In the proud tradition of mindless assimilation, here's Molotov's speech after the Finnish Winter War... I found it fascinating so I'm posting it with permission from the translator.

V. M. MOLOTOV

THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT

A Report by the Chairman

of the Soviet of People's Commissars

and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs

at the meeting of the VI session of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union

on March 29, 1940


The State Publishing House

of Political Literature

1940


Comrades deputies!

Five months have elapsed since the last session of the Supreme Soviet. During this short period of time, events of paramount importance in the development of international relations have occurred. This makes it necessary at the present session of the Supreme Soviet to look at the issues relevant to our foreign policy.

The recent events in international life must, first of all, be scrutinized in the light of the war which began last autumn in Central Europe. In the war between the Anglo-French bloc and Germany there have been no major battles yet, they are limited to separate confrontations, chiefly at sea but also in the air. It is generally known, however, that the British and French governments turned down German peace efforts, made public by her already at the end of last year, which for its part, owed to preparations to escalate the war.

Germany, which has lately united 80 million Germans, has submitted certain neighboring countries to her supremacy and gained military strength in many aspects, and thus has become, as clearly can be seen, a dangerous rival to principal imperialistic powers in Europe - England and France. That is why they declared war on Germany on a pretext of fulfilling the obligations given to Poland. It is now clearer than ever, how remote the real aims of the cabinets in these countries were from the interests of defending the now disintegrated Poland or Czechoslovakia. This is shown if only by the fact, that the British and French governments declared that their aim in this war is to smash and dismember Germany, although this target is concealed from the masses of the people under the cover of slogans of defending the "democratic" countries and the "rights" of small nations.

When the Soviet Union did not want to be an accomplice with England and France in carrying out this imperialistic policy against Germany, the hostility in their attitudes regarding the Soviet Union became still more pronounced, giving a vivid evidence, how profound the class roots of the imperialists' hostile politics against the socialist state are. The Anglo-French imperialists were ready to escalate the war started in Finland to a war against the USSR and not only utilizing Finland to this purpose - but also Scandinavian countries, Sweden and Norway.

The Soviet attitude to the war, which has spread out in Europe, is well known. Here too, the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, which is penetrated by love for peace, has been quite definitively displayed. The Soviet Union made it immediately known that it stays neutral, and we have unswervingly adhered to this policy over the past period of time.

A sudden improvement in Soviet-German relations found its expression in the form of the non-aggression pact signed in August last year. This new good relationship between the Soviet Union and Germany has stood the trial in connection with the events in the former Poland and has thus fairly showed its permanence. With negotiations which began already last autumn, the expected development of economic relations assumed a concrete form in the trade agreement in August (1939) and later in February (1940). The exchange of commodities between Germany and the USSR began to increase on the basis of a mutual economical advantage, and good grounds for its further development exist.

Our relations with England and France have taken a somewhat different course. When the Soviet Union did not want to become an instrument of Anglo-French imperialists in their campaign for world hegemony, we have encountered at every step deep hostility of their policy towards our country. The very extreme they got involved in the Finnish issue, of which I shall discuss later. But during the past few months also other facts emerged which showed that the hostility of the policy of France and England towards the USSR was not small.

It should be sufficient if I point out that the French authorities did not devise anything better than to arrange two months ago a police raid on our Trade Delegation in Paris. The police investigation of the Trade Delegation, despite all quibbling, resulted in nothing. It only brought disgrace on the initiators of this outrageous incident and showed that there were no real grounds for this hostile action toward our country. As we see from the circumstances connected with the recall of our plenipotentiary representative comrade Surits, the French government seeks trumped up grounds to emphasize its unfriendly attitude toward the Soviet Union. To make it clear that mutual relations do not interest the Soviet Union more than France, we summoned comrade Surits home from the post of the plenipotentiary representative in France.

Or take similar examples of animosity in actions against the Soviet Union, such as the seizure by British warships in the Far East of two of our ships heading for Vladivostok with cargo bought by us in America and China. If to this we add such facts as refusal to fulfil old orders for industrial machinery placed by us in England, sequestering of funds of our trade representation in France and many others, the hostile nature of measures against the Soviet Union by the British and French authorities will be more manifest.

