740.5/1–1951: Telegram

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


1057. Fuss and furor created by General Eisenhower’s visit,2 subsequent leak re his letter to me, Kerr Herald Tribune article referring to Drees as “doctrinaire socialist” and New York Times story January 14 continues only slightly abated. There seems be only little doubt that letter leak was through Catholic member of Cabinet Defense Council … to embarrass Drees and likewise we believe General Staff collaborated in Times article. While in some ways regrettable and definitely coming at unfortunate time for Prime Minister Drees and his coalition cabinet, I believe entire affair will have positive and beneficial effect on Cabinet thinking re Netherlands national and NATO defense efforts. Practically all papers have devoted columns to defense question—in general there seems be unanimity that Netherlands not doing enough. Parenthetically, I have seen nothing in press and heard nothing from our contacts with Dutch officials and diplomats which would indicate any criticism General Eisenhower or this Embassy.

Foreign Minister Stikker in Second Chamber debate yesterday said priority must be given defense matters since “safeguarding national existence at stake,” adding new plans being worked out as to Netherlands’ contribution NATO including size of army and such decisions “will have far-reaching social consequences”. Also said in his opinion Netherlands “utmost not yet being done”.

In same debate Prime Minister Drees referred to US reports and stated “absurd” unwilling support Atlantic defense, adding entire Cabinet supported pact and Netherlands responsibilities thereunder.

Netherlands Defense Council meeting today which time new plan drawn up by General Kruls will be discussed.

Also I have appointment with Stikker tomorrow at ten when propose inform him first immediate step Netherlands must take in meeting agreed commitments under MTDP is an increase in defense expenditures 1951 of $170 million dollar equivalent, including 60 million [Page 437] training. We propose follow this up with joint discussions on working level to get Netherlands over hump.

  1. This telegram was repeated to London, Paris, and Frankfurt.
  2. Regarding General Eisenhower’s visit to The Hague, see telegram 604, January, 11, from Copenhagen, p. 413.