856d.00/11–149: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Netherlands (Chapin) to the Secretary of State 1


1037. My arrival here coincided with termination long difficult negotiations RTC. Final plenary session scheduled afternoon November 2. Assume that you will wish to make statement of satisfaction at solution [Page 559] dangerous Indonesian question for press release immediately thereafter. Strongly recommend that any such statement would include complimentary remarks re Dutch contributions at RTC towards the settlement. My reasons for this recommendation are:

Dutch have made many far-reaching concessions in face of violent domestic opposition, by the public, in the press, and among political leaders. As a result, it is now generally felt throughout the country that because of their great sacrifices Dutch are running great risk of being reduced financially and economically to status of a Denmark. We have indicated publicly that in solution Indonesian problem independence Indonesia is one of two objectives, the other being preservation of Holland as a going concern. Many Dutch feel that our expressions of desirability Indonesian independence have taken precedence over Holland’s future strength, remarking that if Holland cannot be strong economically and financially how can she play her part in Western Union and Atlantic Pact.
Present Dutch Cabinet is coalition of uneasy bedfellows thrown together in summer 1948 after six weeks of no government. There are already signs of strain between two most prominent parties (Catholic and Labor) and it is possible that coalition government will dissolve. If Cabinet falls a scapegoat will be sought and the US might well be selected for this role.
Undoubtedly traditional ties of friendship between Holland and US have been damaged by Indonesian problem. Embassy staff seriously concerned over latent anti-American feeling. This, however, at present remains under cover as Dutch recognize and appreciate large measure of assistance given by US to Western Europe and Holland through our generous economic assistance and projected military aid. Nevertheless, we fear that once Holland is no longer subjected to pressure from SC, and by same token feels it has reestablished its honor in international field, this latent anti-Americanism may well come into the open.

The Dutch believe that they have been disregarded and unappreciated at the international bar, despite, in their opinion, their firm belief that Dutch handling of Indonesian problem if unhampered by outside interference would have been fully justified by results and that Indonesian independence should not have been established without guarantees of stability in Indonesia and of undamaged economic and financial position of Holland. They believe that they have bowed now to international opinion and pressure and have loosed Indonesia prematurely without any firm guarantees as to Indonesia’s stability or Holland’s future strength. The Dutch are sore and we fear that this resentment will be aimed at us. They think they have had enough castigation and therefore I urge that a bouquet be given them in any statement re RTC with view to retrieving some of our former popularity in Holland.

  1. Repeated in telegram 553, November 4, 5 p. m., to Batavia.