The Secretary of War ( Stimson ) to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: This is in reply to your letter of October 24, 1944.47

The negotiations which are now proceeding with the Swedish Government relative to approval of the military air transport service urgently desired by the Army Air Forces and the Air Transport Command will, if concluded in accordance with the State Department instructions to the American Minister of October 20, 1944, meet military requirements.

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Note is made of the final paragraph of your letter in which you indicate that the State Department is not disposed to recommend approval of the request for commercial type aircraft since it does not desire to build up the commercial air power of a neutral nation to the disadvantage of any nation which may have been one of our allies. Your department may be unaware of the informal conversations which have taken place between the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces48 and the Commanding General, Air Transport Command,49 and representatives of the Swedish airlines. In those conversations it has been intimated that at such time as definite arrangements were made for the release of American airmen interned in Sweden, favorable consideration would be given to the allocation of five C–7 type aircraft. This expression is in consonance with letter of General Arnold to Mr. Stettinius,50 under date of September 27th.51 In view of the conversations above referred to, your department may desire to review its position with respect to the allocation of a limited number of commercial type aircraft to Sweden.

Informal arrangements have been completed for the immediate initiation of the proposed service. The inauguration of this service is urgently required in order that air transport service to Sweden may not be interrupted and to meet military needs. May I express the sincere hope that nothing will deter the early consummation of these negotiations.

I should like to urge, however, that these negotiations should not interfere in any way with our demands on Sweden that she stop all the war aid which she is still rendering Germany.52 There is no reason, in the view of the War Department, why Sweden should not meet the desires of the Army Air Forces and the Air Transport Command and at the same time stop the vital aid afforded Germany.

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stimson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Maj Gen. Henry H. Arnold.
  3. Maj. Gen. Harold L. George.
  4. Edward R. Stettinins, Jr., Under Secretary of State; he was appointed Secretary of State October 3, 1944, and took the oath of office on December 1, 1944.
  5. Not printed.
  6. For correspondence on United States efforts to reduce Sweden’s trade with Germany, see pp. 456 ff.