740.00119 EAC/2: Telegram

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

Netherland Series 23. In a recent talk, Foreign Minister Van Kleffens3 expressed deep concern regarding the position of the Netherlands [Page 803] in relation to the Mediterranean Commission4 and the Three Power Advisory Commission in London.5

Van Kleffens referred to the unhappy Dutch reactions in the past to certain procedures affecting the small nations. Thus he said with regard to Dutch representation on the joint chiefs of staff, the Netherlands Government had felt that their country’s interests were not being accorded the essential degree of representation, until the President personally took a hand and readjusted matters so that the representatives of the Netherlands Armed Forces should not be merely “consulted” by, but “participate” with, the joint chiefs of staff in their deliberations, when these concerned Netherlands interests.

They had also been greatly disturbed by the draft for UNRRA.6 He referred to the objections that the Dutch had put forward and recalled that in communicating their subsequent acquiescence in the proposed arrangements regarding the central committee which was restricted to the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China, the Netherlands Government had made it clear that it was doing [so] in the interests of the early creation of an international relief organization and in consideration of such an organization’s temporary nature, but that it felt obliged to maintain its original objections and to make dear that its willingness to cooperate in the proposed arrangement could not be invoked against it if a similar framework were proposed, contrary to its expectation, in the sphere of international peace organization.

Turning then to the Mediterranean Commission, Van Kleffens said that when his Government learned that it was to be created and to be composed of representatives of the United States, Great Britain, Russia and France, he and his Ambassador had called on Foreign Secretary Eden and urged that the Netherlands be represented on the Commission, if and when its interests were directly or indirectly under discussion. In response, Eden had asked whether Van Kleffens thought the Netherlands would be satisfied to have its interests represented by France. Van Kleffens said he had replied “definitely not”.

More recently he had learned of the contemplated creation of the Three-Power European Advisory Commission in London. He and his Ambassador had again called at the Foreign Office and seen Sir Alexander Cadogan7 in Eden’s absence. They had told him that the Netherlands Government felt it to be only just and reasonable to [Page 804] expect to “participate” with, and not merely to be “consulted” by, the Three-Power Commission in London when questions involving Netherlands interests arise for the Commission’s consideration. This he continued was quite aside from the fact that the Netherlands Government would consider a fair and democratic procedure, namely, the representation of the smaller nations on the Commission in order of rotation. In other words if Netherlands interests were under discussion at a time when the Netherlands was not represented on the Commission in its proper order of rotation, it would expect to be invited to be represented on the Commission at that juncture.

He thought the Americans, in view of their own history, would be likely to understand the Dutch position. After all, the United States had seceded from Great Britain on the grounds of no taxation without representation.

Van Kleffens added that he had been careful to give me this account of his Government’s reactions in order that I should be fully aware both of its current attitude and of the background for it. He said that he wanted me to know, as he had made clear to Cadogan, that his Government intended to pursue its standpoint “determinedly, even stubbornly”.

[Biddle]
  1. Eelco Nicolaas Van Kleffens, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Government in Exile at London.
  2. For a memorandum requesting Netherlands representation on “the so-called Mediterranean Commission and other ‘institutional’ (i.e. not ad hoc) international commissions which may eventually be established,” left at the Department of State on October 30, 1943, by the Netherlands Embassy, see p. 799.
  3. The European Advisory Commission.
  4. For correspondence relating to Netherlands objections and subsequent acquiescence in the draft agreement for the establishment of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, see pp. 915919, 923, 943, 957962, 965, 985986, and 1011n .
  5. British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.