Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Moffat)

The Swedish Minister36 called this morning.

He said that he had seen the Secretary of State just before the latter left for New York yesterday noon and had spoken to him confidentially as follows:

“The Swedish Minister has, upon instructions from his Government, on October 10th 1939 drawn the attention of the United States Government to the difficult situation which will arise in case, in connection with the Russian Government’s invitation to negotiations with Finland, demands will be presented which seriously threaten the integrity and independence of Finland.”37

The Secretary had replied that he feared American intervention at Moscow might do more harm than good.

In the course of the afternoon the Minister had called on the President and had left him a note, copy attached, from the Crown Prince of Sweden in which the latter urged the President to use his influence in Moscow to counteract any possible attempts of an aggressive nature toward Finland. The President had replied that his influence in Moscow was just about zero. To this Mr. Boström had answered that his influence could not be zero anywhere in the world, and again urged that he send a message to Stalin.

The President apparently replied that he might be willing, after consulting with the Secretary of State, to send a message to Mr. Steinhardt directing him to tell Molotov that it was the President’s hope that Russia would not make war upon Finland.

Mr. Boström apologized for making any observation, but he thought Molotov would reply that the U. S. S. R. had not made war on Estonia or Latvia, and had no intention of doing so on Finland. The Minister asked if he could not phrase his message to the effect that the United States hoped that the U. S. S. R. would not make any demands upon Finland which would seriously threaten the integrity and independence of that country.

The President agreed in principle, and said he would talk it over with the Secretary just as soon as the latter returned to Washington.

Later in the day the Finnish Minister made a similar appeal to the President from the President of Finland,38 and, according to Mr. Boström, the President was even more prepared to send such a message.

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Mr. Boström asked me to bring this to the Secretary’s attention immediately upon his return, and to let him know if and when a message were sent.

Pierrepont Moffat

The Crown Prince of Sweden ( Gustaf Adolf ) to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: The frank and friendly talk on various political topics which I had with you when you were kind enough to visit me at Medical Center in June of last year and the interest for our country and for our close neighbour, Finland, shown by you and the people of the United States on many occasions enables me to approach you on the subject of the present Russian attitude towards Finland which is causing us grave concern.

Any possible menace to the integrity or independence of Finland is bound to create a very serious situation in the northern part of Europe. It would be looked upon in our country as of fundamental and sinister importance. May I point out that there is a non-aggression treaty in force between Finland and Russia, and that as to the Åland archipelago their present status is guaranteed by international agreement and that everything concerning these Finnish Islands on account of their situation very near our capital and for other reasons has always been considered by us as of very special importance to Sweden.

We look to you as trusted promoter of peace and justice. Could you see your way to use your influence in Moscow to counteract any possible attempts of an aggressive nature towards Finland?

This personal message of mine is of course made with the full sanction of my father, the King,39 and likewise with the full knowledge of the Swedish Government. I trust you will understand this earnest appeal made to you personally at a moment of grave national concern.

Gustaf Adolf
  1. W. Boström.
  2. A copy of this oral statement was left at the Department by the Minister, and similar statements were left by the Norwegian Minister, Wilhelm Munthe de Morgenstierne, on October 11, 1939, and the Danish Minister, Henrik de Kanffmann, on October 12, 1939.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Gustaf V.