860D.00/7–948: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Donovan) to the Secretary of State


1282. Finnish parliamentary election results, in which Communists and their Democratic Union allies have lost considerable ground in continuation trend set by last December’s municipal voting, must be source of considerable annoyance to Soviets.1 Real reaction undoubtedly revealed by July 7 Komsomolskaya Pravda (mytel 1274 July 82), despite fact that Soviet press has generally contented itself with short factual reports of results (mytel 1251 July 63) embodying little or no comment or criticism directed at reactionary forces involved.

Pre-election Soviet benevolence in reducing reparations obligations coupled with generally gentle treatment Finland by Soviet press ever since signing of friendship treaty three months ago presumably aimed partly at influencing election results in favor Democratic Union forces. At same time, such treatment obviously contrasts with fact that while Soviets presumably regard Finland as lying clearly within chain of immediate satellite states which Kremlin trying hard to consolidate, this country is still apparently far from becoming a “peoples democracy”. This was dramatically shown by May crisis over dismissal Interior Minister Leino and now again by parliamentary election results.

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Immediate further Soviet reaction will no doubt depend considerably on how newly-elected Parliament constitutes next Finnish Government, in particular, whether non-Communist forces seek to eliminate some of Cabinet posts now held by Communist bloc, as would normally be justified by latter’s reduced parliamentary support.

In any case Finland will presumably continue as problem child which Kremlin intends to deal with whenever and as soon as suitable opportunity arises. Hertta Kuusinen’s4 alleged Democratic Union meeting statement of last March that “Czechoslovakia’s road is road for us” undoubtedly represents the goal. Recent and continuing Soviet mildness, even in face of latest election results, are probably due Moscow’s considerations larger political objectives, including above all fear of pushing Finland’s key neighbor Sweden into western camp.

Sent Department 1282, repeated Helsinki 41, Stockholm 41.

  1. In the July 1–2, 1948 elections the Democratic Union had lost eleven seats, reducing their number of seats from 49 to 38 out of a total of 200 seats in the Finnish Diet.
  2. Not printed; it reported that the hoped-for defeat of the “reactionary camp” had not been achieved, and it made violent charges against the “traitorous and schismatic reactionaries” in the Social Democratic party. (860D.00/7–848)
  3. Not printed.
  4. Hertta Kuusinen, leader of the Democratic Union group in the Diet and the wife of the Minister of the Interior, Leino, was also the daughter of Otto V. Kuusinen, President of the Karelian-Soviet Republic.