740.0011 European War 1939/21453: Telegram

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

1072. 1. A prominent Swedish businessman who is close personal friend of Prime Minister Hansson told me following: He said Mr. Hansson had made remark to him that during roughly first 2 years of war he lived in constant state of anxiety that Germany would increase her demands on Sweden to a point where Swedish independence would disappear and that if Germany had pressed extreme demands it would have been physically impossible for Sweden to resist. The worst of these fears had not been realized. Now however [Mr. Hansson?] feels that Swedish rearmament and other defense measures have reached such an effective position that he is no longer afraid of German demands nor of Swedish ability to defend herself should demands be made on her which cannot be granted.

2. Prince Croy, Belgian Minister, called to see me yesterday to give me following information which he asked be held in complete secrecy because of its source. He said he was not repeating it to anyone except myself and to British Minister: Prince Croy is a personal friend of King Gustaf and sees him occasionally. He saw the King a day or two ago for first time since his illness and they talked about crisis in Swedish-German relations which occurred earlier this year when there was widespread anxiety that Germany intended to occupy Sweden. The Cabinet and other Government officials at time were insisting in every quarter that there had been no particular threats from Germany and that mobilization and other measures were in normal way of precaution in view troubled Europe and conditions. The King however told Prince Croy that situation had at that time been “very grave indeed and that he had been compelled to intervene personally.” Prince Croy said that he could not of course question the King too closely particularly after the latter had remarked to him “I cannot of course tell you all”.

Prince Croy is of opinion that German threat earlier this year was more concrete and serious than is generally realized and that there was possibility of a German attack on this country which personal action of King may have helped in preventing. He said he knew that 2 years ago a similar threat had been stalled through personal correspondence between King Gustaf and Hitler which the King had undertaken on his own initiative.

Johnson