740.00112 EW/4–1745

The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Eden) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Secretary of State: There was one matter which I did not have an opportunity of raising with you yesterday, and though I should have preferred to have spoken to you about it, I think it well to send you this letter, as I shall be out of Washington for the next couple of days.

I understand from my colleague, Mr. Dingle Foot, that some difficulty has arisen in regard to the work of the Joint Standing Commission [Page 53] in Stockholm relating to the shipment of relief supplies to Norway through the blockade.

I think you know that the Norwegian Government has recently pressed strongly that we should agree to allow them to obtain from Sweden anything which the Swedes can provide without limitation, and to permit certain imports from overseas of Swedish ships earmarked for Norway. In either case the Joint Standing Commission would retain complete authority to veto further consignments if it appeared that the Germans were misappropriating any of the foodstuffs or if there were any other reason to be dissatisfied with the distribution.

I now understand that the United States Government are not willing to give any general discretion in this matter to the Joint Standing Commission in Stockholm and were disposed to refuse further requests for shipments from overseas.

I believe that conditions in occupied Norway, though less serious than in the Netherlands, have greatly deteriorated and my feeling is that it would be appropriate at this period of the war to enable relief to reach the Norwegian population as freely as possible and that for this purpose it would be right to give our representatives in Stockholm a reasonable measure of discretion.

I should be very grateful therefore if you would look into the matter, and let me know what you think.

Yours sincerely

Anthony Eden