740.00119 European War/2419: Telegram

The Chargé in Finland (Gullion) to the Secretary of State

304. (1) I called today on Foreign Minister Ramsay at his request.

(2) He told me that Finnish representatives Dr. Paasikivi and Mr. Carl Enckell, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, had returned from Moscow on Saturday, April 1, with modified peace terms presented by Soviet Union. These terms were “technically impractical” and still quite difficult. They would be presented to caucus of various party groups in Diet tonight and these meetings would appear on a time [appropriate?] for a plenary session of Diet to consider the terms. I asked when this meeting might take place and if Ramsay thought it probably would not occur until after Easter.2

(3) I told him I would not inquire further about the peace terms since I assumed my Government was informed. He said he had some hesitancy in giving them himself since he was afraid to have them telegraphed (as Department is aware Finnish Government suspects our ciphers are compromised) but that he thought he would have more to say to me tomorrow and asked me to call in the morning about an appointment. He did mention that Russians asked for an indemnity of $600,000,000. This he confirmed was a figure cited in American dollars but to be payable in goods. I asked what proportion this represented of national income and he gave me off-hand a figure for national income of 25 billion marks, which is so improbably low that I shall confirm it tomorrow. In 1943 one estimate of national income was 31 billion; this was at prewar standards of money; presumably today’s figure is much higher. (He said the indemnity represented the whole value of Finnish exports in a good year.) This again seems inaccurate; according to Bank of Finland, in 1942, the best year between 1937 and 1942, exports were placed at 11,723,000,000; at legal rate of about 50 marks to dollar. This far below indemnity figure given by Dr. Ramsay.

(4) In reply to a question he said the Government at least did not contemplate making a recommendation to Diet about terms. He did not care to commit himself about them.

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(5) I took the opportunity to say that my Government’s view as to the necessity of negotiation remained same and that we hoped Finland would seize opportunity of the new contact to get rid of its association with Germany. I left with Foreign Minister an aide-mémoire in sense of Department’s 89.3

(6) I asked if Germans remained quiescent and repeated warning hint in Stockholm’s 1012, March 24,4 without mentioning sources. Dr. Ramsay appeared unconcerned and said Germans had done nothing so far. America would agree, he thought, that Finland had taken great risks in cause of peace and done all it could do even to extent of sending delegates to Moscow.

(7) I remarked that secret of Moscow visit had been well kept and Dr. Ramsay expressed his pleasure that it had. He asked me when I heard public rumors about it and I told him on Saturday morning, day negotiators returned. In spite of negative attitude taken at outset of interview as in paragraph 2 above, Dr. Ramsay seemed more cheerful than I had yet seen him. Whether this was “because he had done all he could do” or because he had more tangible grounds for hope I do not know. (65 repeats this to Stockholm.)

  1. Easter Sunday was on April 9.
  2. Dated April 2, 1944, not printed; it instructed the Chargé to inform the Finnish Government that the United States Government “reiterates the hope that the Finnish Government will lose no opportunity to bring these new exchanges of views [between the Finnish and Soviet Governments] to a successful conclusion for the purpose of terminating Finland’s association with Germany and participation in the war.” (740.00119 European War/2413)
  3. Not printed; it reported that German forces, supported by a Finnish Army group, were prepared to overthrow the Finnish Government (860d.01/180).