The Secretary of State to the Finnish Minister ( Procopé )

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Honorable the Minister of Finland and has the honor to refer to the Minister’s memorandum of January 22, 1940,55 in regard to the desire of the Finnish Government to purchase certain listed arms, ammunition, and implements of war from this Government.

In reply, Mr. Hull refers to the conversation which he had with Mr. Procopé on January 22, in which he stated that, when armed conflict was taking place between two governments, whether or not that armed conflict was in a technical sense a war, this Government could not, without endangering its peace and security, sell arms, [Page 288] ammunition, and implements of war to the parties to that armed conflict. Mr. Hull regrets that he feels constrained to inform Mr. Procopé that, in existing circumstances, this Government cannot sell arms, ammunition, and implements of war to the Government of Finland.

Mr. Hull invites Mr. Procopé’s attention to the fact that the domestic market is open to the Government of Finland as it is open to other governments, even those governments which are technically belligerents, and that the President has appointed a Liaison Committee, which has been given the function of assisting foreign purchasing missions to purchase arms, ammunition, and implements of war in this country in so far as the rendering of such assistance is compatible with the interests of the national defense of the United States.

  1. Not printed; but see memorandum of conversation, January 22, by the Secretary of State, p. 279.