740.00119 European War/2332

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius) to the Secretary of State

The Secretary: On Saturday30 afternoon the Soviet Ambassador31 called and left with me an aide-mémoire32 stating that in Stockholm Madame Kollontai had talked with the Finnish emissary Paasikivi33 and had been told that the Finns were ready to accept the 1940 border although they had certain wishes in connection with this question. The Finnish representative asked if the Russians would demand that the Finns join in the war against Germany. Madame Kollontai simply listened, but because Paasikivi stated he was an official representative of the Finnish Government the Soviet Government is presenting its own conditions of peace.

Saturday at midnight the Soviet Ambassador called again and left with me an additional aide-mémoire34 outlining the Soviet conditions. They are as follows:

Severance of relations with Germany and interning of German troops by Finnish forces, if necessary with the aid of Soviet troops.
Reestablishment of the treaty of 1940 and withdrawal of Finnish troops to the 1940 border.
The return of Soviet prisoners of war and interned citizens.
To leave open for negotiations in Moscow the question of demobilization of the Finnish army, compensation for military damages and “certain other questions”35 the nature of which the Ambassador did not know.

This information was promptly passed along to the President with a suggested cable outlining these conditions to Mr. Harriman.36 The Soviet aide-mémoire added that the Soviet Government hopes there will be no objection on the part of this Government regarding these [Page 565] terms. In transmitting the information to Mr. Harriman, the President instructed him as follows:

To seek an immediate interview with Molotov and convey to him the following:
An expression of our appreciation for conveying this information to us.
As we are not at war with Finland, we have no comment to make with respect to the terms outlined in the aide-mémoire.
In view of the important effect thereof in the prosecution of the war against our common enemy, this Government would appreciate being kept informed of the progress of negotiations which may take place.

We made a like reply to the Soviet Ambassador here.

E[dward] S[tettinius]
  1. February 19.
  2. Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko.
  3. Not printed.
  4. On February 12, 1944, Dr. Juho K. Paasikivi arrived in Stockholm with instructions from his Government to contact the Soviet Minister there in order to explore the possibilities for peace. Madame Kollontay received Paasikivi on February 16 and 19. In telegram 570, February 19, 1944, the Minister in Sweden reported that, according to the Swedish Foreign Ministry, Paasikivi was assured that the Soviet Government “would not refuse to deal with the Finnish Government as now constituted and that it did not desire to destroy Finnish independence.” (740.00119 European War 1939/2166)
  5. Not found in Department files.
  6. Another probable condition for Finland was disclosed by the Soviet Commissariat for Foreign Affairs in its communiqué of March 1, sent to the Department that day in telegram 683, by the Ambassador in the Soviet Union, W. Averell Harriman. That condition concerned negotiation of “The question of the Petsamo district,” which was the sixth item in the communiqué’s list of peace terms. (760D.61/1703)
  7. Instructions were sent to Moscow in telegram 368. February 21, 1944 (not printed).