740.00119 European War 1939/1304: Telegram

The Chargé in Finland (McClintock) to the Secretary of State

327. Swiss Minister called on me this morning. He was on a fishing trip and seemed interested to know whether Finns were actively promoting idea of an armistice. He said that he had impression that soundings were going on in Stockholm7 with this in view and that Russian Legation there had indicated that Soviet Government was interested in armistice with Finland at present time but that this time was very short: in other words, Finns must cease hostilities within immediate future.

Swiss Minister said his impression was that neither public nor governmental opinion in this country was sufficiently prepared for an armistice and that many of common people still naively regarded retention of Soviet Karelia as a definite war aim. (We do not entirely agree with this view and feel that most Finns are anxious for peace and regard Soviet Karelia as useful more for bargaining purposes [Page 243] than for anything else.) He said in the Government various Ministers thought so rigidly and with such lack of imagination that he could not see how they could change their minds rapidly enough to take advantage of present Russian disposition to peace if indeed such disposition existed.

Swiss Minister said he had had Tanner for lunch the other day and had asked him “When will Finland be willing to get out of its war?[”] Tanner replied “At once—provided the Americans feed us and send us an army of 50,000 men to protect us from the Russians.”

Repeated to Stockholm for the Minister.

  1. The reference possibly was to a reported effort by Väinö Tanner to establish contact with the British through the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs with the aim of normalizing Finnish-British relations prior to requesting Sweden to mediate between Finland and the Soviet Union. The British reportedly did not respond to Tanner. For a Finnish account, see Wuorinen, Finland and World War II, 1939–1944, P. 151.