740.00112 European War 1939/5260: Telegram

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

826. In a letter dated March 30, 1942, Foreign Office again reviews situation growing out of our entry into war and deterioration of supply situation in United States and Latin American countries. Resultant tightening up of export controls in area referred to is making Swedes very uneasy. In this connection reference is made to my telegram 311, February 19, midnight and despatch 299 dated March 11.15

Present letter to some extent is repetition of that transmitted with above mentioned despatch. According to reports from Swedish representatives in Washington and London general supply survey is being conducted in Washington while requirements of European [Page 333] neutrals is being handled at London. It points out that Swedish vital needs have been discussed in London during past 2 years and that navicert quotas for Sweden were fixed after making very thorough investigations. Swedish Government maintains that British must stand by their previous determination of import needs, that England is morally bound to facilitate their passage through blockade and that British obligations to Sweden should be endorsed in Washington in such way as to make Swedish-British war trade agreement in reality a joint obligation.

It continues that regular navicert quotas for second quarter have been approved in London and requests that we take immediate steps to permit exportation during the quarter on that basis, irrespective of final results of supply survey. Need for quick action and immediate granting of export licenses is emphasized.

Sweden desires an advance assurance that United States will accede to British recommendations that may have been made in Washington regarding Swedish imports.

In principle I am in accord with Swedish viewpoint and urge that all possible consideration be given to difficult position of Sweden compatible with the overriding necessities of our joint military effort. I think that British believe Sweden in general has loyally enforced restrictions on exports to Axis countries.

Swedes undoubtedly will offer stout resistance to military attack and this factor deserves some consideration on our part by aiding directly to keep their military strength at as high a level as possible. This can be facilitated by acceptance of quotas established by British. At same time I believe that in return for continuance of making supplies available it would be right and desirable to insist that Sweden supply us currently with detailed statistical material relating to stocks on hand, domestic production and consumption as well as foreign trade in order that we can maintain a continuous check on situation.

This whole subject has been discussed frequently with British Legation which by all essential points is in agreement with these opinions. I might mention that British officials here reflect certain reluctance in London to press Swedish cause Very forcibly with our Embassy there and this may be case in Washington as well. This is confirmed by impression gained by Klath during conversations with British official while in London last January. One of these officials, who is keyman, mentioned to Klath that in his opinion ideal solution might be negotiation of a tripartite agreement in order to prevent misunderstanding and confusion when Swedish requests must be continually discussed both in London and Washington.

Repeated to London.

  1. Latter not printed.