740.0011 European War 1939/22978: Telegram

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

1871. Some time ago I asked Foreign Office official informally if they could not at some time give us in confidence a complete review of German political and military demands on Sweden since beginning of war. In connection with this request Foreign Office has now given practically complete review of these demands from which following, new to Legation, is supplementary to section II, 22685, my 1688, July 2, 10 p.m. regarding German policy and moves toward Sweden. It was stated by official who gave information that it had not previously been disclosed to any foreigner or to anyone outside Government. It was included in recent report of Foreign Minister23 to secret session of Riksdag.

In February 1941 during visit to Stockholm of Dr. Paul Schmidt, Chief of Press Section, German Foreign Office (see Legation’s despatch 735, February 10, 194124) he held occasional informal conversations with Foreign Minister and others in high office during which it was apparent that he was sounding out Swedish Government as to its attitude toward becoming a party to a general cultural and political agreement between the two countries. Foreign Minister presented a general negative attitude throughout these conversations and matter was not reverted to again until July 5, 1941, when Carl Schnurre on one of his periodic visits to Sweden during which he made political and military demands called on Foreign Minister and brought up question again alluding to Schmidt’s conversations.

While Schnurre on this occasion did not make a direct official request on behalf of German Government he stated that he was speaking within framework of his general commission to ask Swedish Government’s views on certain matters and said that after Russia had been conquered whole European Continent would be involved in any case on economic side. It would, therefore, be necessary to carry through a European organization under Axis Powers and Germany was endeavoring to obtain political agreements with powers which [Page 348] did not then belong to the Axis block. War with Russia especially brought matter to forefront as regards Scandinavian countries and in Germany it was desired that they make their position clear in near future. He stated that the most simple thing from a German point of view would be for Sweden, Denmark and Finland to join three power pact and did not think it improbable that such a request would be made through diplomatic channels to Sweden in near future. He stated that additional provisions could be made by which Sweden’s frontiers, integrity, internal and external independence could be guaranteed. Nothing was said then nor at any other time about Sweden’s joining anti-Comintern pact but it was implied that Germany counted on Sweden for her own interests to act more in favor of Germany than Russia in existing conflict. Foreign Minister replied immediately to Schnurre stating that from all points of view accession to Axis pact or any other political or cultural agreement such as was suggested could not be interpreted other than that Sweden would be partisan to one side in war and he could say with absolute certainty that Sweden would not agree and that an official suggestion to that effect would be met with a negative reply. Schnurre emphasized then as he had on previous occasions that negative position in this respect would place Sweden in very unfavorable position for future. Since that time, however, question of adherence to general pact has not been reverted to and no official request has been received.

  1. Christian E. Günther.
  2. Not printed.