760D.6111/3–1348: Telegram

The Minister in Finland (Warren) to the Secretary of State

top secret

120. Late last night Minister of Defense1 sought me out at men’s dinner given by Finn American Society to Professor Franklin Scott [Page 772] of Northwestern and showed me translation into English of statement he intends make re Soviet negotiations at this p. m.’s Cabinet meeting called to discuss instructions to Finn delegates. Statement of some four paragraphs is forthright declaration of necessity Finland in interest of world peace should not be identified with military block but must resist at all costs efforts incorporate it in pact pattern which inevitably results in war. For that reason, he advocates Finland resist any Soviet demands of military nature and if pact necessary it should be along lines of Anglo-Soviet treaty.2 Defense Minister said only he, his translator, and I had seen statement but he intends inform Cabinet this p. m. He will insist on its incorporation in record and reserves right its future use.

As background his position he told me when President first invited a Cabinet group discuss Soviet proposal for negotiation he inquired if discussion should be limited to terms of proposal or whether it might include an estimate of present and potential position of Finland as small but not unimportant element in developing world picture. President told him go ahead, whereupon he expressed view at that time that Finn political independence must be safeguarded all costs as worthwhile element in forces striving for peace. He then added that President’s own position is equivocal and source of embarrassment because it limits his freedom of action. He said President embarrassed by statement he wrote February 1947 to organ Finn Soviet Society and now irritated by Molotov’s accurate recollection of his statement last November (see mytel 77, March 2). He said President fears that Soviets, when delegation proceeds Moscow, will use Paasikivi’s statement as point departure rather than basis for understanding. Notwithstanding difficulties in these matters, Defense Minister expressed his own strong sense of obligation to insist that his point of view on Finland’s position in developing world picture must have widest possible use.

Last night chief political section Foreign Office told Legation officer he prepared make available copy Finn’s reply to Stalin and other pertinent information on negotiations by suggesting a pretext be made telephonically for an appointment by Legation because he has no confidence either in Foreign Office or Legation telephone security. He said that no Finn may be involved but expressed fears that Soviets have facilities’ for telephone monitoring. This confirms to a degree my impression that some prominent Finnish officials including Fagerholm, speaker Diet, getting nervous public contact with Legation officials. Social Affairs Minister Heljas has intimated desire communicate with [Page 773] Legation through intermediary, although he said his availability for direct contact established as soon as he becomes acting foreign minister when Enckell goes Moscow. This may also explain Peltonen’s repudiation of article over his name published by New York Mirror, March 4. Peltonen’s situation caused by violation confidence on INS correspondent Nordness part who left today for Stockholm.3

  1. Yrjö Kallinen.
  2. Presumably a reference to the Anglo-Soviet Pact of Mutual Assistance, signed July 12, 1941, at Moscow. For the text of this pact see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cciv, p. 277.
  3. The article by Ned Nordness, International News Service correspondent covering the negotiations of the Soviet-Finnish Pact, reported that Onni Peltonen, ead of the Social Democratic Group in the Finnish Diet, had conceded the Communist’ ability to gain control of Finland only through direct action from the Soviet Union. Peltonen denied having made such statements.