The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received 5:55 p.m.]
697. Department’s 189, March 28, midnight.29 Present status of negotiations is that they are at standstill. Swedish Minister in Rome30 put proposals before Ciano31 personally whose reactions were favorable in principle although he did not commit himself. He asked rather naive question whether Italy would be expected to pay for wheat and was assured that would not be the case. He referred Swedish Minister to technical experts in Foreign Office who assured him matter would have full consideration but that before a reply could be given they would have to consult Germany.
Swedish Minister in Berlin32 similarly placed proposals before German Foreign Office but has had no reply. Germans also promised to examine matter fully but suggested two preliminary objections: (1) To number 4 of original conditions put before Swedish Foreign Office by British Minister that foodstuffs originating in Greece be reserved solely for persons normally resident there in peace time except that foodstuffs consumed in Greece by armed forces or officials of occupying powers be replaced by equivalent imports into Greece for Greek population and (2) suggested that in any such plans Sweden proposed for feeding Greeks, German and Italian Red Cross with perhaps representative of International Red Cross would be [Page 751]most appropriate agency for distribution. Swedish Minister assured them this would be inacceptable.
When consent of Italian and German Governments has been obtained it is intention of Swedish Government to advise International Red Cross.