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Full text of "The Meaning of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact"

The Meaning 
of the 




Soviet-G 



Non -Aggression 
Pact 



By V. M. MOtOTOV 



le 



This pamphlet is the full text of the speech of V.M. Molo- 
,ov Chakjwn of the Council of Peoples Comma**, and 
Copies ComJssar for Foreign Affairs of the Vntonof 
S Jet Socialist Republics, before the August } z, m 9 , meet ( £ 
„/ the fourth special session of the Supreme Sovxrt of the 
U.S.S.R. 










THELBKARY 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF TEXAS 

AT 

AUSTIN 



PUBLISHED BY 

WORKERS LIBRARY PUBLISHERS, INC. 

T. O. BOX 148, STATION I>, NEW YORK, N. Tf. 

fiUNT&O IN TtfE U-3.A. 



The Meaning of the 

Soviet-German 

Non-Aggression 

Pact 

By V. M- MOLOTOV 

no success. This is true ot E« 10 P £ - in East Aria . 

N or has there been any change fo *e ^eue ^ ^ 

Japanese troops c— = to £»W JgJ^ „ ]apan 

considerable part of the territory or Here , too, the 

draining ^^j«^2EL Ration. 

situation has changed in the idirecUM q£ a oE 

In vie^of this state of . alb «, ^ ™ is o£ tre . 

non-aggression between «^^ ^ war be . 

ffi endous positive value g— ^ In or E der more fully 
tween Germany and the Soviet u on 

to define the significance of thr^act, I ™* in 

the negotiations which have taken ?H« u «« 
Moscow with -P^„rs o :L neg tUtions for conclusion 
5 r;^'— Since ag Jt aggression in Europe 
began as far back as April- Government were, 

















Soviet Government did not reject the negotiations and in turn 
put forward its own proposals. We were mindful ot the (act 
That it was difficult for the Governments of Great Britain and 
France to make an abrupt change in their policy from an 
unfriendly attitude towards {tie Soviet Union which had 
existed quite recently to serious negotiations with the U.S.S.K. 
based on the condition o£ equality of obligations. 

However the subsequent negotiations were not justifced by 
their results. The Anglo-French-Soviet negotiations lasted 
four months. They helped to elucidate a number ot ques- 
tions At the same time they made it clear to the representa- 
tives of Great Britain and France that the Soviet Union has to 
be seriouslv reckoned with in international affairs. But these 
negotiations encountered insuperable obstacles. 1 he trouble, 
„£ "course, did not lie in individual "formulations" or in par- 
ticular clauses in the draft of the pact. No. the trouble was 
much more serious. 

The conclusion of a pact of mutual assistance against ag- 
gression would have been of value only if Great Britain, 
France and the Soviet Union had arrived at agreement as to 
definite military measures against the attack ot an aggressor. 
Accordingly, for a certain period not only political but also 
military negotiations were conducted in Moscow with rep- 
resentatives of the British and French armies. However, noth- 
ing came of the military negotiations. 

They encountered the difficulty that Poland, which was to 
be iointlv guaranteed by Great Britain, France and the 
U S S R., rejected military assistance on the part of the Soviet 
Union. Attempts to overcome the objections of Poland met 
with no success. More, the negotiations showed that Great 
Britain was not anxious to overcome these objections of Po- 
land, but on the contrary encouraged them. It is clear that, 
such being the attitude of the Polish Government and its 
principal ally towards military assistance on the part of the 
Soviet Union in the event of aggression, the Anglo-French- 
Soviet negotiations could not bear fruit. Alter this it became 

4 




dear to us that .he Anglo-French-Soviet negotiations were 

X£ ri^he/negotiations with Great Britain and France 
shown? The Anglo-French-Soviet negotiations have shown 
a the position of Great Britain and France is marked by 
towl ng Contradictions throughout. Judge for yourse yes On 
throne hand, Great Britain and France demanded that the 
USSR Should give military assistance to Poland in case ot 
LSon The U.S.S.R.; as you know, was willing to meet 
thb demand, provided that the U.S.S.R. itself received like 
listan«Tom Great Britain and France. On the other hand, 
p" Great Britain ami France brought Poland on he 
en who resolutely declined military assistance on the part 
of "he USSR, lust try under such circumstances to reach 
1 aSeenfent regarding mutual -f — wl,^™^ 
the part ot the U.S.S.R. is declared beforehand to be u.ineccs 