There have been attempts to justify these hostile acts against our foreign trade by arguing that through our trade with Germany we assist her in the war against England and France. It does not take much to convince oneself that these arguments are not worth a penny. You just have to compare the Soviet Union, say, with Rumania. It is well known that half of the whole foreign trade of Rumania consists of trade with Germany, and the share of Rumanian domestic product in her export to Germany, for instance, of some basic commodities like crude oil products and grain, far exceeds the share of our own domestic product in exports to Germany. Nevertheless, the British and French governments have not resorted to hostile acts toward Rumania and does not consider it possible to demand an end to the Rumanian trade with Germany. A strikingly different attitude prevails against the Soviet Union. Consequently, the hostile acts of Britain and France against the Soviet Union cannot be explained by the USSR trade with Germany, but by the futile expectations of the ruling circles in England and France, to use our country in the war against Germany and they, because of this, are conducting a policy of revenge towards the Soviet Union.

It should be added that all these hostile actions of Britain and France were carried out even though the Soviet Union up till now has not taken any unfriendly actions in regard to these countries. Fantasy-loaded plans attributed to the Soviet Union about some Red Army march "to India", "to the Orient" etc. are such obvious absurdities that only such people, who completely have lost their senses, can believe in this ridiculous nonsense. (Laughter). This is not the point, of course. The reason comes obviously from the fact that the neutrality policy pursued by the Soviet Union is not for the taste of the Anglo-French ruling class. Furthermore, it seems that their nerves are not quite all right. (Laughter). They want to impose on us a different policy, a policy of enmity and war against Germany, a policy which could allow them to use the USSR for imperialistic purposes. It is time for these gentlemen to understand that the Soviet Union is not and never will be a tool of an alien policy, and that the Soviet Union has always conducted and will always pursue her own policy irrespective of whether it pleases the ruling gentlemen in other countries or not. (Tumultuous, prolonged applause).

I will now go over to the Finnish issue.

What was the point of the war waged over the last three-odd months in Finland? You know that the point of these events was to safeguard the security of the northwestern borders of the Soviet Union and, above all, in safeguarding the security of Leningrad.

All through October and November last year the Soviet government negotiated with the Finnish government about proposals, which we considered absolutely essential and urgent to achieve in securing the safety of the country, and especially the safety of Leningrad, as the international situation became more and more tension loaded. These negotiations ended in failure because of the hostile attitude of the Finnish representatives. Thus the solution of the issue was moved to the battlefield. You can be fully assured that if there had been no outside interference in Finland, if there had been fewer background operators of certain third-party countries to incite hostile policy against the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union and Finland had already at the beginning of last autumn reached an understanding and the matter would have been settled without war. But in spite of the fact that the Soviet government reduced its requests to a minimum, diplomatic means were not successful enough to reach a settlement.

Now that hostilities in Finland have ceased and a Peace Treaty between the USSR and the Republic of Finland has been signed, the significance of the war waged in Finland can and must be judged according to indisputable facts. These facts speak for themselves. These facts show that near Leningrad, all over the Karelian Isthmus to a depth of 50-60 kilometers, the Finnish authorities had erected numerous strong reinforced concrete and granite-ground fortifications armed with artillery and machine guns. The number of these fortifications ran into many hundreds. These military fortifications, particularly, reinforced concrete structures of high military strength, with their underground thoroughfares, surrounded by special anti-tank trenches and granite pillars, supported by a set-up of countless mine fields, constituted what was known as the "Mannerheim Line" which was constructed under the supervision of appropriate foreign experts to bear a likeness to the "Maginot Line" and "Siegfried Line". It should be mentioned that these fortifications were up till now considered as impregnable i.e. as fortifications never broken through by any army. It should also be mentioned that Finnish military authorities had tried in advance to convert every village in this area into a fortress furnished with arms, radio antennas and fuel stations. In many parts of southern and eastern Finland strategic railroads and highways, without any economic significance, were built right up to our borders.

