File No. 656.119/791

The Chargé in the Netherlands ( Bliss) to the Secretary of State


4641. Department’s 2130, September 27, 2 p.m.1 Communication contained in Department’s 2078, September 30 [20], 3 p.m.,2 was published in leading Dutch papers September 23 and copied widely.

From the tone of the comments which have appeared in the press it is evident that the deep ill feeling particularly against the United States caused by the seizure of vessels has not yet subsided for scarcely a single influential paper has expressed unreserved appreciation this honest and frank manifestation of good will on our part. The interest to Holland in cultivating good relations with United States is brought to fore in much of press and immediate appointment of Netherlands Minister and competent commission to Washington is being generally urged. An official statement was issued September 25 to effect that although the American communication contained statements with which the Dutch did not wholly agree, a discussion of those differences of opinion would be inadvisable in view of recent mutual decision to resume Allied-Dutch negotiations. Unfortunately the more influential papers have been inclined to lay stress on fact that United States refused to allow the so-called half-free ships including steamers Jason, Cornelis and Amsteldijk to proceed to Holland, and two strong papers of slightly pro-German color have even intimated that the United States wants the use of a part of the Dutch fleet now in home waters as a condition to granting ration mentioned in London basis of agreement. Most of the press refers to the rations mentioned in Department’s 2077 [2078], September 30 [20], 3 p.m., [as] inadequate but the publication here September 26 of rations accorded Denmark has tended to allay such talk.

Dutch Government has never issued a statement concerning resumption of American-Dutch traffic and the United States references [Page 1547]to the satisfactory state of this trade [are] being treated with considerable reserve.

General attitude as reflected by press is that we receive 25 per cent more shipping through the seizure than would have been secured by agreement and on top of that we have even refused the half-free vessels or to give Holland the rations she required. The effort to throw the entire blame for the continued stagnation of the Dutch home-fishing ground on Germany has been made unreservedly only by a few prompted by pro-Ally papers. Some of the press even intimates that Holland’s interest in saving her fleet from destruction or possible diversion to Allied use is so great that it might be desirable to consider the advisability of keeping the entire fleet at home.

Edwards requests copy be sent War Trade Board.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Ante, p. 1532.