Courtesy Reuters

Scandinavian Integration and Western Defense

THERE have been great changes in Scandinavia recently, and now that the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Sweden and Norway have completed their visits to Moscow, it seems to be an appropriate time to pause and appraise them. First, exactly what is the nature of the changes? Second, how do they affect NATO and Western security?

Certain historical facts will help us to answer these questions. The first and most important fact is that Sweden stayed out of two world wars. The Swedes attribute their success to a policy of neutrality. Others explain it in terms of expediency, mixed with good fortune. In any case, the result of Sweden's policy has been that, politically speaking, few concepts are more popular in that country than the one summed up in the word "neutrality."

The second fact of importance is that in 1949, Sweden, Denmark and Norway almost succeeded in establishing a Scandinavian defensive alliance. The basic reason for its last-minute failure was that the United States would not promise to supply the projected alliance with arms. This decision by the National Security Council had consequences of great significance. The Norwegians, led by their very capable Foreign Minister, Dr. Halvard Lange, immediately applied for admission to NATO, and were accepted. With considerably less enthusiasm, Denmark also became a NATO member; Gustav Rasmussen, the Danish Foreign Minister, publicly expressed doubt that the American decision was in the best interests of peace. Sweden did not follow suit.

Fact number three is that there was established in 1952 a Nordic Council consisting of representatives from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. This organization, founded largely as a result of the efforts of the Danish Prime Minister, has had as its aim the promotion of Scandinavian economic, political and cultural coöperation. Although Finnish representatives had participated in the discussions leading to the Council's formation, Soviet pressure dissuaded Finland from becoming a member in 1952.

The fourth fact is that the great change in Soviet tactics in 1955 and 1956 brought about the Soviet

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