Negotiating a truce

The committee of confidence sent a telegram to London summarizing what had been discussed in the meeting with Seyss-Inquart. Written word alone would not be enough to convince the allies of the sincerity of Seyss-Inquart's proposal. With the aid of the feared SD two men from the committee managed to reach the liberated south of Holland. Van Gaay was the first to arrive on 14th April. Neher would arrive one day later. Van Gaay contacted Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands directly after his arrival. He met with the prince and the Dutch Prime Minister Gerbrandy and convinced them that the German proposal for a truce was the best way to immediately get food to Holland.

First priority seemed now to stop the Allied advance towards Western Holland. Prince Bernhard flew directly to Reims to meet Eisenhower. Eisenhower told Bernhard that Montgomery had stopped the advance a few days earlier and that there was no immediate danger in that direction. As far as negotiating a truce with the Germans was concerned, The American general concluded that he was not authorized to start these negotiations without direct orders from England and The States.

Gerbrandy met Churchill the next day. The British prime minister was not delighted with Seyss-Inquarts' words. Churchill himself was very aware of the plight of the Dutch. He found Seyss-Inquarts threads very offensive and did not think that a good base for negotiations. There had to be another way. Three days later on a second meeting between Gerbrandy and Churchill, the first learned that the latter had agreed to give Eisenhower the liberty to negotiate a truce. Washington also had to agree before Eisenhower could indeed negotiate. The Americans had no objections to the plan, as long as a Russian delegation was present at every meeting to assure Stalin that the western allies would not run off and create their own peace with Germany. A peace that would not mean the unconditional surrender of the latter.

On 23rd April the Chief of Staff Marshall authorizes General Eisenhower to negotiate a truce with the German forces in Western Holland if he sees this to be fit. The negotiations should not interfere with the demand for unconditional surrender.

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Footage of the delegations arriving in Achterveld in 1945:

The Manna Monument at Terbregge

At the exact spot of one of the dropzones overlooking the freeway at Terbregge is the Manna monument located. It symbolizes the belly of an allied bomber filled with food parcels. The monument has been the central location of the Manna / Chowhound commemorations since its unveilling in 2006. One year later the Air Commodore Geddes footpath was opened next to the memorial.

Diary of Norman Coats

May 3 - "Another mercy mission to Holland. We went deeper into Holland today. Very low altitude. I believe I must have waved at everyone in Holland. It is really a shame the ocean being turned into Holland. The great fields of tulips are beautiful. They had, "Thank You" spelled out with rocks. They could see me waving at them because they would point each others attention to it. Some of them had American flags waving them."