740.00112 European War 1939/4409: Telegram

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

96. Legation’s 34, January 8, 1 p.m., 31, January 8, 10 a.m. [p.m.], last sentence, 741 November 12, 2 p.m. See also Legation’s 257, May 13, 2 p.m., Department’s 171, May 21, 7 p.m., Legation’s 297, May 28, 1 p.m., [Department’s 188, May 31?] 8 p.m.4

I had a talk yesterday afternoon with the Prime Minister Mr. Hansson. He spoke in English well without an interpreter and made cordial references to the United States. The conversation, however, was only on general and inconsequential matters except that Mr. Hansson made a point of mentioning the extreme difficulties of Sweden in securing essential supplies for her defense program. He mentioned specifically the matter of oil, of which Sweden does not have a sufficient supply for minimum defense requirements. He said that he hoped I might be able to help them in this matter. He did not go into any details as to actual requirements, but said that the facts had all been sent to the Swedish Minister in Washington,5 and were presumably in the hands of the Department. He also mentioned the necessity of minimum supplies of rubber and indicated that he was fully aware of the difficulties confronting the United States in respect to this commodity.

Some days ago Commodore Oberg, Head of the Swedish Naval War College, mentioned to me the critical situation of the Swedish Navy and Air Force with respect to oil supplies and said that it was vital, if Sweden’s defense machinery were to be effective, that additional supplies of oil become available. It is my personal opinion that any assistance which the United States and Great Britain may find it practicable to give to Sweden in securing these essential commodities will pay large dividends here in good will. Sweden is making tremendous efforts to build up her armed forces with the hope at least of making any attack on Sweden a damaging and costly one to the aggressor. A further liberalization of Allied policy with a view to facilitating Swedish imports of essential war materials, particularly [Page 328] the two commodities mentioned, should greatly strengthen this country’s position in resisting German pressure and in preserving a position which is to the Allied advantage.

  1. None printed except Legation’s telegram No. 31, p. 326.
  2. W. Boström.