840.50 Recovery/2–748: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Netherlands (Baruch) to the Secretary of State


85. Ref Paris 563, January 31 to Department, repeated The Hague 9, Brussels 12, London 56.1 Embassy’s impression from informal talks with various Netherlands officials is that Netherlands Government would not welcome and in fact would resist efforts either by French or American Governments to persuade Netherlands to enter into Customs Union with France (alone or with Italy). Netherlands Government appreciates arguments for step by step expansion Customs Union but favors as next step for Benelux (based partly on Benelux experience) broader approach including several major countries under aegis CEEC study group.

Reasons underlying Dutch attitude are: (1) Sensitiveness re French ambition regain dominating “old-fashioned” great power role; (2) fear of unfavorable economic consequences union with single large country (already under Benelux unfavorable trade balance with Belgium has necessitated agreement at Luxembourg involving Dutch dollar payments and Belgian acceptance blocked guilders). They fear possibility even more unfavorable balance under union with France (and Italy); (3) belief British participation union or indication such intention essential before Dutch could safely entertain French proposals. Dutch regard normally favorable balance with British as necessary safeguard against adverse development with France (Italy); (4) finally Dutch desirous satisfactory agreement with respect to Germany and assurance ERP assistance forthcoming before entering definitely into commitment vis-à-vis France.

Dutch anxious avoid offense to French and above all any impression non-cooperation ERP, but Embassy impression they will side-step [Page 380] agreement with French pending attainment at least some safeguards and objectives mentioned above.

Sent Department as 85, repeated London as 12, Paris as 10, Brussels as 12.

  1. Not printed.