600.001/3–2250: Telegram

The Ambassador in Sweden ( Matthews ) to the Secretary of State

confidential

381. Deptel 129, March 1.1 As may have been noted from Embassy telegrams, Stockholm “peace congress”2 was publicized in favorable light only by few Communist stooges and party press and the silent treatment was given it by all responsible press, organs regardless of party during its sessions, What little publicity has been given by non-Communist [Page 278] leaders and organs has been sharply critical and designed to expose fraudulent character of the congress as peace instrument and its complete subservience to Moscow interests.

From available evidence I would conclude that total impact of Swedish public opinion has been very small and that the efforts of the non-Communists in attacking the congress specifically and exposing the danger of Communist machinations generally have as far as Swedes are concerned more than outweighed the effects of the congress itself. This result may be attributed to a combination of the following:

1.
Background materials supplied the Embassy have been very helpful in “educating” friendly editors and others who have made good use of facts not readily available to them elsewhere. Press editorials have relied heavily on these materials.
2.
The non-Communist press and radio have followed general policy suggested by Swedish Foreign Office of silence on news reporting of congress’ activities (against which silence Communist NY Dag indignantly protested) while giving favorable reporting attention to critical statements by individuals or resolutions and meetings of opponents. In addition, editorial pages reserved for occasional sharp attacks on sincerity and purposes of congress leadership.3
3.
Several groups formulated and publicized protests against the congress. These included long list prominent Swedes signing statement drafted by Riksdag member Ture Nerman; the Baltic refugees in Stockholm who held protest meeting; both Social Democrat and Liberal Youth organizations who issued protest declarations and lastly large protest meeting jointly sponsored and held in Stockholm theatre March 19.
4.
During congress sessions both liberal Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest newspaper, and semi-official Social Democrat Morgon Tidningen featured on front pages long articles devoted to exposure of Communist menace in Sweden and emphasizing Moscow subservience of party. Communist NY Dag bitterly noted this “synchronized campaign”.

Above summary, of course, takes account only of impact of congress on Swedish public. We realize naturally that congress had far broader and more serious purposes than to impress Swedes.

Sent Department 381; repeated Paris 83, London 54, Rome 6; pouched Moscow, Oslo, Copenhagen.

Matthews
  1. Not printed; it stated that background materials on the Partisans-of-Peace movement were being sent to the Embassy, and it requested as complete report-age as possible on the forthcoming meetings in Stockholm (600.001/2–1750).
  2. See the editorial note, supra.
  3. Telegram 298, March 7, from Stockholm, not printed, reported that the Swedish Government was considerably embarrassed over the holding of the “peace congress” in Stockholm. Visa waiver agreements prevented the imposition of restrictions on the stay of delegates from many countries. The Swedish Foreign Ministry hoped that the non-Communist press in Sweden would give the conference very minor publicity (600.001/3–750).