857.014/10–2445: Telegram

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

576. ReDept 396, October 1949 and 397, October 19.50 Foreign Minister Lie yesterday gave me somewhat different version of incident reported [Page 100] in Moscow’s 3575, October 17. He said Molotov suggested to Andvord that it was time to discuss questions pending between countries without specifically mentioning Spitsbergen and Bear Island. (Note: British Ambassador received similar version.) As there are a number of minor questions at issue, including power station at Boris-Gleb (reEmb 329, August 1351), fishing rights in Pasvik River and setting up boundary markers along new frontier, Lie still hopes that Russians may not press Svalbard52 claims but plainly fears our request for bases in Iceland (reDept circular October 1653) may precipitate renewed Russian pressure. He said Bevin54 expressed opinion in August that Russia had dropped Svalbard demands.

Report of Secretary of State’s reference to matter as given in Embassy’s 554, October 1855 was played down in Norwegian press at Lie’s request and has not been commented on editorially. He seems to hope that silence on question both here and in United States may help to avoid or at least postpone Norway’s having to face the issue. I learn from reliable source that Lie, after he had informed Storting, took press into his confidence (re despatch 301, October 2) only as a result of strong pressure from Hambro56 in Foreign Affairs Committee.

Repeated to Moscow as 9.

  1. Not printed; it reported that at his press conference of October 18, the Secretary of State had been asked a question concerning the presentation of Soviet claims to bases in Spitsbergen during the First Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, held in London from September 11 to October 2, 1945. The Secretary had replied that no such demand had been presented, that the agenda of the London conference did not contain any such proposal, and that no proposal of this nature was ever made (857.014/8–2745).
  2. Not printed (857.014/10–1745); it repeated the contents of telegram 3575, October 17, from Moscow, supra.
  3. Not printed; it reported that the Soviet Government had informed the Norwegian Government that the Soviet Union planned to construct immediately a dam and hydro-electric station at Boris-Gleb on the Pasvik River on Soviet territory adjacent to the Norwegian frontier (857.6463/8–1345).
  4. Spitsbergen.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from July 27, 1945.
  7. Not printed; it summarized the reports in the Oslo newspapers of the Secretary of State’s statement at his October 18 press conference regarding alleged Soviet demands for bases in Spitsbergen made at the London Conference of Foreign Ministers (811.34541/10–1845).
  8. Carl J. Hambro, member of the Storting.