856B.20/47a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Diplomatic Missions in the Other American Republics, Except Venezuela

In accordance with this Government’s established, policy to keep the other American Governments informed on United States measures pertaining to hemisphere defense, and the spirit of our general inter-American commitments, you are directed to inform the Grovernment to which you are accredited as follows: The United States Government at the invitation of the Netherlands Government has dispatched armed forces to the Netherland colony of Curaçao to protect the refineries, which are of crucial importance to hemisphere defense and to the war effort of the United Nations, and are an indispensable complement to the Venezuelan oilfields. The Department understands, furthermore, that the Netherlands Government has sought from the Venezuelan Government measures of cooperation similar to those [Page 76] agreed upon between the Netherlands and Brazilian Governments in the case of Surinam.

You should take pains to express to the Government to which you are accredited that the United States troops on the islands of Curaçao and Aruba have been sent for the security of the installations and to facilitate the defense of that area of the hemisphere; that our forces will be under the general supervision of the Governor of Curaçao, that their presence will in no way affect either the Netherlands civil administration or Netherlands sovereignty; and that they will be withdrawn upon the termination of the emergency. The steps in connection with the arrangement have of course been taken in secrecy for the sake of military security.

Please report any significant comment by responsible officials and the press.

The Department has released for publication in the press of Thursday morning, February 12th, a brief statement regarding this matter.33

  1. Department of State Bulletin, February 14, 1942, p. 153.