740.5/1–1751: Telegram

The United States Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council ( Spofford ) to the Secretary of State 1


Depto 420. From Spofford. Rome for MacArthur.2 Starkenborgh told us yesterday that although official word he had from Hague concerning Eisenhower’s visit3 gave no particular picture, he had received private report that General was keenly disappointed. He was most anxious ascertain any information we could give concerning Eisenhower’s actual impressions of his talks at Hague, particularly specific shortcomings in Netherlands effort which he had found. [Page 431] Starkenborgh returning to Hague tomorrow to attend meeting of Council on Defense Friday morning.

We told him immediately General had been disappointed and also that American correspondents had received unfavorable impression. (We had been told this privately by both AP and US representatives.) Today after consulting MacArthur and documentation, we went over situation with him fully and frankly. Since yesterday he had received from Stikker copy of Eisenhower’s letter to Chapin 4 and accordingly knew in general what Eisenhower felt was wrong and should be done. We referred to feeling of complacency and apparent unwillingness to deal with present problem with sufficient determination and energy, stressing need for immediate action on length of service and development of cadres.

Starkenborgh said Eisenhower’s visit had been most timely and he hoped effective. He fully agreed as to public and official complacency. He felt there had been too great a desire to relax and lick Indonesian wounds and to hide behind view that France and Belgium would not really do what they said they would and that US exaggerated what it was doing. Nevertheless there were forces in Holland with which he was working to develop sense of urgency in government and he believed that they had been making progress. They were now arguing that France and Belgium had awakened to necessity for large scale urgent action and were taking it, that magnitude of US effort was obvious and that Holland was lagging badly behind. He hoped meeting of Defense Council would produce concrete results. He said S. Jacob felt that taking into forces more men from each class called up would have more immediate effect than lengthening period of service but that Starkenborgh himself felt both were essential and that Holland must very greatly increase its contribution in manpower.

[ Spofford ]
  1. This telegram was repeated to The Hague and Rome.
  2. General Eisenhower and his party, including MacArthur, arrived in Rome from Lisbon on the afternoon of January 17.
  3. Regarding Eisenhower’s visit to The Hague, see telegram 604, January 11, from Copenhagen, p. 413.
  4. Regarding Eisenhower’s letter of January 13 to Chapin, see footnote 1, p. 416.