Sa Ftnlr ": Tne'-one hand, Great Britain and France offered 
grantee the Soviet Union military a— agam 
accession in return for like assistance on the part ot tie 
USSR On the other hand, they hedged round then- assts- 
SS with such reservations regarding indirect agression - 
could convert this assistance into a myth and provide them 
^fclal legal excuse to evade giving assistance „d ^lac 

l S ™a S s£nc? and a pact of more or less camouflaged 

^Furuter. on the one hand Great Britain and France 
stre sed the importance and gravity of negotiations lor a par 
of mutual assignee and demanded that the "**££*% 
treat the matter most seriously and settle very raprd all 
questions relating to the pact. On the other hand they the m- 
Les displayed extreme dilatoriness and an abso ute ly light- 
nnnded attitude towards the negotiations, entrusting them to 
hrdividuals of secondary importance who were not invested 
wiiH adequate powers. 



It is enough to mention that the British and French military 
missions came to Moscow without any definite powers and 
without the right to conclude any military convention. 

More the British military mission arrived in Moscow with- . 
out any mandate at all (general laughter), and it was only o 
the demand of our military mission that on the very eve of thj 
breakdown of the negotiations they presented written creden- 
tials But even these credentials were of the vaguest kind, that 
is credentials without proper weight. Just try to distinguish 
between this light-minded attitude towards the negotiations 
on the part of Great Britain and France and frivolous make- 
believe at negotiations designed to discredit the whole busi- 
ness of negotiations. 

Such are the intrinsic contradictions in the attitude ot 
Great Britain and France towards the negotiations with the 
U.S.S.R. which led to their breakdown. 

What is the root of these contradictions in the position of 
Great Britain and France? In a few words, it can be put as 
follows: On the one hand, the British and French Govern- 
ments fear aggression, and for that reason they would like to 
have a pact of mutual assistance with the Soviet Union pro- 
vided it helped strengthen them, Great Britain and France. . 

But, on the other hand, the British and French Govern- 
ments are afraid that the conclusion of a real pact of mutual 
assistance with the U.S.S.R. may strengthen our country, the 
Soviet Union, which, it appears, does not answer their pur- 
pose. It must be admitted that these fears of theirs outweighed 
other considerations. Only in this way can we understand the 
position of Poland, who acts on the instructions of Great 
Britain and France. 

I shall now pass to the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact. 
The decision to conclude a non-aggression pact between 
the U.S.S.R, and Germany was adopted after military negoti- 
ations with France and Great Britain had reached an impasse 
©wing to the insuperable differences I have mentioned. As the 
negotiations had shown that the conclusion of a pact of mu- 

6 



tuai assistance could not be expected, we could not but ex- 
plore other possibilities of ensuring peace and eliminating the 
danger of war between Germany and the U.S.S.R. If the 
British and French governments refused to reckon with this, 
that is their affair. It is our duty to think of the interests of 
the Soviet people, the interests of the Union of Soviet Socialist 
Republics. (Prolonged applause.) All the more since we are 
firmly convinced that the interests of. the U.S.S.R. coincide 
with the fundamental interests o£ the peoples of other coun- 
tries. (Applause.) But that is only one side of the matter. 

Another circumstance was required before the Soviet-Ger- 
man Nan-Aggression Fact could come into existence. It was 
necessary that in her foreign policy Germany should make a 
turn towards good-neighborly relations with the Soviet Union. 

Only when this second condition was fulfilled, only when 
it became clear to us that the German government desired to 
change its foreign policy so as to secure an improvement of 
relations with the U.S.S.R., was the basis found for the con- 
clusion of a Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact. Everybody 
knows that during the last six years, ever since the National- 
Socialists [Nazis] came into power, political relations between 
Germany and the U.S.S.R, have been strained. Everybody also 
knows that despite the differences of outlook and political 
systems, the Soviet Government endeavored to maintain nor- 
mal business and political relations with Germany. There is 
no need now to revert to individual incidents of these rela- 
i ions during recent years, which are well known to yo*U. 

