No. 346

Editorial Note

On July 10 and August 2, the Norwegian Government sent two notes to the Soviet Government explaining that it was moving the bodies of Soviet war dead from scattered areas in the three northern Norwegian provinces to a memorial cemetary on Tjotta Island in southern Norway. The Soviet Government objected to the transfer of the graves and denounced Norwegian policy in two notes dated August 22 and October 1. On October 15, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinsky handed the Norwegian Minister in Moscow a note accusing the Norwegian Government of taking “large-scale measures tending to implement the terms, hostile to the Soviet Union, of the Atlantic alliance” and claiming “the Norwegian Government has put the Islands of Spitzbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island) at the disposal of the supreme commander of the so-called North Atlantic ocean area.”

The Norwegian Government rejected Soviet charges and, in a note of October 30, said Norway had never established military fortifications in the Arctic Sea and would not allow any other state to do so either. On October 31, the Soviet Government demanded that the Norwegian Government stop the “unwarranted mass destruction of graves and cemeteries of Soviet warriors in Norway,” and on November 12 the Soviet Union sent another note accusing Norway of aggressive anti-Soviet acts in the Arctic area. Among other charges, it claimed: “the Soviet Government finds it necessary to declare [that] the fact that the Spitzbergen Archipelago and Bear Island have already been turned over to the Supreme Command under the so-called North Atlantic Ocean Area Authority.”

The exchanges of notes and statements cited above were publicized in the Norwegian and Soviet press. For English translations of the Soviet notes and summaries of the Norwegian notes as they were published in the Soviet press, see Current Digest of the Soviet [Page 761] Press, volume III, Numbers: 24, page 21; 37, page 26; 38, page 18; 40, page 25; 41, page 25; 42, page 25; 43, page 25; 44, page 19; 45, page 17; and 46, pages 9 and 29. English translations of the Norwegian and Soviet notes, together with comments on them by the Embassy in Oslo, are in telegrams and despatches in Department of State files. Memoranda of conversations between the Norwegian Ambassador in Washington and members of the Department of State, reports of the Norwegian Foreign Minister to the North Atlantic Council, and other documentation on the subject are in files 601.5711, 657.61, 711.56357, 740.5, 757.5, 780.5, and 857.552.