740.0011 European War 1939/9830: Telegram

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

91. In conversation last night with former Foreign Minister Erkko,52 latter said he thought there was increasing evidence of preparations for eventual conflict between Soviet Union and Germany, citing success of Germans in securing release of former commander of Estonian Army, General Laidoner,53 who is now in Germany where nationals of former Baltic States are being organized for military service. German effort, however, to secure release from Soviet Union of former President Päts54 of Estonia had been unsuccessful. Germans had shown no interest in release of Latvian ex-President Ulmanis.55

British Minister informs me that in conversation with President Ryti 2 days ago latter also referred to Soviet-German relations and mentioned recent despatch of 250,000 Russian troops to Lithuanian border region. President apparently considered Finnish relations with Soviet Union at present slightly improved. British Minister said President was “reassuring” regarding Finnish relations with German Government and had evidently deprecated any impression to the contrary in the mind of British Government.

Copy to Moscow.

  1. Eljas Erkko, more recently Chargé d’Affaires in Sweden.
  2. Johan Laidoner, former Commander in Chief of the Estonian Army.
  3. Konstantin Pats.
  4. Karlis Ulmanis, who had been President of Latvia since his coup d’état of May 15, 1934.