800.515/3–2245: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )

2608. Reurtel 2950, March 22, 269 to Stockholm. Department and other interested agencies have considered carefully various questions raised in Foot’s letter to Stone. As in the case of Department’s immediately preceding telegram, the following arises from full discussions with British Embassy here:

It is believed that if we could get full disclosure at this time, considerable advantages would result which would not arise from obtaining information subsequent to Germany’s unconditional surrender. Information obtained from Sweden could be used as check on information subsequently obtained from Germany, it would provide leads for investigations in Germany, and would considerably expedite our work in Germany. Accordingly, it is believed advisable [Page 871] to include in our statement of Safehaven objectives at this time request for information obtained from complete Swedish census, leaving open, if necessary, possibility of compromise on basis of agreement on full disclosure at a future determined date along the lines of our preceding telegram.
Suggested change satisfactory.
Paragraph 5, Department’s 1730, March 7, 428 to Stockholm,46 was intended to cover principally persons of Axis nationality. Concerning those who possess nationality of Axis-occupied or previously occupied countries and Finland, it would be satisfactory to have agreement whereby Swedes submit information only on those who may be classified as Quislings. This is the intention and meaning of sentence 3, paragraph 5.47 Under this construction, volume of information which Sweden would have to submit would not approach unmanageable volume. Since information on persons of Axis nationality properly forms a part of Safehaven objectives, there is no reason why it should not be included in interim and post-hostilities negotiations. It is not our intention to make this presentation so general as to include the whole problem of asylum but rather to emphasize or call attention to the fact that the problem of asylum has a Safehaven aspect which can not be ignored.
We agree, therefore, that provided considerations in previous sentence are made clear to the neutral authorities, our negotiators may have discretion as to the way in which this aspect of the problem is presented.48
Enumeration of assets in pending proposals is designed to assist Swedes in understanding our intentions and extent of coverage of proposed agreement. It is in line with numerous requests of Boheman for clear statement of what it is we want. Should Sweden agree to give equally broad meaning to term assets but, at the same time, to desire, for political or other reasons, not to have definition set forth in agreement, such compromise would be satisfactory to us.
Proposed change satisfactory.
Offer to provide Swedes services of technical personnel was designed to eliminate argument by Swedes that their lack of technical [Page 872] personnel prevents execution of program. We are willing to eliminate this proposal from agreement provided we are free to make it should Swedes raise lack of personnel argument.
We agree to the elimination of this paragraph (paragraph 9, Department’s 1730, March 7) on the understanding that our requirements, so far as the obtaining of information is concerned, are adequately covered by paragraph 4, Department’s 1730, which deals with the submission of information arising from census.
It is believed that we should press for adherence to Bretton Woods Resolution VI and we suggest deletion of the words “adopt and” from paragraph 1 of Department’s 1730. In this connection, see section 3(a) of our preceding telegram.49
4 and 5.
Department believes that initial negotiations on Safehaven should be tied up with negotiations of interim agreement and that these negotiations should be handled by Legations in Stockholm. It is believed that negotiations should begin with presentation of our specific Safehaven objectives, possibly on informal basis with Boheman and others. In previous negotiations with Swedes, it has been found that use of high-powered missions from Washington and London with attendant publicity has made negotiations more difficult. Accordingly, it is believed advisable for American-British representatives in Stockholm to conduct initial Safehaven negotiations as part of interim agreement. Should development of negotiations reveal that missions from Washington and London would be advantageous, then such missions could be sent. In this way we will be in a position to take advantage of suggestions and services of our friends in the Swedish Foreign Office and other agencies which cannot be accomplished when negotiations become matter of public knowledge and affords opportunity to those Swedish officials not sympathetic to our purposes to offer serious opposition.
See our preceding telegram.

Sent to London, repeated to Madrid and Stockholm.50

  1. See footnote 21, p. 862.
  2. This sentence read as follows: “The Government of Sweden also agrees to submit similar information [i.e., relating to residence, occupation, travel, etc.] on all persons who have come to Sweden since January 1, 1939 from countries which were previously satellites of the Axis countries or from countries now or previously controlled by the Axis countries where the evidence reveals that such persons are or may have been acting for or in the interest of the Axis or Axis controlled countries.” (800.515/3–745)
  3. The sentence under reference indicated that such information was sought as would be relevant to ascertaining whether the persons under investigation “… are or may be acting for or in the interests of Axis or Axis controlled countries or who in the period following the occupation of such countries by the United Nations may work against the interests of the occupying authorities.” (800.515/3–745)
  4. Telegram 2607, supra.
  5. As telegrams 574 and 616, respectively.