Charge Winthrop to the Secretary of State.

No. 43.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy and translation of a royal decree which appeared in the Gaceta of to-day and which the Department may consider of sufficient interest and far-reaching in its practical scope as to secure some publicity therefor in order that the ever-increasing number of American citizens who travel may be less deterred from visiting Spain, a country which has so much in the way of interest to offer to the tourist. The decree is also interesting as furnishing evidence of the national awakening to the need of a wider intercourse with the outside world, both from the educational as well as from the pecuniary point of view. As regards the latter, it appears to be realized by all thinking Spaniards how directly the pecuniary resources of the country may be benefited by an influx of travelers, and how much this has contributed to the prosperity of such countries as Switzerland, as well as to the rehabilitation of Italy.

In some recent newspaper discussions of the recent very startling fall in the rate of exchange on Paris, this having now fallen to 26.75 (this being the premium in pesetas paid for a 100-franc note, whereas most of the summer it has hovered about 31 and last year it fluctuated between 32 and 34), a realization of the desirability of fostering the aim of this decree is voiced in no uncertain terms. The approaching visit of the President of France will unquestionably do much good in developing this idea and in making Spaniards see the practical good which will come to them in furthering the provisions of the said decree.

I have, etc.,

Robert M. Winthrop, Jr.

royal decree.

Upon the advice of the minister of fomento and in accord with the council of ministers, I decree as follows:

  • Article 1. A national commission is herewith created charged with encouraging in Spain, by whatever means are at its disposal, the visit of foreigners, either those coming for pleasure or improvement.
  • Art. 2. This commission will be presided over by the minister of fomento, and will be composed of members to be designated by him.
  • Art. 3. Among the adequate means for encouraging the influx of foreign travelers, to the study and establishment of which the national commission named in the preceding article will at once begin to devote itself, will be the following:
    Preparing and publishing in foreign countries itineraries for travel, in order that the chief national and artistic monuments, landscapes, etc., may be visited most easily and profitably.
    To study means and take the proper steps with the railway companies in order to organize and establish special tariffs and fast comfortable trains, which, starting from the frontier, and, if possible, from the seaports as well, may convey travelers on these tours, making the journey attractive and comfortable.
    In concert with deputies, town councils, or other bodies as may be expedient to see that an improvement be arrived at in the lodging and services of all kinds relating to travelers, and when it may be done legitimately to attract and retain the subjects of other nations.
    To publish and diffuse in foreign countries, in the appropriate language, historical facts, descriptions of our monuments, and whatever may be considered useful for the better [Page 851] appreciation of beauties, artistic as well as natural, and for giving a knowledge of our history and for awakening the curiosity of foreigners.
    Whatever other work or steps to be taken, which, in the judgment of the above-named commission, and with the approbation of the government, if such be necessary, will be considered as contributing to the design of favoring the coming into Spain of the foreign traveling public.
  • Art. 4. The minister of fomento will include in the next national budget the amount which, in the judgment of the above-named commission, is considered necessary in order to attend to the printing and propagation of the work which is to be accomplished in the carrying out of the preceding articles.
  • Art. 5. The minister of fomento is authorized to arrange what dispositions are necessary to carry out the present decree.


Alvara Figuepoa,
Minister of Fomento.