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Materials in the National Archives Relating to the Scandinavian Countries {1}
(Volume XIII: Page 163)

The information contained in the following pages about records relating to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland is not intended to constitute a complete description of the records in the National Archives relating to these countries. It is only introductory and exploratory. Detailed lists of materials on specific subjects can be prepared or information can be furnished from the records in response to specific requests addressed to the director of reference service, the National Archives. Some of the records in the National Archives are confidential in character, and special authorization may be necessary for their use.

Archival materials are not always susceptible of separation, either physically or by listing, into groups according to geographical or political areas. They are usually arranged in the manner that the agency which created them found most convenient and useful in performing its functions. Copies of instructions issued to American consuls, for example, including those in Scandinavian countries, are bound in volumes in chronological order. There are some two hundred volumes of these instructions for the period from 1789 to 1906. Other state department records, such as consular trade reports, records of international conferences, and diplomatic and consular records relating directly to other countries contain data relating to Scandinavia.

Often when federal agencies have undertaken to collect information on conditions in Europe, general surveys have been made and material on several countries assembled in the same report or data file. Information on Scandinavian countries, for example, is in the following: a study on the "Protection of Consumers against the Abuse of Economic Power by Cartels and Similar Industrial Agreements," issued by the research and planning division of the National Recovery Administration; a series of "reports and data from the state department concerning railroad operations, earnings, etc., in other countries," collected by the director general of the railroads, 1917-18; a file of data on "Methods of Decasualizing Dock Labor in Foreign Ports," in the files of the War Labor Policies Board; a report on "Cooperative Enterprise in Europe" by Jacob Baker and others, prepared in 1937, in the files of the Works Progress Administration; and two studies on the pulp and paper industry of the world, prepared in 1919, in the records of the forest service.

The files of the quartermaster general's office contain records scattered under a number of subject headings, relating to various European countries. Income tax returns of nonresident aliens for 1930 and estate tax returns for the years 1916-25, among which are returns of citizens of some of the Scandinavian countries, are in the records of the bureau of internal revenue.

Maps of continental Europe in the National Archives include some that show the Scandinavian countries and localities therein. Some of these represent topographical surveys. Some were prepared and used by the Food Administration and the American Relief Administration, 1918-20. Others accompanied consular inspection reports of fairly recent date.

All the consular and diplomatic records of the department of state for the period prior to August 16, 1906, including those relating to the Scandinavian countries, have been transferred to the National Archives. These records include dispatches from American consular and diplomatic representatives in foreign countries, copies of the instructions issued to such representatives by the department, notes addressed to the department by foreign consular and diplomatic representatives in the United States, and copies of the notes addressed to such representatives by the department. In addition to the above, the state department records include large quantities of miscellaneous materials relating to private claims, arbitrations, the work of special commissions, boundary disputes, etc., and general correspondence of the department with persons in the United States and abroad. Diplomatic dispatches from Norway and Sweden are available for the period 1812-1906, and from Denmark, 1811-1906. Consular reports are available from the following posts: Bergen, 1821-1906; Christiania, 1869-1906; Copenhagen, 1792-1906; Elsinore, 1792-1874; Helsingfors, 1851-1906; Gothenburg, 1800-1906; Porsgrund, 1861-69; Stavanger, 1905-06; Stockholm, 1810-1906. The post records of the American consulate at Viipuri, Finland, 1900-22, have also been deposited in the National Archives. These records contain material not available in the departmental files.

The diplomatic records, of course, deal with subjects involved in international relations, but they contain some information on the interests of private individuals, and on commercial and general economic relations. The consular records of the earlier years deal principally with the routine functions of the officers for which fees were collected. For the later years, and to some extent for the earlier period, they contain also data regarding economic conditions in surrounding areas and international trade and communications.

The materials relating to Scandinavia in the records of the bureau of corporations, predecessor of the federal trade commission, include descriptions of insurance laws of Denmark and corporation and trading laws of Norway and reports on railway rates, inland waterways, and legislation affecting stock exchanges in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Correspondence and accounts of the joint office of the United States Grain Corporation and the American Relief Administration at Copenhagen, containing some references to shipping and harbor conditions, storage and warehouse facilities, commodity requirements, and plans for economic rehabilitation, all relating to the period from February to July, 1919, are in the records of the grain corporation. These records also contain accounts and papers of the American Relief Administration mission to Finland, 1919.

The following material, chiefly for the period 1917-18, is in the files of the Food Administration: copies of consular reports relating to the food and feed situation in Denmark; data on trade between Denmark and Sweden and Germany, particularly the Swedish iron trade; data on the coffee supply for the northern neutrals; diplomatic and other correspondence relating to a proposal for the allocation of Norwegian shipping for transporting supplies to Rotterdam for the American Relief Administration, 1917; agreement for the release of American flour for shipment to Norway, 1917; data on food production and consumption, production of metals and minerals, and exports of Norway; a report on the economic situation of Sweden in 1917; statistical bulletins, relating principally to food production, consumption, and distribution, regarding Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.

The files of the United States Senate contain messages of the presidents and other materials relating to treaties and conventions concluded between the United States and Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, 1789-1901; other relations with those countries, 1789-1901; the Danish Sound Dues; tariff discrimination against American products; claims of the Scandinavian countries against the United States; distribution of flour and grain to citizens of Sweden; Swedish and Norwegian vessels and merchandise imported therein; tonnage dues; the International Fisheries Exposition in Norway; promotion of commercial relations with Sweden and Norway; and commemoration of the arrival in the United States of the first immigrants from Norway.

