740.00112 European War 1939/7931: Telegram

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

293. Your 688, March 2.

1. The Swedish Minister furnished to Mr. Acheson on March 8 an oral statement24 regarding the impressions gained by the Swedish Government as to the visit of Canfield and Fagen25 to Stockholm and as to the stand which the latter intend to adopt in connection with the forthcoming London negotiations.

The statement set forth inter alia the Swedish impression that Canfield holds the view that the negotiations should cover all subjects mentioned in the resolution of the Board of Economic Warfare on November 12, 194226 and that unless satisfaction is obtained on these points basic rations would not be established and resumption of the Göteborg traffic would not be permitted by the United States Government. Before sending representatives to London to discuss the questions at issue with representatives of the United States and British Governments, “the Swedish Government wishes to obtain a clarification of the view of the United States Government and some information regarding the proposed agenda of the London discussions.”

It was also stated that the Swedish Government understood that when it gave its decision to permit the departure of the Norwegian [Page 754] ships Lionel and Dicto and provided it agreed to the chartering to us of the so-called free Swedish ships in the Western Hemisphere, we would agree to set up basic rations for Sweden; and that it was only to negotiate these questions that the conferences in London were to be held.

It is the view of the Department and the Board of Economic Warfare that the negotiations in London will deal with the points raised with Mr. Boheman during his discussions in Washington and with which the Swedish Government is familiar as “Objectives A–L” of the BEW resolutions of November 12,27 as well as with the proposed basic rations for Sweden. As the result of our discussions here with Boheman and Canfield’s work in Stockholm, we feel that substantial progress has been made and we see no reason to believe that satisfactory understandings cannot be reached on these points. As to the two points which seem particularly to disturb the Minister, the iron ore shipments and the transit traffic, our discussions with Boheman pointed the way to a practical and realistic modus vivendi which should reach the objectives we are both seeking without raising questions of form which would create political or military problems for the Swedes.

There is no intention on the part of this Government to insert new demands into the negotiations. As stated in a memorandum by the United States Legation in Stockholm on January 15 to the Swedish Government it is not believed that “the forthcoming negotiations …28 involve any matters which might occasion a threat to close the Göteborg traffic”.

2. A paraphrase of this telegram is being given to the Swedish Minister in Washington as a reply to his oral statement referred to. Meanwhile, you may acquaint the Swedish Government orally with the contents of this telegram.

Repeat to London for Canfield and Riefler as our No. 1551.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Melvin Fagen, member of the Board of Economic Warfare Overseas Mission in Sweden.
  3. See telegram No. 5869, November 21, 1942, 9 p.m., to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, p. 359.
  4. See airgram No. A–242, November 27, 1942, 7:40 p.m., to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom, Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, p. 362.
  5. Omission indicated in the original telegram.