868.48/2049: Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

399. On February 28 British Minister25 showed me a telegram he had received from London instructing him to approach Swedish Government with view to securing an offer for use of Swedish shipping for transport of wheat to Greece and service of Swedish Red Cross in supervising distribution. This telegram stated United States Government and British Government had decided that in view [Page 744]appalling conditions in Greece and as an exceptional measure they would allow consignment of 8,000 tons of wheat to be sent to that country through blockade and that it was hoped this consignment would be shipped shortly from Haifa. There followed description of famine in Greece which was stated to be on too large a scale for this single shipment or other measures in the blockade area to make an appreciable impression. The British Government and United States Government were said to have reached conclusion, therefore, that in view of exceptional circumstances further shipments of wheat or flour should be allowed. I understand Department is informed of details of proposals and conditions, et cetera, and will not telegraph them unless desired.

I also received on Saturday a telegram from American Embassy London dated February 27 stating that Foreign Office would appreciate my associating myself with British Minister in approaching Swedish Government regarding matter.

I told British Minister I had not yet received instructions. He said that in light of his instructions he felt it very important to act at once and after some discussion I told him that I would be willing to accompany him to see Mr. Boheman, Secretary General of Foreign Office, making it clear however that I had not yet received official instructions.

Mr. Mallet and I today called by appointment on Mr. Boheman who seemed already informed of matter and mentioned that Prince Carl, Chairman of Swedish Red Cross, had telegraphed to American Red Cross in this connection on February 28. I took no active part in discussion between Mr. Mallet and Mr. Boheman. I informed latter that I had not yet received instructions but with that understanding I was glad to associate myself in principle with what the British Minister had said. Mr. Boheman’s response was immediate and entirely favorable. He also said that he did not think there would be any difficulty in regard to necessary shipping. He received an aide-mémoire from the British Minister embodying the proposals and conditions which he said he would take up at once in the proper quarters. He expressed agreement with both, but said he thought condition 4 might be clarified and made more precise as he anticipated objection on part of Germans as now worded.

I would appreciate Department’s confirmation of my action with British Minister so that Foreign Office may be advised.

  1. V. A. Mallet.