File No. 658.119/51a

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


363. Your 824, September 26, 5 p.m.2 For Morris from Polk: Strictly confidential, for your information. Every endeavor will be made to keep you posted. Difficulty has been that so far the discussions have been informal and no decision as to treatment of Sweden and other unneutrals has been arrived at. Pending decision all exports have been more or less held up. The embargo board take the position, and they are encouraged in that position by representatives of the British and French that efforts should be made to cut off all exports from Sweden to Germany in return for shipments from this country. Swedish representatives state that it is impossible to cut off shipment of some commodities particularly ore without running the risk of causing Germany to declare war. At [Page 1048] the same time they state that the shipment of ore is not as important for Germany as we seem to think. They say that Germany has a large stock of ore on hand and it would not make much difference if shipment was cut off. In the same breath they urge that cutting off shipment would seriously affect their relations with Germany. This question is being investigated and Department would be interested to have your views. When the Exports Board reaches a decision they will make recommendation for the approval of the Department and the President. Until President approves of their recommendation no policy can be officially announced. Swedish representatives realize the difficult situation that confronts them and the danger of being cut off. The British seem to urge the policy of demanding that Sweden absolutely cut off Germany. We are trying to look at the matter from all angles and particularly have in mind the possible effect on Russia of Sweden’s throwing in its lot with Germany.

Since this Government published German despatches transmitted by Sweden representatives of Allies have stopped all communications by cable between Sweden and this country. They also seized certain bags that Lundbohm 1 brought over with him. The bags are now in Halifax. Department feels that this matter can be pressed too far and has informally recommended that the British be more liberal in their treatment of mail and telegrams. We are awaiting reply through British Embassy. Swedish Counselor is leaving for home this week with pouch. We have suggested to British Government that this be allowed to go through. The bags in Halifax will probably be sent here to the British Embassy, and the suggestion of British Government is that they be opened by the Swedes in the presence of a representative of the British and this Government. We are disposed to accept word of Minister for contents, but matter has not been settled.

In regard to treatment of Norway, negotiations are being carried forward. Principal difficulty seems to be the question of large shipments of fish from Norway to Germany. British are anxious to cancel the agreement they have for the purchase of large amount of fish, and at the same time insist on Norway’s seizing shipment to Germany.

Negotiations with Denmark have been impeded by failure of representatives of Danish Government to give full information.

Negotiations with Holland pending, and no more progress has been made owing to obvious difficulties, political, economic and military.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Dr. Hjalmar Lundbohm, Swedish Special Commissioner.