856B.20/40a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Curaçao (Huddleston)

11. 1. The United States at the invitation of the Netherlands Government has agreed to send a contingent of its armed forces under the command of Col. Bullard to cooperate with the Netherlands forces in the protection of the vital oil refineries in Curaçao and Aruba which islands, owing to the unceasing demands on the Netherlands forces in the Far East, the Netherlands Government finds it difficult to garrison in sufficient strength to assure the absolute security of these installations. The United States forces will be under the general supervision of the Netherlands Governor and will be withdrawn upon the termination of the emergency. No interference with the local civil administration will take place. Appropriate instructions have been or are being sent to the Government of Curaçao by the Netherlands Government in London.

2. A small advance party is expected to arrive at Curaçao Wednesday, January 28, to make preliminary housing and other arrangements for the main body which will be dispatched later. You are requested to assist the advance party in so far as necessary in its discussions with [Page 61] the Netherlands civil and military authorities and with the British military authorities.

3. Military arrangements should be left solely to the determination of the commanding officer of the United States forces who is charged with the responsibility for the security of those forces and for the successful accomplishment of their mission and who, in the discharge of these responsibilities, may engage in direct conversations with the local military and civil officers. He has been authorized to show you his instructions and you are directed to assist him in every proper way.

4. Political matters are, of course, solely within your province as the political representative on the spot of the Department of State and the United States Government. In any representations which you may make to the local authorities which affect the security of our forces and their relations with the local officials, troops and population, you should, however, act in close consultation with the United States commanding officer. We anticipate that most, if not all, of the problems which will arise can be worked out on the spot but if there should be any serious divergence in opinion between you and the commanding officer, you should report promptly by telegraph and request instructions.

5. It is desired that no publicity be given to the foregoing unless and until agreed upon between the United States Government and the Netherlands Government in London. Further instructions on this point will be sent to you when occasion arises.

6. Repeat to Vice Consul at Aruba.