856B.20/32: Telegram

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

Netherlands Series No. 7. Your 13, January 23.

1. Please thank the Prime Minister for his Government’s prompt and favorable reply to our suggestions regarding the composition of the force to be sent to Curaçao and Aruba. The War Department desires to send a small advance party to the islands immediately to make the necessary preliminary arrangements for the main body which is expected to arrive in approximately a fortnight. We hope that the Netherlands Government will dispatch the necessary instructions to the local authorities as soon as possible. Please report on this point as soon as possible.

2. No publicity regarding the forces is contemplated. If any announcement has to be made however after the arrival of the troops it would be confined to a brief statement to the effect that the Government of the United States and the Government of the Netherlands had agreed to the dispatch of the United States forces to cooperate with Netherlands forces, under the general supervision of the Governor of Curaçao, in the defense of the islands and that the forces would be withdrawn upon the termination of the emergency.

3. The necessity of meeting a very real danger with the greatest possible speed makes it imperative that we take this defense measure prior to reaching a final agreement with the Netherlands Government regarding Venezuelan participation. We continue however to consider a Netherlands invitation to Venezuela to send a military mission to Curaçao to be of fundamental importance. The Venezuelan oil industry and the refineries of Curaçao and Aruba are indispensable complements of one another. The Venezuelan Government shares therefore with the Netherlands Government and the Government of the United States a legitimate interest in the security of the Curaçao area from enemy attack and occupation.

In this connection the Venezuelan Foreign Minister has informed us that his Government would feel deeply chagrined if it were not put on exactly the same level as that accorded Brazil in the case of Surinam.

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Please again discuss this matter with the Prime Minister and in your discretion with Her Majesty the Queen stressing our conviction that the extension of an invitation to Venezuela in the terms above mentioned would not only tend to allay any possible friction between the Netherlands and Venezuela with regard to Curaçao but would be an outstanding and statesmanlike contribution by the Netherlands Government to that stability and security of the Caribbean area generally in which the Netherlands has no small interest.

4. For your information the following is the substance of a telegram which is being sent to Ambassador Corrigan at Caracas:

[Here follows substance of telegram No. 55 bis, January 24, 9 p.m., printed infra.]