200. Telegram From the Embassy in Finland to the Department of State0

283. Re Deptel 2311 and Embtels 251,2 267,3 269.4 While I do not yet feel in position make final appraisal effect steps taken by US re government crisis, I am convinced we followed right course. Although we did not succeed in preventing fall Fagerholm government, we certainly have strengthened hands of those favoring minimum concessions USSR and this should be of importance in negotiations incident to formation new government and perhaps in future. Also, as one key official emphasized to me, our assurances may be of great help to new government in future handling Soviet problem. It is my hope that despite success combined Soviet-Agrarian campaign, Finns generally recognize that strict line must be drawn beyond which there must be no yielding to Soviets. This may even apply to President. Important factor affecting extent our actual helpfulness is fact we have maintained utmost secrecy about aid offer and have talked with only few carefully selected Finns. Newsweek leak5 upset this somewhat, but effect minimized because no confirmatory evidence of rumors here. It was partly because of this consideration that I sent my telegram 2816 urging no discussion Finnish problem NATO Council. Believe our previous assurances sufficiently comprehensive serve purpose of convincing Finns they have alternative to submitting continued pressure. Additional offers at this time e.g., from NATO countries would not measurably add to this and run risk repelling Finns.

New government will probably be formed this week. Following this Soviet pressures may well be removed. If Soviets do not immediately change course, in my estimate several weeks will be required for Finns to conclude their gestures have not satisfied Moscow and that they must again face up to choice of additional concessions or turning to [Page 522] West. If Soviet pressures do continue it may be desirable even without Finnish initiative for us to reaffirm discreetly our offer. I anticipate that this would not be judicious for some time, however, and I would consult with Department before taking action. For the time being therefore I feel that our proper course is to sit tight. This of course does not apply to $5 million finnmark loan or normal PL–480 negotiations, with both of which we are committed to proceed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 760E.00/12–958. Secret
  2. Telegram 231 to Helsinki, November 26, authorized Hickerson to offer the Finns P.L. 480 assistance totaling $6,520,000. (Ibid., 411.60E41/11–1258)
  3. Document 197.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 197.
  5. Document 198.
  6. In its December 15 issue, Newsweek published a summary of Finnish developments from the July parliamentary elections through the fall of the Fagerholm government. The article, which was critical of Soviet economic and political measures designed to undermine the Finnish Government, implied that Finnish leaders feared the loan would bring still harsher Soviet pressure.
  7. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–958)