File No. 763.72112/1939

The Minister in Sweden (Morris) to the Secretary of State

No. 453]

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 68 of to-day, concerning the breaking off of negotiations between the Swedish and British trade commissions which have been attempting to adjust various matters in dispute between their respective Governments, I have the honor to report that I am now informed that owing to the wide divergence in their points of view and the unwillingness of both sides to make concessions, it has been found impossible for the two delegations to come to any agreement in the various matters in dispute.

The Swedish people have always been very proud of their nation and of its independence and power, and they are not at all prone to submit to any infractions of what they consider their sovereign rights.

Now during this war the Swedish Government considers that there have been various infractions of these rights on the part of the British authorities in their interference with trade between Sweden and America. The British Government is of the opinion that the authorities here would, if they were in the position to do so, give aid and succor to Germany in the shape of goods and merchandise which are much needed by the Teutonic allies and therefore British ships have been stopping the transit of any goods which they consider might find their way to the ports of enemies of the British Empire. This has sometimes caused a lack of articles needed here in Sweden and a corresponding rise in prices. As previously reported, there are many necessary articles which it is almost impossible to purchase on account of the lack of same, and when one finds that they are for sale the prices are often almost prohibitive.

A few days ago I had occasion to have a conversation with Admiral Lindman, the chief of the Swedish trade commission, who has been a Prime Minister of Sweden and a leader of the conservative party. Admiral Lindman states that he has been given full power by the King in dealing with these matters and that he was [Page 285] responsible for the nomination of the members of his commission. He said that they had entered into these negotiations with the best will possible and with the intention of arriving at some agreement with the British delegates, and while they were willing to make any reasonable concessions, they were not willing to do anything inconsistent with the sovereign rights of the Swedish nation. It was their opinion that it was the purpose of the British Government to induce Sweden to allow the passage in transit of any amount of goods to Russia and at the same time to restrict Sweden to a minimum amount for her own use, and of course not allow the passage of any goods from Sweden to Germany. The Swedish Government has placed a prohibition on practically all goods that might find their way from this country into Germany and yet the English Government was not willing to grant any freedom to Sweden in the matter of its commerce.

The result of all these disputes has been that the commissions have concluded that they are serving no useful purpose in continuing their negotiations and have accordingly decided to terminate them.

The Swedish telegram bureau has given out the following official communication regarding this decision:

The negotiations between Sweden and England which were begun in the beginning of July to attempt to come to some agreement on certain matters of economic nature have not led to the desired result and will therefore be terminated. Both parties have pointed out that the breaking off of the negotiations would not have any effect on the friendly commercial relations existing between the two countries.

The members of the British delegation left Stockholm last night for Christiania.

I have [etc.]

Ira N. Morris