760d.61/225: Telegram

The Minister in Finland (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State
 
 
Helsinki, October 8, 1939—6 p.m.
[Received 7 p.m.]

222. My telegram No. 218, October 6. Minister of Foreign Affairs [Mr. Erkko] informed me late this afternoon that he had seen Soviet Minister today and that latter had expressed some disappointment that the former was not proceeding to Moscow in person. Erkko had said in reply that he could not do so without information as to the concrete proposals Soviet Government had in mind for discussion. Soviet Minister had indicated only that Soviet Government was interested in discussing its own security in the Baltic and its commercial relations with Finland. Finnish Foreign Minister had made it entirely clear that his Government was not prepared to enter into any discussion along the lines of the arrangements just made with Estonia and Latvia. This conversation had not produced any further indication of Soviet intentions but the Finnish Minister to Sweden would proceed to Moscow as planned tomorrow night. Minister for Foreign Affairs said announcement would be made tonight of proposed departure of special representative.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs said he proposed to make a démarche at Berlin for the sole purpose of eliciting the German Government's attitude towards the present situation of Finland vis-à-vis the Soviet Union and definitely not for the purpose of asking any aid whatsoever. His inquiries of the German Minister here as well as at Berlin thus far had been received with evidence of complete disinterest. But he desired to have formal confirmation of such disinterest since it would make the situation clearer. In any case Finland had consistently taken the position that it would maintain complete aloofness from the combinations of the great powers and that it intended to remain absolutely neutral.
The Minister was evidently, weighing in his mind the possible limits of concession to Russia because he raised the question whether Soviet Union would use force against Finland and also whether, and if so, in what conditions active support could be counted on from Sweden.
He considered the situation very serious and I confirm my impression of the Finnish Government's attitude outlined in my telegram No. 219 of yesterday.
Repeated to Moscow and Stockholm.

Schoenfeld


Source: Foreign relations of the United States. Diplomatic papers. 1939. Volume I. General. (CONCERN OF THE UNITED STATES OVER SOVIET DEMANDS ON FINLAND AND THE OUTBREAK OF THE WINTER WAR). Department of State 1956, publ. 6242. (University of Wisconsin Digital Collections)

Finland in Great Power politics | Next (Oct. 9, 1939).