The Minister in Finland (Warren) to the Secretary of State
60. Foreign Minister Enckell sent for British Minister1 this morning 9:30 to tell him in strictest secrecy nature of crisis now confronting Finland. Half hour later Enckell sent his brother to French Minister in equal secrecy to acquaint him with same facts. I heard the essentials broadcast by BBC at 1 p. m. GMT. The two stories as compared by my colleagues in conference with me this afternoon reveal that Monday, February 23, Paasikivi received letter from Stalin saying Russia desires friendship and military alliance pact with Finland along lines of Hungarian-Rumanian pacts and suggested either Paasikivi and Enckell go immediately Moscow to negotiate or, if Paasikivi preferred, Stalin would send delegation Helsinki to negotiate. Since Monday Paasikivi drafting reply along lines reported in my despatch 86, February 20, as given by Fagerholm. He wished to stress time not ripe for such pact; relations between USSR and Finland progressing satisfactorily under peace treaty; and his health did not permit him go; while at same time presence of Soviet delegation in Helsinki might provoke disturbances. Enckell disapproves content proposed draft on ground it is too late to put Soviets off. He told British Minister unless Finns go through with pact, Soviets undoubtedly will provoke incident through interpretation of peace treaty and alleged Finnish non-compliance. British Minister replied to Enckell he thought such reasoning unsound because Soviet would give no guarantees they might be likely to keep either peace treaty or any other matters once fact of a treaty or alliance established. Cabinet met all day yesterday and again this morning when Stalin letter brought to its attention. Meeting with President scheduled for 5 this afternoon to be attended Diet Committee Foreign Affairs Chairman, plus heads [Page 765] Diet, party groups.2 This fits into statement made me last night by Social Democrat Diet leader re program his party based apparently on prior leak to him of crisis. Proposal that Paasikivi will submit to this larger group is that they decide whether he and Enckell go Moscow try talk Soviets out of demand immediate pact on grounds country not ready and request Soviets delay demand until after elections which they prepared promise take place early in May. British Minister inferred from Foreign Minister this morning that Enckell slipping in determination rapidly in past two weeks and has no fight left. He also inferred Enckell very concerned about US, French, British reactions vis-à-vis Finland once pact signed. British, French Ministers agreed Paasikivi only determined person in Finnish Government who could effectively stand up against Soviet Union.
Sent Department as 60; repeated Moscow as 10.