J must, however, recall the explanation of our foreign policy 
given several months ago at the Eighteenth Party Congress. 
Speaking of our tasks in the realm of foreign policy, Stalin 
defined our attitude to other countries as follows: 



"l, To continue the policy of peace and of strengthen- 
ing business relations with all countries; 

"t. To be cautious and not to allow our country to be 
drawn into conflicts by warmongers who are accustomed 

7 










them."* l . U;U ( he Soviet 

, c ■ r Wraine, Stabn said: 
the Soviet Ukiamt, iuK?iloo 

„, ,» i»«« «- "« , , „,„„,„ ,i,h Ge, 

the machinations o th V est ^ SovJet Umon at 

were trying to set Germany 

loggerheads. short-sighted people 

It must be confessed that u « ie b over-s.mpl.ned 

eV en in our own country who, c an lea yi ^ ()£ 

S^dst propaganda, forgo about *» F^ . 

our enemies. Mmdiul ° '^J^righborl? relations be- 
possibility o£ other unho f^f^^ a \ ovi be see n that on 
tween Germany and the l«* statements oh 

,„ c whole Germany ""J^ST^ them, (L«*M".> 
Suiin and drew F^^S^ Non-Aggression Pact 

r "SSI. hJS P-vMoa has been brilhantlv 
shows tnaL own" 

confirmed. fLo«d "PP ;»■*»■> Government made a 

la the spring of tins year th Genua n , Sl) , m 

proposal to resume commerce *n6 ere J ^^ ^ 

I„,iS«W Publisher New York.^ 



first commercial ana creuu 5 

many under her pieWtp^J. ^ 

But this agreement differs avoiat 1 ™ ° y n 

ag teement but from all P= « -« ad _ 

th£ faCt *■! VZr « St n "ance'or any other country. 
tageous with Gieat crua, bet ause its credit con- 

Toe agreement is advantageous to u ^because 
cUdons ^ seven-year credn enables us to ot d a 

additional quantity of such eqmpw^ « ^ J a 

agreement, the U.S-S.R- undertake «W *£ t > 

definite quantity oi our surplus raw ™™f^ 
which fully answers the '^^^ Economic agree- 
Why should we reject, such an advantageo • ^ 

]11C1U? - Surely not to please ^^J^ Laments 

the soviet U,™^ v an a^ous « ^ ^ 

with oilier countries? And it is "ear 

credit agreement with Germany is M* >" ^ 

economic interests and delense need of the ^me ^ 

This agreement is lully m accorf ^J^* Swlh , s 

sire to improve political relations as eU^ .he So c K 

ment had no grounds lor refusing. 11ns gave 

uon of ^eluding a non^-on part ^ ^ 

V 7 S y^TJ^ff^S ^ the improvement of 
standing oi me mobi * e «,^t mion and Germany 

m , that we hold the position ol not intertermg 

9 



"■■-- 









' 



— **r 



j 



affairs of other countries and, correspondingly, of not tolerat- 
h* interference in our own internal affairs. Furthermore, they 
fori* the important principle or our foreign pokey whtch 
was formulated by Stalin at tl | Eighteenth Party Congress 

tts follows: 

"We stand for peace and the strengthening of business 
relations with all countries. That is our posit.on; and 
we shall adhere to this position as long as these coun- 
tries maintain like relations with the Sov.et Union, and 
as long as they make no attempt to trespass on the inter- 
ests of our country." * 

The meaning of these words is quite clear: the Soviet 
Union strives to maintain good-neighborly relations with all 
non-Soviet countries provided that these countries maintain 
a like altitude towards the Soviet Union. In our foreign policy 
towards non-Soviet countries, we have always been gulfed 
by Lenin's well-known principle of the peaceful coexistence 
of .he Soviet state and of capitalist countries. A large number 
of examples might be cited to show how this principle : has 
been carried out in practice. But I will confine myself to 

only a few. , ... 

We have, for instance, a non-aggression and neutrality 
treaty with fascist Italy ever since 1933. It has never occurred 
to aitybody as yet to object to this treaty. And that » natural. 
Inasmuch as this pact meets the interests ot" the U.S.S.R., it is 
in accord wiili our principle o£ the peaceful coexistence o£ 
the USSH and the capitalist countries. We have non-aggres- 
sion pads also with Poland and certain other countries whose 
semi-fascist system is known to all. These pacts have not given 
rise to anv misgivings either. Perhaps it would not be superflu- 
ous to mention the fact that we have not even treaties of this 
kind with certain other non-fascist bourgeois-democratic 
countries, with Great Britain herself, for instance. But that 1* 
'• not our fault. 

*■ Joseph Stalin, From Socialism to Communism in the Soviet Union, 
International Publishers, New York. 

