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Note of Government of the Finland,
|Mr. People's Commissar,
In reply to your letter of the 28th instant, I have the honour to inform you as follows:
It is clear from my letter of November 28th that Finland has not violated the territorial integrity of the U.S.S.R. With the object of establishing this fact in a manner admitting of no doubt, my Government proposed that the frontier commissioners of the two countries on the Karelian Isthmus should be instructed to carry out a joint inquiry into the incident in question, as provided in the Convention concerning Frontier Commissioners concluded on September 24th, 1928. In my letter, I also directed attention to the fact that the troops posted in the vicinity of the frontier on the Finnish side consist principally of regular troops belonging to the frontier-guard who cannot constitute a menace of any kind to the security of Leningrad. My Government consider that the denunciation of the Treaty of Non-Aggression was not justified; under the Protocol of 1934, this treaty is to remain in force, without any possibility of denunciation, until the end of the year 1945.
My Government desire to stress more particularly Article 5 of the Treaty of Non-Aggression, in which the two Contracting Parties have declared that they will endeavour to settle in a spirit of justice any dispute of whatever nature or origin which may arise between them and will resort exclusively to pacific means of settling such disputes. For this purpose, the two Contracting Parties undertook to submit any disputes which might arise between them, and which it might not have been possible to settle through diplomatic proceedings within a reasonable time, to a procedure of conciliation before a joint conciliation commission. According to the said article, conciliation procedure must also be applied more particularly in the event of any dispute as to the question whether the mutual undertaking as to non-aggression has or has not been violated.
Referring to the foregoing, my Government propose that, in conformity with Article 5 of the Treaty of Non-Aggression and the provisions of the Convention of Conciliation annexed to that treaty, a conciliation commission should be convened without delay to examine the dispute which has just arisen. Finland is prepared, alternatively, to submit the settlement of the dispute to neutral arbitration.
In order to furnish signal proof of their sincere wish to reach an agreement with the Government of the U.S.S.R. and with the object of disproving the Soviet Government's allegation that Finland has adopted a hostile attitude towards the U.S.S.R. and is desirous of menacing the safety of Leningrad, my Government are prepared to come to an understanding with the Government of the U.S.S.R. concerning the withdrawal of the defense troops on the Karelian Isthmus, with the exception of the units of frontier-guards and Customs officials, to such a distance from Leningrad that it can no longer be claimed that they threaten the security of that town.
Accept, Mr. People's Commissar, the assurance of my high consideration.
Finnish minister at Moscow
November 29th, 1939