In short, the military preparations in Finland have shown that Finland and particularly the Karelian Isthmus was already before 1939 set up as a ready-made military bridge-head for third-party countries' attack on the Soviet Union, on Leningrad.

Undeniable facts have shown that the hostility of the Finnish policy encountered by us last autumn was not accidental. Anti-Soviet forces prepared in Finland against our country and particularly Leningrad a military bridge-head, which under certain foreign policy circumstances, unfavorable to the Soviet Union, could have played its role in the plans of the anti-Soviet imperialists and their allies in Finland.

Not only has the Red Army smashed the "Mannerheim Line" and thus earned the glory to be the first army which under most difficult conditions cut its way through an extensive and strong zone of perfectly modern military fortifications - the Red Army acting together with the Red Navy not only smashed the military base prepared for attacking Leningrad and, but they eliminated some anti-Soviet plans fostered during the past few years by certain third-party countries. (Prolonged applause).

How far had gone the enmity of the Finnish ruling and military circles toward our country, in the preparation of a military bridge-head against the USSR, becomes also evident by many facts of exceptional barbarism and atrocities perpetrated by the White Finns on wounded and captured Red Army soldiers. Thus, when, in a certain area north of Lake Ladoga, the Finns besieged our hospital shelter with 120 severely wounded people there, the White Finns destroyed them all to a man. Some were burned, others were found with crushed skulls, while the rest had been stabbed or shot. Despite the deadly wounds, a considerable number of those killed here or elsewhere had signs of gunshot wounds on their heads or had been finished off with rifle butts and a part of those had been killed by firearms had knife stabs in their faces. Some of the corpses found had their heads severed, the heads were not found. And regarding nurses captured by White Finns, they were submitted to particular disgrace and unbelievable bestiality. In some cases the bodies of those killed were set, with their feet uppermost, against tree trunks. All this barbarism and numerous bestialities resulted from the policy of the Finnish White Guardists when they have tried to fan hatred against our country among their people.

This is how the Finnish defenders of "the Western civilization" really look like.

It is not hard to see that the war in Finland was not only a confrontation with the Finnish military forces. No, the matter here was more complicated. The showdown here was not only between our troops and the Finnish troops, it was between the united imperialistic forces of a number of countries including Britain, France and others who aided the Finnish bourgeoisie with all kinds of weaponry, particularly with artillery and airplanes and with their men disguised as "volunteers", with their gold and every kind of supplies, and furthermore, with their frenzied agitation all over the world instigating, with all sorts of means, a war against the Soviet Union. And you have to add, that in this rage howling you all the time could discern the squeaky voices of miscellaneous prostituted "socialists" of the 2nd International (hilarious excitement at the hall), such as Attlee and Blum, Citrine and Jouhaux, Tranmael and Höglund - all those lackeys of capital who have sold themselves body and soul to the warmongers.

The Prime Minister of England, Chamberlain, appearing on March 19 in the House of Commons, not only expressed his malicious regrets at having failed to prevent the war in Finland from ending and thus turning his "peace loving" imperialistic soul inside out for all the world to see (laughter), but he also made some sort of a account how and in what way the British imperialists actually tried to aid warmongering in Finland against the Soviet Union. Chamberlain read out a list of war materials which was promised and dispatched to Finland: airplanes promised 152, sent 101; cannons promised 223, sent 114; shells promised 297 thousand, sent 185 thousand; Vickers cannons promised 100, sent 100; aircraft bombs promised 20,700, sent 15,700; antitank mines promised 20,000, sent 10,000 etc. Without a least embarrassment Chamberlain stated that "preparations for an expedition were being carried on with all rapidity and at the beginning of March an expeditionary force of 100,000 men was ready to leave, two month before the date Mannerheim had set for their arrival. This was not necessarily the last force."

This is how a "peace loving" British imperialist looks in deeds, on his own admission.