10 



J 



,. „,,,, lh e political basis of our relations with Germany 
:;:::b-^Uf neutrality which was alr^extenaed 

, , .k- Dr es%it German government in 1938- Thls "«"* ° 

;,:;;:„i v z** * *« «, ** **?**£* *-— 

, au livable even before this to take a turtner step 

^I Ttlue that it is not a pact of mutual assistance that is in 
It is true m r Anglo . Fre nch-Soviet negoti- 

s on b ;tU n y y.xiS- p- *-*-££■£ 

L Lt ihev are it is difficult to overestimate the 

Minuter for Foreign Affairs, to Moscow. 

wust * 3 ,a 39 , the day the Soviet-German Non-Aggress.on 
Pa« va , ned is to be raided as a date of gwthjjnj 
-ruo von Agression Pact between the ILSJfcK. 
Xrm^rriS P-m in the history of Europe 
and no only of Europe. Only yesterday the German fascists 
"t P "i 1 g a foreign policy hostile to us. Yes only yester- 
day we we e enemies in the sphere of foreign relations, loday, 
^"e situation has changed and we are enemtes no 

10 The art of politics in the sphere of foreign relations does 

no onsist in increasing the number of enemies for ones conn- 

tv On the contrary, the art of politics in this sphere is to 

edu?e the number of such enemies and to make t£ e = e 

of yesterday good neighbors, maintaining peaceable relations 

try and Germany have been to the detriment of our countr, 
not to their benefit. Russia and Germany suffered most o a 
Entries in the war of 1914.19*8. Therefore the interest of 
the peoples of the Soviet Union and Germany stand m need 
of peaceable relations. The Soviet-German Non-Aggress.on I act 

11 






puts an end to enmity between Germany and the U.S.S.R. and 
this is in the interests of both countries. The tact that our 
outlooks and political systems differ must not and cannot be 
obstacles to the establishment of good political relations be- 
tween both states- j *t as like differences are not impediments 
to good political relations which the U.S.S.R. maintains with 
other non-Soviet capitalist countries. Only enemies of Ger- 
many and the U.S.S.R. can strive to create and foment enmity 
between the peoples of these countries. We have always stood 
for amity between the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and Germany, 
for the growth and development of friendship between the 
peoples of the Soviet Union and the German people. (Loud 
and prolonged applause.) 

The chief importance ol the Soviet-German Non-Aggression 
Tact lies In the fact that tlvc two largest slates of Europe have 
agreed to put an end to the enmity between them, to elim- 
inate I he menace of war and live at peace one with the other, 
making narrower thereby the /one of possible military con- 
flicts in Europe, Even if military conflicts in Europe should 
prove -unavoidable, the scope of hostilities will now be re- 
stricted. Only the instigators of a general European war can 
be displeased by this state of affairs, those who under the mask 
of pacifism would like to ignite a general conflagration in 
Europe. 

The Soviet-German Pact has been the object oi numerous 
attacks in the English, French and American press. Conspicu- 
ous in these efforts are certain "Socialist" newspapers, diligent 
servitors ot Ji theii" national capitalism, servitors of gentlemen: 
who pay them decently. (Laughter.) It is clear that the real 
truth cannot be expected from gentry of this calibre. Attempts 
are being made to spread the fiction that the signing of the 
Sov)et-German Pact disrupted the negotiations with England 
and France on a mutual assistance pact. This lie has already 
been Trailed in the interview given by Voroshilov. 

In reality, as you know, the very reverse is true. The Soviet 
Union signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Germany, for one 
V 13 




thing, in vi?w of the fact that the negotiations with France 
and England had run into insuperable differences and ended 
in failure through the fault of the ruling classes of England 
and France. 

Further, they go so far as to blame us because the pact, i£ 
you please, contains no clause providing for its denunciation 
in case one of the signatories is drawn into war under condi- 
tions which might give someone an external pretext to qualify 
this particular country as an aggressor. But they forget for 
some reason that such a clause and such a reservation is not to 
be found either in the Polish-German non-aggression pact 
signed in 1934 and annulled by Germany in 1939 against the 
wishes of Poland, or in the Anglo-German declaration on non- 
aggression signed only a few months ago. The question arises: 
Why cannot the U.S.S.R. allow itself the same privilege as 
Poland an<J England allowed themselves long ago? 

Finally there are wiseacres who construe from the pact more 
than is written in it, (Laughter.) For this purpose, all kinds of 
conjectures and hints are mooted in order to cast doubt on 
the pact in one or another country. But all this merely speaks 
for the hopeless impotence of the enemies of the pact who are 
exposing themselves more and more as enemies ofboth the 
Soviet Union and Germany, striving to provoke war between 
these countries. 

