857.48/11–2844: Telegram

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

4860. Legation’s 4800, November 22, 8 p.m.63 not repeated to London. During the past three days according to von Post64 the prospects [Page 291] of Germany’s granting permission for the despatch of Red Cross trains to Narvik and a boat to Tromsoe have worsened. Swedish Foreign Office understands that Terboven65 has arrived in Berlin to fight approval which seemingly is sponsored among highly placed German officials only by von Ribbentrop.66 Von Post is pessimistic as to outcome on grounds that Swedes have nothing they can promise Germans in exchange for approval other than that favorable action would tend to prevent German-Swedish relations from deteriorating.

Legation’s 1528, November 21, 9 p.m. to London repeated to Department as Legation’s 4772. I regard it as of importance that Anglo-American approval of the project be forthcoming without further delay. It would not be understood by Sweden if we should under existing conditions pursue a less liberal relief policy toward starving Norwegians than towards starving Greeks when in both cases the Swedes would control distribution; and I am satisfied that if tomorrow the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister who are scheduled to answer questions regarding the matter in the two houses of the Riksdag can report approval by the British and ourselves the public reaction here against our enemy would be intensified.67

My 1562, November 28, 1 p.m., repeats this to London.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Eric von Post, Chief of the Political Section of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Joseph Terboven, Reichskommissar for occupied Norwegian territories.
  4. Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister.
  5. In telegram 2405, November 30, to Stockholm, the Department informed the Minister in Sweden that the Swedish proposal to send a Red Cross ship to Tromso had been referred to military authorities for decision; the Department then expressed its hope for an early reply to its message (857.48/11–2844).