As far as France is concerned, according to newspaper accounts, 179 airplanes, 472 cannons, 795,000 shells, 5,100 machine guns, 200,000 hand grenades etc. were sent from there to Finland. On the 11th of March, Daladier, then the Prime Minister of France declared in the Chamber of Deputies, that "France has taken the lead of the countries that agreed to deliver war material for Finland, and France has, especially, at Helsinki's request just sent to Finland ultramodern bomber airplanes". Daladier declared that "from the 26th of February an expeditionary French military corps has been equipped and ready to leave". A considerable amount of vessels have been ready to sail from two main ports at the Channel and on the Atlantic coast. Daladier also stated that the allies "will come to assist Finland with all the promised forces".

These anti-Soviet statements by Daladier speak for themselves. However, there is no need to stop at these hostile statements because, you see, they do not completely possess a sober train of thoughts. (Hilarious excitement at the hall).

Sweden's participation in the Finnish war deserves another comment. According to reports circulated in all the Swedish newspapers Sweden made a "certain amount of airplanes, forming approximately a fifth part of all the Swedish military air force at that time" available to Finland in the war against the Soviet Union. According to a statement of the Swedish War Minister the Finns received from Sweden 84,000 rifles, 575 machine guns, over 300 cannons, 300 thousand grenades, 50 million bullets. This material was, according to the minister's statement, all the very newest models.

Even Italy did not lag behind when adding fuel to the war in Finland. For instance, she sent to Finland 50 military airplanes.

Finland got military assistance even from the United States, from a devoted "peace lover". (Open laughter).

The total number of all sorts of weapons sent from other countries to Finland just during the war reached, according to incomplete information: airplanes at least 350, cannons about 1,500, over 6,000 machine guns, up to 100 thousand rifles, 650,000 handgrenades, 2,500,000 shells, 160,000,000 cartridges and much more.

There is no need to quote other facts which confirm that the confrontation which took place in Finland was not only between us and the Finnish troops but it was a showdown with the combined imperialistic forces of a number of most imperialistic anti-Soviet countries. When the Red Army and the Red Navy crushed these combined enemy forces they added a new glorious page in their history and demonstrated that the source of bravery, devotion and heroism among our people is inexhaustible. (Tumultuous applause).

The war in Finland took a big toll both on us and the Finns. According to estimates of our General Staff, the number of those fallen and fatally wounded is on our side 48,745, thus somewhat less than 49,000 persons and the number of the wounded is 158,863 persons. On the Finnish side efforts are made to diminish the number of their victims, but their casualties are far bigger than ours. According to the most cautious calculations by our General Staff the number of those fallen is at least 60 thousand, not counting the fatally wounded, and the number of the wounded is at least 250,000. When you start from the fact that the number of the Finnish army has been at least 600 thousand men, you have to draw a conclusion that the Finnish army lost half its ranks as killed or wounded. [1]

Such are the facts.

The question remains, why did the ruling circles of England and France and even of several other countries to take such an active part on the Finnish side against the Soviet Union. It is well known that the British and French governments undertook desperate efforts to prevent the war from ending and the restoration of peace in Finland, although they are not bound by any obligation towards Finland. It is also known that France, even though it had a mutual assistance pact with Czechoslovakia, did not come to the aid of Czechoslovakia. Yet both France and England actually insisted on giving military assistance to Finland just to prevent the war come to an end and peace to be restored between Finland and the Soviet Union. Hired pen bandits - all kinds of writers specialized in newspaper swindling and hoaxes - try to explain this sort of behavior of the British and French circles as particular solicitude for "small countries". But explaining the British and French policies by telling that they especially care for the interests of a small country is simply absurd. And explanations that this derives from their commitments to the League of Nations, which require, some argue, defending of its members, are not either particularly witty.

Yes, less than a year has elapsed since Italy usurped and destroyed independent Albania, a member of the League of Nations. And what happened? Did England and France stand up for Albania, did they raise their voice, however feeble, against the violent Italian usurpation of Albania, paying no attention to its population of over one million, and ignoring the fact that Albania was a member of the League of Nations? No, neither the British nor the French governments, nor yet the United States of America, nor the League of Nations having already lost all its prestige because it is dominated by the same British and French imperialists, lifted a finger because of this incident. These "protectors" of small nations, these "champions" of the rights of members of the League of Nations have during a whole of 12 months never decided to put forward for discussion the issue of Italian capture of Albania, which already took place last April. Even more, they virtually have sanctioned this seizure. Consequently, protection of small nations or the rights of members of the League of Nation cannot be accounted for the support of Finland by the ruling circles in England and France against the Soviet Union. This assistance can be explained by the fact that in Finland the ruling circles of England and France had a ready-made military base to launch an assault against the USSR, whereas Albania did not occupy a similar position in their plans. In fact, rights and interests of small nations are just so much small change in the hands of imperialists.

