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.[Page 966]
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.