740.00119 EW 1939/11–144: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State

4188. ReDeptel 2519, October 25, 11 p.m.5 I have received a note from the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs pointing out that in the execution of Annex II to article 5 of the armistice agreement6 the Finnish Government has suspended all types of communication [Page 626] abroad on the part of diplomatic missions and consulates in Finland including the Swiss. This undertaking, the note goes on to say, is explained by the presence of German armed forces on Finnish territory and cannot be revoked or changed until their withdrawal is completed. To change it, it is stated, would be contrary not only to the armistice agreement but to the common cause of the Allies.

In general I fear we will get little satisfaction out of the Russians with respect to the recognition of the role of the Swiss in protecting our interests in territory occupied by Russian forces.7 The reasons are the following:

The Russians may question the general propriety of our asking for third party representation of our interests in territory no longer under enemy control, but occupied by one of our allies.
They will hardly understand the practical necessity for any such third power representation. It will not be clear to them why American representatives fail to arrive promptly in those capitals and take direct charge of American interests, as British representatives have done.
Even if they could be persuaded of the propriety and necessity of representation of our interests by a third power they would almost certainly object to that power being one with whom they have no relations and would probably point to the impracticability of interests being represented by authorities who have no official access to the government of the occupying power. In the case of Switzerland, Soviet feelings are at the moment particularly strong and have only recently been underlined in the demonstrative withdrawal of Soviet participation in the Civil Aviation Conference.8 Soviet officials always sensitive to the trends of major Soviet policy would be sure to look askance at present to any approaches involving the functioning of Swiss representatives on territory under their control.

Sent Department, repeated to Caserta as 12.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Conditions of an Armistice with Finland, signed at Moscow, September 19, 1944, is printed in British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxxv, p. 513.
  3. The Swiss Government had assumed representation of American interests in Finland on July 3, 1944.
  4. International Civil Aviation Conference, held at Chicago November 1–December 7, 1944. For correspondence relating to the Conference, see vol. ii .