The leading newspaper of the British imperialists "Times", like the leading newspaper of the French imperialists "Temps", not to speak about other British or French bourgeois newspapers, have during these past months openly incited an intervention against the Soviet Union without lending an ear to the fact that between both England and France and the Soviet Union, on the other side, the so-called normal diplomatic relations are maintained. The same tune as these leading bourgeois newspapers, or even running ahead of them, is played by the folk in the lackey chamber, now built in every "decent" bourgeois state, in England by Attlee-like "socialists" and in France those like Blum, expressing such a hot enthusiasm for inciting and escalating the war. In the statements of British and French imperialistic press and their "socialist" yes-men, the same voice of ferocious imperialism, filled with hate against the socialist state, is heard, that we knew from the first days of the existence of the Soviet Union. As far back as April 17, 1919 the London "Times" wrote:

"If we look at a map, we shall find that the best approach to Petrograd is from the Baltic and that the shortest and easiest route is through Finland, whose frontiers are only about thirty miles distant from the Russian capital. Finland is the key to Petrograd, and Petrograd is the key to Moscow".

If it previously was necessary to find some kind of evidence about these kinds of madcap plans, not up to the present given up by British and French imperialists, then now, after the recent events in Finland, all ambiguities about this have disappeared. These plans have once again failed, not because of lack of zeal on the part of anti-Soviet forces in Britain and France, or because of the leading circles of Finland, or those of Sweden and Norway, coming to their senses at the last minute. These plans failed due to brilliant victories won by the Red Army, especially on the Karelian Isthmus. (Applause). But we do not forget, that recent events remind all of us again that it is necessary continuously strengthen the power of the Red Army and of all defenses of our country. (Uproarious and prolonged applause).

In the beginning of February the Finns delivered a inquiry about ending the war. We learned through the Swedish government that the Finnish government desired to ascertain our terms upon which the war could be brought to an end. Before deciding this question, we consulted the People's Democratic Government of Finland[2] for their opinion about this question. The People's Government, in order to put an end to bloodshed and to alleviate the burdens of the Finnish people, agreed that every effort should be made to bring the war to an end. We then put forward the conditions which were soon after accepted by the Finnish government. I must add, that the week after the negotiations with the Finns were opened, the British government also expressed the desire to act as a mediator in the negotiations ostensibly for the purpose of ending the war (laughter), but when our plenipotentiary representative in England comrade Maisky informed London of our proposals, which were subsequently adopted in their entirety by Finland, the British government did not wish to cooperate in ending the war and restoring peace between the Soviet Union and Finland. This did not prevent an agreement from being soon concluded between the Soviet Union and Finland. The outcome of this agreement and ceasing of hostilities and restoring peace are contained in the Peace Treaty, signed on the 12th of March. In connection with this the People's Democratic Government[2] took up the issue of its dissolution, which it carried out of its own volition.

You are familiar with the provisions stipulated in the Peace Treaty. In accordance with the Treaty southern and part of the eastern borders of Finland have been altered. The whole Karelian Isthmus, both Vyborg and Vyborg Bay, the eastern and northern coast of Lake Ladoga, Kexholm (Finn. Käkisalmi, now Priozersk - the names in parenthesis added by the translator!) and Sortavala have been transferred to the Soviet Union. On a region bordering Kandalaksha where the Finnish border went especially close to the Murmansk railway, the border has been pushed farther off. In the north, small parts of Sredniy (Finn. Keskisaarento) and Rybatsiy (Finn. Kalastajasaarento) peninsulas, formerly belonging to Finland, and in the Gulf of Finland a well-known group of islands, Hogland (Finn. Suursaari) included, were moved to the Soviet Union. In addition to that, Hanko Peninsula with adjacent islands was transferred to the Soviet Union in a form of a rental agreement for 30 years, with an annual payment of 9 million Finnish marks, and there our naval base will be built as protection against aggression at the entrance to the Gulf of Finland. This agreement also facilitates the transit of goods for Sweden, Norway and the Soviet Union. Together with this, the Peace Treaty stipulates a mutual abstention from all kinds of aggression against the other party and a prohibition to join any hostile coalitions.

