760D.61/1115: Telegram

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

96. Former Foreign Minister Hackzell recently expressed the view privately to a member of the Legation that the attitude of the United States in the present conflict with the Soviet Union was only less disappointing to the Finnish people than that of Germany had been. The expressions used in the United States regarding Finland had led the Finns to expect more active help in the present situation of the country and he volunteered the statement that in the meantime it was understood here that the conflict with the Soviet Union unhappily coincided with preparations for the presidential election in the United States which had led to the matter of help for Finland becoming an element in the political situation there.

In sounding the Minister for Foreign Affairs today, however, I gathered that he considered such views were very generally held there. He mentioned the fact that notwithstanding Finland’s financial record, hope of obtaining Government credit for $60,000,000 had not been realized and the reduced amount of credit now being considered would apparently be hedged with restrictions as to its use. Inability of Finnish Government to purchase implements of war from our Government also made it necessary to have recourse to private manufacturers charging high prices.

He said these circumstances doubtless led to the feeling of disappointment, reports of whose existence I had mentioned. I inferred that this feeling must now be considered as deeply and widely held in Finland. Tanner referred to the hope, however, that if Finland survived the present struggle the aid of the United States would be [Page 291] forthcoming for reconstruction. He seemed to have in mind expressions used both on behalf of our Government and among the public and in the press in the United States of America.

I have recently sounded both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in order to ascertain how representative of Finnish opinion views of this kind may be. The Prime Minister gave me to understand that they should not be given special importance saying that similar views were held in some circles even regarding Sweden, the value of whose help to this country could of course not be fully known to the public.


[For observations by the Ambassador in the Soviet Union on the military activity of the Soviet Union against Finland, and attitude toward the possible conclusion of peace, see paragraphs 4 and 5 of his telegram No. 185, February 17, 6 p.m., printed on page 360.]