Foreign Ministers, perennially harassed characters, often wish they could be in two places at once. The Netherlands last week did its best to make the trick possible. When Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees formed a new government, after a 65-day cabinet crisis, he appointed not one but two Foreign Ministers. No. 1: Johan Beyen, 55, former executive of a soap company and a political independent. No. 2: Career Diplomat Joseph Luns, 41, a member of the Catholic Party. The dual appointment had a political reason (the Catholics were determined to have the Foreign Minister's post), but it also had a practical reason: the job had proved almost too much for one man.
But having two Foreign Ministers might prove to be as complicated as having two wives: the housekeeping problems were tremendous. Foreign Minister No. 1 moved into the official residence in The Hague, while officials sought hurriedly for a residence of equal status for Foreign Minister No. 2. Beyen moved into the Minister's office while Luns had to be content with a secretary's office. Officials, accustomed to signing official communications "For the Foreign Minister," now signed cagily: "For a Foreign Minister."
In making the appointments, Premier Drees had hoped to have one Foreign Minister at home while the other was abroad. But no sooner were they appointed than Luns was on his way to the U.S., while Beyen hurried off to Luxembourg.