811.24 Raw Materials/317: Telegram

The Minister in the Netherlands (Gordon) to the Secretary of State

172. Department’s 75, September 6, 8 p.m.; 78, September 8, 2 p.m.;34 and 83, September 11. I have had a long talk with Dr. Hart whose statements—which he specifically requests be treated as confidential—may be summarized as follows. At July 25 meeting of rubber committee it was delegates of British producing interests who were inclined to grumble at the proposal for extra release for purposes of barter agreement. The Dutch delegation took the position that as the agreement was now a fact it must be dealt with as such and they were prepared to agree to an extra quota; as early as September 4 the Dutch delegation decided among themselves in favor of a 10% quota.

Since the outbreak of hostilities the Dutch delegations under the international tea,35 sugar36 and rubber regulation agreements have unanimously decided not only against liquidation of these agreements but also to do everything possible to carry on under the agreements. [Page 874] In the case of rubber, delegation is of the opinion that even if the operation of the agreement should become suspended pursuant to the provisions of article 21 it is desirable to carry on rubber production in the Dutch East Indies under existing restrictive legislation even if releases should go to 150% or more.

As of collateral interest and also bearing on the general point of Hart’s assertion that the Dutch do not wish to withdraw from the rubber agreement he says that with respect to sugar he hopes to get to London next week and will suggest to the Chairman of the Sugar Committee that the Dutch under Hart as Vice Chairman shall carry on as the center of communications pending hostilities at least for the time being, the idea being that as long as the Dutch remain neutral it might be easier for them to keep the agreement in operation and to induce a belligerent government not to apply for suspension of its obligations under article 51 of the sugar agreement.

With reference to Department’s Number 83, Hart’s attitude appears to be as follows: To effect a further 5% release for the fourth quarter would probably necessitate giving an extra 10% release to the Dutch East Indian estates and letting the small native holders catch up early next year as it is now too late to issue further licenses to native small holders their license for the last quarter having just been issued. If the question of an announcement of an additional release for the fourth quarter is put up to the Committee Hart personally would be inclined to favor action thereon and would try to secure agreement thereto in the Netherlands, but he would not be prepared to go above a 5% extra release.

Copy to London.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. For texts of the international tea agreements, signed February 9, 1933, November 18, 1936, and August 25, 1938, see Intergovernmental Commodity Control Agreements, pp. 47 ff.
  3. International sugar agreement, signed May 6, 1937, Department of State Treaty Series No. 990, or 59 Stat. 922. For correspondence regarding the regulation of sugar, see pp. 948 ff.