The Minister in Sweden (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 13—2:36 a.m.]
972. Legation’s 817, March 2, 5  p.m. General Kessler has informally discussed with General Nordenskiöld, head of Swedish Air Force and General Kellgren of the Office of the Swedish Defense Ministry the question of the release of our interned bombers and in his opinion we can now expect the full support of the Swedish military authorities. In each case the Swedish officer mentioned that we had shown our interest in Swedish security by releasing 50 Mustangs to [Page 760]them and that they might make return gesture by releasing the interned aircraft. General Kessler made it clear that it is not our desire to capitalize on the recent release of Mustangs but that we would consider the release of our interned aircraft as direct evidence of Swedish friendship.
General Kellgren suggested that a very plausible argument for release of the aircraft would be that upon release these aircraft would be used in the liberation of Norway and Denmark. Both officers expressed the opinion that approval of our request would have been impossible 3 years ago but that conditions have changed materially since then and that from a Swedish military viewpoint it should now be feasible subject to political considerations.
General Nordenskiöld called on me personally Saturday afternoon86 to say that he had just come from a conference at the Foreign Office with Acting Secretary General Assarsson and Mr. Grafström and that he had supported our request from the Swedish Air Force point of view strongly and with all the persuasiveness he could.
- March 10.↩