File No. 656.119/839

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


4856. My 4847, 21st.1 Am just in receipt of note dated yesterday from Minister Foreign Affairs of which following is translation:

You were good enough to inform me in your letter of 15th instant that your Government in spite of shortage of coal which exists in United States is inclined to place at disposal of Netherlands a quantity of 100,000 tons of coal per month for duration of the war; the transportation is to be carried on by means of ships plying for this purpose from Netherlands to transatlantic ports; it was added that in this contingency the Government of the United States would be ready to enter into negotiations with a view to delivery in ports of United States of large part of cereals needed by Holland instead of loading this cargo in more distant ports.

On the eve of the negotiations which are about to take place at London with a view to a general economic arrangement, Netherland Government has taken cognizance of these communications with a very great interest. Holland feels that for more than four years she has maintained her neutrality in midst of belligerents while placing under difficult circumstances her position as neutral to the profit of the interests of humanity not without sacrifices on her part; Holland feels justified in expecting that her economic existence will be rendered possible in so far as it depends upon other states.

If therefore it may be permitted to see in the proposals of American Government a proof of desire of latter to recognize this situation and to go half way in meeting needs of Dutch people Netherlands Government is eager to offer you its thanks and begs you to convey to your Government its feelings of gratitude and satisfaction which have been inspired by this proposal.

You have, however, very justly mentioned in your note that proposals of your Government are closely connected with question of use which can be made of available tonnage of Dutch merchant fleet of which large part is still in American ports. This question as you know is one of principal points of general agreement which is subject of negotiations which are about to commence. Netherlands Government in consideration also of a communication received on 18th of this month stating that British Government supports proposals [Page 1553]of your Government considers therefore that it must submit to Conference of London questions raised in your note; it has given to its delegates necessary instructions to this effect. In course of negotiations use which it will be possible to make of offer American Government will become apparent with due regard to economic necessities experienced by Netherlands and to course of action dictated by its position.

Above published in tonight’s papers.

  1. Not printed.