740.00119 European War 1939/2201: Telegram

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

685. Madame Kollontay asked me to see her last evening. She had nothing particular to take up but seemed very desirous of talking about Finnish situation. (See my 659, February 26, 11 p.m.42) Her remarks were evidently based on assumption that I was informed as to Russian terms. She stated that Moscow had advised her Washington [Page 567] and London were being kept currently informed. She has heard nothing from Paasikivi or any Finnish source since Paasikivi left Stockholm43 but expects early developments. Secret session of Finnish Parliament scheduled for today she connects with Government’s consideration of Russian conditions. She said she understood difficulty of Hango from Finnish point of view but that she is confident that Moscow will find some way to settle this question which Finland will accept. She thinks less public discussion about Hango the better. Madame Kollontay expressed herself as being optimistic that a favorable reply will come from Finland. She pointed out obvious practical difficulty of implementing a Russian-Finnish armistice presented by presence of German troops in Finland. Russia does not expect Finns to go to war with Germans but if Russia recognizes Finland as having a neutral status for remainder of war Finland must take some action or agree to some action to intern Germans. Madame Kollontay indicated, however, that extreme practical difficulties of this situation from Finnish point of view are understood by Moscow. She had no suggestions to make as to how problem might be met. Ease of its solution will largely depend on attitude of Germans. She seemed hopeful that it might be possible to isolate Germans in north Finland and cut them off from supply sources as well as isolating them in groups. She did not say how this could be done if Germans put up resistance but remarked that her Government could hardly acquiesce in Germans leaving Finland via Norway to be thrown against them on some other front. She said it made no difference whether Paasikivi were the individual chosen by Finnish Government to go to Moscow or not; important thing was that some one go there with full powers to deal with Russian Government. A Finnish representative could be got across the lines and to Moscow in a very few hours directly from Finland. She spoke in highest terms of Paasikivi whom she has known personally for years and said that he was trusted and liked by Stalin who had once told her that Paasikivi was “all right. He is an honest man.” She remarked on publication in London of accurate details of Russian conditions,44 that this publicity was so foolish from viewpoint of Russians and British that she could only believe that Finns had themselves arranged in some way for the terms to be given out in London as a help in preparing Finnish public opinion to accept them. She disclaimed, however, any knowledge of facts about this leakage.

Madame Kollontay expressed herself as being very conscious of value of Finland’s getting out of the war as an example to other [Page 568] satellites of Germany. She also expressed personal Satisfaction at moderation of Russian terms, which she thinks is only wise way to approach peace settlement.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Paasikivi departed for Finland on February 23.
  3. A Moscow radio broadcast on February 29, giving the official Soviet announcement of the six conditions to Finland, was received in London and cabled to New York by the New York Times correspondent in London; see the New York Times, March 1, 1944, p. 1.