187. Letter From the Ambassador to Finland (Hickerson) to the Operations Coordinator in the Office of the Under Secretary of State (O’Connor)0

Dear Mr. O’Connor: I have just received copies of the July 9, 1958 OCB Report on Finland (NSC 5403),1 noted by the NSC on August 18, under cover of a letter from you. The report is being read by all Embassy officers with operational responsibility, including the Service Attachés and USIS officers.

While it is somewhat difficult to cite chapter and verse, I am disturbed by what seems to be a rather complacent tone to the report, a tone [Page 501] which I do not feel is justified by the existing situation in Finland. All of the principal Chancery officers share this reaction.

Perhaps the primary example is the statement in the summary evaluation that the July parliamentary elections left the political situation fundamentally unaltered. We are in fact quite disturbed by the results of the elections and feel that they may reflect a rather dangerous trend toward increased Communist party respectability and influence, a trend that may eventually lead to Communist participation in the Government. In addition, we are more than a little disturbed by the Moscow economic agreements and the already rather difficult economic situation, both of which threaten to increase Finnish dependence on the Soviet Union.

It has been noted in this as in previous progress reports that political developments which the Embassy thought had significance were omitted or played down in favor of operating problems in the economic field. I appreciate that this is the logical result of adherence to the letter of a policy statement which included only a few general political guide lines as against a greater number of more specific economic actions. Political decisions in Finland are definitely and closely related to economic and other activities. We feel that a somewhat more liberal definition of the contents of progress reports would avoid the risk of focusing on symptoms and overlooking causes, especially as we get farther and farther from the situation existing at the time the basic country policy paper was approved. In this connection I would like to call attention to our suggestions for the preparation of this report (D–660, May 12, 1958)2 and our numerous telegrams and despatches regarding the implications of the July election and the seriousness of the present economic situation.

I have no desire, of course, to suggest revision of the report. I would, however, like the Board’s attention called to this letter. I feel that it is important to make clear in Washington that in the Embassy’s opinion there has been a definite deterioration of the situation here in the past few months and that there is no basis for complacence.3

Yours sincerely,

John D. Hickerson
  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, Finland. Secret; Official–Informal. Copies were sent to Willoughby and Mayer.
  2. Document 180.
  3. Document 179.
  4. No reply to this letter has been found in Department of State files, but see Document 191.