Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat)
Mr. Per Wijkman, the Commercial Counselor of the Swedish Legation, returned again and reiterated at length the Swedish point of view. … he made certain definite statements to me which indicated a distinct modification of the position he had previously assumed.
In brief, Mr. Wijkman told me that there were two main issues to be covered in the treaty negotiations; the first was one of principle, the second was one of rates. The Swedish Government was particularly interested in the former and wished some sort of a clause written in the treaty which could be construed as a recognition by this Government that Sweden had pursued a low tariff and liberal trade policy and that for this reason there were not available the same possibilities for barganing and reduction of rates as with other higher tariff countries. The Swedish Government was particularly anxious for such a clause, partly for domestic political effect and [Page 728] partly because it felt that it would enable Sweden better to resist the pressure from other European countries.
If this were granted, Mr. Wijkman felt that we would not have undue difficulty in the list of articles for which reductions were being sought. Sweden might not be able to give us all we asked or in the items for which we asked, but he thought that we would none the less find Sweden’s position not unreasonable and hinted though in such abstruse verbiage as pretty effectively to conceal what he had in mind, that we might find an opportunity to increase our exports for certain agricultural products other than wheat.
Mr. Wijkman again reiterated that the Swedish Government in negotiation was so averse to playing a game of bluff that it leaned to the other extreme and its statement of general principles contained in the note it had sent us was meant to convey their fundamental beliefs in a way which would not be misleading to us at a later date.