Top Secret
22 November 1941
From: Spenavo London
Action: OPNAV

By Vice Admiral Furstner, Minister for Marine in the Dutch Government in England and CINC of all Dutch naval forces, I have been asked informally to present the following to you and request your informal reply. Dutch Government has received reports to the effect that Japan is concentrating an expeditionary force in Palau. Dutch state it is difficult to ascertain veracity of this information but they consider that this point does not absolve them from considering what should be done by the Dutch in case this reported concentration leads to an expedition crossing the Davao-Waigeo line or the Equator east of that line (see PARA 26ADB April 1941). Dutch Government are inclined to consider that any such expedition could only be regarded as a direct menace to Netherlands East Indies and thereby as a non direct threat to the territories and interest of the United States and Great Britain and that therefore it would have to be immediately countered by force. Dutch state that before definitely making up their minds in this respect, they would like to have the views of our C. N. O. The possibility of an individual Japanese commander acting against the intentions of the Japanese Government should be taken into account and also the fact that in case of that nature, the Japanese Government has the tendency to back up the commander in question considering that otherwise the Japanese would lose face. Dutch have received information that 4,000 laborers have left Japan for Palau.

I suggested the possibility of confusion between the movement of laborers with the reported movements of expeditionary force.

Biddle requests this be passed to State for information.