740.00112 European War 1939/8282: Telegram

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

1336. Procedure for separate agreement in Stockholm regarding leave traffic and transshipment munitions of war through Sweden suggested in Department’s 506, April 23, 2 p.m. (Department’s 2587 to London) in my opinion if attempted will still further delay beginning of London negotiations. Prime Minister is absent from Stockholm until Tuesday, Mr. Gunther and Boheman until May 3 and Parliament does not reconvene until May 4. Boheman would probably return if I asked him but he could not take final action. If Foreign Office should consent to reach such an agreement, it could only be done after careful consideration by Cabinet and would probably be submitted to Foreign Relations Committee of Parliament. I personally do not believe Swedes will react favorably to a procedure which will commit them even conditionally on transit question before they get to London and know what our demands are. I still think Boheman’s suggestion reported in my 1275, April 2043 is preferable one to follow and fact this having gone so far appears to me to make unnecessary attempt to get separate agreement prior to London meeting. I do not think our mention of transit matter in invitation would cause Foreign Office as much embarrassment as is apparently thought in Washington. If Department desired, formal invitation could exclude mention of question which might be covered in a personal letter to accompany formal note.

I have been in touch with British Chargé today (Mallet went to London yesterday) and he has also received instructions regarding [Page 761] invitation. I have informed Foreign Office that we have these instructions and that formal invitation would be delivered as soon as possible. Before delivering it, however, I would greatly appreciate by Monday44 if possible expression of Department’s wishes. If attempt is to be made to get prior agreement here on transit question, does Department desire issuance of formal invitation held up in meantime? In light Department’s latest telegram under reference, I hesitate to go ahead with preparation of draft invitation without further instructions.

Repeated to London as our 214, April 24, 7 p.m.

  1. Not printed; Mr. Boheman suggested that the Americans and British negotiate basic rations for Sweden and other issues independently of transit traffic but to inform Sweden that if the transit traffic question was not settled in a specified length of time the Anglo-American commitment regarding basic rations might be considered cancelled (740.00112 European War 1939/8253).
  2. April 26.