858.248/11–1044: Telegram

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

4609. For the Department only. All but 34 of 616 internees who have been released by the Swedish Government having now been carried [Page 700] to Great Britain, I requested Boheman yesterday for a further release. There are 463 remaining still unreleased. Boheman informed me this afternoon that the Government would now release 163 or as he put it “all except 300”. Please inform General Arnold. I had some discussion with him about the matter and he said that that was all he could possibly get the Government to consent to at this moment (my 4287, October 21 1 p.m.83). They have just received Minister Bostrom’s84 report of conversations with officials of the Department regarding my 4367 October 26, 7 p.m.85 and related correspondence and I gather that Mr. Bostrom’s report has caused resentment. Boheman said that the Prime Minister86 was so angry that he did not want to release any more internees but finally consented to 100. Boheman, without authority, has added the remaining 63. The Prime Minister is said to have remarked that he didn’t see what use there was in trying to stretch points in favor of the Allies when no matter what the Swedes did it made no difference in our attitude. It may be useful in this connection to recall a fact of which the Prime Minister must be aware, and that is the liberal and extensive cooperation which the Swedish Government is giving certain of our agencies in activities not ordinarily the subject of correspondence.

As far as the internees are concerned, the War Department must know from reports of visiting officers and from the military stationed in Sweden the exceptional treatment which our internees have had in this country. General Curtis87 on his recent visit here informed me that our men had been treated with a liberality and consideration which had no parallel in Switzerland or in any other neutral country that he knew of. The Department knows, and I hope the War Department realizes that in releasing the majority of our interned aviators, the Swedes have taken an action which they were under no legal obligation to do. Boheman told me that since the last release of 300, no German military have come into this country of any status to afford them the slightest legal basis on which to release our men so that approximately 500 of our men released have been in anticipation of Germans who have not yet arrived. Two notes of protest have been received from the Germans regarding release of our men which have not been answered.

Boheman also informed me that the Swedish Government has been notified by the Germans that the entire Baltic will now be considered a war area and that any ship will be sunk by the Germans at sight. Boheman says that this is undoubtedly directed at the ships which [Page 701] are carrying Swedish supplies to Finland. Both he and Sohlman88 have told me that there are many indications, of which this declaration regarding the Baltic is perhaps the first, that the Germans are planning measures of retaliation against Sweden.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Wollmar F. Bostrom, Swedish Minister in the United States.
  3. Ante, p. 653.
  4. Per Albin Hansson.
  5. Maj. Gen. Edward P. Curtis, U. S. Array Air Forces.
  6. Rolf Sohlman, Chief of the Commercial Division, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.