29 MARCH 1940, Page 2

The Choice for Sweden

The Finns reject the Russian statement that a Finnish defensive alliance with Norway and Sweden would be directed against the Soviet Union and so a breach of the peace terms ; the alliance proposed would be against any possible aggressor and not a particular country. The ques- tion is being examined by the Swedish Government with great caution, as is natural under conditions so critical for all the Scandinavian countries. Hr. Hansson, the Prime Minister, in a speech last Monday, emphasised the need for thorough inquiry, since the proposed alliance would involve close co-operation not only in the defence services but in the whole organisation of national economy ; and he insisted that whatever is done must bear the " seal of peace." But public opinion in Stockholm is alive to the fact that peace can only be preserved if both sides have good intentions. It is fully realised that the peace terms between Russia and Finland, dictated, it is alleged, by the Red Army leaders, constitute a direct threat to Sweden. Finland's powers of resistance have been greatly diminished, and what is the meaning of the projected railway from Murmansk across Finnish territory towards Sweden if it does not presage an attack on the Swedish iron ore area? Finland has ceased to be an effective buffer between Scandinavia and an Imperialistic Russia. Stockholm realises that Sweden has to make a choice between a defensive alliance and vassalage.