860D.51/409: Telegram

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

49. According to press despatches and other reports received here the President’s letter of January 16 to Congress regarding proposed credit to Finland will govern the action of Congress which may also reduce amount of such credit substantially below the figure which had been under discussion for some months past. Finnish Government’s hope of obtaining credit from our Government rather than from private lenders seems to have been based before the date of the Soviet aggression upon the consideration that loan by the United States Government might be financially more advantageous to Finland than private loan. Since beginning of hostilities, however, I think a controlling consideration has been political significance of loan by our Government. Possible reduction in amount of credit by our Government will perhaps cause disappointment here in view of Finnish Government’s financial record but limitation upon use to be made of such credits is more likely to cause outright discouragement in view of the need of implements of war.

Local press has lately published reports from the United States that no less than 1,300,000 barrels of American gasoline were exported to the Soviet Union between September and the end of 1939. These reports too are causing considerable anxiety here notwithstanding my statement to the Prime Minister in pursuance of your telegram No. 211, December 26,40 which referred to American aviation gas.

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If the Department could make an appropriate statement at this time both regarding the financial and gasoline matters, I should be glad to use it to allay apprehension here.

  1. Not printed; but see memorandum of December 28, 1939, by the Chief of the Division of Controls, Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. i, p. 1035.