Mr. Hauge, late Chargé d’Affaires of Sweden and Norway, to the Acting Secretary of State.
Sir: Supplementing my letters of July 12 and 27 last and of the 10th instant, I submit as follows:
On July 27 last the Norwegian Government put before the Norwegian Storthing a proposition for a referendum vote concerning the question of the dissolution of the union with Sweden. In this proposition, inter alia, it is said:
By the extraordinary decision, made necessary by the existing conditions, which decision on behalf of the nation was taken by the Storthing through its resolution of June 7, 1905, the Storthing has acted within its authority and with consciousness of the full consent and approval of the Norwegian people. Outside of Norway an attempt has been made to raise a doubt of the existence of such public opinion. It was probably on account of this doubt that the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) expressed its wish to have another manifestation of the will and opinion of the Norwegian people.
A free referendum vote of the Norwegian citizens concerning the dissolution of the union will also give foreign observers full insight as to the wishes of the Norwegian people and remove any wrong impression that may have been created abroad, and, furthermore, will awaken among our own countrymen a fuller realization of their patriotism and their willingness to make sacrifices.
On the following day, to wit, July 28, the Storthing unanimously agreed to the government’s proposition.[Page 862]
I beg to quote from the Storthing’s resolution as follows:
On August 13, at 1 o’clock p.m., a referendum vote shall take place over the whole country, by which those who have suffrage under the constitution shall give their answer to the question whether or not they agree to the already effected dissolution of the union.
The ballots shall only contain the word “Yes” or the word “No” (printed or written). If the voter agrees to the dissolution of the union, he shall answer, “Yes;” if he does not agree, he shall answer, “No.”
I beg to add that according to the Norwegian constitution there is universal suffrage (for men) since 1898.
Article 50 of the constitution says:
The right of voting shall belong to every Norwegian citizen who has completed his twenty-fifth year, has resided in the country for five years, and is residing there.
As above said, the referendum vote took place on August 13, and I have just received a cable stating that 368,200 voters pronounced themselves in favor of the dissolution of the union with Sweden and only 184 voted for the union, an overwhelming majority, a practically unanimous vote being for the dissolution.
In the last elections (1903) of representatives to the Storthing 236,641 voters balloted, and it was considered that the voters showed great interest in that election; but now 368,384 voters cast ballots. Never before have the voters been as anxious to show their interest. There are in Norway about 50,000 persons of Swedish birth, and of course thousands of them are naturalized and can vote, and it is very probable that the 184 votes against the dissolution of the union were such. Considering the great number of Swedes living in Norway, it is astonishing that the minority was so small. I beg to add that the voting in Norway is absolutely secret, so that nobody risks anything by voting according to his free will.
By the referendum it is clear that the present Norwegian Government represents the unanimous Norwegian people. This government has now been ruling in Norway for nearly three months, and it has been obeyed by the whole people, by the army and navy, and by all civil officers of the country.
Therefore it seems to me that at present the political situation in Norway is so clear that the recognition of the Norwegian Government by the Government of the United States might be expected.
I respectfully beg to suggest that at earlier occasions the United States has recognized provisory governments very soon after their establishment. Thus the provisory French Government of September 4, 1870, was recognized by the United States as early as the 7th of the same month; also the provisory French Government in 1848 and the Brazilian Republican Government 1889 were recognized almost immediately.
Finally, I beg to express as my opinion that it would contribute much to a quick and easy settlement of the different questions still pending between Norway and Sweden if the Norwegian Government were recognized by the United States.[Page 863]
I hope to receive an early answer to the questions set forth in my letter of the 12th of July last and trust that I may soon be able to inform my government that the Government of the United States is willing to recognize the Norwegian Government and to receive its envoy as soon as an official demand for that purpose is made.