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

284. Following based on uncleared memcon.2 FYI. Noforn. During call on Secretary today Finnish Ambassador Munkki conveyed on “instructions highest authority” assurance Kekkonen Feb 24 speech3 did not indicate any change Finnish foreign policy. Munkki added following points:

Shortness of time precluded Kekkonen elaborating on remarks. Concentrated form thus allows some people read things into speech which not there.
Kekkonen did not intend go beyond Swedish and Norwegian position on MLF. All Scandinavians anxious about any innovation that increases tension.
Kekkonen had to note that, without regard intrinsic aspects MLF, Soviets attacked plan on two occasions (presumably Mikoyan speeches in Helsinki and Moscow) strongly indicating establishment MLF would increase tensions.
Absolutely no connection between Kekkonen speech and FCP–CPSU meeting Moscow. FCP has no influence over GOF policy.

Secretary replied we know beyond doubt that MLF cannot lead to nuclear proliferation or placement nuclear weapons under German national control. If this is genuine Soviet fear it will prove groundless and we will help explain this to USSR when details MLF worked out. If real Soviet objection is to MLF as move binding NATO powers more closely together, we unable to be of help.

Secretary continued that MLF, like other NATO measures and unlike Warsaw Pact military measures, has been subject free and open discussion. Referred to stationing Soviet missiles in Warsaw Pact countries as possible Soviet version MLF which accomplished in secrecy and without open discussion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 FIN. Confidential. Drafted by Barr, approved in BNA, and cleared by Creel. Repeated to Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Moscow, and Paris for USRO.
  2. A copy of the memorandum of conversation is ibid., POL 7 US/RUSK.
  3. In his speech, Kekkonen stated that the proposed NATO Multilateral Force (MLF) would endanger peace, and expressed Finnish concern about the plan.