860D.00/6–1148: Telegram

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


382. At this stage before elections right and Social Democratic politicians still confident losses for extreme left and gains for Social Democrats. Except for Social Democratic Defense Minister Kallinen, all right-wing and Social Democrat Cabinet ministers and Diet members who in contact with Legation have predicted Social Democrats will be largest party new Diet. This despite apparent lack strength Social Democratic leadership. Prediction based mainly on four points: 1) Social Democratic gains December 1947 communal elections. 2) Proven strength of Social Democrats over period years as workers party. 3) Difficult to change political convictions stubborn Finns. Heavy Democratic Union support 1945 elections was abnormal as Finland’s economy and people’s morale then at lowest point. 4) Recent Soviet acts of friendship such as reparations alleviations1 are not considered reason voting domestic Communist. Rather it has furnished confident campaign talk about Soviets and Communists being forced to desperate measures in Finland.

Last night at Prime Minister’s reception for Diplomatic Corps Agrarian Education Minister Heljas told Legation officer when he asks his audiences whether Finland Wants Czechoslovak democracy road or conventional Finnish democracy road he receives tremendous applause. Social Democratic Finance Minister Hiltunen at same occasion said in all his speeches he explains new Czechoslovak election [Page 784] system which permits blank ballots. Social Democratic Minister Commerce Takki said he is also busy explaining enforced democracy Social Democratic political rallies. Agrarian Vice Chairman Kekkonen, who has reputation compromising attitude toward Communists, in conversations last night was surprisingly sharp in criticizing Communists and speaking right wing election victory. All above as well as Social Democratic Communications Minister Harma the “Labor” Minister did not express great concern about threatened Communist strikes for wages. Minister Harma said he speaking radio tonight giving government’s opinion about threatened strikes which will naturally include Social Democratic opinion.

  1. On June 3, 1948, the Soviet Minister in Finland, Savonenkov, told Prime Minister Pekkala that the Soviet Union was reducing the Finnish reparations balance by half starting July 1, 1948.