740.0011 PW/7–1345

No. 618
Memorandum by the Acting Secretary of State

Memorandum of Conversation

Subject: Participation of Dutch Troops in Eventual Invasion of Netherlands East Indies

Participants: Netherlands Ambassador, Dr. A. Loudon;
Acting Secretary, Mr. Grew

The Netherlands Ambassador called on me today and said that he desired to talk to me on his own initiative and without instructions regarding the very difficult situation in which his country is placed owing to the fact that no steps have been taken to enable Dutch troops to be transported to Australia, where they could train for the eventual occupation of the Netherlands East Indies. He said that even Dutch ships which were now used in the allied pool were not being made available for this purpose. The Netherlands Government had a great deal at stake in this matter and if the eventual invasion, occupation and mopping up of the Netherlands East Indies should be undertaken by American and Australian forces with no Dutch forces present the loss of face which Holland would undergo in the opinion of the natives would never be overcome.

I once again explained to the Ambassador the difficulties which must be faced in this situation arising from the fact that all our efforts, forces and shipping must be directed to the primary purpose of defeating Japan. If we are able to obtain Japanese unconditional surrender this would no doubt apply also to Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies. The occupation might then take place without combat. The Ambassador said that even in such a case unless Dutch troops participated in the occupation, there would be the same loss of face. He also doubted whether the Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies would surrender on an order from Tokyo. Many of them, especially in New Guinea, had settled down to the cultivation of their farms and had apparently no desire to return to Japan. The Ambassador spoke about this matter with great emphasis and emotion and indicated his profound regret, even indignation, that nothing was being done to arrange the transport of Dutch troops to Australia in order to train for the eventual occupation.

J[oseph] C. G[rew]