The production of iron, steel, and zinc in Sweden, chalk and grinding pebbles in Denmark, and aluminum, molybdenum, pyrite, and zinc in Norway is dealt with in the files of the Joint Information Board on Minerals and Their Derivatives, which functioned in 1918. The records of the economic mobilization section of the historical branch, war plans division of the general staff, contain some material relating to economic conditions in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway during the World War, 1914-18. The records of the ordnance office, war department, contain references to Swedish ordnance material, 1915-85. Statistics on tonnage of Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish vessels controlled by the United States in 1918 are to be found in the records of the Allied Purchasing Commission. There are several files in the records of the immigration and naturalization service relating to immigration and emigration laws and policies, statistics of migration, shipping conditions, deportations, and illicit encouragement of migration in the Scandinavian countries. The records of the bureau of the mint contain reports transmitted by American consuls and diplomatic representatives concerning the industrial consumption of gold and silver, coinage, and other monetary matters in the Scandinavian countries, 1897-1932.

Monthly and yearly statistics on trade between the United States and Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland for the years 1923-36 are given in compilations and tabulations of the foreign trade statistics section of the bureau of the census. Figures for exports and imports of specific commodities are listed. During the period from 1926 to 1938, American consular representatives and trade commissioners made photographs of economic subjects in various countries, including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. These photographs are, in general, grouped under the following subject headings: agricultural implements, cities and towns, cotton, fish and fisheries, harvests, lumber, motor vehicles, ports and shipping, railways, roads and bridges, schools, and wearing apparel.

The flies of the special adviser to the president on foreign trade contain consular and other state department reports and other materials relating to the commercial, economic, and industrial development of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, 1934-85. These materials were assembled during the period of intensive efforts to negotiate reciprocity agreements with various countries as a means of alleviating the industrial depression. The materials are especially extensive with regard to Sweden and Finland. Included are copies of the tariff commission's trade analysis pamphlet on each Scandinavian country and considerable material on the commercial relations of each country with other countries than the United States.

Among the records of the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation are the files of the foreign offices of its division of operations. The general files of the director for Europe, who was located in London, and of the office at Copenhagen, Denmark, along with a file of correspondence between shipping board representatives at various Baltic ports, cover the period 1919-31. They contain a good deal of information about the Scandinavian countries, some of the subjects dealt with being vessel movements, freight rates, tariffs, stevedoring and labor conditions, fuel oil and coal bunkering, and claims for damages and injuries. The records of the operations division include correspondence on port and harbor facilities at Esbjerg, 1920, and Gothenburg, 1921; correspondence pertaining to the export of coal to Denmark, 1919; general data on the port of Esbjerg, 1918-20; correspondence pertaining to food relief in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, 1918-20; tariff schedules, rate circulars, and minutes of the Gulf Scandinavian and Baltic Sea Ports Conference and of the North Atlantic Baltic-Scandinavian Conference, 1921-28; material on the shipment of coal from the United States to Sweden, 1918-20; correspondence regarding ice conditions at Helsingfors in 1921; mimeographed copies of the war trade board shipping agreement with Sweden, 1918-19; a copy of the printed war trade board publication on Danish Agreements (Washington, 1918), containing material on the arrangements for the use of Danish shipping in the war, with related material.

The records of the United States Shipping Board contain general information pertaining to Swedish shipping and to the port of Stockholm; a copy of Swedish Ports, Harbours, and Trade Conditions of 50 Important Staple Towns and Customs-Places, Canals and Railways (Stockholm, 1923); and a copy of the quarterly report of the American consul at Christiania, Norway, April 25, 1918, containing information on the internal politics of Norway, its attitude towards the war, relations with foreign countries, propaganda, and economic and commercial conditions.

There is material relating to Scandinavia in the records of both the office of the secretary and the office of naval operations, department of the navy. The records of the latter office relate to the period from 1882 to 1936 and include reports of naval attaches. The files of the secretary's office contain references to the following subjects, among others: harbor facilities at Copenhagen and other ports; regulations on air defense; military policy; aeronautics; navigation rules for inland waters; radio and telephone communications; export of steel; naval equipment; and shipbuilding. Some of this material is as recent as 1930.

The records of the office of foreign agricultural relations contain reports of American consular officials, agricultural trade commissioners and special agents relating to foreign agricultural production, market trends, prices, consumption, and such matters, 1914--40. The following subjects are among those dealt with in the files relating specifically to the Scandinavian countries: publications, dairy products, feed-stuffs, fruit, beverages, breadstuffs, co-operation, export policies, fats and oil, fertilizers, fibers, import policy, shipping, wool, storage, livestock, and standards. With a view to developing outlets for American agricultural products, the bureau of markets and its successor, the bureau of agricultural economics, dispatched investigators and established offices in various parts of Europe. Files relating to these European operations began to be developed before the World War and those in the National Archives extend to 1935. Material of various sorts on the Scandinavian countries is included, especially observations of investigators with regard to agricultural, industrial, and other conditions. Reports regarding timber resources, the wood pulp industry, and related matters, 1912-27, are to be found in the records of the forest service.

The National Archives has a motion picture film entitled "Cruise to Europe on the U. S. S. Memphis," which contains a sequence showing a bird's-eye view of Stockholm and a Swedish army camp.


<1> This brief report was compiled in the office of the director of reference service in the National Archives at Washington. It is preliminary in character and was intended primarily for the immediate use of governmental officials. It is to be hoped that ultimately a comprehensive and detailed report will be published on the Scandinavian materials in the National Archives. Meanwhile, however, the present report will be useful to all students who are interested in knowing the scope of the Scandinavian archival materials preserved in the National Archives. The report is published with the consent of the archivist of the United States, Dr. Solon J. Buck.


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