740.0011 EW/4–1945: Telegram
The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador to the Norwegian Government in Exile (Osborne), at London
Noweg 22. The following telegram was sent to Stockholm as Department’s 782, April 28, 8 p.m.
“With reference to the question of the desirability of the entry of Sweden into the war, the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force,8 are of the opinion that Norway can only be entered in strength through Sweden and that if operations prove necessary to clear up the Norwegian situation they should be completed before winter conditions set in. From the military point of view the Combined Chiefs of Staff consider that the advantages of opening up a line of communication to Sweden and drawing that country into the war would be as follows:
- With Sweden in the war, her bases at our disposal, and her troops ready to cooperate with us, a direct and opposed entry into Norway could be avoided and considerable economy in Allied troops and resources would be made possible. The liberation of Norway would thus be accelerated and the remaining operational bases for the U-boats would be removed.
- Some two million tons of Swedish and Norwegian shipping, now lying idle in Swedish waters, would be free.
The moment for the entry of Sweden into the war however will require most careful judgment. At this stage an injudicious approach might result in frightening the Swedes into a flat refusal based on the belief that the Allied military demands from her will be far greater than the Combined Chiefs of Staff anticipate will in fact be the case. In the opinion of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, Sweden is not strong enough to achieve any useful results on her own, consequently they would not wish for an immediate declaration of war by Sweden nor the opening of hostilities.
On instruction of the Combined Chiefs, General Eisenhower is preparing a plan to deal with the Germans in Norway and has now reached a point where it is vital to him to discuss the matter with the Swedish General Staff since he has so little knowledge of the Swedish forces that he cannot decide on the strength of the United States and British forces which may be required or which it might be desirable to introduce through Sweden. You are therefore requested to approach the appropriate Swedish authorities in this matter at your earliest opportunity. In your approach you should (a) reassure the Swedish Government that the British and American Governments do not ask nor expect the Swedish Government to undertake any warlike operations by themselves, now or at any time; (b) press the Swedish Government to agree at once to staff conversations taking place between the Swedish General Staff and Supreme Headquarters, [Page 83] Allied Expeditionary Force, with the object of drawing up a plan for possible operations to deal with the Germans in Norway.
In the opinion of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, active Russian cooperation in the campaign to clear Norway will not be essential from the military point of view. You should concert with your British colleague.”
The foregoing is for your own background information.
Please associate yourself with your British colleague9 and inform the Acting Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs that at the instance of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the American and British Ministers at Stockholm have approached the Swedish Foreign Minister with a view to arranging staff conversations between representatives of the Swedish general staff and SHAEF with the object of formulating a plan for possible operations by Allied and Swedish forces against the Germans in Norway. You may add that a message has just been received from Mr. Johnson stating that the Swedish Government has agreed to the early opening of such conversations. You should make it clear to Mr. Wold that your remarks to him are ior the strictly confidential information of his own Government.