The Netherlands Chargé ( Van Asch van Wyck ) to the Secretary of State

No. 367

Mr. Secretary of State: By order of my Government I have the honor to address Your Excellency in the following matter.

As is known to the Government of the United States, Germany, under Article 244 and Annex VII of Part VIII of the Treaty of Peace of Versailles of June 28, 1919,2 renounced in its name and in the name of its nationals, for the benefit of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, all rights, titles and privileges of all kinds held by it on various cables or parts of submarine cables.

Among those cables enumerated in the above mentioned Annex were those of the Germano-Netherlands Telegraph Company, called the “Deutsch-Niederlandische Telegraphengesellschaft A. G”, namely the Yap–Shanghai, Yap–Guam and Yap–Menado cables.

The Queen’s Government as early as 1919 took unreservedly the ground that with respect to the three above mentioned cables the Dutch interests represented in the above named Company should be taken into consideration.

Indeed, as has already been stated (both in the Peace Conference and the Reparations Commission and also at the Conference at Washington of 1921) the organization of the “Deutsch-Niederlandische Telegraphengesellschaft” (to which Netherlands subjects belonged as stock and bondholders) and the laying of the three above mentioned cables are based on the Germano-Netherlands Treaty of July 24, 1901.3 Under that Treaty the rights to the cables enjoyed by the Company were restricted by the joint supervision of the Dutch and German Governments to which the management of the Company was subjected.

After the Queen’s Government had, on repeated occasions, caused steps to be taken in this case, there was prepared towards the end of [Page 276] 1921, during the Washington Conference,4 by the representatives of the Governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy and the Netherlands, an arrangement for the allotment under certain conditions of the Yap–Menado cable to the Netherlands.5

That arrangement, however, because of a reservation, among others that were already filed in Washington, by the Italian Government, never was carried into effect. Notwithstanding the many steps taken by the Queen’s Government after the above mentioned Conference and in spite of the fact that the German Government, in December, 1924, was pleased to inform the Reparation Commission that it would agree that the value of the Yap–Menado cable be not credited to Germany in the Reparation account, the recognition of the lawful Dutch rights remained without effect.

At the present time the nature of the injured interest no longer permits that the Dutch Government be satisfied with the allotment of the cable which had been provided. On the strength of Paragraph 20 of Annex II of Part VIII of the Treaty of Versailles and in view of the German Government’s attitude concerning the value of the Yap–Menado cable being credited to the Reparation account, the Government of the Queen, deeming it expedient to arrive at a final solution after so many years, has the honor to claim, in place of the allotment of the cable, compensation for the injured Netherland interests according to the amount of the value set upon the Yap–Menado cable by the Reparation Commission (namely according to the information at hand 2,388,671 gold marks) plus interest at the rate of five percent per annum from the first of February, 1922, on which date the Washington arrangement could in reason have been ratified.

The Netherlands Government has instructed its diplomatic representatives to take similar steps with the Governments of Great Britain, France, Japan and Italy and feels assured that the Government of the United States and the other Governments above named are ready to take fair action on that request.

It is clear that this solution could in no wise affect the right to land at Menado which belongs to the Netherlands sovereignty and was expressly reserved in the above mentioned Germano-Netherlands Treaty of 1901.

Begging Your Excellency kindly to let me know what attitude the Government of the United States will see fit to take concerning the proposed solution, I take [etc.].

H. van Asch van Wyck
  1. Malloy, Treaties, 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3329, 3423, 3438.
  2. British and Foreign State Papers vol. xciv, p. 595.
  3. Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Nov. 12, 1921–Feb. 6, 1922.
  4. See memorandum by the Under Secretary of State, Mar. 25, 1922, Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. ii, p. 762.