740.00119 European War/3–345: Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State 24

844. Acting Secretary General of Foreign Office, Assarsson, has informed me that on Friday Gunnar Carlsson, Chairman Swedish Shipping Association was invited to call at German Legation in Stockholm and was received by Geheimrat von Hesse, a German official who was Counselor of German Embassy in London just prior to outbreak of war and now said to be closely associated with Ribbentrop.25 Von Hesse told Carlsson that he had been instructed by Ribbentrop to ask him to convey following peace proposals to the Allies26 (a) Germany to have its 1939 frontiers, and (b) British and Americans to join Germany against Russia.

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Carlsson is reported to have refused to convey any such proposals, explaining that they were on their face absurd. He asked von Hesse what Germans proposed to do with Hitler, Himmler27 and others and von Hesse replied that they would be obliged to keep these people for some time after the war as otherwise there would be complete chaos in Germany. They would, however, subsequently be got rid of.

  1. The text of this telegram was transmitted by the Department to London in telegram 1694, March 5, midnight, not printed. Telegram 2347, March 7, 7 p.m., from London, reported that the substance of the telegram under reference had been communicated to the Foreign Office (740.00119 EW/3–745).
  2. Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister.
  3. Foreign Minister Ribbentrop had at this time put out on his own initiative a number of informal peace feelers; see the testimony of his secretary, Fräulein Margerete Blank, in Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunals (Nuremberg, 1948), vol. x, pp. 193–194. For Hesse’s explanation of the origins of these feelers and an account of his own mission to Stockholm, see Fritz Hesse, Das Spiel um Deutschland (Munich, 1953), pp. 386–419.
  4. Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer SS, Chief of the German Police, Reich Minister of the Interior, Reichsleiter, and Chief of the Replacement Army.