811.24556A/1–1746

The American Ambassador in the Netherlands (Hornbeck) to the Netherlands Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs (van Roijen)3

Excellency: Acting under instructions from my Government, and referring to a Note which I had the honor to address to you on September 21, 19454 on the subject of use of air bases in Aruba and in Curaçao and Surinam, I now have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Department of State has been informed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the mission of the United States forces in Aruba has now been completed and those forces are being withdrawn; and that with regard to the presence of United States forces in Surinam and Curaçao the situation is as follows:

United States forces are now located at Zandery field, in Surinam, and at Hato field in Curaçao. The primary mission of these forces is to provide communication, landing, navigation and servicing facilities for United States military aircraft in connection with operations of [Page 957]the United States military air route (U.S. Canal Zone–Natal–Dakar) to South America, Europe and the Middle East. These services will continue to be needed so long as the United States maintains substantial occupation forces in Europe. The fields under reference are of particular value during periods when the weather conditions along the east and north coasts of South America are unfavorable.

It is considered to be a military necessity that United States military aircraft shall continue to have available to them as long as the United States maintains substantial occupation forces in Europe the use of these fields and auxiliary facilities. However, it is not felt to be essential that United States personnel, either military or civilian, should continue to maintain or operate the fields. It would be entirely agreeable to the United States Government to withdraw its military personnel from these fields were the Netherlands Government to give an undertaking that it will maintain and operate the fields and the required air facilities and make these available to military aircraft of the United States. It would be possible to withdraw United States military personnel as soon as Netherlands personnel would be prepared to assume responsibilities of maintenance and operations in accordance with standards to be jointly agreed upon. Should the Netherlands Government so desire, the United States Government would be glad to provide, as an aid to the Netherlands Government toward its assumption of these responsibilities, technical instruction for Netherlands maintenance personnel. Should the Netherlands Government feel that it is not in position to maintain these facilities, the United States Government would wish to continue maintenance and operation of them by United States personnel during such period as the United States may continue to maintain forces of occupation in Europe.

I avail myself [etc.]

[File copy not signed]
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 568, January 17, 1946, from The Hague; received February 1.
  2. Not printed.