In German

Press communiqué to the meetings of the Dutch-Scandinavian committee with the delegation from Finland on the 23rd-24th of May, 1917, 25th of May, 1917

   The Dutch-Scandinavian committee has received on Wednesday and Thursday 23rd and 24th of May, 1917 the Finnish delegation consisting of comrades Yrjö Sirola and Karl Wiik.

   These representatives of the Finnish party executive and the Finnish Social Democratic parliamentary group, carried their view about the way to organize the legal position of Finland at best. According to their opinion, this view is shared by the politically mature elements among the Finns. According to this argument, the mentioned question must be looked as a question of international law character and should find their treatment there where international problems, inter alia, are all discussed. Thus in the coming peace congress.

   This requirement is motivated by the defenceless situation in which Finland would be, if, in the future nationalistic or even imperialistic tendencies should get the upper hand in Russia. The gratitude which the Finnish nation owes to the revolutionary elements in Russia, as those through which also Finland has been freed from Tsardom and the reactionary elements in the Russian State Duma, cannot fully free the people of Finland from the duty to secure its own future on the most firm basis. The status of Finland must be built on a basis which guarantees Finland the full possibility of a free development, and the Finnish people cherishes the tender hope that the Russian democracy will recognise this demand and can enforce that on Russian side of the realisation of the Finnish demands will meet no obstacle.

   The autonomous status of Finland has allowed up to now, despite of all defects, a substantial cultural development of the country. Biggest of these shortcomings was that the decision on Finnish matters lays in Petrograd.

   Thereby it has happened that interests opposite those of the Finnish nation have influenced the decision of Finnish questions. Such a state of affairs has sometimes led to reckless neglect of the interests of the Finnish people, and must be felt definitively in regard of the self-consiousness of the Finnish people as a humiliation. The attempts of Finland to a larger right of self-determination are motivated by her whole historical development, which never similarly motivated Russia.

   The social order of Finland, her laws, her form of culture, language etc., are also so unlike to those of the Russian nation. Consequently the Finnish people strives for the conquest of the largest possible independency which can be realized and adequately protected.

   The bearers of the Russian revolution have written the freedom of the peoples on their flag. This fact has strengthened the conviction in the Finnish people that right now the wish of the Finnish people for complete independence should be realized, as the only reliable manner to carry the national demands of the Finnish people and which means avoiding the conflicts which could arise from a continual arrangement with Russia.

   The social democrats of Finland honour completely the principle assured by the international social democracy of the self-determination rights of all peoples and demand that also the Finnish people would be allowed to decide its status by itself.

   They appeal to their comrades in the other countries and hope that these which have pronounced so often their sympathies to the aspirations of the Finnish proletariat will give their very same full support also now.

   As regards the other political questions, the delegation, as it has not received a mandate in this respect, is limited to express their personal opinion, and they will later inform of the attitude of the party in writing or verbally. The social democratic party of Finland has, of course, declared itself in favour of a general conference.

Source: The Swedish Labour Movement Archive and Library. The 1917 Stockholm Peace Conference. Documents. Arbetarrörelsens arkiv och bibliotek, Holländsk-skandinaviska kommittén, box 1. hect., Document No.: P/19C. 3 p. Translation from German by Pauli Kruhse.

Events of 1917-1918 and later