857.9243/11–2445: Telegram

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

700. Retel 678, November 20. Foreign Minister has now handed me an aide-mémoire dated November 22 on Jan Mayen Island question. It states inquiry as to installation submitted October 26, 1943 (reDeptel 6, [October] 21, 8 p.m., 194367) to which Norwegian Government have [gave?] consent under certain conditions (retel 15, November 1, 8 p.m., 194367). These conditions were accepted by us (reDeptel 2, January 6, 10 p.m., 194467); in April 1944 same conditions greeted [granted] Radio Sonde (reDeptel 10, April 3, 5 p.m., 1944; retel 7, April 6, 2 p.m., 194468). Aide-mémoire refers to arrangements for taking over buildings and installations at end of hostilities. (Redes 14, January 31, 194569; reDepgam A–11, March [14], 1945; redes 63, March 29, 194570). Then says in accordance with exchange of notes this service should have been discontinued rather a long time ago. Special situation and needs which made this service necessary no longer exist and Norwegian authorities are prepared to maintain as in earlier years full ordinary radio service on island. Norwegian Government, therefore, suggests negotiations concerning taking [Page 105] over buildings and installations be taken up immediately and American personnel on island be withdrawn at early date. Full text by airgram.71

Foreign Office aware of exchange of messages concerning transfer (reurtel 33, May 19, 8 p.m.;72 mytel 89, May 22, 2 p.m.;73 urtel 79, July 2, 2 p.m.;74 mytel 208, July 5, 6 p.m.74 all 1945).

In handing me this aide-mémoire Foreign Minister again stressed that Soviets through Ambassador here had reacted very quickly to press reports of new personnel being sent to Jan Mayen Island. Undoubtedly aide-mémoire is primarily a gesture to placate Moscow but the Norwegians are genuinely concerned lest US requests for facilities on Greenland, Iceland and Jan Mayen will be followed by increased Russian pressure for corresponding or greater facilities on Svalbard75 and Bornholm.76

Copy of aide-mémoire has been handed British and Russian Ambassadors here.

Sent to Department as 700; repeated to London as 102 and to Moscow as 12.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Neither printed.
  5. Not printed; see footnote 57, p. 100.
  6. Not printed; it transmitted to the Department a copy of a communication from the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, dated March 27, 1945, expressing its deep appreciation for the obliging attitude taken by the United States authorities in connection with U.S. intention to turn over to the Norwegian Government, upon the cessation of hostilities, such buildings as might be desired on Jan Mayen Island (857.9243/3–2945).
  7. Airgram A–141, November 27, 1945, from Oslo, not printed.
  8. Not printed; it stated that the Navy Department requested that it be informed of the appropriate Norwegian officials with whom the transfer of buildings and equipment on Jan Mayen could be discussed (857.9243/5–1845).
  9. Not printed; it supplied the information requested in telegram 33, May 19, to Oslo (857.9243/5–2245).
  10. Not printed.
  11. Not printed.
  12. Spitsbergen.
  13. For a brief description of the circumstances of the Soviet occupation of the Danish island of Bornholm, see Forrest C. Pogue, The Supreme Command, in the official Army history United States Army in World War II: The European Theater of Operations (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1954), p. 509.