740.00119 European War 1939/2371: Telegram

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


1018. This morning Boheman informed me that arrangements have now been completed for sending two Finnish representatives to Moscow and they are ready to leave (Helsinki’s 260, March 21, 1 p.m. to Department, 49 to Stockholm, and Departments 459 March 20, 1 p.m.92). Procedure is being handled in great secrecy in hope it will not become public and particularly that Germans can be kept in ignorance. Representatives are Paasikivi and Enckell.93 Latter was at one time Foreign Minister but is not now conspicuous in Finnish public life and is not tied up with Ryti–Tanner–Linkomies94 group. It is hoped that his absence from Helsinki may even pass unnoticed.…

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Boheman is urging his own Government here to decree mobilization, not a complete general mobilization but a full mobilization of military forces, so that Sweden might not be caught off guard. He thinks the country should be ready for any eventuality and believes that if they are fully prepared Germans would not dare to make any move against this country. Generals are in agreement with him and ready for immediate action but he is having difficulty with Government itself which does not desire to disturb the mass of people too much with discomforts and difficulties of mobilization in face of elections later [Page 584] in year. He said that difficulties of putting over his view are those which all democracies have experienced and that it is hard to shake some people out of their fool’s paradise. Germans he said are fully aware that Swedish intervention in Russo-Finnish matter is determining factor; that without Swedish action there would have been no negotiation between Finland and Russia. If negotiations succeed Germans might attempt desperate measures and only thing that will deter them will be consciousness of complete Swedish preparedness.

Boheman expressed his satisfaction at patience of Russians but said he was convinced that Moscow desires peace with Finland not simply to fold up that section of front but as a step toward general peace which Russians intensely desire to reach as soon as possible. He remarked that Russians are pushing forward rapidly to the west and will soon have reached lines and occupied all the territory they want. He does not think Russians would ever make separate peace with Hitler but on reaching certain frontiers they might decide to do nothing for a while and Western Allies might find that they had Germany on their hands alone. Speaking as an onlooker he said that he felt it of utmost importance that Anglo-Saxon Allies do something very soon.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. Carl J. Enckell. The two representatives arrived in Moscow on March 26.
  3. Edwin J. Linkomies, Finnish Prime Minister.