The Chargé Near the Netherlands Government in Exile (Schoenfeld) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 1—8:25 p.m.]
3. Netherlands Series. Your 2, January 29, 6 p.m.14 Netherlands officials have not yet formulated their ideas on the specific provisions of recently concluded Australian–New Zealand Agreement regarding the Southwestern Pacific.
Foreign Minister Van Kleffens tells me Netherlands Government was not approached in any way by the signatories prior to or since the conclusion of the agreement. He referred to the assertiveness of Australia in matters of foreign policy toward Britain particularly, and said Australia had of course taken the initiative in this matter. The agreement was a sort of “declaration of independence” in foreign (affairs by Australia and New Zealand and he was not sure it was not ultra vires.
He had now seen the text of the agreement but was not prepared to discuss its substance at this time. He considered its provisions to be very far ahead of the military situation in the Far East but imagined the agreement would be discussed at the forthcoming Conference of British Empire Ministers.
Baron Pallandt, a senior diplomatic official of the Netherlands Foreign Office, states Netherlands Government had been aware of the negotiations but had not expected so far-reaching a document. It was his impression that there was a great deal in it which would be acceptable to the Dutch.
Dr. Pelt, Chief of the Netherlands Press Office, states no comment on the agreement has been carried by any Dutch publications here. They have confined themselves to straight reporting.
Pelt adds in confidence that the Government here has wired Van Mook, Minister of Colonies now in Washington, asking for his comment but he has not yet replied.[Page 180]
I believe the Department, if it has not already done so, would get a better preliminary picture of the Dutch attitude from him than from any personality in the Government here.
- Not printed.↩