In a speech in Ludvika, Sweden, the Swedish Prime Minister Hansson on 7 July, 1940, said among other things:
The primary task is still to keep our country outside the war while preserving our freedom and independence. With the support of popular trust and spirit of sacrifice in matters of national preparedness, which was so strongly expressed in subscription to the huge defense loan, the government has up to now been able to find solutions in this challenge. However, there is no final solution to this as long as unrest in the world has not been calmed down. The government tries to bring, within the bounds of what is possible, some relief to those burdens that military readiness service incurs. But efficient watch duty must, however, be maintained. It is not of less importance to sustain the spirit of national life zest and determination, the sources which give our people the vigour to meet the hardships. Dispositions that breed mistrust at the course of events, of which traces can be noticed and what powers of darkness try to exploit, must be pushed back. Our nation's life and our future will never go but in hand with our own will and power.
In the endeavours of keeping our country outside the calamities of war, neutrality and military preparedness are the instruments. When we make decisions about what we do, taking care of Sweden's own interests always comes first. When we select the course, the general situation and our special relationship to Nordic sister nations cannot be ignored. This has been manifested in those conflicts into which Finland and Norway have been drawn. As to Finland, I already a while ago gave a full account of our policy. In Norway, restrictions on transit traffic were applied during the war and wishes for supplies, or permitting transit traffic of weapons and ammunition to either of the warring parties were turned down.
The situation has now changed. The most important thing from our point of view is that the armed conflict has now ended. But also the situation in Europe has undergone major changes. It is clear that we here, in our country, cannot ignore the course of events that has brought seven European countries under a full or partial occupation, and that France has concluded an armistice.
As it already has been briefly informed in the press, the government has, in the present situation, considered it to be fitting to allow a transit traffic of all sorts of goods within the framework of the current regulations concerning granting of licences. Furthermore, the government consented to the request that German military, primarily soldiers, are permitted to travel to the homeland from Norway via our country, and possibly to return from there. As informed, the transit takes place in specifically assigned carriages without weapons in such forms that any difficulty or inconvenience will be excluded. As far as we are concerned I rely on the self-constraint that our people has shown in these difficult times. It is quite clear that this transit traffic is not any decisive significance as to the situation in Norway or to the turns of the major war.
After the hostilities ended in Norway the necessity to restore, in applicable extent, normal relations in commerce and communication has naturally come out. It is urgent to our sister nation to be able to communicate again with the outer world in all the ways, which in the present times of blockades are available. We have now been successful in arriving at provisional contracts, which make resuming of trade possible.
Outside of what I have now said I don't see it advisable to comment this more. I don't think that it needs to say that government has now as before come to its decisions after careful deliberation and keeping the good of Sweden in sight. I am assured that we will find understanding and approval among the majority of our people. We calmly submit ourselves to the disproval we receive from the same direction from where we earlier got advices whose stupidity is now clear for all.
|Hansson, Per Albin (Swedish Prime Minister, 1936-1946):
"Swedish viewpoints and actions. Wartime speeches."
(Svensk hållning och handling. Uttalanden under krigsåren.)
Publishing House Tiden, 1945
Source: Svensk utrikespolitik under andra världskriget. Internationell politik 24, skrifter utgivna av Utrikespolitiska institutet, Kooperativa förbundets bokförlag, Stockholm, 1946. (Swedish Foreign Policy under the Second World War, Stockholm, 1946). Translation: Pauli Kruhse
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