Sweden–United States relations

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Swedish–American relations
Map indicating locations of Sweden and USA

Sweden

United States
A ship leaving the port in Gothenburg, Sweden, on its way to America.
Olof Palme demonstrating side by side with North Vietnam ambassador Nguyen Tho Chyan on February 21, 1968 in Stockholm.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and US President George W. Bush at the White House on May 15, 2007.

Swedish–American relations reach back to the days of the American Revolutionary War. The Kingdom of Sweden was the first country not formally engaged in the conflict (though thousands of Swedish volunteers partook on the side of the patriots) to recognize the United States of America before the Treaty of Paris. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed subsequently in 1783 between Benjamin Franklin and Swedish representative Gustaf Philip Creutz.

According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 36% of Swedes approve of U.S. leadership, with 30% disapproving and 34% uncertain.[1]

History of relations[edit]

Like many European powers, Sweden participated in the colonization of America that started in the 17th century. The first Swedish colony along the banks of the Delaware River was established in 1638 (see New Sweden).

Sweden was the first country not engaged in the American Revolutionary War to recognize the young American republic. The Swedish Count Axel von Fersen was a distinguished soldier during the war, serving as an interpreter between General Rochambeau and General Washington. In 1783 the United States' Ambassador to Paris, Benjamin Franklin, and the Swedish Ambassador, Count Gustaf Philip Creutz, signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce.[2]

During the period between 1820–1930 approximately 1.3 million Swedes, a third of the country's population, emigrated to North America and most of them to the United States. Like the Irish diaspora it was sparked by poverty in Sweden, which was exacerbated during bad years. Only Britain (especially Ireland) and Norway had a higher emigration rate. Most of the Swedish emigrants settled in the central and Western United States. By 1910, Chicago had a greater population of Swedes than Gothenburg. Minnesota was also a place where many Swedish emigrants settled. The majority of Swedish-Americans fought in the American Civil War on the Union side. (See also John Ericsson#USS Monitor)

The first Swedish head of government who met with a US President was Prime Minister Tage Erlander, who visited Harry S. Truman at the White House in 1952.

The period between 1968 and 1976 also marked a cold period in the political relations between Sweden and the U.S., mainly due to the Swedish government's vocal opposition to the Vietnam War. In February 1968, the US recalled its Ambassador from Sweden after the Swedish Minister of Education and future prime minister Olof Palme, a Social Democrat, had participated in a protest in Stockholm against the war together with the North Vietnamese Ambassador to the Soviet Union Nguyen Tho Chan.[3] The post of US Ambassador to Sweden remained vacant until February 1970. In December 1972, Olof Palme (then Prime Minister) made a speech on Swedish national radio where he compared the ongoing US bombings of Hanoi to some of the worst atrocities committed by the Nazis. The US government called the comparison a "gross insult" and once again decided to freeze its diplomatic relations with Sweden (this time the freeze lasted for over a year).[3]

Relations improved when Thorbjörn Fälldin became Swedish prime minister in 1976, and following Olof Palme's death in 1986 and the succession of Ingvar Carlsson as new Prime Minister, Swedish-American relations improved. Ingvar Carlsson met with President Ronald Reagan in 1987, the first time that a Swedish Prime Minister was invited to the White House since 1961, when Erlander paid a visit to Kennedy.

Carlsson's successor as Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, visited both President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Swedish government expressed its sympathies with the U.S. and supported the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.[4][5] However, like many other European governments, Sweden opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, reasoning that the invasion was a breach of international law.[6] However, Prime Minister Göran Persson was relatively mild in his criticism of the U.S. compared to Olof Palme's strong criticism during the Vietnam War.

In the Statement of Government Policy presented to the Riksdag on October 6, 2006, the new centre-right Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt declared that the new government will work for a "strengthening of the transatlantic link". Reinfeldt's party, the Moderate Party, is more pro-American than the social democrats and supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Swedish membership of NATO. Reinfeldt visited President Bush at the White House on May 15, 2007.

Economic relations[edit]

The United States and Sweden have strong economic relations. The United States is currently the third-largest Swedish export trade partner,[7] and U.S. companies are the most represented foreign companies in Sweden.

Military relations[edit]

Although Sweden has a longstanding policy of political neutrality in international affairs, Sweden is a participant in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Sweden currently participates with around 500 troops in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), under the command of NATO, in Afghanistan. Two parties represented in parliament support NATO membership. During the Libyan Civil War of 2011, the Swedish Air Force worked closely with NATO and USA.