There have been attempts in the Anglo-French press to depict the Soviet-Finnish treaty and, especially the transfer of the Karelian Isthmus to the Soviet Union, as an "annihilation" of Finland's independence. This is, of course, absurdity and pure nagging. Finland still comprises a territory which is four times larger than Hungary and eight times or more larger than Switzerland. If nobody has any doubts that Hungary and Switzerland are independent countries, then how could anyone doubt the independence and sovereignty of Finland?

The same Anglo-French press wrote that the Soviet Union wants to change Finland into a mere Baltic Sea country. This is also, of course, stupidity. It should be sufficient to show that when USSR, during the war, occupied the Petsamo (now Pechenga) area adjoining to the Arctic Ocean, she voluntarily returned this area to Finland, because she considered it essential to let Finland have an ice-free ocean port. Consequently we consider Finland to be not only a Baltic Sea country but also a northern one.

There is no truth in these fabrications of Anglo-French newspapers which are old hands in the art of falsified anti-Soviet propaganda. The truth lies elsewhere, namely in the fact that the Soviet Union, after crushing the Finnish army and with a full capacity to occupy the whole of Finland did not do that and did not demand any indemnities to compensate her war expenses, that would have been done by any other power, and limited her wishes to the minimum thus displaying magnanimity toward Finland.

What is the basic logic behind the Peace Treaty? It is that it duly guarantees the security of Leningrad, Murmansk and the Murmansk railway. This time we could not confine ourselves merely to those desires we brought up last autumn, acceptance of which by Finland would have averted war. After our soldiers' blood was shed - we are not to blame for this - and when we became convinced how far the hostile policy of the Finnish government towards the Soviet Union has gone, the issue on Leningrad's security should be placed on a firmer basis, and furthermore an issue of the security of Murmansk railway and Murmansk must be arranged, because Murmansk is our only ice-free ocean port in the West and therefore exceptionally important to our foreign trade and, in general, to the Soviet Union's connections with other countries. No other objects than that of safeguarding the security of Leningrad, Murmansk and the Murmansk railroad were pursued by us in the Peace Treaty. But we considered it essential to settle this problem effectively and in a durable way. The starting point of the Peace Treaty is the recognition of the principle of the sovereignty of Finland, the recognition of the independence of her domestic and foreign policy and, simultaneously, the necessity to secure the safety of Leningrad and the northwest boundaries of the Soviet Union.

Now the objects set by us have been achieved and we may express our full satisfaction with the Treaty made with Finland. (Applause).

From now on political and economical relations with Finland will be fully restored. The government expresses its confidence that normal and good neighborly relations will develop between the Soviet Union and Finland.

One must, however, give a warning against attempts to violate the Peace Treaty just concluded that are already attempted by some circles in Finland, as well as in Sweden and Norway under the pretext of creating a joint defense alliance between them. In the light of a recent speech by Mr. Hambro, chairman of the Norwegian Storting, in which, referring to historical examples, where he urged Finland to "win back its borders" and proclaimed that this peace, which have been concluded between the Soviet Union and Finland, "cannot last for long" - in the light of this and similar statements, it is not hard to understand that efforts to form a so-called "defensive alliance" of Finland, Sweden and Norway are aimed against the Soviet Union and that these efforts are warmed up by reckless ideology of a military revanche. The formation of a military alliance of this kind, with Finland taking part in it, would be, not only contradictory with the 3rd paragraph of the Peace Treaty which excludes the contracting parties from taking part in any mutually hostile coalitions (alliances), but also in contradiction with the Peace Treaty as a whole which firmly defines the boundary between the Soviet Union and Finland. Finnish participation in any revanchist alliance against the Soviet Union is inconsistent with loyalty to this Treaty. If Sweden and Norway should take part in an alliance like this, it means, that they have given up conducting their neutrality policies and that they have entered into new foreign policy, from which the Soviet Union cannot abstain from drawing appropriate conclusions.

