700.00116 M. E./286

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Controls ( Green ) to the Under Secretary of State ( Welles )

The Under Secretary: Mr. Erkki Mikkola, Secretary of the Finnish Legation, called at my office this morning by appointment. He said that his Government was very much concerned over the lifting of the moral embargo on certain exports to the U. S. S. R.16 and that he had been instructed to inquire whether the raising of the embargo would enable the U. S. S. R. to obtain arms and munitions in substantial quantities. He remarked that for Finland the raising of the moral embargo seemed likely to bring about a return of the events of December 1939.

I told Mr. Mikkola that I could not amplify the statements contained in the attached press release.17 I pointed out, however, the statements contained in the last two paragraphs of the release.

Mr. Mikkola said that the staff of the Legation had read the release with great care, endeavoring to read not only what was written but also to read between the lines, but the Legation had been unable to decide what this action on the part of this Government might portend.

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I told Mr. Mikkola that I did not believe that his Government need feel any concern in regard to this matter.18

Joseph C. Green
  1. See note of January 21, from the Under Secretary of State to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union, p. 696. For the institution of the moral embargo, see telegram No. 265, December 4, 1939, to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, and footnote 2g, Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, p. 801; also telegram No. 313, December 24, 1939, to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, ibid., p. 806.
  2. Dated January 22, 1941; see Department of State Bulletin, January 25, 1941, p. 107.
  3. The Minister in Finland asked the Department in telegram No. 19, January 22, for instructions “calculated to mitigate the impression” caused by the repeal of the moral embargo. The Department repeated the substance of its telegram No. 92, January 25, to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (p. 696), in telegram No. 12, January 27, to the Minister in Finland, and explained that “the lifting of the embargo removes an irritation in Soviet-American relations without any sacrifice by this Government of principles or loss of control of trade with the Soviet Union.” (700.00116 M. E./278)