740.0011 European War 1939/10364a: Telegram

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

64. At this crucial period in the struggle against totalitarian world aggression, I wish to emphasize the obligation resting upon every representative of this Government abroad to contribute in every way within his power to the success of that struggle. The Government and people of the United States have made it abundantly clear that they do not intend to stand on the sidelines, but that on the contrary they do intend to play their part in resisting the forces of aggression. It is therefore incumbent upon every representative of this Government, and in fact upon every American citizen abroad, to reflect in his own bearing and in his conversation with whomever he may come into contact the absolute determination of his Government and country to see this thing through to a successful conclusion.

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The President relies upon you to make clear the scope of our national effort and determination to resist aggression to the civil and military leaders of the Government and of public opinion in Finland. I am confident that you will lose no opportunity in conversation with these leaders, and by every other means within your power, repeatedly to bring home the significance of our position and to stress our absolute conviction that the forces of aggression will be checked and defeated. You need have no hesitancy in expressing our determination and our convictions in the strongest terms.

I desire you to bring these considerations immediately to the attention of the members of your staff. At the same time every effort should be made to see that authoritative statements of our position, such as the declarations of the President in his speech of March 15,58 are given the widest possible circulation. We feel that a continuous forceful presentation of our position and of the ever increasing scope of our national effort to resist aggression at this time will have a salutary effect upon official and public opinion in countries such as Finland.

Against the general background of the foregoing you should seek an early opportunity to discuss our position in particular with President Ryti, General Walden,59 and, if feasible Field Marshal Mannerheim.60 (We have in mind here your reports with respect to the lack of influence at this time of the Foreign Office on important decisions.)

  1. Speech by President Roosevelt at the annual dinner of the White House Correspondents’ Association, at Washington on March 15, 1941; for text, see Department of State Bulletin, March 15, 1941, p. 277.
  2. Maj. Gen. Rudolf Walden, Minister of Defense.
  3. Carl Gustaf, Baron Mannerheim, Head of the State, December 11, 1918, to July 25, 1919; Chairman of the National Defense Council; Commander in Chief of the Finnish Army in the Winter War, 1939–40.