740.00112 European War 1939/8280: Telegram

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

2865. Reference 2587, April 23, from the Department and BEW, repeated to Stockholm. Matthews41 and Canfield discussed reference telegram with Foreign Office who gave following information:

That Mallet, who is expected here momentarily, lately held long conversation with Boheman regarding transits.
That while Boheman made it clear that the Swedish Government could not take any drastic action at the present time for reasons with which you are familiar, the Germans would be informed within a reasonable period (4 or 5 months were mentioned) that troop traffic must cease.
That Boheman indicated that if the transit of troops had not ceased within a reasonable period, he would feel the U.S. and British Governments would be justified in closing all “quotas” to Sweden. He further stated that he was prepared to agree in negotiations to make basic rations contingent upon stoppage of troop transits within such period.

Foreign Office is taking position and is so cabling Embassy, Washington, that further discussions on transit in Stockholm are inadvisable in view of the above and that the matter should be further dealt with in the negotiations. They understand from Mallet that the Swedes will not oppose including subject in London talks.

It is disturbing that Boheman made no mention of war materials transits, especially in view of your belief (expressed in Legation’s 1083 to Washington, April 642) that the Swedish Government would at some stage aim to eliminate not only troop but also war materials traffic. However, this point could be taken up in negotiations as Foreign Office understands that Mallet gave no undertaking to the contrary.

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Embassy is of opinion that the conversation between Mallet and Boheman has changed situation so that it appears to us inadvisable to press the Swedes further on transit prior to negotiations. Accordingly, we believe that the course of action proposed by the Foreign Office should be followed.

This telegram is being repeated to Washington and we assume that you will hear shortly from Department and BEW.

For Acheson, Stone and Riefler, BEW, from Canfield.

The foregoing was sent to Stockholm.

  1. H. Freeman Matthews, Minister Counselor of Embassy in the United Kingdom.
  2. Not printed.