740.58112A/87: Telegram

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

1217. For Russell13 World Trade.

EWD14 and MEW15 have agreed on following draft reply to Swedish protests against American and British blacklisting policy and methods which supersedes that which was transmitted as enclosure No. 1 to EWD’s letter January 1216 to you at Lisbon:

“Draft memorandum for the Joint Standing Commission in Stockholm. We have carefully considered the views on our listing activities expressed by the Swedish Government in their memoranda of 19th November, 1943, and 10th January, 1944.17

It is unnecessary to state again the grounds upon which we list firms and persons in Sweden, as the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs have already been fully informed of these grounds. We would however refer in particular to Mr. Villiers’18 minute of 10th January, 1943, written in Stockholm following the discussion on blacklisting at the Anglo-Swedish Joint Standing Commission on 22nd December, 1942, and we would repeat the assurance given in that minute, that Swedish firms are not listed merely on account of normal trade with Germany or German-occupied countries. Swedish firms which act solely as agents or representatives of enemy interests, or are mainly dependent thereon, have been listed because they are so closely identified with the enemy that it was thought necessary for the guidance of British traders that they should be placed on the Statutory List.
In our listing methods, no less than in our policy, we seek to apply the single ‘flexible’ system which was recommended in M. Stahle’s memorandum of 28th May, 1942,19 a copy of which is annexed. Accordingly we attempt to avoid listing whenever practicable, and therefore in cases where the Swedish firm may be unaware that its activities give rise to objection on our part, HM Legation are instructed to advise it of our objection, and of the possibility that it may be listed if it continues the activities to which we object. HM Legation are also approached voluntarily by persons who consider that they or their firms have been or may be listed without sufficient cause and who therefore apply to be removed or withheld from the list. We regard it as a necessary part of this ‘flexible’ system that such applications should be examined thoroughly, in the light of all relevant information, and this HM Legation have not hesitated to do. [Page 159] We would emphasize that it is not the practice of HM Legation to induce these persons or firms to disclose any information or to give any assurances. We observe however that the appropriate Swedish authorities are empowered to permit the giving of certain assurances or guarantees, and it would seem to be in accordance with the ‘flexible’ system which we for our part are applying, that such permission should be granted in suitable cases.
We hope that it may not be necessary to adopt a more rigid system, which would undoubtedly increase rather than diminish the difficulties which confront persons and firms in Sweden who desire to be withheld or removed from the list.”
MEW considers Swedish Foreign Office memorandum to American and British Ministers (see Stockholm’s despatch 2710, January 2020) more abrupt than that presented to Joint Standing Commission January 19 and consequently MEW’s reply has been made more brusque. EWD and MEW have carefully considered this reply from all angles. EWD seeks your approval to authorize American Legation to present above draft, with necessary amendments, as joint Anglo-American reply to Joint Standing Commission, not Swedish Foreign Office.
If Russell’s arrival Washington not scheduled before February 16 please forward text of preceding paragraphs to him if feasible. Urgent telegraphic response would be appreciated.
  1. Mr. Russell was named Chief of the Division of World Trade Intelligence on January 15, 1944.
  2. Economic Warfare Division, American Embassy, London.
  3. British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Neither printed.
  6. Gerald Hyde Villiers of the British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  7. Not printed. A. N. O. K. Ståhle was Chief of Shipping and Overseas Trade Section of the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
  8. Not printed.