861.24557H/1–1047: Telegram

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

14. Foreign Office has issued following statement published in afternoon press concerning alleged Soviet approach to Norwegian Government regarding military bases in Svalbard (Spitsbergen):

“In autumn 1944 Government of Soviet Union approached Norwegian Government which was in London on question of revision of Spitzbergen treaty. Soviet Union has particular interests at Spitzbergen and treaty came into existence without participation of Soviet Government. In fall 1944 and spring 1945, subject was taken up for preliminary discussion between two governments. During negotiations both parties realized that an alteration of Spitzbergen treaty could not take place without approval of signatory powers (except signatory powers who fought with Germans against Allies) and it was also agreed that final solution could not be reached until Norwegian Government returned to Norway and Storting again was functioning. Committee of Foreign and Constitutional Affairs and Storting have been informed regarding negotiations which have taken place. With consent of Soviet Government principal Allied nations, US and Great Britain, and later France, also have been informed.”