File No. 860d.00/328
The Consul at Helsingfors (Haynes) to the Secretary of State2
[Received November 19, 10.40 a.m.]
118. According to a decision reached yesterday, November 15, the Senate and the Diet have agreed to entrust General Mannerheim with the forming of new government, the personnel of which has not been determined as yet, but most of the present compromised officials will be removed.
The greatest point in dispute is the proportion of monarchists and republicans in the new coalition government. Indications are now that the former will be in the majority. The Agrarians, who are the principal republican guides, since the Socialists are not represented in the Diet, have decided after much hesitation to lend their tacit support to the coalition government, providing that new elections were definitely arranged. The Agrarians won their point and new general elections are fixed for February or March, by which time it is hoped that the Entente will be able to cope with the Bolshevik danger, which has been hitherto the principal objection to leaving existing mooted questions to the decision of the people.
The important question for America and the Entente to decide regarding Finland is as to whether food ought to be given to the coalition government for distribution to the people during the interim between now and the time fixed for the general election. Personally [Page 814] I believe that if the composition of the coalition cabinet is at all satisfactory, and definite assurances as to the date of general election are given, food ought to be sent to Finland at once, because conditions among the common people are truly terrible, worse than in Russia or Germany. Von der Goltz has announced officially that the German forces are now leaving Finnish territory because Allied forces can now be expected, so the Allies can no longer deny food to the starving population by reason of the German occupation. An official announcement by the American Government regarding food for Finland would be appreciated and would come at a very opportune time. If the Department delays, the British will make the statement and to the Finnish mind get all the credit of saving them from starvation with food supplied by the United States. Kindly instruct me in regard to the latter point.
- Sent via the Legation in Sweden (No. 3172).↩