I have now come directly from the Kremlin. When you receive this letter, you will have already learned from the newspapers that the main strike was a success. It is a diplomatic miracle. Its consequences are impossible to predict. My decoders haven’t slept for several nights in a row, I am also slightly exhausted. We will have several days of the highest pressure. But now it doesn’t matter, after the decision was made, which we worked and wished for. I hope that the circumstances won’t ruin that which is now in total order. In any event, we completed our task. We achieved in three weeks what the British and the French couldn’t achieve in several months! If only if something good would come out of all of this!
Last night, at around 12, I got a telephone call from Hillman of the International News Service, who shouted down the phone, in great alarm and agitation, that the following news had just come in from Berlin: Germany and the USSR were signing a non-aggression pact. Ribbentrop would be flying to Moscow for that purpose tomorrow. Was this possible?
Involuntarily, I threw up my hands. See more
Since early morning there has been a great commotion, almost panic, in town today. Telephone calls. Visits. Requests to see me. Lloyd George came specially from Churt, and invited me for lunch in his office. The old man is anxious, but he fully understands us. He told me plainly: ‘I’ve been expecting this for a long time. I’m still amazed at your patience. How could you negotiate with this Government for so long?’
We had a long talk about the current situation and discussed the position that the old man would take on the issue. Finally, he stated directly: ‘While Chamberlain remains in charge, there will be no “peace front”. This man will destroy the Empire.’
Later, the duchess of Atholl paid me a visit. Worried and confused. What is this? The complete neutrality of the Soviet Union? A free hand for Germany in Europe? We had a long talk. The duchess left somewhat reassured.
Greenwood and Dalton came to see me in the evening. They are also worried, bewildered, and unable to understand anything.
Political sensation: Hitler – Soviets non-aggression pact. Information from the cabinet: supposedly official German circles denied all reports about the pact just before the official German announcement of this non-aggression pact. Upon the news of the completion of the German-Soviet pact the Admiralty of Great Britain was said to have issued a war alert.
Press conference was convened for 3 pm to the Prime Minister “in relation to the newly arisen situation”.
Terrible, interesting, strange news. The Germans are concluding a twenty-five-year nonaggression pact with the Soviets! What a turnabout! What a capitulation of Nazi ideology! The Soviets apparently do not want to interfere in European politics and want to protect their backsides for a fight against Japan. And what will Japan say about this pact? Germany will hardly be able to count on Japan's help anymore. In any case, it's quite a propaganda stunt on Germany's part. Who knows how the European situation will develop now? Chamberlain has summoned the English Parliament into special session.
We are still here in the centre of world politics. At present, the British and French militaries are in talks, so far without visible success. We have a huge amount of work; we are flooded with telegrams, etc. Last night a German-Soviet economic agreement was signed in Berlin, which given the present political climate means more than it would appear. But you should still keep your fingers crossed… at least for another 10 days. For now, it is unclear if I will go to Nuremberg, but I think that I will, although maybe with a slight delay… Today is August 21st, it’s two o’clock in the morning. They just called me from the office, that an “extra urgent” and never-ending telegram has just arrived from Berlin. In one and a half hours they will send it to me in a decoded version: until then I should stay awake. Despite this, I will end the letter for today; I want to, and I must, “dose” for a little bit in the armchair, because I will not be able to sleep this night. Tomorrow I will add something to this letter, if something will come up which is worthy of attention…
The Reich Government and the Soviet Government have agreed to conclude a non-aggression pact. The Reich Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop will journey to Moscow on Wednesday, August 23, to finalize negotiations.
The Government of the German Reich and The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, desirous of strengthening the cause of peace between Germany and the U.S.S.R., and proceeding from the fundamental provisions of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April 1926 between Germany and the U.S.S.R., have reached the following Agreement:
Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other Powers. See more
Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power.
The Governments of the two High Contracting Parties shall in the future maintain continual contact with one another for the purpose of consultation in order to exchange information on problems affecting their common interests.
Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties, neither shall participate in any grouping of Powers whatsoever that is directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.
