The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 23—9:15 a.m.]
2970. a. Embassy near the Netherlands Government inquired of Secretary General of the Netherlands Foreign Office whether question of food shipments to occupied parts of the Netherlands had recently been raised with SHAEF by Netherlands Government. Embassy near the Netherlands Government was informed that Netherlands Government in London has no indication of any recent discussion with SHAEF on this matter (reEmbs 2686 of March 15 paragraph 119). It is possible that the Netherlands Prime Minister in his conversations with General Eisenhower about three weeks ago discussed the question but no report of such a discussion has been received by Netherlands Government here.
b. EWD has been informed by MEW10 that the Netherlands Ambassador has suggested that in order to avoid an interruption in shipment of relief supplies to the Netherlands which might occur at time Sweden becomes unable to supply further foodstuffs and before plan for shipments from United Kingdom or other sources could be instituted, an interim plan be adopted under which Swedes would continue to ship goods in return for an assurance of replacement from Allied sources.
MEW in giving its views, interdepartmentally, to Foreign Office has said that it would raise no objection from blockade standpoint to principle of Swedes receiving compensating imports but that it spoke only for the British and not for American blockade authorities. In addition MEW has pointed out that it doubts whether supply authorities would be prepared to give an undertaking to replace foodstuffs until they know precisely how much they are being asked to replace. Embassy would appreciate indication of Department’s preliminary views on (1) question of exports to Sweden to compensate for further shipments to the Netherlands and (2) shipments to the Netherlands through the blockade.