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

189. Called this morning on Hallama, Acting Secretary General of Foreign Office, who is in effect acting Foreign Minister in absence Karjalainen. (I had tried without success see Hallama yesterday.) Hallama gave me the following information:

Gromyko delivered his note to the Finnish Ambassador in Moscow on Monday, saying it could be released to press Tuesday or Wednesday.1 Hallama asked that release be postponed until Kekkonen’s return, Finnish Ambassador Moscow failed reach Gromyko. Hallama heard quite by chance through Stockholm that Soviets were releasing note Monday night. He had to release information here regarding note at a time when Finnish Foreign Office had only hastily made translation of note.

Hallama has not had time think out implications note but believes it motivated by something more than mere desire accomplishment Soviet aims in Finland. He thinks it part of over-all efforts Soviet Union now making. He notes that except for some criticism of elements in Finland that are not friendly to Soviet Union (this criticism has been made often [Page 408]before and Finns take its inclusion in note lightly) note contains no strictures against Finland or its government and concentrates its main attacks on Germany, its NATO Allies with special attention to Scandinavia. Hallama does not think that Soviets now mean to push for an occupation of Finland or even for bases in Finland. He thinks that if something drastic with regard Finland had been intended it would have been done suddenly when note was presented and points out that note sets no deadline.

Hallama thinks Finland should go slowly and play for time while showing enough activity to give Soviets feeling that matter not being taken lightly. He advised President Kekkonen by telephone not to return immediately but to carry on planned program.2 In Hallama’s opinion speeding up of return of Foreign Minister, who will arrive Helsinki five this afternoon, is enough evidence for Soviets feel Finland taking matter seriously. Hallama added that he met yesterday with Cabinet to present translation of text not then available and that matter is being reported today to Parliamentary committees.

Hallama is convinced that Finland cannot refuse invitation enter into conversations with Soviets or it must do so within framework of “policy of friendliness”. He added that when 1948 Treaty was concluded President Passikivi had said that Article Two would present difficulties of interpretation that would cause problems if consultation were ever demanded. Hallama believes however that accepting invitation consult does not constitute automatic admission contentions of Soviet note. Finns will insist that their territory is not menaced and that Soviet Union is not menaced through Finnish territory. They cannot however deny that war tension exists elsewhere. Hallama will advise President not to go with Finnish delegation to Moscow but to send Foreign Minister and not to include any military men in delegation. Hallama believes that President should at least ini-tially in no way enter directly into negotiations.

Finland has been in consultation with other Nordic States and has asked them in their reactions to the Soviet contentions, which it hoped would be prompt and to the point, not to say anything with regard to Finland until Finnish Government had itself made public statement. Hallama expressed gratification with cooperation received this matter. He made particular mention of excellent statement by Swedish Government.

Finland realizes that it will have to handle its problem with Soviet Union alone and can hope for sympathy but cannot count on material assistance from outside.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 660E.61/11–161. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Also sent to Moscow.
  2. The text of the Soviet note was forwarded to the Department of State in telegram 182 from Helsinki, October 31. (Ibid., 660E.61/10–3161) For text of the U.S. statement on this note, see Department of State Bulletin, November 20, 1961, p. 866.
  3. Kekkonen was in Los Angeles, the final stop on his visit to the United States.