740.00119 European War 1939/2076: Telegram

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

184. Pravda49 dispatch from Cairo to effect that two Englishmen had conferred with Ribbentrop about a separate peace was not published here until this morning but was reported on radio last night. It has aroused considerable interest but has not yet been given an alarming character. Boheman50 told me this afternoon that he considered it a typical Russian maneuver and in his view linked with case of Poland. It could well be, he said, a form of blackmail on Anglo-Saxon Powers warning them to keep hands off of Eastern European questions and carrying intimation that Anglo-Saxon advice and interest in this area are not desired in Moscow. It is basically a stupid statement but one which Russians probably consider clever. [Page 495] It may be part of Russian design to alarm British by making this charge against them and thus indirectly suggesting that Russia might possibly make a separate peace, if events do not develop according to her liking. Boheman doubts that any real harm will come from it other than muddying waters which everyone had hoped were clearing up. Worst aspect he thinks is that it will undoubtedly give renewed hope to Germans. He told me that he has good evidence that some Germans even in high places and at army command headquarters still cling to belief that a separate peace with Russia for Germany way [may?] be possible. He commented on extreme difficulty of dealing with Russians and of getting any real meeting of minds with them on important matters. He thinks Poles from practical point of view are acting unwisely and said that in his opinion Russian suggestion of Curzon Line51 was basically sound but that their uncompromising attitude of declaring a reply to be unsatisfactory merely because it is not a simple yes to every Russian proposal further demonstrates difficulty in coming to any agreement with Russians.52 General view of Swedish Government and of informed opinion very much same as his own. War Department may be interested in this Swedish view.

  1. Official newspaper of the Central Committee and Moscow Committee of the All-Union Communist Party.
  2. Erik C. Boheman, Secretary General, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  3. In regard to the origin of the Curzon Line, and for a description of it, see Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, pp. 793794. Further details are in H. W. V. Temperley (ed.), A History of the Peace Conference of Paris (Oxford, 1924), vol. vi, pp. 233–283, 317–322, and summary descriptions in S. Konovalov (ed.), Russo-Polish Relations: an Historical Survey (London, 1945), pp. 33–38, 57–63.
  4. For correspondence regarding the interest of the United States in the Polish Government in Exile, and in its relations with the Soviet Union, see vol. iii, pp. 1216 ff.