150.071 Control/170

The Netherland Minister ( Haersma de With ) to the Secretary of State

No. 737

Sir: I have the honour to respectfully draw Your Excellency’s attention to the contents of Bill H. R. 3842, for the deportation of alien seamen, which was passed by the House on March the 5th of this year.

As already pointed out by my predecessor in office, the late Dr. van Roijen, in his memoranda to the Department of State of the 10th of May 19335 and the 2nd of January 1932,6 numbered 1469 and 8 respectively the proposed legislation if enacted, would have a most detrimental effect on the Netherland mercantile marine in general and in the case of certain companies would even seriously jeopardize the position of their services to United States ports.

The first provision which, if passed by Congress, would affect Netherland shipping interests is that of section 7 of the bill in question which prohibits any vessel except in case of distress from bringing into a United States port among her crew certain aliens who are racially excluded from coming to this country as immigrants.

Now a considerable number of Netherland steamships, especially those which ply between the Netherland East Indies and Western [Page 756] ports, are to a great extent manned by Javanese, Malays etc. all subjects of the Netherlands and by Chinese and other Asiatics, who are in most cases also Netherland subjects.

These vessels would, if the provision in question should come into force, be compelled to either cease calling at United States ports or discharge all the Asiatic members of their crew even those who are Netherland subjects and replace them by non-Asiatics, which would in many cases be impossible as there are not always a sufficient number of white seamen obtainable in the Netherland East Indian home ports of the ships in question.

Apart from the hardships and injustice the application of this provision would cause it would hardly seem reasonable that a vessel flying the Netherland flag and being governed by the Netherland laws should not be allowed to have certain of the subjects of her own country among her crew when entering a port of the United States.

The second clause which will affect, if enacted, Netherland shipping is that, contained in section 6, prescribing that clearance will be refused to any ship manned with a crew the majority of whose members have been engaged and taken on at foreign ports, which on leaving the United States carries a smaller crew than at the time the vessel arrived in this country.

It is obvious that this provision will in many cases cause delay and considerable pecuniary loss to Netherland vessels and it would seem hardly fair to force the latter to engage a number of, in certain cases, undesirables, merely in order to bring the crew up to its full complement, the more so as it is impossible for the masters of the ships to guard against the desertions which cause these vacancies, the United States law not allowing them to take legal action against the culprits.

In view of the above stated reasons the Royal Netherland Government would highly appreciate it if full consideration could be given by the United States Government to the very important Netherland interests which would be endangered by the enactment of the bill in question.

I beg leave to add that the above representations apply in equal measure to Bill S. 868, which is similar to Bill HR 3842, and which has been introduced in the Senate by Senator King.

Please accept [etc.]

H. M. Van Haersma de With