Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson)
I was called to the Secretary’s office at 11:30 this morning. The Secretary said that in a conversation between President Truman, Mr. Eden and himself, Mr. Eden had stated that the British Government believes there is a good chance that the ten German divisions in Norway will continue resistance after the collapse of Germany. In those circumstances Mr. Eden stated it might be necessary for the allied governments to organize an expeditionary force to Norway unless some other means can be found for dealing with these German divisions. The British Government therefore feels that the United States and the United Kingdom Governments should give consideration to making an approach to the Swedish Government to try to get the Swedish Government to use its military forces to bring about the surrender of the German forces in Norway.
The Secretary said that the President and he had told Mr. Eden that this matter was one in which there were military and political considerations and that we would be glad to go into this matter at once with the British authorities. He instructed me to get in touch with the British Embassy and Mr. Eden’s principal private secretary97 and to tell them that I had been instructed to tell them that we were ready to talk to them any time they desired.
I called Mr. Roger Makins98 on the telephone at 2:30 p.m. and inquired whether he was familiar with the topics of conversation between Mr. Eden on the one hand and President Truman and Secretary of State on the other. He replied that he was. I then said that the Secretary had asked me to get in touch with the Embassy and Mr. Eden’s principal private secretary and to say that I had been requested to talk to them as soon as possible about the matter involving “a northern country.” Mr. Makins said that he understood the reference. I said that Mr. Hugh Cumming, Mr. William Trimble99 and I were ready to talk at any time. Mr. Makins said that the Embassy had received a brief telegram from London on the subject which stated that another telegram was being sent in the course of the day. He therefore said that they were not in a position to talk today but would be tomorrow morning. I told him that we were ready to talk at any time. We made an appointment for Mr. Makins and whomever he wishes to bring with him to come to my office at 10:30 tomorrow morning, April 17th.[Page 75]
Mr. Makins said that the British military officers in Washington were already at work on the subject. I told him that that was fine since it seems to us to be principally a military matter.