857.014/7–545: Telegram

The Ambassador in Norway ( Osborne ) to the Secretary of State

204. In strict confidence Foreign Minister Lie informed me that during his November Moscow visit Molotov,25 in very strong terms, had put forward an outright claim to Bear Island and a demand Spitsbergen be placed under Russo-Norwegian condominium in order to defend vital Russian communication lines. He said US and UK were taking similar steps in Pacific, Mediterranean and elsewhere.

Molotov wished Norway to denounce 1920 treaty26 regarding the territories, and pressed for immediate answer. Lie resisted and later made one unacceptable counter-proposal and subsequently another for regional agreement for Russo-Norwegian defense of the islands [Page 92] under United Nations Security Council. Lie said Norway felt compelled to give in that much. No reply yet received. Molotov at San Francisco27 told Lie matter could wait until Govt returned to Oslo. Lie says Eden28 was informed last winter and Crown Prince29 on last trip discussed matter with President Roosevelt who informed Secretary Stettinius. Lie has now informed Storting30 in secret session and Brit Ambassador31 [but?] nothing will be given out here now and he is most anxious matter be kept secret.

Osborne
  1. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.
  2. For text of the treaty between the United States and other powers relating to Spitsbergen, signed at Paris February 9, 1920, see Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. i, p. 78.
  3. Foreign Commissar Molotov attended the opening sessions of the United Nations Conference at San Francisco in April 1945. For documentation regarding this Conference, held April 25 to June 26, 1945, see vol. i, pp. 1 ff.
  4. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  5. Crown Prince Olav of Norway visited Washington during January 1945.
  6. The Norwegian Parliament.
  7. Sir Laurence Collier.