740.0011 E.W./4–1345: Telegram

The Ambassador to the Norwegian Government in Exile (Osborne) to the Secretary of State

Noweg 53. See Stockholm’s 1342 to the Department April 10, 8 p.m. I believe that the “broader light” in which the possibility of Swedish intervention may seem to be viewed here arises from the fact that on neither occasion when Lie mentioned to me the assurances he had received from the Swedes did he say that a Norwegian request for assistance from Sweden must be coupled with or backed by an Allied request to Sweden. In fact in emphasizing the statement reported in the third paragraph of my Noweg 43 April 6, 8 p.m., which was repeated to Stockholm as 297, he specifically said that the Allies alone could not cause Sweden to intervene in Norway, but that Sweden would comply with a Norwegian request. Nor did Lie seem to think that Sweden would comply with a Norwegian request only after a German collapse, but would refuse it prior to such a collapse.

However, far from being inclined to ask for Swedish intervention now, I believe the Norwegian Government would be most reluctant [Page 68] to request it, and that it will not make such a request (unless pressed by the Allies) until it has become reasonably certain that the Germans will fight in Norway after the end of organized resistance in Germany. The Norwegians here believe that an attack by Sweden now would be resisted by the Germans and would result in widespread destruction which they still hope can be avoided. Also I doubt whether the Norwegian Government will ever ask for Swedish intervention in order to strengthen its own standing in Norway, because it is inclined to believe that Swedish intervention might very probably have precisely the opposite effect.

This is all aside from the question, primarily a military one, whether our own interests make desirable Swedish intervention now in order to bring about a speedier end of U-boat warfare even though such pursuit of our interests might be at the expense of Norway.

To sum up the Norwegians’ point of view, I believe it is as follows:

They do not want Swedish intervention at present, although they are more ready to accept it than they were 2 months ago;
They still hope for a German surrender in Norway following Allied occupation of most or all of Germany; but they are far less hopeful on this point than they were;
Until they are certain that there will be no such surrender in Norway, they will not ask for Swedish intervention on their own initiative, but they would ask for it if pressed by the Allies as a necessary military measure;
When and if it becomes clear that there will be no surrender in Norway, the Norwegians would still prefer liberation by Allied forces exclusively, but if that should be impossible they would almost certainly be prepared to ask for Swedish aid;
They would also ask for armed Swedish help, without reference to the views of the Allies, if a further German retreat in the north is accompanied by forced evacuation of populations and pursuance of the scorched earth policy (see my Noweg 43 April 6, 8 p.m.).

In this connection I would be interested in learning whether the feeler which Johnson80 refers to as having been put out to the Swedes a month or 6 weeks ago was supplementary to the démarche described in my telegram Noweg 14 February 1, 7 p.m. repeated to Stockholm as 149 February 1. This démarche was in the form of an aide-mémoire dated February 1 which was handed to the Swedish Minister in London, Baron Beck-Friis.

Repeated to Stockholm as 309, sent Department as Noweg 53.

  1. Herschel V. Johnson, American Minister in Sweden.