763.72119/2784: Telegram

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

3213. For attention of the President. In a conversation which I had with King Gustav of Sweden today, he requested me to bring before the President’s attention that at the proper time, when the question of the Åland Islands was brought up either at the Peace Conference or otherwise, he hoped the President would help in the settlement of the question so that these islands might become a part of Sweden. The King stated that this was the desire of the inhabitants themselves and that he hoped that this could be brought about in accordance with the President’s views on self-determination.

The King asked me if I would inquire of the President in an informal way whether Sweden and other neutral countries would be [Page 448] represented at the Peace Conference as he stated that many questions, political, economic, and otherwise, which had arisen during the war and which were to confront these countries after the war, made the situation such that they were vitally interested [in a?] place at the Conference.

The King discussed with me the Bolshevik situation in Russia, Germany and Scandinavia. He felt that it was vitally necessary for the interests of the world that something be done at once in Russia where the Bolsheviks continue using all endeavors in spreading their cause throughout the world. It was his belief that Esthonia, Lithuania and the Baltic provinces in general as well as Ukraine and other parts of Russia would be under the terror and anarchy of the Bolsheviks shortly after the withdrawal of German influence. The King stated that the Bolsheviks had for a long time been doing propaganda work in Germany and that he himself had notified the German Government of vast transactions which the Bolsheviks were carrying on in Germany. The German Government at the time was disinclined to believe this but towards the last realized on what a big scale the Bolsheviks had been producing results. The King took up this matter at that time with the German Minister in Stockholm as well as Prince Max, formerly German Chancellor. The King stated that from intimate information which he had, he knew the food situation in Germany has now grown very acute, and also that there was a great probability that Bolshevikism would spread in that country.

He stated that a great deal of propaganda had also been carried on in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia and that his Government was arranging to withdraw its representatives in Russia under the pretext of economic conditions in Russia and that after the safe withdrawal they were going to dismiss the Bolshevik representation here, Vorovsky, the Bolshevik Minister, and others connected with his regime.

In connection with the Bolshevik question, the King particularly desired me to point out that the great scarcity of food among the masses and starvation practically staring the people in the face helped to bring about very much the Bolshevik conditions in the various countries where they have been meeting with success, therefore making converts to the Bolshevik cause and he wished me to emphasize the great importance of relieving the economic strain not only in Sweden but also in other countries such as Finland. In this connection the King hoped that the blockade in Europe of foodstuffs would be lifted at the earliest possible moment.

The King confidentially told me that a few weeks ago the Socialists had informed him that it was the desire of their party eventually [Page 449] to create a republic in Sweden and that Branting, their leader, in addressing a Socialist conference had told them that the question of the policy of a republic would be brought up to a referendum vote. The King stated that Branting’s desire in doing this was to cause a [postponement?] as indeed would be necessary in such a case, to change the constitution of Sweden which would require perhaps several years. The King personally expressed himself to me that he was in great doubts as to the outcome and had no idea how long he would be occupying the throne and stated that of course there was nothing else for him to do but as the people wanted in the matter.

The King stated that he knew that in the Peace Conference President Wilson would only want what was fair and just to everybody concerned.

After my four years’ sojourn in Sweden my relationship with the King has become very friendly and if there is anything in particular which you desire me to ascertain, either regarding Sweden or the other countries including Germany I think I would be able to obtain the information direct from the King himself who is married to a German Princess, Victoria of Baden.