File No. 656.119/834d

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin)


1954. For Sheldon [from War Trade Board]:

No. 1399. There has now been published the statement of the Department giving the attitude of the United States relative to exports to Holland and we are now in receipt of information as to the attitude of the Dutch public as evidenced by newspaper expressions which the statement was designed to evoke. We receive the distinct impression that the temper of Dutch public opinion is such that it is possibly unwise, particularly in view of military developments, for the Associated Governments to indicate any eagerness with reference to concluding a general commercial agreement. Our position would be stronger if the Dutch were prepared to come to us more in the attitude of suppliants for what they require. Also were negotiations to be pressed, we might not obtain the full benefit of the effect of military successes and enemy peace efforts upon the Dutch public. Also we have in mind that the agreement should be entirely reconsidered by the Associated Governments, having in mind the possibility of an abandonment by the enemy of the Belgian coast, which would give us land contact with Holland. Under these conditions, our entire commercial relations with Netherlands would be revolutionized, particularly in respect to agricultural and animal products, the production of which we might desire to stimulate rather than curtail, with a view to their utilization by the Allied armies. Please give this matter your careful consideration and discuss the same with the Blockade officials so as to be able to give us your and their views as promptly as possible. So far as concerns the proposal to offer to supply the Netherlands with coal, as described in Department’s 1714, October 1, 4 p.m. (our 1325),1 the Department and the War Trade Board feel that it is advisable that this offer be made at once. We feel that this offer is entirely aside from any discussion of the terms of a general agreement.

The following is the text of a cablegram which has been sent today by the Department to The Hague:

Referring Department’s 2158, October 2. You are instructed at any time after 48 hours from the receipt of this cablegram to proceed as instructed in Department’s 2154, October 1, 4 p.m., authorizing the offer of coal to the Netherlands Government.

[Page 1549]

The London Embassy has been instructed to notify the British Foreign Office that this offer will be made, and it is expected that the British Government may wish to join in such offer. Accordingly, before acting, you will confer with your British colleague and ascertain whether he is instructed to join in the offer.

You will please cause the Foreign Office to be notified immediately of this action and advise us promptly of any developments.

  1. Not printed; see telegram No. 2154, Oct. 1, to the Chargé in the Netherlands, ante, p. 1544.