98. Intelligence Information Cable1

TDCS DB 315/03743–70




17–20 July 1970


  • Concession by Soviet Union to Finnish Demands in Exchange for Extension of Fenno-Soviet Friendship Pact During Kekkonen Official Visit to Moscow.


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In return for agreement to extend the 1948 Fenno-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance for another twenty years beyond its scheduled expiration date of 1975, Finnish President Urho Kekkonen extracted two important concessions from the Soviet [Page 240]Union during his official visit to the USSR from 17–20 July 1970: (1) Acceptance of Finnish emphasis on the word “neutrality” to describe Finnish foreign policy and its obligations under the pact, and (2) Acceptance of Finlandʼs desire to seek its own best avenues for foreign trade. For its own part, Finland indicated its willingness to purchase natural gas and a second atomic power plant from the Soviet Union.
The unwritten agreement on Finnish foreign trade, which is interpreted by Kekkonen and other Finnish officials as tacit Soviet consent to Finlandʼs intention to make its own arrangements with the European Economic Community (EEC), was the subject of prolonged and difficulty negotiations. When Kekkonen left Moscow for a side trip to Kiev on 18 July, he gave Finnish Foreign Office Political Department Chief Dr. Risto Hyvarinen strict orders forbidding him from backing down on this point. As of 1220 hours on 20 July, it actually appeared that the Finns might not sign the joint communiqué because the Soviets had not yet acceded to the Finnish demand. However, they ultimately did so. ([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: It is apparent that Hyvarinen, rather than Foreign Minister Vaino Leskinen, was the key Finnish negotiator on the foreign trade question.) During his speech at a luncheon at the Finnish Embassy on 20 July, Kekkonen announced that Finland would seek its own arrangements for foreign trade. Present on this occasion among others were Premier Aleksey Kosygin, President Nikolay Podgorny, Foreign Trade Minister Nikolay Patolichev, Defense Minister Andrey Grechko, and Politburo members Kirill Mazurov, Aleksandr Shelepin, Petr Shelest, and Arvid Pelshe.
([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: By way of background to the Finnish position during this visit, Finnish officials decided in February 1970, when Soviet Communist Party Central Committee First Secretary Leonid Brezhnev first raised with Kekkonen the question of extending the Fenno-Soviet Pact, that the Soviets were extraordinarily anxious to renew the Pact, apparently because of the USSRʼs pending negotiations with West Germany in August 1970. Remembering Finnish President Paasikiviʼs diplomatic success in 1955 when renewal of the Pact led to Soviet return of the Porkkala Naval Base, leading Finnish economic specialists advised Kekkonen that he should try to exploit the apparent Soviet concern by extracting as many concessions as possible from the Soviets in return for Finnish agreement to extend the Pact beyond 1975. Freedom of maneuver to negotiate with EEC was deemed to be the most important goal, along with the neutrality question. While the timing is not entirely clear, Finnish negotiations with EEC would probably begin only when the British negotiations have been completed. Six months to one year would be an educated guess.)
Kekkonen stated privately that he considers this trip his greatest victory in the entire history of his dealings with the Soviets.
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  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 673, Country Files—Europe, Finland, Vol. I. Secret; Priority; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem; No Dissem Abroad; Background Use Only. Prepared in the CIA and sent to agencies in the Intelligence Community.