760D.61/1097: Telegram

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

87. In the absence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs I asked the Prime Minister today as to the significance of the strong statement issued by Tanner February 11 as reported in my despatch No. 1697 yesterday61 and to the effect that Finnish Government has no knowledge of any proposed mediation for peace with the Soviet Government and that in view of the aid now arriving from various countries terms of peace could not be dictated to Finland. He said the latter phrase had originally been drafted by Tanner in much stronger language which had been moderated by the Prime Minister though it might still be somewhat provocative. The background of the statement had been that there was reason to believe Soviet Government had actually inspired indirect soundings mentioned in second paragraph of my telegram No. 74, February 5 and had attempted also to drive a wedge between Sweden and Finland by suggesting transfer of Aland Islands to Swedish sovereignty. Minister for Foreign Affairs had just received report indicating that German sympathizers had sought to give the impression recently that an alleged mediation action emanated from the United States and was looked upon with disfavor in Germany.

The Prime Minister said it was now known that notwithstanding German official denial last August that the agreements between Germany and the Soviet Government62 did not refer to the President of the United States they contained specific reference to this country and I gathered that these references were known here in detail. He added that though naturally desiring peace with the Soviet Government, Finnish Government as implied in Tanner’s statement meant [Page 290] to have it only by negotiation between equals and, as for mediation, Finland would not be inclined to accept German mediation for the reason indicated and because to do so would render her position much more difficult at a later stage of the war in other directions which I took to mean later in the war between Germany and the Western Powers.

The Prime Minister told me that the Russians had been making tremendous efforts on the Karelian Isthmus in recent days and 2 days ago had some success but counterattacks had since restored the position though he had no details as yet. Some 400 planes were now available and the principal need at the moment was for artillery and ammunition.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Treaty of Nonaggression, with secret additional protocol, signed at Moscow on August 23, 1939, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, series D, Vol. vii, pp. 245–247.