war by the Soviet Union on Japan, see memorandum by Acting Secretary of State Grew of his conversation with the Chargé of the Soviet Union (Novikov) on August 8, vol. vi, section under Japan entitled “Surrender of Japan …”, Part I; see also Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1474, footnote 1.