760D.61/1185: Telegram

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

121. Minister for Foreign Affairs told me today that while military situation on the Isthmus front is serious mainly because of the effects upon Finnish troops of a month’s continuous fighting without possibility of adequate relief, there is no lack of confidence in the result [Page 293] of the war. Recent Finnish withdrawal had been due to delay in receiving supplies from abroad and present depressed state of public opinion was mainly the result of the attitude of the Swedish Government as recently revealed. Swedish volunteers had only lately begun to reach fighting lines and one result of Swedish Government’s statements had been to slow down their recruitment. So long as volunteers must be recruited as individuals their utility was greatly reduced both in the matter of numbers and with regard to training involving regrettable delays.

Tanner said both British65 and French Governments had again expressed willingness to send substantial forces here but passage of such organized forces through Norway and Sweden was barred from [by?] the fetish of neutrality in those countries. Entry of such forces into Finland by Arctic coast was considered impracticable by experts.

The Minister referred also to delay in action of our Congress regarding loan legislation, intimating that he had even had it in mind to advocate calling off the whole matter. References in the German press to slow American action in this respect had been humiliating to Finland.

When I inquired whether the Minister thought there had been such change in military situation as might lead to early political developments including peace negotiations he answered in the negative. His mood seemed to be one of bitter irritation at supposed friendly states and not of pessimism and he denied existence of any defeatism in Finland.

  1. The Chargé in the United Kingdom, in his telegram No. 491, February 28, 9 p.m., reported that in an interview with Lord Halifax, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the latter said he had “told the Finnish Minister that Great Britain will continue to send more and more help to Finland within the limits possible.” He also stated that the present policy of His Majesty’s Government “is that war will not be declared against Russia, although he said that they will pursue their policies in all directions regardless of the possibility that as a result Russia may declare war against them.” (711.41/457)