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Wallenberg diplomacy” inquiry: “A failure of Diplomacy”

    Governtment Offices of Sweden, 103 33 Stockholm, 08-405 10 00 A printout from

    Press release 04 March 2003

    Ministry for Foreign Affairs

    Today the Commission of inquiry into the actions of the Swedish foreign policy leadership in the Raoul Wallenberg case has presented its report “A failure of diplomacy” (UD 2001:03) to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh.

    The Commission’s assignment was to investigate and evaluate the actions of the Swedish foreign policy leadership in the Wallenberg case. Its purpose was to clarify whether the leadership of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs had taken advantage of all the opportunities that had emerged over the course of the years to shed light on the fate of Raoul Wallenberg.

    Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat with a US assignment. He received several detailed instructions for his operations from the US State Department. There were no equivalent instructions from its Swedish counterpart.

    When in January 1945 the Soviet Union informed Sweden that Wallenberg had been found, the British and US Embassies in Stockholm were informed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Instructions on action in this issue were not issued to the Swedish envoy in Moscow, Staffan Söderblom, until March 1945.

    The inquiry has found a previously unknown dossier in the archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that shows that, at an early stage, the Swedish Foreign Service was disoriented by rumours indicating that Wallenberg had disappeared by car and subsequently been murdered.

    This version of Wallenberg’s fate came to guide the Ministry’s work for several years.

    However, two officials of the Swedish foreign service, Staffan Söderblom and Ulf Barck-Holst, reported as early as 1946 on the possibility, despite everything, of Wallenberg being in Soviet captivity and that some kind of compensation for his release was being demanded by the Soviet side.

    The Commission has evidence that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Undén, read these reports. Despite this, he took no initiative to try to find out the truth behind these Soviet moves

    for negotiations.

    Without the documents, the Commission cannot draw completely clear conclusions on the underlying reasons for Undén’s unwillingness to take action on the Wallenberg case. Given the information to which he had access, his passivity appears incomprehensible and remarkable.

    Critical comments have also been made on Undén’s predecessor Christian Günther and several other leading diplomats in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

    The Chairman of the Commission is former County Governor Ingemar Eliasson. Other members of the Commission are Professor Kristian Gerner, Dr Birgit Karlsson, Professor Christer Jönsson och Dr Gudrun Persson. Experts are Professor Hans Fredrik Dahl (Norway) and Professor Klaus Törnudd (Finland). The Secretary is Dr Johan Matz.


    Johan Matz Secretary +46 8-405 31 73

    Lars-Olof Lundberg Press Counsellor +46 8-405 54 54 +46 708-43 62 71

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