The Minister in Finland ( Schoenfeld ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4 p.m.]
10. I spoke to the Prime Minister10 last night in the sense of third paragraph of your telegram 3, January 3.11 He pointed out that he had not contemplated action by the United States alone at Moscow but had thought that if the United States in cooperation especially with Italy and the Scandinavian countries and the belligerent powers including Germany, if possible, should urge bilateral negotiations to terminate present hostilities between Finland and Russia this would have salutary effect even if it led to no immediate cessation of hostilities. Nevertheless, the Prime Minister asked me to defer final report regarding his views which were still in process of development. He said he would send for me again when he had received a report now on the way to him from the Finnish Minister at Berlin12 containing a detailed analysis of the German position towards the Finnish conflict with Russia.
The Prime Minister gave me to understand that the attitude of Germany was a primary concern of the Finnish Government and said that if positive German assistance as in the form, for instance, of rumored Russian request for 200 German pilots should be given to the [Page 272] Soviet Government in the pursuance of the latter’s repeated solicitation Finnish resistance could not withstand this added weight. Whereas, until recently Germany had been in the hands of the Soviet Union, the hostilities between Finland and Russia had now made the latter dependent upon Germany notwithstanding the fact that the Finnish-Russian war might be considered a “small” war.
The Prime Minister speaking of Sweden said that the Finnish Government was anxious to continue to receive supplies from Sweden as at present and that this would become more difficult if Sweden should be forced into an attitude of open opposition to Soviet Union or Germany while under present conditions Germany was raising no objection to furnishing war materials to Sweden. Receipt of such materials was making it possible for Sweden to release its own stocks to Finland as Germany was unwilling to permit direct exports of its war supplies to Finland.
The Prime Minister in response to inquiry said that he felt no concern regarding Russian attempts to cut communications between Finland and the outside world. He informed me that the military situation promised another victory involving approximately 40,000 Russians in an unspecified area which I assume to be north of Lake Ladoga. Finally he said that the report of proposed transfer of the German cruiser Hipper to the Soviet Union had not been confirmed.
The Prime Minister’s attitude was one of continued confidence but of obvious concern regarding magnitude and difficulties of the problems now facing Finland. I was touched by his reference to the proposed loan to Finland from the United States which he said he earnestly hoped would be a loan by our Government and which as he stated he could assure me would be repaid to the last cent if Finland survived. I replied that I had no doubt our Government and people were deeply interested in the survival of Finland as a free and independent nation.
- Risto H. Ryti.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. i, p. 1039.↩
- Aarne Wuorimaa.↩