857.48/3–2445: Telegram

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

3078. ReEmbs 2895, March 2026 and 3045, March 23.27

a. Foot28 has suggested meeting with MWD [MEW?]29 representatives on March 27 and with EWD30 representatives and Norwegians on March 28 to discuss Norwegian relief memorandum. Urgent decisions on outstanding applications, particularly 6,700 tons of seed grain (reDepts 2270, March 2331) and 10,000 tons of grain (or flour) (reEmbs 2560, March 1232) would therefore be appreciated. In view of past representations made by Embassy to British on subject of relief shipments further delay in obtaining Washington’s approval may be difficult to explain to MEW. EWD would also appreciate urgent instructions on extent to which, in meeting with Norwegians, we can agree to principle of (a) shipments from Sweden without compensation, (b) shipments from Sweden requiring compensation, and (c) shipments from areas outside the blockade. Specific recommendations arising from meetings will, of course, be referred to Washington for final clearance.

b. Following is paraphrase of minute dictated by Lord Selborne after his meeting with Dr. Lie:

The attached memorandum was handed to me today by Dr. Lie when he called. The food situation in Norway, he said, was now very serious and it was estimated that there was only wheat enough to carry through until the latter part of April. Although Norway had hitherto been receiving food supplies from Germany, the last consignment was in January and he felt it unlikely that they would receive any more. Something had, therefore, to be done to prevent famine prior to the liberation of Norway. I told Dr. Lie that if he could arrange the import of food from Sweden he would encounter [Page 41] no difficulty from me. It was my opinion that the objections to shipment from Sweden to Norway of large quantities of food were no longer valid and I should be glad, so far as I was concerned, to facilitate shipments by agreeing to Sweden’s receiving compensating imports in so far as Sweden could arrange them. Norwegian Foreign Minister thanked me and said that he would be glad to supply any further information which I might require after studying the memorandum.

  1. Not printed; it reported that Trygve Lie, the Foreign Minister of the Norwegian Government in Exile, had discussed with Lord Selborne, the British Minister of Economic Warfare, a proposal for sending additional relief supplies to Norway; it also reported that the British War Cabinet had withdrawn its objection in principle to all relief supplies through the blockade of German-occupied territories (740.00112 EW/3–2145).
  2. Not printed; it reported on further efforts by the Norwegian Government in Exile to obtain permission for relief shipments from Sweden to Norway (857.48/3–2345).
  3. Dingle Foot, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary, British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  4. British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  5. Economic Warfare Division of the American Embassy in London.
  6. Not printed; it stated that approval of seed grain shipment to Norway had not yet been given by competent American authorities (740.00112 E.W./3–2745).
  7. Not printed.