740.00112 European War 1939/7600: Telegram

The Chargé in Sweden ( Greene ) to the Secretary of State

79. Mallet5 having seen Boheman this morning, I talked with Söderblom6 this afternoon at length and left “oral statement” covering points mentioned in Department’s 26, January 7, 9 p.m. Söderblom considered that statement would be useful in effort to obtain complete Government approval for release of ships. He was considerably more optimistic than during interview reported in my 43, January 5, 4 p.m.,7 and Mallet reports Boheman hopeful this morning. Söderblom talked with Prime Minister8 yesterday and both latter and Foreign Minister9 are very anxious that if ships are allowed to leave, which they seem to be working toward with other members of Government, there will be no new demand made shortly with threat of closing Göteborg traffic. Mallet has left impression that British Government would make no such demand and he considers that it would be helpful if American Government could do same immediately.

Söderblom also indicated nervousness that no action would be taken by either Government to seize ships which normally ply in Göteborg traffic and which are now outside Swedish waters. They wish these to be free to resume traffic after Germans have closed it if at a later date Germans permit traffic to be reopened. This of course assumes that traffic is to be closed by Germans. Should Department consider it desirable to reassure Swedes concerning ships mentioned above and future demands, please instruct earliest possible as I believe it would expedite decision. I feel no further pressure would be of any value [Page 742] as it seems evident that Prime Minister and Foreign Minister are practically ready to release ships. Mallet even hopes for an answer by Monday 11th but from my talk with Söderblom, I should consider this a little too early to expect it.

Repeated to London.

  1. V. A. L. Mallet, British Minister in Sweden.
  2. Staffan J. Söderblom, Chief of the Political Affairs Division, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Per Albin Hansson.
  5. Christian E. Günther.