856B.20/35: Telegram

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

Netherlands Series No. 8. Your no. 16, January 26. The Venezuelan Government takes the view that it is entitled at least to the participation given Brazil in Surinam and points out, among other considerations, that Curaçao and Aruba live on Venezuelan oil. It has even been indicated that there might be a serious dispute with the United States if our troops are moved to Curaçao without prior agreement with Venezuela and the Government has stated that action by the United States without Venezuelan participation would be “incompatible” with Venezuelan interests.

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Accordingly, I have suggested to the War Department that the troop movement be postponed until the matter has been straightened out.

I fully recognize that the intransigence of the Netherlands Government in this matter follows not only from its deep-seated distrust of Venezuelan motives with respect to Curaçao, which we believe are, of course, unwarranted, but from the Government’s irritation over its exclusion from full representation in the Far Eastern Supreme Command arrangements and possibly in the shipping pool and munitions pool arrangements.

I would welcome your suggestions as to any concessions which might be made to the Netherlands Government in matters other than Curaçao which might tend to bring about a change in its point of view and which we might discuss with van Kleffens who is expected tomorrow. I hardly need point out the unfortunate effect upon the successful conduct of the war in which the Netherlands and the United States are jointly embarked, should the Netherlands Government persist in its attitude towards Venezuela which to the best of its ability has joined in resistance to our common enemies.