740.00112 E.W./1–545: Telegram

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

65. Department’s 10, January 3, 2 p.m., 49 to London. Present situation is due to an understandable misunderstanding and not to any deliberate attempt on the part of the Swedes to mislead us. This misunderstanding arises from the use of the word “Germany” in the proposal that was made to the Swedes (Department’s 2347, November 21, 8 p.m., 9804 to London,27 2352, November 22, 6 p.m., 9830 to London28). The 1943 war trade agreement by implication defines Germany as meaning Germany proper including Bohemia and Moravia (Legation’s 28, January 3, 5 p.m., 11 to London) since article [Page 739] 21 (1) of the Swedish declaration specifically sets forth the words “Germany and associated countries and occupied territories” to be used with reference to German-controlled Europe. Further, at the time when the Swedish Government gave the Saturnus undertaking (Legation’s 4799, November 22, 7 p.m., 1540 to London29), there was, in fact, no Swedish trade with satellite Axis countries and German-controlled territories excepting Norway and Denmark. As to the latter, Sweden has always made reservations. Thus the Swedes under the 1943 war trade agreement reserved the right to deal with these countries on a different basis than with other countries should the circumstances warrant. Anglo-American memorandum of September 20 [23?], 194330 noting general reservation as to Sweden’s right of freedom of action to protect joint Scandinavian interests set forth in paragraph 3 of Swedish note of September 1, 194331). Consistent with this policy Mr. Sohlman, in advising the British Minister32 and me last July that the Swedish Government would not make any new trade commitment with Axis Europe without first informing the London JSC, made exception in the cases of Norway and Denmark pointing out that trade with those countries would continue on a barter basis (Legation’s 2718, July 21, 7 p.m., 728 to London33). Also in stopping Swedish shipping to “German” ports exception was made of shipping to Danish ports which continues with what is understood by Swedes to be Allied approval. (Legation’s 3163, August 18, 5 p.m., 911 to London, and related correspondence particularly Legation’s 3997, October 2, 7 p.m., 1191 to London; 3998, October 2, 8 p.m., 1192 to London; and London’s 8203, September 30, 7 p.m., 515 to Stockholm34). Mr. Boheman, on December 14, 14 days before the arrival of the Saturnus at the [apparent omission], similarly advised Messrs. Foot and Stone of the Swedish plan to continue barter trade with Norway and Denmark (London’s 11032, December 12, 7 p.m., 826 to Stockholm and 11088 December 14, 9 p.m., 837 to Stockholm35). The Swedes understood that this was accepted by Foot and Stone and that passing final agreement as to exact mechanism to be employed by us to review each case they could continue their shipments pursuant to the 1944 barter deals.

The instructions of the Swedish Foreign Office of December 29 to the Swedish Legation at London (Department’s 12, January 3, midnight, 68 to London36 were to the effect that the Swedish Government [Page 740] provisionally approves the draft agreement under the conditions presented by Foot and Stone (London’s 11399, December 22, 8 p.m., 868 to Stockholm37 it being understood (a) that putting the agreement into force would not prejudice the right of any party to propose modifications during the negotiations prior to formal signature, (b) that the provisional approval would not prejudice the question of final approval, (c) that the provisional approval signified that the provisions of the 193938 and 1943 war trade agreements with later modifications thereof would continue in force as from January 1, and (d) that the Swedish Government would stop exports to “Germany” pursuant to its Saturnus promise.

Relying either on the technical arguments or on the realistic factors of the situation, the Swedes believe they are in position to establish that they did not mislead us. I am convinced that they had no intention of doing so.

Concerning the course of action which may be suggested at this time it is noted that the only goods which may come in question for export during the interim period prior to the conclusion of the London negotiations are those not yet exported under the terms of the Swedish-Norwegian and Swedish-Danish barter transactions (Legation’s 3041, August 10, 9 p.m., 869 to London, and 3651, September 14, 1 p.m., 1066 to London39) entered into for the last half of 1944. These balances though their exact extent is unknown due to the time lag in Swedish export statistics are said to be small. (London’s 11178, December 16, 8 p.m., 849 to Stockholm40 and 11088 December 14, 9 p.m., 837 to Stockholm41). The Swedes understand that the approval in principle of the Swedish-Norwegian and Swedish-Danish barter trade permits them to fulfill the 1944 barter deals and to continue the trade pending determination of the applicable controls (Department’s 2535, December 16, midnight, 10495 to London,42 London’s 11196, December 18, noon, 850 to Stockholm,40 London’s 40, January 2, 8 p.m., 3 to Stockholm;40 and Department’s 13, January 3, midnight to Stockholm,40 number to London unknown).

Accordingly the attitude towards publicity (Department’s 24, January 4, 11 p.m., not repeated to London) and the proposed removal of certain goods from the Falsterbohus (Department’s 23, January 4, 10 p.m., number to London unknown) would seem to be directed at stopping [Page 741] the export of carryovers from the 1944 barter deals since further exports beyond these are understood by the Swedes to have been agreed to in principle leaving only questions of details of nature and controls still to be negotiated.

I shall inform the Swedish Government pursuant to the Department’s 13, January 3, midnight, number to London unknown, and consistent with London’s 8, January 4, 7 p.m. to Stockholm, number to the Department unknown,43 that our policy will be in general not to agree to any new barter exports to Norway and Denmark save those for humanitarian purposes. However, I shall appreciate receiving further instructions whether the threats of publicity and removal of goods from the Falsterbohus apply to carryovers from 1944 or on the other hand are designed to produce agreement from the Swedes as to the extent and nature of JSC supervision and the effective date thereof with reference to any 1945 barter deals between Sweden and Norway and Sweden and Denmark.

The Department of course fully appreciates that having Falsterbohus taken into an Allied control port (Department’s 23, January 4, 10 p.m. number to London unknown) and having cargo removed therefrom would automatically invalidate the vessel’s German safe conduct and results in ATC’s44 loss of the hundred octane fuel it requires for American military purposes in Sweden.

My 23, January 5, 6 p.m., repeats this to London.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, p. 668.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, p. 669.
  4. See paragraph quoted in telegram 6379, September 23, 1943, from London, ibid., 1943, vol ii, p. 804.
  5. See telegram 5771, September 1, 1943, 8 p.m., from London, ibid., p. 801.
  6. Sir Victor A. L. Mallet.
  7. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, p. 585.
  8. None printed.
  9. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, pp. 670 and 673, respectively.
  10. Not printed.
  11. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, p. 681.
  12. The Anglo-Swedish War Trade Agreement of 1939 was signed on December 7, 1939; the substance is printed in W. N. Medlicott, The Economic Blockade, vol. i, in the British civil series History of the Second World War (London, His Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1952), pp. 150–152.
  13. Neither printed.
  14. Not printed.
  15. Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iv, p. 673.
  16. Ibid., p. 677.
  17. Not printed.
  18. Not printed.
  19. Not printed.
  20. Telegram 117, January 4, 1945, 7 p.m., from London, not printed.
  21. Air Transport Command.