If the gravitational potential or the disturbing potential of the Earth be downward continued by harmonic continuation inside the Earth’s topography, it will be biased, the bias being the difference between the downward continued fictitious, harmonic potential and the real potential inside the masses. We use initial value problem techniques to solve for the bias. First, the solution is derived for a constant topographic density, in which case the bias can be expressed by a very simple formula related with the topographic height above the computation point. Second, for an arbitrary density distribution the bias becomes an integral along the vertical from the computation point to the Earth’s surface. No topographic masses, except those along the vertical through the computation point, affect the bias. (To be exact, only the direct and indirect effects of an arbitrarily small but finite volume of mass around the surface point along the radius must be considered.) This implies that the frequently computed terrain effect is not needed (except, possibly, for an arbitrarily small innerzone around the computation point) for computing the geoid by the method of analytical continuation.