Our government on its part feels that it has no points of dispute with either Sweden or Norway and that Soviet-Swedish and Soviet-Norwegian relations should develop on a basis of friendship. Spreading of rumours for anti-Soviet purposes telling that the Soviet Union is demanding ports on the western coast of Scandinavia, is laying claims on Narvik, etc. are so absurd that they do not even need a denial. The efforts of gentlemen, "socialists" - like Höglund in Sweden and Tranmael in Norway - to ruin the relations between these countries and the Soviet Union can only be branded as an act done by the worst enemies of the working class, by traitors who have betrayed the interests of their own people because of bribes given by foreign capitalists.

The conclusion of the Peace Treaty with Finland accomplishes the task which was set last year to secure the safety of the Soviet Union on the Baltic Sea edge. This Treaty is a necessary complement to the three pacts of mutual cooperation made with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. A half year's experience since the signing of these cooperation treaties enables us to draw very definite and positive conclusions concerning the treaties made with the Baltic states. It must be admitted that the treaties made by the Soviet Union with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have contributed to strengthen the international position of both the Soviet Union and of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Despite the intimidations by hostile anti-Soviet imperialistic circles, the national sovereignty and political independence of Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania has not been subject to any sufferings, on the contrary, the economic relations of these countries with the Soviet Union started to expand appreciably. The fulfillment of the treaties with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, being carried out satisfactorily, creates the prerequisite for further improvements in relations between the Soviet Union and these states.

During recent days an exceptionally large attention has been devoted in the foreign press on the issue of relations between the Soviet Union and her neighbours on the southern borders, especially in Transcaucasia, but also with Rumania. Is there any need to prove that the Soviet government sees no reason to worsen the relations with our neighbours in the south, too. Though just right now in Syria and, in more general, in the Near East there is a big and suspicious fuss going on in the creation of the Anglo-French, mostly colonial armies headed by General Weygand. We must stay alert in regarding attempts to use these colonial and other forces for purposes hostile to the Soviet Union. Any attempts of this kind would evoke countermeasures from our side against aggressors and, moreover, the danger in playing with fire must be most evident to powers hostile to the USSR and to those of our neighbours who are revealed for being tools to this aggressive policy against the USSR (Applause). As far as Turkey and Iran are concerned the relations are defined by the existing non-aggression pacts between us and the unswerving aspiration of the Soviet Union to fulfill what follows from reciprocal obligations. Our relations to Iran on the economical field are regulated by a recently concluded Soviet-Iranian trade agreement.

When I mentioned our southern neighbouring countries, no non-aggression pact with Rumania has been made. This is due to the fact that there exists a non-settled controversial issue, the dilemma of Bessarabia, the seizure of which by Rumania was never recognised by the Soviet Union, but who never put forward settling the problem of Bessarabia's reunification by means of war. Therefore, there is no reason for any kind of worsening in the Soviet-Rumanian relations. Though just right now we had not have a plenipotentiary representative in Rumania for a long time and his duties are taken care by a chargé d'affaires. This is, however, caused by current specific circumstances. If we touch upon this question, we have to remind you about the unseemly role of Rumanian authorities in 1938 towards Butenko, who that time acted as the Soviet representative in Rumania. It is well known that Butenko mysteriously disappeared not only from the legation but also from Rumania, and the Soviet government has not succeeded in establishing anything reliable about this disappearance, and what is more we are expected to believe, that no Rumanian authority was involved in this scandalous criminal act. Needless to say, things like this should not happen in a civilized country and, nor in any at least somewhat well-ordered country, for that matter. After this, the reason for delay in appointing a Soviet representative to Rumania is understandable. It is to be assumed, however, that Rumania will comprehend that similar incidents are intolerable.

