File No. 763.72112/654

The Minister in the Netherlands (Van Dyke) to the Secretary of State

No. 191]

Sir: Referring to my cablegram of January 4 and my despatch No. 186 of the same date,1 I have the honor to enclose a copy, with translation, of an advertisement which has appeared in the Netherlands newspapers to-day.1

The formation of this Netherlands Oversea Trust Company represents a careful and wise effort to broaden and safeguard the avenues of neutral commerce. The company itself seeks no profits, but will give any revenue it may make to the Dutch Relief Committee.

In view of the repeated and apparently unnecessary inquiries which come to this Legation on the subject of shipments to or through the Netherlands, I beg you to call the attention of the Department of Commerce to the following points:

All goods, contraband or non-contraband, in transit through the Netherlands, i. e., consigned via the Netherlands to ulterior points, are not subjected to any embargo or duty by the Dutch Government; but if they are contraband (absolute or conditional), they must reach the Netherlands at the owner’s risk of detention or seizure by the belligerents.
All contraband goods (absolute or conditional) which are consigned either to the Netherlands Government or to the Netherlands Oversea Trust, will be allowed by the Allied powers to enter Holland without interference but the Government embargo prevents their exportation from Holland.
The Netherlands Oversea Trust, for the present, accept only consignments of contraband goods (absolute or conditional), except wheat, wheat flour, copper, and petroleum and its products, which must still be consigned to the Netherlands Government.
It is possible that in the future, should special difficulty arise in the movement of non-contraband goods, the Netherlands Oversea Trust will accept such shipments also, but this is subject to later and specific arrangements.

I believe that the above statement represents clearly the present situation in regard to commercial affairs here. I respectfully suggest that if it were given wide publicity and if shippers would study it with intelligent attention, their interests would be promoted and the problems which they bring to the Department would be reduced and simplified.

I have [etc.]

Henry van Dyke
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.