860D.51/401: Telegram

The Minister in Finland (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State

35. Your telegram No. 18, January 16.29 I handed to the Prime Minister last night for his information copy of the President’s letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.30 The Prime Minister after reading it expressed appreciation of the President’s action but intimated some concern regarding exclusion of implements of war from classes of products which might be bought with purchasers’ proposed credits.31 I ventured to point out that the President’s suggestions were apparently kept deliberately within the limits of established policy of our Government because as he had said the matter of credits to Finland was wholly within the jurisdiction of Congress. The Prime Minister referred to the possibility in the event of Finland’s obtaining credit more for the purchase of agricultural and other manufactured products than implements of war, that arrangements might be made with the British Government to use its liquid funds in the United States to buy such implements against compensation in the form of commodities purchased with the credits that might be granted to Finnish Government.

Both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs who was also present at dinner at my house last night inquired whether I had received any further information regarding subject matter of my telegram 20, January 9, and I replied in the negative adding that I should doubtless receive your instructions as soon as there were any developments. The Prime Minister told me according to his secret information another defeat of large Russian troops involving possibility of annihilation of a further Russian division on the northern front was developing. It was nevertheless apparent to me again from attitude of the Prime Minister and Tanner that their chief concern remains as before, namely, that military supplies must be forthcoming in adequate quantity and in good time to maintain effective resistance to Russian onslaught.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For text of identic letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives from President Roosevelt, dated January 16, 1940, suggesting methods which Congress in its discretion might adopt to make credits available to Finland to assist in the purchase of agricultural surpluses and manufactured products, not including instruments of war, see Department of State Bulletin, January 20, 1940, p. 55.
  3. The Chief of the Division of European Affairs in the Department of State, Pierrepont Moffat, noted in a memorandum of January 16, 1940, that the Finnish Minister that afternoon had “expressed the keenest disappointment at the contents of the letter.” (860D.51/405)