760D.6111/2–2048: Telegram

The Ambassador in Sweden ( Matthews ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

223. I have just learned from an excellent source that the Finnish Foreign Minister sent for Coulet, French Minister Helsinki, February 18, for two hour talk. Enckell told Coulet that Savonenkov’s recent visits to President Paasikivi had been for the purpose of inviting him to visit Moscow. Paasikivi declined the invitation on the ground that it would considerably disturb Finnish public opinion and because of his age (78) and the state of his health. On February 12 Enckell lunched alone with Savonenkov, at which time latter broached subject of treaty of “friendship”. Enckell told him that Finnish opinion was not sufficiently prepared for such a treaty, that time would be required to educate Finnish public and that he saw no need for treaty. Savonenkov said on the contrary, he thought Finnish public was sufficiently educated now to accept such a treaty. Enckell continued that he considered situation to be of extreme gravity and that Finland was now faced with a choice of accepting a treaty which, in time of war, would put the Soviet army on the country’s western frontiers, or of refusing a treaty and being occupied by Soviets in time of peace. Article Four of treaty of peace, in any event, prevented Finnish neutrality in case of war.1 Enckell continued that he had told no one of his conversation, either in his own government or any other diplomat. My informant did not know why Enckell had selected Coulet as sole confidant, except that he had known him in Finland some years ago. Informant characterized the report bluntly as “Finnish SOS”.

Repeated Paris as 71, London as 81, Moscow as 22. I am not repeating to Helsinki to avoid compromising source.

Matthews
  1. For the text of the Treaty of Peace with Finland, see United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 48, pp. 203–303.