856B.20/18: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister to the Netherlands Government in Exile ( Biddle ), at London

Netherlands Series No. 2. Your Netherlands Series 67, December 31, 9 p.m.7 Please transmit the following message from the President for Queen Wilhelmina.

“I greatly appreciate your helpful and understanding message concerning the imperative need that prompt action be taken with regard to the security of the islands of Curasao and Aruba. I am hopeful that a satisfactory arrangement may immediately be concluded between your Minister for Foreign Affairs8 and Mr. Biddle. I feel however that I must ask again that, with regard to Venezuela, an arrangement be made quite similar to that which was reached between your Government and that of Brazil in the case of Surinam.9 I fully recognize the special circumstances which exist in your relations with Venezuela and to which you refer, but I am convinced that the accordance of any different treatment to Venezuela from that accorded to Brazil [Page 50] would create profound resentment on the part of the former country which would give rise to a situation which might have unfortunate consequences. As you know, Venezuela spontaneously has broken relations of every character with the Axis powers, she is now negotiating a bilateral mutual defense agreement with the Government of the United States,10 and if she is treated in a friendly way and is accorded reasonable confidence in the arrangements involving Curasao and Aruba, I am positive that the mutual defense agreement which we will make with Venezuela will remove any ground for suspicion on the part of your Government as to the attitude of Venezuela concerning the two islands. More than that, for the sake of hemispheric solidarity, it is highly important that Venezuela should not be able to present any justified grievance at the Conference which is to take place at Rio de Janeiro on January 15. For all of these reasons, I hope therefore that your Minister for Foreign Affairs will agree to the suggestion I make.”

In your conversation with Dr. Van Kleffens you should make it very dear that this request on the part of the President is firm and must be adopted in view of the defense interests of the United States itself. The sending of a three-man military mission by Venezuela would be under the supervision of the American military authorities and would constitute merely a gesture, and could in no event be legitimately regarded by the Venezuelan [Netherlands?] authorities as prejudicial to their own interests.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Eelco Nicolaas van Kleffens.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. ii, pp. 811 ff.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. vii , section under Venezuela entitled “Cooperation between the United States and Venezuela in plan for warding off possible action by Axis agents against oil installations in Aruba and Curaçao.”