860D.002/5–2348: Telegram

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


337. Last night Supply Minister Vilhula told Legation officer Cabinet session at which President dismissed Leino lasted twenty minutes. President indicated he had been waiting for Leino’s resignation since a. m. twentieth and specifically offered Leino final opportunity to resign at Cabinet meeting. As Leino did not resign the President summarily dismissed him. Only Communist Ministers Cabinet spoke, at session asking that there be further discussions before decision made.1 After Cabinet meeting Social Democrats, Agrarian Ministers conferred and agreed that if arrangement whereby Kilpi performs functions of both Education and Interior not satisfactory solution, alternative should include no additions to Cabinet but Interior functions should be divided between Democratic Union Minister (no objection to Communist) and Social Democratic Minister with former charge non-police functions and Social Democratic Minister preferably Hiltunen charge police. With Svento’s departure2 and Leino dismissal Democratic Union still holds 5 Cabinet posts. Kilpi now officially with Democratic Union having entered as candidate South Hame province. With Agrarians having 5 and Social Democrats 4 Ministers Democratic Union no right expect additional Ministers. Kilpi fulfills Communist [Page 783] Party demand that Democratic Union have Interior post but obvious Communists desire Communist in post. They are in difficult tactical position as their election campaign built upon disguising Communist Party within Democratic Union.

Supply Minister says twenty-fourth extent Communist wildcat strikes will be evident. If Communists continue purely political strikes affecting shipping and Finnish economy Communist election prospects will be further dimmed as happened in communal election which followed 1947 Communist wildcat strikes. Supply Minister was elated over events believing President’s firm attitude toward maintenance parliamentary practices and constitutional guarantees are rightists’ trump card.

Sent Department 337, repeated Moscow 47.

  1. On May 22, 1948, President Paasikivi dismissed the Communist Minister of the Interior, Leino, for having turned over to the Russians twenty people without formal extradition. Leino had ignored his constitutional obligation to resign after being censured by Parliament on May 20 by a vote of 81–61.
  2. Associate Foreign Minister Svento had been sent to Bern on April 27, 1948, as Finnish Minister.