740.0011 EW Peace/9–1246: Telegram

The Minister in Finland (Hamilton) to the Acting Secretary of State


674. On basis Finnish official statements and talks with several officials here, facts regarding Finnish presentation of its case at Paris Peace Conference appear as follows:

After arrival Paris Prime Minister Pekkala and Leino saw Molotov and showed or explained to him statement Finnish delegation proposed to make to conference. Leino had acquiesced original draft brought from Helsinki but had not been happy with it. Molotov expressed strong dissatisfaction saying borders were final as set forth in armistice and reduction of reparations would be very difficult. Thereafter, Finns modified their draft and majority Finnish delegation approved it though Pekkala and Leino not completely satisfied. Statement read by [Page 858] Enckell therefore did not represent Prime Minister as such.53 After Enckell’s presentation, Molotov made rejoinder definitely criticizing Finnish presentation. Then Pekkala, Leino and Enckell saw Vyshinsky who was very angry and took strong line telling Finns if they tried to stir up other countries against Russia they would see what would happen. He also said Finnish attitude would probably interfere with discussions on traffic rights on Saima Canal and through Porkkala area. Then Hertta Kuusinen returned to Finland from Moscow, apparently bringing fresh instructions. She publicly criticized position Finnish delegation at Paris, disclaiming Communist and Democratic Union and Diet support. Communists and Democratic Union had at first gone along with Finnish presentation. This change of position and criticism by Democratic Union of its own people, Prime Minister and Leino, put Communists in seemingly inconsistent position. All other Finnish political groups and papers strongly criticized Kuusinen and Communist attack of Finnish delegation. Due to confusion and unsettled situation here Prime Minister felt it necessary return to Helsinki. Other members of delegation also returned to present respective party (Social Democratic, Agrarian, Communist) explanations in person. Prime Minister has succeeded in calming internal political situation. Internally, Communists lost some support through apparent reversal of attitude toward delegation and through criticizing presentation of Finland’s own case. Broad circle in Finland showed deep antipathy to Communists which previously had been generally quiescent. But this subsided in sobering realization brought home by Pekkala and other members delegation of strong dissatisfaction shown by Soviet Government. Thus common front directed towards friendly relations with Soviet Union has been continued. Russians through strong talk to Finns at Paris, perhaps aided by local backwash stirred up through Kuusinen, have achieved objective of causing Finns to go along with provisions in peace treaty to which Soviet Union attaches special importance. In general, Finland’s experience at Paris to date has caused Finns to feel somewhat discouraged and has brought sober realization of its position vis-à-vis Soviet Union and as a defeated country, though public does not feel it has been told all facts.

To Dept as 674; repeated Paris as 44.

  1. For text of statement, see the Verbatim Record of the 19th Plenary Meeting, August 15, vol. iii, p. 236.