760D.61/1201: Telegram

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

125. Minister for Foreign Affairs told me today that next few days would determine whether negotiations could be undertaken for peace with Soviet Russia or whether it would be necessary to fight to the end. He said soundings had been going on for the past month. Replying to my inquiry whether possible terms had been indicated in these soundings he said Finnish Government had a fairly clear idea of them and that they called for greater concessions than those which had been refused last November. He asked me whether in the event negotiations should begin the United States would lend any help at Moscow. I answered that as I had told the Prime Minister under your instructions about 2 months ago you would be glad to take under benevolent advisement at any time any concrete suggestions Finnish Government might wish to make to you.

Tanner said that last Saturday, presumably meaning March 2, the Allies had again sought consent of Swedish and Norwegian Governments for passage of Allied forces to assist Finland and the reply had again been negative. Swedish Government was advising Finnish Government to make peace and showed no dispositon to send substantial forces to help. Swedish attitude, however, was obscure and uncertain probably due to German pressure.

The Minister said again that Finnish troops were tired having had no rest for more than a month. Nevertheless, I gathered that a decision for continuing the fight remains at least equally as likely as one to start negotiations. He mentioned inaccessible location of this country as leading factor from standpoint of the Allies with reference to sending help, pointing out that this affected question of transport and supply of any substantial Allied forces.

I do not believe any decision has been reached here to start peace negotiations and accept any Russian terms. On the contrary, decision to continue the fight seems rather more probable.69

  1. The Minister in Finland reported in telegram No. 131, March 6, 3 p.m., that “Field Marshal Mannerheim and the Army deplore present tendency of civil authorities to give consideration to possible negotiations for peace to which they are vehemently opposed at this time.” (760D.61/1216)