4 December 1941
From: SPENAVO LONDON
Info: 031413 (Part Two Baker)
That it therefore seemed better to make no declaration at all until there was evidence more definite than was at present available of concentrations of Japanese forces constituting a threat to Netherlands territory. (C). His Majesty's Government recognise the military value that the declaration of a defense zone would have if definite evidence of such concentrations was obtained but that they consider the declaration would be less provocative to Japan and less prejudicial to the Washington negotiations if it were confined to a unilateral declaration by the Netherlands East Indies of a zone manifestly designed as a defense measure for their own shores. (D). That in similar circumstances His Majesty's Government had been compelled to make a unilateral declaration of a defense zone on the open seas off the coast of Johore when the Japanese concentrations on the northern border of Indochina began to constitute a threat to Malaya. The declaration of this zone in waters adjacent to British territory was plainly a measure only  of defense and was at the time accepted as such by Japan without serious criticism. (E). Mr. Eden therefore suggested that if a declaration proved necessary the Netherlands Government should declare that a certain military and naval defense measures have been taken in the area south and west of the Davao-Waigeo-Equator line and that accordingly all vessels intending, to enter this zone must notify the Netherlands naval authorities of their intention and call at specified ports for routing instructions. Such a declaration would be analogous to that made by His Majesty's Government off Johore and would not be likely to increase existing tension. Winant and Biddle informed. Please inform State.
(PROCEEDINGS OF THE HART INQUIRY EXHIBIT NO. 79 DESPATCHES ON DUTCH ALERT )