Should disputes or conflicts arise between the High Contracting Parties over problems of one kind or another, both parties shall settle these disputes or conflicts exclusively through friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, through the establishment of arbitration commissions. The present treaty shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The ratifications shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement shall enter into force as soon as it is signed.
The question of a non-aggression pact is clear and simple. According to the German government, it should consist of the following two points:
1) The German government and the Soviet government agree not to, under any circumstances, enter into a war or use force of any kind;
2) This agreement will take effect very soon and will be in effect without denunciation for 25 years.
The negotiations between Germany and the USSR concerning an expansion of bilateral trade, underway for a considerable time already, came to a successful conclusion on August 19, 1939. The outcome of the negotiations has been a trade and credit agreement signed by the deputy Legation Counselor Schnurre on behalf of Germany, and the deputy head of the Soviet Russian trade legation in Germany, E. Barbarin. The trade agreement provides for Germany extending a credit to the amount of RM 200 million to the USSR, the money being earmarked for the purchase of German goods. The agreement further stipulates that the USSR shall see to the delivery of goods to Germany, within the subsequent two years, to the amount of RM 180 million.
If, however, the German government is now turning away from the old politics towards a serious improvement in political relations with the USSR, then the Soviet government can only welcome such a shift and is prepared, from its side, to reconstruct its politics in the spirit of a serious improvement of relations with Germany. See more
If to add to this, the circumstance, that the Soviet government never had and does not want to have any kind of aggressive intentions towards Germany, then it believed and continues to believe that it is entirely possible to reach a peaceful solution to the controversial issues in the area of relations between Germany and the USSR.
The Fuhrer takes the view that, taking into account the present situation and the possibility of serious events at any moment (Germany does not intend to continue to tolerate Polish provocations), it is advisable to quickly clarify German-Soviet relations and mutual attitudes to current issues. For this reason, the German Foreign Minister Mr. von Ribbentrop expresses his readiness, starting from August 18, to come to Moscow on an airplane at any time with the powers of the Fuhrer to negotiate a set of German-Soviet issues and, if there are appropriate conditions (gegebenenfalls), to sign relevant treaties.
The Reich Government and the Soviet Government must, judging from past experience, take into account that the capitalistic Western democracies are the implacable enemies of both National Socialist Germany and Soviet Russia. They are today trying again, by the conclusion of a military alliance, to drive Russia into war against Germany. In 1914 the Russian regime collapsed as a result of this policy. It is the compelling interest of both countries to avoid for all future time the destruction of Germany and of Russia in the interests of Western democracies.
As we have been informed, the Soviet Government also feel the desire for a clarification of German-Russian relations. Since, however, according to previous experience this clarification can be achieved only slowly through the usual diplomatic channels, I am prepared to make a short visit to Moscow in order, in the name of the Führer, to set forth the Führer's views to M. Stalin. In my view, only through such a direct discussion can a change be brought about, and it should not be impossible thereby to lay the foundations for a final settlement of German-Russian relations.
There is no doubt that German-Russian policy today has come to an historic turning-point. The decisions with respect to policy to be made in the immediate future in Berlin and Moscow will be of decisive importance for the development of relations between the German and the Russian peoples for generations. On these decisions will depend whether the two peoples will some day, again and without any compelling reason, take up arms against each other, or whether they pass again into a new friendly relationship. It has gone well with both countries previously when they were friends and badly when they were enemies. See more
It is true that Germany and Soviet Russia, as a result of years of ideological opposition, today face each other distrustfully. A great deal of accumulated rubble will have to be cleared away. It must be said, however, that even during this period the natural sympathy of the Germans for the Russians never disappeared. The policy of both States can be built anew on that basis.
There exist no real conflicts of interests between Germany and Russia. The living spaces of Germany and Russia touch each other. but in their natural requirements they do not overlap. Thus there is lacking all cause for an aggressive attitude on the part of one country against the other. Germany has no aggressive intentions against the U.S.S.R. The Reich Government are of the opinion that there is no question between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea which cannot be settled to the complete satisfaction of both countries. Among these are such questions as: the Baltic Sea, the Baltic States, Poland, South-Eastern questions, etc. Over and above such matters political cooperation between the two countries can only have a beneficial effect.