205. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Finland1

388. Joint State-Defense Message. Stockholm’s 1398, info Helsinki 78.2 Ref revives possibility that Finns might be interested in purchase Northrop F–5 or other US aircraft. Although F–5 not at level sophistication of Draken, it would for this reason reduce provocation problem and is less expensive. Existence F–5’s in Norway also promises simplification of support function. Unless Embassy or USAIRA perceive objection, and bearing in mind caveat final 3 sentences, part 1, AIRA’s C–31,3 request USAIRA’s initial exploration with country representatives and assessment of merit DOD team visit to Helsinki or suggested alternate means approaching Finns for purpose making sales proposal on F–5 or other suitable US aircraft. Credit arrangements are possible. In light Embassy Helsinki’s 520,4 Dept believes possibility purchase Drakens or F–5’s may be wishful thinking on part Finn military, but want to do everything possible keep US aircraft alternatives under Finnish consideration.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12–5 FIN–SWE. Secret. Drafted by Barr; cleared in the Department of Defense, RPM, and G/PM; and approved by Knox. Also sent to Stockholm.
  2. Telegram 1398 from Stockholm, May 6, reported on upcoming Swedish-Finnish talks regarding aircraft. (Ibid.)
  3. C–31, April 6, reported that Finland had decided to purchase the Draken aircraft with the U.S. Falcon missile system and that Finland intended to “take up problem of purchase on political level with U.S. authorities in near future.” The sentences under reference read: “Source asked if possible to keep problem on confidential basis and to keep both Hughes Acft Co and Northrup Acft Co from obtaining info on purchases. He stated Finns concerned that Hughes representatives in Geneva or Stockholm will contact Swedes prior to time Finns make political approach to obtain U.S. clearance for purchase. Specifically source asked if possible to have Hughes contacts channeled through AIRA until this matter settled.” (Ibid., DEF 12–5 FIN)
  4. Telegram 520 from Helsinki, May 2, reported that the Finns were making “exploratory” inquiries regarding the purchase of U.S. aircraft. (Ibid., DEF 12–5 FIN–SWE)