841.79658/80: Telegram

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

2086. For the Secretary and Under Secretary. Since receiving your 1764, March 8, 8 p.m., I have pressed this matter and this morning I received a copy of Mr. Eden’s note of March 14 to Lie, Norwegian Foreign Minister. I have communicated the substance of this note to General Spaatz and he is contacting the Air Ministry. The note reads as follows:

“I am glad now to be able to give you details of the arrangements in connection with the transference to this country of the 2,000 Norwegians whom the Americans are prepared to bring over from Sweden by air.

As you know, it is the security problem that has been causing us difficulty. You will I am sure appreciate that it is at this time necessary to be stricter than ever in taking measures to ensure that enemy agents are not sent over here and that the advent of a large body of men who have come out of a country in German occupation and have been in the interval in a neutral country, would provide the Germans with exceptionally favourable opportunities. The examination of 2,000 of your countrymen strains to the limit our resources for examining Norwegians and you, who have been over the patriotic school, will know that we could not possibly accommodate them all there, together with the numbers of other foreigners who have to be there at the same time. As the Prime Minister told King Haakon on March 9, however, we have after much consideration thought it justifiable, in order to assist the Norwegian Government in getting over here 2,000 valuable recruits, to make some exception to our usual rules, since we assume that the Norwegian authorities will take every precaution in their power in selecting the men.

It will be necessary, as I am sure you will agree, to keep the men in a camp and under supervision until they have undergone examination [Page 1213] and the only place in which a camp can immediately be provided for this purpose is, I regret to say, the Isle of Man. We have been into this question very carefully as we realise that the use to which the Isle of Man has been put hitherto may not make it very palatable, but I am afraid that there really is no other alternative. The camp should be ready to take the majority of the 2,000 by March 22.

We shall of course require the cooperation of the appropriate Norwegian authorities in providing administrative and policy officers to be attached to the camp and to supervise the filling in of questionnaires which our security authorities will provide. Mr. … of the Security Service will be making contact with Major Nagell of your ‘E’ office in order to arrange details. After the examination of the questionnaires by the latter, it is anticipated that it will be possible to release a considerable number of the men at once, the remainder going to the patriotic schools for further examination.

I have informed the American Ambassador that we are prepared to deal with the whole 2,000 and the U.S. air authorities will no doubt now make arrangements for bringing them over, in consultation with the Air Ministry.”