File No. 763.72/6611

The British Embassy to the Department of State


The following opinion, expressed by the British Minister at Christiania in reply to Mr. Balfour’s enquiries, has been telegraphed by the latter to the British Ambassador.

The possibility of Norway being involved in the war owing to some unforeseen incident, such as the sinking of a German submarine in defence of a Norwegian ship, cannot of course be excluded, but the present efforts of Germany to conciliate Norwegian sympathies, though hitherto unsuccessful, confirms the opinion which has already been expressed that the danger of forcing Norway into the war is fully appreciated by the German Government, and will be carefully avoided by them on the ground that any such development would give the enemies of Germany a naval base on the Norwegian coast.

It may be true that at the recent interview at Sassnitz, already mentioned to the Department of State, the German representative declared that if Norway cut off all exports to Germany it would mean war, but as this declaration is in complete contradiction with the present attitude of Germany towards Norway, it would appear certain that this is only another instance of the threatening attitude which Germany maintains for the purpose, not merely of frightening the Norwegian Government, but also of providing that Government with an argument which it could advance as an excuse for not acceding to the demands made by the enemies of Germany.