File No. 656.119/60

The Netherland Legation to the Department of State

No. 4981

The United States Minister at The Hague has informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands that the articles published in the press about the final decision of the United States concerning the embargo were inaccurate and that the United States Government wishes to consider the treatment of neutrals in a friendly spirit of justice, its only aim being to prevent American articles from aiding the Central powers and to come to an understanding concerning the matter of tonnage.

Her Majesty’s Minister of Foreign Affairs in his answer to the United States Minister has been very grateful for that expression [Page 1139] of those friendly sentiments but has not been able to conceal to Mr. Garrett, that the latest events have created the impression in the Netherlands that Holland is not treated by the United States Government in a friendly way.

On September 10 the Netherland Minister presented to the Secretary of State under No. 4316 a proposition concerning Dutch tonnage to be put at the disposal of the Belgian Relief.1 Till to date no answer to that proposal has been given and in the meantime Swedish and Norwegian steamers have been chartered for the Belgian Relief at the cost of 130 guilders pro ton, whereas the Netherland Government offered transport for 65 guilders.

Grains belonging to the Netherland Government are allowed to deteriorate in Dutch bottoms notwithstanding the fact that the Netherlands proposed to transport same to Europe on conditions highly advantageous to the Belgian Relief.

The Netherland Fleet is kept in the United States harbours, which entails enormous expenses to the Netherlands Government.

The sailing of the New Amsterdam is refused without any valid reason.

All this happens notwithstanding the fact that we render great service to the United States Government by our Pacific fleet and by importing raw materials from our East Indian possessions.

It is evident that, as a neutral country, we cannot dispose of our resources one-sidedly and therefore our offer of tonnage for the Belgian Relief is founded on an acceptable basis.

Before an understanding has been arrived at concerning the proposal contained in memorandum No. 4316, offered to the Secretary of State by the Netherland Minister on September 10 and also concerning the proposal submitted by the commission to the Exports Administrative Board,2 the Netherland Government does not feel justified to allow their shipowners any other employment of their vessels, and the inaction of the fleet thus caused by the attitude of the United States means a loss of tonnage detrimental to the United States as well as to the Netherlands.

The Netherland Government to their utmost regret observe that the public opinion in the Netherlands resents the attitude of the United States Government toward a country with whom till now only the most friendly relations have existed.

  1. Ante, p. 1133.
  2. Not printed.