The Charge in the United Kingdom (Johnson) to the Secretary of State [Extract]
London, January 4, 1940—8 p.m. [Received January 4—6:15 a.m.]
26. For the Secretary and the Under Secretary. I had a talk this afternoon with Lord Halifax. He referred to information which he said had been communicated to Department by Lord Lothian regarding the British and French approach to Sweden and Norway with respect to assistance to Finland. The Swedish Minister delivered the Swedish reply this morning and had indicated the willingness of his Government to give every facility to the despatch of necessary material through Sweden to the Finns from both Great Britain and France. The Swedish Government is not, however, prepared to allow the passage of foreign troops through Sweden to join up with the Finnish forces. The Swedish Minister also informed Lord Halifax that his Government was not replying to the Anglo-French offer of assistance to Sweden in case she got into trouble through facilitating Allied aid to Finland. The Swedish point of view is that they would rather not discuss at the present time any question of Allied assistance, and Lord Halifax is not critical of this attitude. Aid to Finland he said will proceed along the lines of the "non-intervention" policy during the Spanish Civil War. The British are going to send everything they can spare and have just consented to meet a Finnish request for the despatch of 20,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition. This will cut the British and French ratio but Lord Halifax says that they have decided it would be much better to send this ammunition where it is needed and can be used at once than simply to hold it in reserve in France where no battles are now taking place. The talk in France, reported freely in the press, of the possibility of sending 10,000 Alpine Chasseurs to fight with the Finnish Army, Lord Halifax thinks, is largely due to political motivation and pressure from the anti-Communist groups. There could be no question of its realization in any case at present in view of the expressed attitude of the Swedish Government. There are spectacular stories in today's press of direct German threats against Sweden if she cooperates in any way with the Allied Powers in bringing assistance to Finland. The Swedish Minister, however, told Lord Halifax this morning that he had no official confirmation of any pressure being brought to bear on Sweden either by Germany or by Russia.
There is no intention here of declaring war on Russia and Lord Halifax said he knew that was the view of the French Government also, however much anti-Communist elements might advocate it.
A blue book is to be published next week of the Anglo-French-Russian negotiations at Moscow giving the full story of the breakdown.
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Source: Foreign relations of the United States. Diplomatic papers. 1940. Volume I. General. (ACTIVITIES OF THE SOVIET UNION IN E A S T E R N EUROPE, AND SOVIET RELATIONS WITH THE BELLIGERENT POWERS). Department of State, Historical Division, Bureau of Public Affairs, 1959. (University of Wisconsin Digital Collections)