The Swedish Legation to the Department of State 20


During negotiations between the British and United States Governments on one hand and the Swedish Government on the other about clearance of the two Norwegian ships Dicto and Lionel, it was most strongly emphasized from the British side that these ships for imperative operative and other reasons must leave Gothenburg at the very latest by the middle of January. As was pointed out by the Swedish authorities, preparations for the departure of these ships would most certainly have as their consequence interruption of the Gothenburg traffic from the German side, at least temporarily.

Had the Swedish Government been informed that the departure of the ships would be delayed for such a considerable period, and had final preparations for their departure been postponed until they really had intention of leaving, at least six more ships carrying about 37,000 tons of cargo to an approximate value of 32 million crowns could in the meantime have reached Sweden. Without any visible advantage to anybody Sweden has now, at least for the time being, been deprived of these cargoes which would have been of the utmost value for the defense and economical life of the country.

The Norwegian ships are still remaining in Swedish port. This fact can hardly be due to either weather conditions, which on several occasions have been favourable for departure, or to German naval measures, which must have been taken into account from the very outset. Consequently, as far as the Swedish Government can judge, there can hardly have been any necessity for fixing the departure of the ships to the middle of January at the very latest.

The Swedish Government wishes further to point out, that as long as the present situation continues there are hardly any possibilities for the Swedish Government to take action in order to try bringing about a resumption of the Gothenburg traffic. In accordance with what has been repeatedly stated from the British side the favourable season for breaking of the German blockade by the two ships seems to be approaching its end. Should the ships not depart before the end of this month, it would seem most likely that they will have to await a new darker season if the blockade situation remains unaltered.

The Swedish Government is asking the British Government to be good enough to inform them of their intentions, as an indefinite prolongation [Page 751] of the present situation is seriously jeopardizing, if not rendering impossible, Swedish efforts to safeguard most vital Swedish interests.

  1. The substance of this aide-mémoire was brought to the attention of the British Embassy and the Navy Department, and was sent to the Minister in Sweden as telegram No. 190, February 13, 9 p.m. (not printed).