Jag fortsätter att surfa på de öppna arkiv som jag skrev om för ett tag sedan. Det är intressant att söka på svenskt material i de olika amerikanska presidentbiblioteken. I Harry S. Trumans arkiv kan man hitta en minnesanteckning från en artighetsvisit i Vita Huset i april 1952 av statsminister Tage Erlander och ambassadör Erik Boheman. Där finns också en uppteckning av ett samtal senare samma år mellan utrikesminister Östen Undén och hans amerikanska kollega Dean Acheson där bl a den sovjetiska nedskjutningen av två svenska plan berörs. Undén säger där att den svenska DC3:an hade ”telegraph equipment” vilket måste sägas vara ett understatement för den avancerade signalspaningsutrustning som delvis var amerikansk.
I Lyndon B. Johnsons arkiv kan man läsa om hur utrikesminister Dean Rusk är sur på Sverige för vår vilja att ta emot amerikanska Vietnam-desertörer:
Well, Sweden became very unneutral toward Viet Nam. They favored North Viet Nam; they did not act like a neutral at all in dealing with American deserters. For example if they´gave political asylum to Americans, say American deserters, they were under an obligation to be sure that those Americans did not participate in political activities in Sweden under political asylum. So they created a new category for these Americans; they let them in on humanitarian grounds, which left them free to participate in political activities. And so we felt that that was, again, an unneutral act on the part of Sweden. So we had a rather bad time with Sweden there for a period of two or three years.
Det roligaste dokument jag läst på länge finns i samma arkiv och är en intervju med George E. Reedy som var pressekreterare åt vicepresident Lyndon B. Johnson. I september 1963 gav sig vicepresidenten ut på en godwillresa till de nordiska länderna. Han började i Sverige där han bl.a. åt lunch med kungen och drottningen på Sofiero för att sedan komma till Stockholm. Johnson hade tydligen fått för sig att han skulle köpa lite nordisk konst på sin resa. Edward Reedy berättar:
In Stockholm… he was visited by that Swedish artist–ho, ho, ho, ho!–Uno Vallman, and he bought a painting–in fact, he bought more than one… I had managed to get out on the town a little bit… And I got to the hotel I think around eight or nine, and I found a message to call him. He said, ”Come on in, George,” and I came on in. Those three paintings at the end of the room–oh, my God. What they looked like was, you know, some artists sometimes will deliberately try to paint pictures in somebody else’s style, just as an exercise, and this looked like an artist who was imitating various styles of art–Cézanne, Corot, what have you. And he says, ”Georgie, which one of those is the best?” And I had to say, ”Well, Mr. [Vice] President, I don’t think that any of them are exactly masterpieces, but I think that one of the waterfall in the center is probably the best,” and it looked like an artist who was imitating the Cézanne style. You know Cézanne was that semicubist. He said, ”Haw, haw, haw, Georgie, that shows how much you know about art. That (pointing to another picture) cost me three times as much as the other two.” I said, ”Mr. Vice President, how good a painting it is has nothing to do with how much it costs.” And that kind of brought him up short. That had never occurred to him before.
LBJ – vicepresident på resa i Norden
Färden fortsätter till Helsingfors. Johnson lider uppenbarligen av njursten och en värkande tand och är på ett uruselt humör. De åker snart vidare norrut till Rovaniemi där fallna finska soldater ska hedras på en krigskyrkogård:
Now the real problem came with Rovaniemi. Whew, God. Back in the States, we had seen on the list that he was supposed to lay a wreath at this mass grave which represents the massacre at Rovaniemi. And we didn’t know it at the time, but there is a very exact ritual, and if you know Finns, which I do, or for that matter, any Scandinavian, ritual is holy writ. You do things according to the way they are supposed to be done. A visiting dignitary is supposed to drive up to the mass grave, get out of the car and review a Finnish honor guard, then walk forward to the mass grave and lay the wreath, then step back, bow his head for a minute of silent prayer, and then turn around, get in the car and drive away. And believe me, when Scandinavians say that’s the way it is to be done, that’s the way it’s to be done.
I think maybe that kidney stone was so bad that he really wasn’t thinking at all. And of course, he did not understand Scandinavians. He and the Scandinavians did not get along at all. But he got out of the car and he went right past that honor guard standing there at rigid attention, you know. He [LBJ] just completely ignored them. Then he walked over and he laid the wreath on the grave, and he stepped back and gave his speech. I don’t know why he didn’t hear the mutter from the crowd. And then he started walking through the graves, shaking hands. Walking over the graves…
Att den amerikanske vicepresidenten skulle trampa omkring bland gravarna var kanske inget som finnarna hade väntat sig. Men de höll förstås god min.
Besöket i Oslo sker däremot utan några större missöden. I Köpenhamn blir det dock lite rabalder kring hotellrummets inredning och de amerikanska säkerhetsmännen lyckas förolämpa de designkänsliga danskarna:
Now the Secret Service always travelled ahead of him with a bed and a great big pillow. And the word got around Denmark that they were going to take the furniture out of his hotel room and put in American furniture, which got the Danes damn mad, because this particular hotel used furniture from a very famous designer. I’ve forgotten his name now, but it’s short, four-letter Danish name. He’s tops. Well, when it finally turned out that all it amounted to was that great big bed, the Danes started to laugh, and a marvelous cartoon when we landed–a sort of a spidery drawing of the front of the hotel with two long hairy legs sticking out of the window.
Det är inte lätt att åka på officiella besök om man har njursten och tandvärk. Reedys svar på frågan om resans syfte är ganska talande: ”Goodwill, entirely. There had been no trip of any kind, no attention had been paid to Scandinavia for years, and yet they had supported us in most of our international moves, and it was felt that something had to be done. And this goodwill trip–it was a hell of a good idea but they had the wrong man”.