German Minister (Blücher) in Helsinki to the State Secretary (Weizsäcker) in the German Foreign Ministry
personal and confidential
Kilo, December 18, 1939.
Dear Baron Weizsäcker: In my letter of December 7 I took the liberty of pointing out that the Russian attack on Finland will entail severe damage to our war economy. In the meantime, unfortunately, all this has come to pass. The Russians have blockaded the western coast, they have sunk a German ship, and since then all sea connections between Germany and Finland have been severed. To take one example, 600 tons of copper and one million eggs destined for Germany cannot be shipped.
I must continue to play the role of Cassandra, which is not at all to my liking.
You know that in spite of three weeks of war the Russians have not achieved any decisive victories and that in equipment and manner of fighting the Red Army exhibits notable shortcomings. In all probability the war will last for a long time and numerous complications may arise. But if we suppose that within the foreseeable future the Russians will have occupied the Finnish territory, after it has been ravaged by fire and deserted by its inhabitants, how will the situation appear then?
It is not Sweden which possesses the key position in the Baltic Sea, but Finland, including the Åland Islands. We would have the Russians in Libau [Liepaja], Windau [Ventspils], Ösel [Saaremaa], Dagö [Hiiumaa], and also in Åland and Torneå [Tornio]. This was the case even in the time of the Tsars, to be sure, but today, with the effectiveness of modern weapons, this gives Russia quite a different position. A great power holding these positions
dominates the central and northern parts of the Baltic Sea, and also Sweden, whose capital and whose mines are exposed to the action of modern weapons based at Åland and Torneå. The entire North would then come under Russia's influence.
No counteraction is possible against this, especially not from Swedish territory.
I know that I am not saying anything new, but this letter is meant to show that these thoughts have come up anew and in definite form precisely under the impact of the first weeks of the war, which I am experiencing here. Therefore I am also sending you a report at the same time, which deals with the same subject.
In this private letter, however, I want to go beyond the report and add something which I cannot take up in the report, since I have received the strictest instructions from you that there is no chance
The little less than three weeks of war must have brought intelligent Russians to the realization that the sacrifices which they have made are out of all proportion to the results achieved ; that it is more than doubtful whether and when they can gain possession of Finland; and that even if they do have possession this will mean aside from a gain from the standpoint of power politics only new and great difficulties.
On the other hand, the Finns have seen that the Russians are in earnest, and they are well aware of the dangerous nature of the situation. It seems to me that there is no doubt that the Finnish Government would now be willing to give in on the main point of contention, Hangö.
If the role of honest broker was ever appropriate to a political situation, it is here, and no country but Germany is in a position to play this role.
The Russian adventure in Finland, if it is pursued further, can have only bad consequences for Germany. Therefore we for our part have the greatest interest in tactfully guiding the two opponents
toward a settlement.
That is all, and I expect that you will anathematize the heretic.
If I might ask a favor, I should appreciate it if Herr von Grundherr were informed of the contents of this letter.
With Heil Hitler, a kiss to the Baroness's hand, and the best wishes for the new year, I remain,
Source: Documents on German foreign policy 1918-1945. Series D. Volume VIII. No. 471. Washington, Department of State, publication 5436, 1954.