File No. 763.72/1408

The Minister in Denmark (Egan) to the Secretary of State

No. 820]

Sir: In an interview with Mr. Eric de Scavenius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which I had to-day, I asked him whether any secret arrangement had been made among the three kings of the Scandinavian countries at their recent meeting at Malmö on December 20. He said emphatically “No”; that the meeting had resulted in the signing of a protocol by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three kingdoms in which the three countries agreed not to take any measures involving questions of economics, regulations of imports, etc., without common consultation. It was agreed by the sovereigns that the neutral position of the three countries should be retained. Mr. de Scavenius said that this was all that could be done. I said that I thought the effect on public opinion had been very good and that it had begun to give the Scandinavians a feeling of solidarity which they had never had before. He answered, not very hopefully, that much could not be done at present. I said that it was a very hopeful sign for the future; that notwithstanding the great differences in the point of view of the three nations, there should be such a public testimonial of their essential union. He answered that he was glad to know that one great power, the [Page 8] United States, could sympathize with the efforts of the three kingdoms to become in the future a Scandinavian confederation, but that we were all in the dark as to what the results of the war would be.

There is no doubt that the confidence of the Danes has been much strengthened by the evident desire of Sweden to act on certain questions in concert with the two other countries. At present the fear of England’s breaking Danish neutrality and of giving Germany an excuse to overrun Jutland has much lessened. The fear of England among the Danes does not imply that they have a hatred of England; their hatred is reserved for Germany, in spite of the good commercial relations which exist between the two countries. I have even heard some of the Danish soldiers say that while they would fight Germany to the death, it would be a question with them whether they would fight at all or attempt any defense against England. Just at present the great fear of the breaking of Danish neutrality has almost disappeared.

I have [etc.]

Maurice Francis Egan