In our relations to Japan some issues have been solved although not without certain difficulties. This is confirmed by the Soviet-Japanese fisheries agreement for the current year concluded on 31st of December last year, and by Japan's consent to pay the last, long overdue installment for the East-China railway. In addition to that, no greater satisfaction can be expressed concerning our relations to Japan. To this day for example, despite the prolonged negotiations between the delegates of the Soviet Union and Mongolia on the one side and Japan and Manchuria on the other side, the important problem concerning fixing of the boundary on a part of a territory, in the region where there was a military incident, remains unsettled. Japanese authorities continue to raise obstacles to normal use of the last installment made by them for the East-China railway. In many cases the attitudes of Japanese authorities to the employees of Soviet agencies have been completely abnormal. It should be finally understood in Japan that the Soviet Union tolerates in no case violations to her interests. (Prolonged applause.) Only if Soviet-Japanese relations are understood in this way they can develop satisfactorily.

In connection with Japan I would like to say a couple of words about one, so to speak, non-business matter. (Hilarious movement at the hall). Recently a member of the Japanese parliament submitted this inquiry to his cabinet: "Could it be considered, to end completely conflicts between the USSR and Japan, for instance, by means of buying off the Pacific coast and other territories." (Bursts of laughter). The Japanese parliamentarian, who presented this question and who is interested in buying Soviet territories, which are not for sale (laughter), is at least an amusing man. (Laughter, applause). But with his silly inquiries he, I presume, does not increase the prestige of his parliament. (Laughter). But if there is, in the Japanese parliament, this kind of strong enthusiasm in bargaining, could the deputies of this parliament be concerned in putting South Sakhalin for sale. (Laughter, prolonged applause). I have no doubts that buyers would be found in the USSR. (Laughter, applause).

Regarding our relations with the United States of America they have not improved lately or, very likely, neither worsened if you do not count the so-called "moral embargo" against the USSR, deprived of any sense, especially after when peace was made between the USSR and Finland. Our imports from the United States have increased as compared with the last year. They might increase still more if American authorities did not put obstacles in the way.

Such on the whole is the international situation as a consequence of the events of the past five months.

From what was stated above the main goals of our foreign policy, as we see them, in the present international situation can be found.

In short, the task of our foreign policy is to ensure peace between nations and guaranteeing the safety of our country. What follows up from this - keeping to neutrality and refraining from taking part in the war between the major powers of Europe. This attitude is based on the treaties we have concluded and it fully complies with the interests of the Soviet Union. This attitude also exercises a curbing effect on escalating and inflaming of war in Europe, and is therefore in the interests of all nations that are striving for peace and are wailing under the enormous new sufferings caused by the war.

When we make a summary of the past period of time we see that in safeguarding our country's security considerable successes have been attained by us. This is just what makes our enemies infuriated. We, however, confident in our cause and in our strength, will consistently and unswervingly carry on our foreign policy.

(Tumultuous prolonged applause all around the session hall. Deputies stand in ovation).


[1] 23157 Finnish died in the Winter War and about 45000 were wounded, of whom about 10000 were permantently invalidized. Finnish army had about 275000 men at the beginning of war. The ground forces of USSR has about 20 divisions (~450000 men). As the war prolonged, Finland faced about 46 divisions. In addition there's the firepower by the navy and air forces. During the Winter War, Finland received 104 airplanes from foreign contruesi.
[2] The People's Democratic Government of Finland. A puppet government, comprised of Finnish emigré communists, set up on Dec. 1, 1939, in the recently seized Finnish territory at Terijoki (now Zelenogorsk)

Translated by Pauli Kruhse from the official Soviet printed copies of the report. [noded by kaatunut]

The text has been published in English right after the war as:
V.M.Molotov: Soviet Foreign Policy - The Meaning of the War in Finland by Workers Library Publishers, Inc., New York, April, 1940 and
The U.S.S.R. The International Situation and Peace with Finland. Speech by V.M. Molotov (Chairman Council People's Commissars and Commissar for Foreign Affairs.) Issued by The Anglo-Russian News Bulletin, London, April, 1940


An account on the Winter War can be found in GROLIER online (http://www.grolier.com/wwii/wwii_3.html).

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