During the Cold War, the Swedish government secretly made preparations to receive military aid from the United States in case of Soviet aggression.[8]

Cultural links[edit]

Reflecting the fact that Sweden has a higher proportion of English speakers than most other countries which were never part of the British Empire, Swedish producers and songwriters have played a significant role in the sound of American pop music since the 1990s. One in particular, Max Martin, has written and produced more Billboard Hot 100 number one hits than any American songwriter or producer.[9]

On February 18, 2017 President Donald Trump made remarks that some interpreted as meaning that he thought a terrorist attack had recently occurred in Sweden, although he denied this and said he had been referring to a news report.[10][11][12][13] The Swedish Embassy in Washington, DC requested clarification from the U.S. State Department.[10][11] On February 19, Trump explained on Twitter that his statement was based on a February 17 interview on Fox News about immigration in Sweden.[10]

List of visits[edit]

Guest Host Place of visit Date of visit
Sweden Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf - Later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. United States President Calvin Coolidge John Ericsson National Memorial &
The White House, Washington, D.C.
May 29, 1926
Sweden Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland
Sweden Crown Princess Louise
United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt Wilmington, Delaware
Springwood, Hyde Park, New York
June 27, 1938
July 1, 1938
Sweden Prime Minister Tage Erlander United States President Harry S. Truman White House, Washington, D.C. April 14, 1952
Sweden Prime Minister Tage Erlander United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower White House, Washington, D.C. November 24, 1954
Sweden Prime Minister Tage Erlander United States President John F. Kennedy White House, Washington, D.C. March 29, 1961
United States Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson Sweden King Gustaf VI Adolf Uppsala Cathedral & Uppsala Castle, Uppsala, Sweden September 29, 1961
United States Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson Sweden King Gustaf VI Adolf
Sweden Prime Minister Tage Erlander
Sofiero Palace, Helsingborg, Sweden
Kanslihuset, Stockholm, Sweden
September 4, 1963
September 5, 1963
Sweden Prime Minister Tage Erlander
Sweden Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland
United States President Lyndon B. Johnson
United States Mrs. John F. Kennedy
Cathedral of St. Matthews &
The White House, Washington, D.C.
November 25, 1963
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf United States President Gerald Ford White House, Washington, D.C. April 5, 1976[14]
Sweden Prime Minister Ola Ullsten United States President Jimmy Carter
United States Vice President Walter Mondale
White House, Washington, D.C. January 18, 1979
United States Vice President Walter Mondale Sweden Prime Minister Ola Ullsten Kanslihuset, Stockholm, Sweden May 1979
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf United States President Ronald Reagan White House, Washington, D.C. November 22, 1981
United States Vice President George H.W. Bush Sweden Prime Minister Olof Palme Rosenbad, Stockholm, Sweden June 27, 1983
United States First Lady Nancy Reagan Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf Stockholm, Sweden June 1987
Sweden Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson United States President Ronald Reagan White House, Washington, D.C. September 9, 1987
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf United States President Ronald Reagan White House, Washington, D.C. April 11, 1988
Sweden Prime Minister Carl Bildt United States President George H. W. Bush White House, Washington, D.C. February 20, 1992
Sweden Prime Minister Carl Bildt United States President Bill Clinton White House, Washington, D.C. December 1, 1993
Sweden Prime Minister Göran Persson United States President Bill Clinton White House, Washington, D.C. August 6, 1996
United States President George W. Bush Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf
Sweden Prime Minister Göran Persson
Gunnebo Slott, Residenset &
Svenska Mässan, Gothenburg, Sweden
June 14, 2001
Sweden Prime Minister Göran Persson United States President George W. Bush White House, Washington, D.C. December 3, 2001
Sweden Prime Minister Göran Persson United States President George W. Bush White House, Washington, D.C. April 28, 2004
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf United States President George W. Bush White House, Washington, D.C. October 23, 2006
Sweden Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt United States President George W. Bush White House, Washington, D.C. May 15, 2007
Sweden Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt United States President Barack Obama White House, Washington, D.C. November 2, 2009
United States President Barack Obama Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf
Sweden Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
Rosenbad, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Synagogue &
the Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
September 4–5, 2013
Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Löfven United States President Barack Obama White House, Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery[15] May 13, 2016[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE U.S.-GLOBAL LEADERSHIP PROJECT : A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE MERIDIAN INTERNATIONAL CENTER AND GALLUP" (PDF). Gallup.com. Retrieved 2016-08-28. 
  2. ^ "American Memory from the Library of Congress". Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-28. 
  3. ^ a b Andersson, Stellan. "Olof Palme och Vietnamfrågan 1965–1983" (in Swedish). olofpalme.org. Retrieved February 27, 2008. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Riksdagens snabbprotokoll 2001/02:13 Onsdagen den 17 oktober Protokoll 2001/02:13 - Riksdagen". Riksdagen.se. Retrieved 2016-08-28. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ Exports to large trade partners, Statistics Sweden, accessed October 14, 2007.
  8. ^ SOU 1994:11 Om kriget kommit... Förberedelser för mottagande av militärt bistånd 1949–1969
  9. ^ [3][dead link]
  10. ^ a b c Jennifer Calfas (February 19, 2017), Sweden offers to teach Trump about its immigration policies, The Hill, retrieved February 23, 2017 
  11. ^ a b Topping, Alexandra. "'Sweden, who would believe this?': Trump cites non-existent terror attack". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  12. ^ Ekman, Jonas. "In English: This happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  13. ^ Sewell Chan (February 19, 2017), ‘Last Night in Sweden’? Trump’s Remark Baffles a Nation, The New York Times, retrieved February 19, 2017 
  14. ^ Memorandum of Conversation Gerald R. Ford Library, Accessed on May 17, 2010
  15. ^ Holmqvist, Anette (13 May 2016). "Stefan Löfven anländer till Vita huset" [Stefan Löfven arrives at the White House]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  16. ^ "Statement by the Press Secretary on the U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit". White House Office of the Press Secretary. March 18, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Relations of Sweden and the United States at Wikimedia Commons