740.00112 Navicert/186: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom (Johnson)

3300. The Finnish Government has urgently requested us to support its application in London for navicerts to permit the import into Finland from the United States of certain goods which are badly needed to maintain Finnish national economy and life so far as is possible under present conditions. Included are cereals, animal foodstuffs and especially raw cotton and fats, the last of which are a most pressing need. Petroleum products are also badly needed for the maintenance of the Finnish transport services between Petsamo and the nearest railhead some 250 miles away.

Our study of such facts as are available leads us to believe that the Finnish estimates of their vital requirements are not exaggerated and that failure to obtain at least a substantial portion will impose severe hardships upon the Finnish people with unpredictable results.

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The arguments which have been advanced against the dispatch of foodstuffs to certain other European countries are not in our opinion applicable with the same degree of force to Finland. For one thing the geographic situation of Finland and the sea routes leading thereto permit of close supervision over the flow of supplies which in any case could not because of limited transportation facilities be of sufficient volume to warrant their becoming the subject of belligerent action.

The Finnish Minister53 here has informed us that he discussed the matter with Lord Lothian before the latter’s recent departure from Washington and was given to understand that Lothian would support the Finnish case while in London.

After discussing the matter with the Finnish Legation in London (and in your discretion with Lord Lothian to ascertain what steps he may already have taken) we wish you to bring to the attention of the responsible British officials our interest in supporting the Finnish request for an amelioration of the difficulties now in the way of their obtaining from the United States a reasonable quantity of necessary supplies.

  1. Hjalmar J. Procopé.