Jan Herman Van Roijen

(b. 1905)

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(b. Constantinople, 10 Apr. 1905; d. Wassenaar, 16 Mar. 1991)

Netherlandish; Minister of Foreign Affairs 1946 Van Roijen studied law in Utrecht. He followed his father in opting for a diplomatic career. His first station was Washington (1930). In 1933 he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. At his next post (Tokyo 1937) he was involved in negotiations between the Netherlands Indies and Japan. He returned to The Hague in 1939 on his appointment as director of the Division of Diplomatic Affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

During the German occupation he was arrested several times, and finally dismissed from the department. In 1944 he escaped to London to inform the government-in-exile of conditions prevailing in the occupied country. After the war he became Minister without Portfolio, charged with the reorganization of the department (1945–6). He attended several UN meetings, in San Francisco and in London. In March 1946 he changed roles with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, E. Van Kleffens, who for various reasons preferred to be a Minister without Portfolio. After a few months Van Roijen returned to diplomatic life. He was ambassador in Ottawa (1947–50), in Washington (1950–64), and in London (1964–70). During these years he played an important role representing the Netherlands before the Security Council at the height of the Indonesian conflicts. He also played an important role in arriving at the so-called Van Roijen—Roem agreements which paved the way to the Round Table Conference resulting in the transfer of sovereignty in December 1949. He played an equally important role in the negotiations which led to the transfer of Dutch New Guinea to Indonesia (1962). After retirement he carried out an important special mission to Saudi Arabia (1973).

Subjects: Politics.

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