861.24557H/2–1947: Telegram

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


84. Reference Embassy’s 47 and 52, January 28 and 29.1 Foreign Minister Lange called me to Foreign Office today and handed me copy of resolution adopted by Storting secret meeting February 15 re Svalbard. Verbatim text resolution being forwarded following numbered telegram.2 Lange informed me he had forwarded copy of resolution with personal letter to Molotov because of personal nature of recent discussions with Molotov in New York. He informed Molotov that copies of resolution would be handed Chiefs of Mission of signatory nations now and about week later to Norwegian press. Lange indicated government and Storting made offer to continue nonmilitary discussions largely as friendly gesture to mitigate Norwegian refusal to negotiate bilaterally on military aspects.

Lange added that only Norway and Russia have been concerned with active economic development of Spitsbergen during recent years and therefore perfectly reasonable for Norway and Russia to discuss bilaterally economic aspects of treaty. I asked Lange whether Norway felt satisfied with general provisions of treaty 1920. He answered that while Norway is satisfied with the demilitarization provision, nevertheless Norway would not object to and might even favor certain changes in treaty. He stated for example that Norway has felt that it assumed under the treaty all the obligations of sovereignty without acquiring corresponding benefits.

[Page 1017]

Sent Department as 84; repeated Moscow as 10; London as 9; pouched to Stockholm.

  1. Former telegram not printed.
  2. Not printed. Ambassador Bay informed the Department in telegram 103 of March 4, 1947, 5 p. m., not printed, that all newspapers had published on that day a Foreign Office statement that this resolution by the Storting had been approved by a vote of 101 to 11. The minority of 11 had supported a Communist proposal in favor of joint Norwegian-Soviet defense measures (861.24557H/3–447).