860d.00/380: Telegram

The Consul at Helsingfors (Haynes) to the Acting Secretary of State

196. Not quite all votes counted but the results will be approximately as indicated in my number 1942 as follows: Swedish 116452, Coalition 145338, Progressive 128162, Socialist 394645, Agrarian 169075, scattering 5669, total 959341. The foregoing gives Diet membership Swedish 22, Coalition 28, Progressive 26, Agrarian 42, Socialist 82. Despite the size of the Socialist vote it still fails to show all the strength of that element in Finland because,

Their political machinery was disorganized.
The civil war deprived thousands of suffrage.
Very few Socialist newspapers allowed.
Confiscation of propaganda.
Election meetings prevented and threats against distributors of labor literature.
Hundreds of the laboring poor afraid to go to the polls.

On April 1 will assemble the new Diet where the Socialists will demand,

Disarmament of White Guards. These are apart from the regular army and consist of armed bodies organized to preserve order and to hold Reds in check.
Full amnesty and restored suffrage to all Reds.
Eight hour working day.
A less stringent military law.

The first of the foregoing is pregnant with danger because if the Agrarians should support the Socialists in making it illegal for one class to be armed against another, it is absolutely certain that the Bourgeois will refuse to disarm the White Guards and thus, due to the eternally uncompromising character of the Finn strengthened by the striving of the old principle of power against the new principle [Page 213] of freedom, there would be presented the world age [age-old?] problem of preserving peace in a country where the minority portion of the population is illegally armed against a helpless majority, for the refusal of the White Guards to disarm will be based upon the reason that only those who have the guns are safe and to avoid all risks no Reds will be encouraged to carry them. It all depends on the attitude which the Agrarian Party may take. There are now rumors that this party may vote with the Bourgeois particularly on this first point and also that of Mannerheim retention3 but it is safe to say that no Socialist will consent to enter the new cabinet unless the White Guards are disbanded. The second point may be compromised by allowing amnesty to all Reds except the leaders. The third point will be gained by the Socialists and on the others [fourth] perhaps a compromise.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Gen. Gustaf Mannerheim had been elected Regent of Finland Dec. 12, 1918.