860D.00/4–2748: Telegram

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


272. The Minister of Defense last night told me he did not attend the usual daily Cab meeting called at 6 p. m. and which has come to be known as “the school hour”. There was to be further discussion of the government’s earlier decisions to invite a vote of confidence on the Firewood bill which as a constitutional measure will require five-sixths of the Diet majority for passage. The Minister said that his position was well known to his colleagues. He considers it a mistake for the government to invite the risk of an upset by no more than a group of 34 dissident votes either from the right or left Diet extremes. He hopes wise counsels may prevail with no governmental rocking of the boat during the next two months of the electoral campaign. If this policy is adopted he expects no extralegal action of any kind until after the July elections when an anticipated slight recession in the Communist voting strength may again precipitate an issue in the formation of a new government. He believes, however, that the Finnish Communist Party is sufficiently well disciplined not to attempt any diversionary tactics of internal orientation but will act upon signals received from Moscow which may be determined by the overall international picture, especially American-Soviet relationships and to the European situation as between countries in the eastern and western blocs.

He then expressed his own sense of relief that the enforced negotiations on the friendship pact, which he expects to be passed hot later [Page 780] than Thursday of this week, coincided with a rapid development in the general European situation, the passage and implementation of the ERP and the apparent determination of the Soviets to consider the Finnish question less as an element in the integration of perimeter states than a factor in the Scandinavian area. The implications, particularly in Norway and Denmark, of the Soviet absorption of Finland are immediately apparent. This, the Minister believes, was an important factor in affecting Molotov’s decision to withdraw the initial Soviet demand for a Finnish treaty identical in all respects with the Hungarian and Rumanian pacts and his acquiescence in basing negotiations on the Finnish counterproposals. The Minister said had the Russians been adamant in holding to their initial demands, he himself would have been forced to take a positive position of opposition even though it might have necessitated his withdrawal from the government.

While he does not like Article 2, he believes the Diet will safeguard the Finnish position by placing on record the absence of secret protocols and also recording its determination that any subsequent Finnish-Soviet understanding arising out of the pact may not be determined by the idea but will require Diet ratification.