740.00112 European War 1939/8090: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)30

2287. For Riefler and Canfield. Reference your 2224, March 27.31

Department and BEW approve generally your objectives and plans for forthcoming negotiations.
We are studying the transit question in the light of Stockholm’s 1083 of April 6 (repeated to London) and your 2463, April 832 (which [Page 756] has just come in) and hope shortly to telegraph you our views and a suggested treatment of this question.
In the meantime it is apparent that specific mention of the transit question in your proposed message to the Swedish Foreign Office would create embarrassment for the Swedes, and on the other hand, omission of the subject might lead the Swedes to take the position later that you are foreclosed from discussing the question during the negotiations. Accordingly, we suggest that your message to the Swedish Foreign Office be limited to a general invitation to start the negotiations immediately on the basis of our 293, of March 10, to Stockholm (sent to London as our 1551) which was concurred in by BEW and which the Swedish Legation here apparently considers to be the agenda for the negotiations. In your message you might refer to the contents of telegram 293 (a paraphrase of which was given the Swedish Minister here33) as the agenda and specifically refer to the passage reading:

“As to the two points which seem particularly to disturb the Minister, the iron ore shipment and the transit traffic, our discussions with Boheman pointed the way to a practical and realistic modus vivendi which should reach the objective we are both seeking without raising questions of form which would create political or military problems for the Swedes.”

Swedish Minister is concerned about delay in starting negotiations. He has received a telegram from his Government informing him that a report or despatch from Canfield had been sent to Washington and that it did not seem appropriate for the Swedish negotiators to go to London until the Department and the BEW had given their detailed comments. We have told the Minister that unless telegram under reference is the report to which he refers, we have no report requiring our comment as a condition precedent to starting the negotiations, and we hope that the negotiations will be started as soon as possible and speedily concluded. We have, however, pointed out to the Minister that the necessary authorizations from the combined boards as well as the appropriate requirements committees for basic rations have not yet been obtained. It is hoped, however, that the negotiations can be started without waiting for final approval of supply authorities. For your information it is expected that CRMB34 will make a decision this week and that decision will in general approve the suggested basic rations for raw materials with the exception of tung oil, bristles, copper, molybdenum, and tire fabric. There may be reductions or special comments relating to oleic acid, carbon [Page 757] black, cotton yarns and thread, paraffin wax, and asbestos. Detailed comments on status of basic rations in Combined Food Board have been sent you by pouch. In general approval by Combined Food Board is predicted with exceptions relating to fats and oils, rice, pepper and dried fruits.
  1. Repeated on the same date to the Minister in Sweden as telegram No. 435.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Neither printed.
  4. Wollmar Boström.
  5. Combined Raw Materials Board.