Department of State Atomic Energy Files

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador of the Netherlands (van Kleffens)1

top secret

The Acting Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Netherlands, and has the honor to refer to the Secret Memorandum of Agreement between the Netherlands [Page 705] Government and the Governments of the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland jointly, signed in London on August 4, 1945, a copy of which is attached.2

The Government of the United States and the Government of the United Kingdom have consulted with respect to the option privileges included in Clause 5 of the agreement. The two governments have agreed that notice should now be given that it is desired to exercise the option to extend the agreement for an additional period of three years and the Acting Secretary of State has the honor on behalf of the United States Government hereby to give notice to this effect.

The Ambassador is no doubt aware of the desirability of obtaining the fullest information possible with respect to the reserves of monazite in the Netherlands East Indies and the potentialities for production from such reserves. With this in view, the Acting Secretary of State presents for the consideration of the Government of the Netherlands, a proposal for a field investigation of the monazite reserves of the islands of Billiton, Banka and Singkep by three qualified mineral engineers of the United States Government. This proposal is made with the full knowledge and concurrence of the Government of the United Kingdom.

The Government of the United States proposes that the actual field work should be performed in cooperation with the Netherlands authorities in a manner to be agreed among the three governments. Unless the Netherlands Government should recommend otherwise, the United States Government believes that the work can best be performed on an overt yet discreet basis. With the cooperation of the Netherlands Government and the private companies operating in the specified areas, it is anticipated that these field investigations could be completed in about three months, provided that any data now in the hands of the mining companies, pertinent to an evaluation of the reserves and possibilities for production of monazite in the NEI, are made available to the field party reasonably well in advance of its departure from the United States. It is appreciated that information relating to monazite may be intrinsically linked with the confidential operating data of the companies regarding tin, and the United States Government hereby gives assurance that all information, which may be made available to it, will be kept in the strictest confidence.

The Government of the United States, consistent with the spirit of the agreement of August 4, 1945, is, of course, prepared to keep the Netherlands Government fully informed regarding the progress of [Page 706] the investigations and, when the field data have been compiled, will undertake to supply the latter with copies of the final reports.

The Acting Secretary of State would appreciate receiving the views of the Netherlands Government regarding this proposal at the earliest convenient time. In this connection, attention is called to the commencement of meetings of the International Tin Study Group in Washington on April 19, 1948. It would be helpful if sometime during these meetings, or following them, the representatives of the Netherlands East Indies mining companies who will attend could discuss with the designated United States engineers, arrangements with respect to compilation of data essential to the success of the investigations.

  1. In a memorandum to Lovett, April 12, Gullion stated that this note had been agreed upon with the United States Atomic Energy Commission and with the British, and was the product of some weeks of consideration (Department of State Atomic Energy Files).
  2. The Memorandum of Agreement is not printed, but for documentation on its negotiation see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, pp. 936 passim.