859.01/1–2545: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman)

201. Under instruction the British Embassy here has delivered an aide-mémoire8 regarding the proposed Tripartite statement on Denmark (Department’s 112, January 179). A copy of the communication has been transmitted to our Embassy at London. After summarizing the Department’s views on the proposal as conveyed by the London Embassy to the Foreign Office, the aide-mémoire points out:

The statement would not necessarily lead to German retaliation against King Christian, and suggests that the King may have been consulted prior to the transmission of the message by the Freedom Council and the political party leaders.
Failure of the three Governments to reply to the message would have a discouraging effect on Danish resistance movement and would tend to disrupt cooperation between political party leaders and the Freedom Council.
Recognition of the Danes as Allies would further cooperation between the Danes and SHAEF in the liberation period.
No legal objection exists to recognition of the Danes as Allies.

The aide-mémoire then gives the text of a proposed British note to the Soviet Government urging it to join the British and American Governments in recognizing the Danes.

Assuming that the Danish message has been or is about to be delivered to Madame Kollontay10 by Doessing,11 who is presently in Stockholm, the Department is still of the opinion that it would be inadvisable to issue a Tripartite statement at this time not only because of possible German retaliation but also for the reasons mentioned in [Page 561] London’s 731, January 20,12 repeated to you as Department’s 150, January 24. Furthermore, to press for Soviet adherence to such a statement as is proposed by the British might prejudice future Soviet-Danish relations since the Soviet authorities would probably decline in view of their apparent ignorance of the cooperation between the Freedom Council and the political party leaders whom they view as reactionaries and collaborationists (see War and Working Class article, November 15 issue). In this connection you will recall that the Soviet Government thrice rejected last spring a previous British proposal for a Tripartite statement on Denmark (Department’s 1448, June 8, 2 p.m.12).

As an early reply to the Danish request is considered to be highly desirable, the Department intends to transmit through its own channels a secret message to the Freedom Council and the political party leaders acknowledging their communication and expressing the admiration of the American people for the contributions being made by the Danes in the common cause. Before doing so, the text will be sent to you and to London for transmission to the Soviet and British authorities for their information.

By following this procedure we would avoid the risk of forcing the Soviets to take a probable negative stand on the Danish message and at the same time leave the door open for further negotiation on this subject at a time when the atmosphere appears to be more propitious for Soviet participation in a Tripartite statement. In this connection it is understood that Erling Foss, one of the Danish activist leaders, will probably proceed to Moscow in the near future in an endeavor to convey to the Soviet authorities a true picture of the Danish resistance movement.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Same as telegram 397, January 17, to London, supra.
  3. Madame Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontay, Soviet Minister in Sweden.
  4. Thomas Doessing, observer in Moscow for the Danish Freedom Council.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.