840.50 UNRRA/9–2944: Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State 5

3962. At a conference this morning with Mr. Grafström6 whom we saw at Mr. Boheman’s suggestion, British Minister7 and I discussed question of Greek relief during and after liberation. Remarks to Grafström were in keeping with Department’s 1848, September 16, 5 p.m. and parallel instructions received by British Legation. Grafström expressed confidence that Greek relief would develop along lines we desired, but added that questions raised would, of course, have to be considered by Swedish Government.

According to Grafström, question of keeping Swedish ships in Greek relief traffic during transition period and also subsequently when UNRRA takes complete charge of relief in Greece, can presumably be arranged but should, in opinion of Swedish Government, be considered as part of general shipping pool question which Swedes are soon to discuss in London with Allied authorities. Mr. Gunnar Carlsson8 is expected to reach London in a fortnight in connection with general shipping discussions.

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Grafstrom foresaw no difficulties regarding relationship which would evolve between Swedish members of the Commission and Allied military authorities concerned with relief in first stage or between Swedes and UNRRA in succeeding stage. Mallet and I stressed desire of Allied military authorities concerned with relief and of UNRRA to have full cooperation of Swedes and thus benefit from their experienced help. We were informed that Thyberg9 and Sandström have no particular instructions regarding period of liberation except that suitable arrangements should be concluded at the time and on the spot. This was tenor of Ministry’s note of March 30 (my 1087, March 30, 9 p.m.).

Consensus was that any confidential instructions which Ministry might wish to send Thyberg would have to be transmitted in cipher through agency of Allied forces entering Greece. Grafstrom confirmed total absence of cipher facilities until then.

Fact that Swedish ships would, in absence of German safe conduct, have to proceed in convoy and could expect no preferential treatment in regard to delays, being diverted, et cetera, was explained on basis of details given in Department’s 1848, plus other details contained in British Legation’s instructions (contained in British Foreign Office’s telegram sent to Washington British Embassy as 277, September 9). Several features of Department’s instructions regarding necessity of conforming to convoy arrangements were not included in British Legation’s instructions, but the two sets of instructions regarding convoys were not contradictory and in fact seemed complementary. Under circumstances we combined both sets. Grafstrom appeared to perceive necessity of having Swedish ships comply with such regulations.

British Minister had instructions to state that intention of Allies is to inform International Red Cross at moment of liberation that we appreciate inability of IEC to work with our military forces but hope their delegates in Greece will, as individuals, cooperate and continue relief activity. Grafstrom seemed to favor our approaching IEC in this manner.

It was understood that Foreign Ministry would inform both Legations in case it had any further reaction to our informal remarks.10

My 1177, September 29, 9 p.m. repeats this to London.

  1. The substance of this telegram was sent as telegram No. 123, October 4, 5 p.m., to the Ambassador to the Greek Government in Exile in Egypt.
  2. Sven H. Grafström, Assistant Chief of the Political Division of the Swedish Foreign Office.
  3. Sir Victor A. L. Mallet.
  4. President, Swedish Shipowners Association.
  5. Swedish Consul General at Athens.
  6. On September 30 the British Minister (Mallet) informed the Greek Chargé” in Sweden (Kindynis) of the substance of this joint conversation with Mr. Grafstrom (840.50 UNRRA/9–3044).