856B.20/37: Telegram

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

Netherlands Series 17. Your 8, January 28, 7 p.m. I conveyed substance of your message to Gerbrandy this afternoon.

He reiterated that entire Government was in accord with the firm stand against inviting a Venezuelan Mission to Curaçao and that the Queen shared their views. But in view of position taken by Venezuelan Government, he would see whether he could do anything in the matter. He was, he said, not optimistic.

As regards possible concessions in matters other than Curaçao which might bring about a change in the Netherlands Government’s point of view and which you might discuss with Van Kleffens, I am at this time aware of no concession which would be likely to induce the Government to alter its position.

I feel in fact that, if the strategic position permits, maintenance for a time of the step that you have already suggested to the War Department, namely a postponement of the despatch of troops to Curaçao pending settlement of Venezuela’s participation, coupled with explanations to Van Kleffens of the effect that the refusal to permit a mission [Page 66] is having on vital defense measures, is more calculated to sway the Dutch mind than an effort to link the problem with concessions in other fields. To leave them with a sense of the necessity for them to devise some scheme to remove the impasse that their refusal has created seems to me the procedure that is more likely to be effective.

I have sought for some time to feel out whether any formula might be worked out here but have been unable to discover a useful clue. On one occasion, Van Kleffens in a moment of heat asked: Why should not the Dutch just as well be invited to send a military mission to Venezuela? This made me believe that some reciprocal arrangement might be worked out but in probing the idea I found that it was a mere passing remark which he was unwilling to follow up.

While I do not altogether discard the view that it may be possible to discover some concession which would have an influence, I feel strongly that in that case the initiative should come from them.