740.0011 EW/4–2045

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Grew)

The Norwegian Ambassador called on me this afternoon at his request and said that when the Nazis are finally defeated in Germany [Page 78] the Norwegian Government, including the “home front” in Norway, are convinced that the Germans in Norway will undertake a systematic destruction of everything in Norway, including buildings, bridges, supplies, crops, etc. The Norwegians feel very strongly that if Sweden will promptly mobilize its army and move it to the Norwegian frontier the Germans will be deterred from carrying out such destruction, as the Swedes would warn them that in such an event they would be driven into the sea. The Norwegian Government has asked the Swedish Government to take this step but the Swedish Government has refused and the Ambassador understands that the position of the Swedish Government was supported by the American, British and Soviet representatives. The Ambassador expressed the hope that we would alter our position in this respect and would recommend to the Swedish Government that its army be promptly mobilized and moved to the Norwegian frontier.

I asked the Ambassador if he knew the grounds on which the Swedish Government had declined to act favorably on the Norwegian request. As the Ambassador did not reply, I suggested that it might be because the Swedes believed that mobilization of the Swedish Army would in itself cause the Germans in Norway promptly to undertake a scorched-earth policy and that thus their mobilization might have an effect precisely contrary to that desired. The Ambassador admitted that this was the case. I said that this was, of course, a military matter and could probably only be settled by military authorities, either the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The Ambassador replied that he thought the political implications more important than military considerations. I said that I took due note of his representations and would look into the matter.

Joseph C. Grew