Memorandum of Conversation, by the
Secretary of State1
- Subject: Swedish Prime Minister’s call2
- His Excellency Tage Erlander, Prime Minister of Sweden
- The Honorable Erik Boheman, Ambassador of Sweden to the U.S.
- The Secretary
- Mr. George Perkins, EUR
- Mr. A. G. Ronhovde, BNA
The Prime Minister, accompanied by Ambassador Boheman, paid a courtesy call at 11:00 a.m. He expressed his gratitude for the assistance the Department had given him on his visit and said the trip had been very valuable, more so than he had thought a short trip could be.
After the exchange of courtesies the Ambassador asked me whether I thought the prospects for a truce in Korea now looked any brighter. In reply I outlined the three major problems remaining to be settled and explained why we thought each was important. I told him that we also understood some of the difficulties of the Communist negotiators in view of the ideological and other limitations under which they were operating.
I then asked the Prime Minister how he viewed the present European situation. He responded that in his view the most important recent development was the progress being made on the Schuman Plan. He explained this view on the basis that he thought it a [Page 1761] prime essential for the peace of Europe that Franco-German relations be firmly established so that the French could gain confidence that never again would they be attacked by Germany. He saw the Schuman Plan as a step which would make possible solid political and military cooperation between the two countries. He then remarked that in his view one of the dangers of the present situation is the tendency toward extreme nationalism among the Social Democrats in Germany—and also in the U.K. He thought the German Social Democratic leaders were keenly aware of the charges made against them in Germany after the last war that they had stabbed the Government in the back. The Prime Minister feared that this time they might assume an exaggerated nationalist position.
I expressed agreement with the Prime Minister’s emphasis on the importance of establishing firm Franco-German relations and explained to him our policy which is exactly along this line. I said I interpreted the recent Soviet notes regarding Germany as an attempt to use the present as the most propitious time to forestall these developments including a settlement with Germany. He had in the earlier part of our conversation mentioned that the Austrians were showing great fortitude in their difficult situation. I agreed.
After thanking me again the Prime Minister took his leave at 11:30.
- Drafted by Ronhovde.↩
- Prime Minister Erlander was in the United States on an informal visit Apr. 3–16. Before arriving in Washington on Apr. 12, he visited New York; Chicago; Rock-ford, Illinois; Minneapolis; Ashland, Wisconsin; and Detroit. Immediately after meeting with Acheson on Apr. 14, he attended a luncheon hosted by President Truman. No record of any discussions which may have taken place on this occasion has been found in Department of State files. Erlander met with Deputy Under Secretary of State Matthews, formerly U.S. Ambassador in Sweden, on Apr. 15. A memorandum of that conversation, covering substantially the same subjects as those discussed with Acheson, is in file 758.13/4–1552.↩