Official Visit of Soviet People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs V. Molotov to Berlin. November 1940 – January 1941
On November 12–14, 1940, Soviet People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs V. Molotov came with a visit to Berlin, where he held talks with J. von Ribbentrop, H. Goering, R. Hess, and A. Hitler. In his note ‘Some Directives for the Berlin Trip’, Molotov indicated the main goals of his visit and the issues on the agenda. the main subjects of the talks were the USSR’s entry into the Tripartite Pact and the demarcation of the spheres of interest of all the parties to the agreement. Molotov insisted on the recognition of Soviet interests in Finland, the Balkans, and the Black Sea Straits. Hitler refrained from meeting concrete demands and invited the USSR to participate in the partition of the British Empire and the definition of the Soviet spheres of interest through further consultations.
The talks did not yield any major results.
On November 25, Molotov gave the German ambassador to Moscow a list of conditions for the USSR’s signature of the Tripartite Pact that were a priori unacceptable to German: the withdrawal of German troops from Finland, the strengthening of Soviet influence in Bulgaria through the signature of a mutual assistance agreement between the two countries, the establishment of Soviet bases in the Black Sea Straits, etc. No reply was received from Berlin.
At the same time, General Secretary of the Soviet People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs A. Sobolev was sent on a special mission to Sofia. In a conversation with Tsar Boris on March 25, he made a declaration in the name of the Soviet government of the USSR’s readiness to provide Bulgaria with ‘any assistance, including military aid, in the event of any attack by a third country or group of countries on Bulgaria’. the offer was refused five days later.
On December 18, 1940, Hitler signed a directive on making preparations for war against the USSR under the codename ‘Operation Barbarossa’.
On January 17, 1941, Molotov presented the German ambassador with a declaration from the Soviet government that called attention to the concentration of German troops in Romania and warned that their entry into Bulgaria and the area of the Straits would be viewed as a violation of the security interests of the USSR.
On January 23, the German ambassador presented Molotov with a reply from the German government, which stated that German troops had been concentrated in the Balkans exclusively to prevent Britain from gaining a foothold in the region. the preparation of the parties for military conflict entered its decisive phase.