760d.61/224: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Steinhardt ) to the Secretary of State

705. My telegram No. 691, October 6, 4 p.m.26 From the source indicated in my telegram under reference the following has been ascertained. [Page 962] Last night at 7 o’clock Molotov summoned the Finnish Minister and asked him why there had been no reply to the Soviet invitation. The Minister replied that a telegram had been received from Helsinki the night before stating that the reply would be sent during the day but as no such telegram has been received he assumed it had been delayed in transit. At approximately 11:30 p.m., the Finnish Legation received the reply stating that the Finnish Minister to Stockholm, Mr. Paasikivi was coming to Moscow as special delegate. The hour stamped on the telegram indicated that it had been received in Moscow already at 8 a.m., and had apparently been held by the Soviet telegraph authorities. At 1 a.m., the Finnish Minister saw Molotov and informed him of the nature of the reply. Molotov seemed surprised at the decision of the Finnish Government not to send the Foreign Minister but made no comment and merely inquired when the representative could be expected and was informed that he would arrive “in a day or two”. Molotov then stated that since there was a war in Europe the matter was urgent, and added that he hoped the representative would not arrive “too late”.

My informant added that he had heard that rumors were circulating in Moscow from Soviet sources to the effect that the Soviet Government intended to demand not only the Finnish islands in the vicinity of Kronstadt but also a naval base at Hango; participating in the regime of the Aland Islands and perhaps even a base in the port of Linhammar in the north of the Province of Petsamo in which province the Finnish nickel deposits are located. He added that he could obtain no confirmation of these rumors but stated categorically that should the Soviets put forward any such demands, even merely the right to establish a garrison on the Finnish mainland, he was convinced the Finnish Government would fight rather than yield especially if assured of the support of Sweden.

At the urgent request of my informant I urged that in the event that the foregoing is repeated to Helsinki and Stockholm both Missions be requested to protect the Finnish source thereof.

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