In all this, we find fresh corroboration of Stalin's warning 
that we must be particularly cautious with warmongers who 
are accustomed to have others pull the chestnuts out ot the 
fire tor them. We must be on guard against those who see an 
advantage to themselves in bad relations between the U.S.S.R. 
and Germany, in enmity between them, and who do not want 
peace and good neighborly relations between Germany and 
the Soviet Union. 

We can understand why this policy is being pursued by out- 
and-out imperialists. But we cannot ignore such facts as the 
especial zeal with which some leaders of the Socialist Parties of 
Great Britain and France have recently distinguished them- 

13 















> 



*s 



Ana these gentlemen have really gone the 
selves in this ^^S,,,.) These people posmve- 
wh0 le hog, and no ™«f^ L \ mli ^ved in war aga.ns 
,., demand .hat ^VSj^JP Have not these rabad 

< . ;v many on the s.de o£ Great -b : hUr _ } Is it really 

v .„gers taken leave ^^^A the purpose of the 
, iffi cult for these g™* emen .*° ^ on lh e strength o£ whtch 
.ovtet-German Non-A^ton Pact « ^ ^ 

t -, E U.S.S.R. is "Ot obbged to im ^ cn lhe side of 

the side o£ Great »™ J^ t wl J difficult to under- 
Germany against Great. BnttoM. ^ ^ w 

stand that the U.S.S.R. « pu utng .^^ o£ 

sue its own ^^^eir interests? <?«**** 
peoples ot the u. »■»•»•• 

applause.) uncontrollable desire to 

Tf these gentlemen have «*£ lhe Sovi£ t Union; 

foht, let them do thetr own W™*" ^ £. 

Se would see M**»S?£ Sre Soviet people, these 
Ia our eyes, in the eyes o£ the en ^^ o£ 

are just as much enemte* o£ peace ^ . ^ ^^ 

^r'in Europe. Only those ^ ^ want t0 5et the 

ter , a new holocaust o£ nation*. ° ? ' are thc on ly 

&* Union and Germany «*gg£ ; estor V ation o£ good- 

G -1ovietUn ? si^pa : ^— *£*- 
S ured that peace between the pe P ^^^ oE 

Germany is in the interest^ a 1 peoples^ ^ 

universal peace. ^T^ ^ ds to the fundamenta 
tb e truth of thts. Tim pact con p ^ Union and 

interests o£ the working p op e ^ ^ . . 

canfl ot weaken our "S^J^ ia our real forces, m 
SS^^tomeetanya^ionagatnst 

the U.S.S.R. (^"^^^m Anglo-French-Soviet aegoj 



relations, and questions of Eastern Europe even less, can be 
tettied without the active participation of the Soviet Union, 
that any attempts to shut out the Soviet Union and decide 
such questions behind its bade are doomed to failure. (Ap- 
plause.) 

The Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact spelts a new turn 
in the development of Europe, a turn towards improvement 
of relations between the two largest states of Europe. This 
pact not only eliminates the menace of war with Germany, 
narrows done the zone o£ possible hostilities in Europe, and 
serves thereby the cause of universal peace: it must open to 
us new possibilities o£ increasing our strength, of further 
consolidation o£ our positions, of further growth o£ the in- 
fluence of the Soviet Union on international developments. 
There is no need to dwell here on the separate clauses of the 
pact. The Council of People's Commissars has reason to 
hope that the pact will meet with your approval as a docu- 
ment of cardinal importance to the U.S.S.R. (Applause.) 

The Council of People's Commissars submits the Soviet- 
German Non-Aggression Pact to the Supreme Soviet and 
proposes that it be ratified. (Loud and prolonged applause. 

All rise.) 

* * * 

On the conclusion of Mohtov's statement, the joint sitting 
of the Council of the Union and the Council of Nationalities 
of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., on a motion of Deputy 
ShcherbakoVj unanimously adopted the following resolution: 

"Having heard the statement of Comrade V. M. Molo- 
tov, the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars 
and People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, on the rati- 
fication o£ the Non-Aggression Pact between the U.S.S.R. 
and Germany, the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. re- 
solves: 

"1. To approve the foreign policy of the Government. 

"2. To ratify the Non-Aggression Pact between the 
U.S.S.R.. and Germany, concluded in Moscow, August 23, 

»5 



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