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Liveblogging World War II: January 10, 1941

German-Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement:

Wikipedia: On January 10, 1941, the German ambassador to Moscow von Schulenburg and Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov signed agreements in Moscow to settle all of the open disputes that the Soviets had demanded. The agreement... extended trade regulation of the 1940 German-Soviet Commercial Agreement until August 1, 1942 and increased deliveries above the levels of year one of that agreement to 620 to 640 million Reichmarks. The agreement also finalized issues over transit costs for shipped goods, settled issues over the delivery schedules for goods shipped in year two of the German-Soviet Commercial Agreement, settled trading rights in the Baltics and Bessarabia and calculated the compensation for German property interests in the Baltic States now occupied by the Soviets.

Because of a stronger German negotiation position, German Foreign Ministry official Karl Schnurre concluded that, in economic terms, the agreement was "the greatest Germany ever concluded, going well beyond the previous year's February agreement." The agreement included Soviet commitments to 2.5 million tons of grain shipments and 1 million tons of oil shipments, as well as large amounts of nonferrous and precious metals. German Special Ambassador Karl Ritter, in a state of near-euphoria over Germany's achievement, wrote a directive to all German embassies that "While Britain and the United States have up to now been unsuccessful in their efforts to come to an agreement with the Soviet Union in any field, the Soviet Union has concluded with Germany, the largest contract ever between two states."...

On January 17, 1941, Molotov asked German officials whether the parties could then work out an agreement for entry into the Axis pact. Molotov expressed astonishment at the absence of any answer to the Soviets' November 25 offer to join the Pact. They never received an answer...