740.5/1–1351: Telegram

The Chargé in Norway ( Snow ) to the Secretary of State 1


722. From MacArthur for Perkins. Following is résumé of General Eisenhower’s joint meeting January 122 with Prime Minister Eriksen, Foreign Minister Kraft and Defense Minister Petersen. Kraft acted as spokesman for Danes and extended warm welcome to Eisenhower. He then said he had several matters to bring up.

(1) Danish constitution requires Parliamentary action and King’s signature on decree necessary to give Denmark acceptance of Eisenhower as Supreme Commander. He said Foreign Affairs committee of Parliament has already approved Eisenhower and that very early parliamentary approval is assured following which King will sign decree.

(2) Medium term defense plan (MTDP).

Kraft reviewed problem Danes faced in building up Danish Force. At time of liberation Denmark had no organized military forces and no equipment. Progress had been slow since arrival first of British and then US equipment had been slow. Denmark Defense Committee working on a plan to satisfy provisions of MTDP. Among projects to increase effectiveness is one to increase period of military service in Denmark from 10 to 12 months.

(3) Contribution of Danish Forces to integrated force.

At present Danish Forces in Germany are under UK command and were scheduled to remain so until May 15. Danish Government will, however, inform UK it proposes to place these troops under Eisenhower command as soon as royal decree signed. It will do so on “assumption” that Danish Forces will be used to defend Denmark’s southern frontier.

(4) Internal security.

Kraft said Danes also planning internal defense by improving organization of “home guards” composed of men whose reliability has been “individually checked”. This force consists about 30,000 (mostly former resistance men) and its mission is to prevent sabotage, et cetera. Its members are lightly armed with rifles, some light automatic weapons and explosives which members keep in their homes.

(5) General Eisenhower explained purpose of his trip and strongly stated the need for everyone to get on with job. He pointed out that Europe is behind time. Each nation must find way to increase its efforts and that what US will be able to do depends in large measure [Page 419] on what Europeans themselves do. He outlined great US effort to increase US and European defense strength and said they must show by their acts that US aid is justified. In final analysis this project is matter of the heart and small country like Denmark can take lead as well as larger countries.

Kraft said he appreciated frankness of Eisenhower. He explained Danish difficulties in doing more but said they willing to make an additional effort. In this connection he agreed spirit and morale of great importance and said small countries which believe they stand alone cannot believe it worthwhile to make real effort. Danish Government is determined to defend its freedom and while admittedly behind in its preparation as a result of circumstances would try to move ahead.

General Eisenhower stressed importance of adequate training period for conscripts—mentioning 2 years as a desirable goal—in order have effective forces in being and build up well trained reserves. He pointed out that inadequate forces in being were in final analysis a poor investment which offered neither security nor a good return on investment. With this in mind Cabinet Ministers should obtain the judgment of their professional military people on adequacy of military effort.

(6) Kraft then said Danes attached greatest importance to defense as far to east as possible in Germany. This not possible without German participation. He hoped present talks with Germans would result in positive solution.

(7) Participants in foregoing meeting then joined Danish Military Staff for detailed exposition of Danish plans and future program. During course of this meeting General Eisenhower again stressed importance of having each country impress NATO partners with magnitude of own defense efforts. Also reiterated necessity for adequate length of military service. This meeting followed by luncheon during course of which ranking Danish military figures made occasion to tell us privately their strong belief that Eisenhower presentation would do much in obtaining greater effort on part of Danish Government. [MacArthur.]

  1. This telegram was repeated to Copenhagen. The Department of State was asked to pass this message to the Department of Defense.
  2. General Eisenhower visited Copenhagen on January 11–12 before departing for Oslo.