860D.6359 International Nickel Company/29: Telegram

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

99. Minister for Foreign Affairs informed me yesterday that Finnish Minister at Washington had reported inquiry by Stanley56 of International Nickel Company whether Finland intended to turn over Petsamo nickel mines to Russians. Witting said he was instructing Procopé to the effect that Finland had done its best to protect British and American interests in nickel mines for the past 10 months and would continue to do so but would welcome any support which could be given by Steinhardt at Moscow.57 He did not advise me in detail as to present status of the matter.

  1. Robert Stanley, president of International Nickel Co.
  2. In a memorandum of April 24, 1941, attached to this telegram, the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs, Loy W. Henderson, stated: “In my opinion we should not instruct Steinhardt to interfere in the scuffle which has taken place with regard to the control of the International Nickel Company mines near Petsamo. This matter is extremely involved. We can not be acquainted with all the ramifications of it. The Finns have been playing off the Russians and Germans in the hope of keeping some control for themselves. Intervention by us would not in any event, in my opinion, yield any positive results. We might consider making a careful investigation as to the nature and extent of American interests in these mines and inform the appropriate Government, in case they are turned over to the Russians, that we will hold it responsible for damages done to these interests.” To this, the Acting Chief of the Division of European Affairs, Ray Atherton, added: “In any instruction we may prepare however I believe we sh[oul]d tell Steinhardt to let Molotoff know we are following this matter because of U. S. interests therein.”