File No. 763.72112/1359
The Spanish Ambassador (Riaño) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 19.]
My Dear Mr. Secretary: As I have no doubt that you will recall, I visited you on June 1 ultimo, and acting upon instructions from my Government, informed you that it was the opinion of the Spanish Government that, under the existing circumstances, it was expedient to postpone indefinitely the negotiations initiated by Spain and the United States to obtain from the belligerents that, in order to insure the supplies of their hospitals, the articles and materials mentioned in paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Declaration of London of 1909 should not be considered contraband.
You had then the kindness to inform me that the views of the Spanish Government upon the subject in question met with your entire approval, and that you would instruct the American representatives in the countries concerned to postpone indefinitely any further action on the matter, according to the suggestion of the Government of Spain, and I at once informed my Government of your attitude upon the question.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs in Madrid now telegraphs me that he has received a note from Ambassador Willard, in which he states that the American Government has sent to its representatives in belligerent countries a list of the articles, the transit of which England would be disposed to accept, with instructions to negotiate [Page 1052] their acceptance by the other belligerents; and the Ambassador asks that the Spanish representatives be similarly instructed.
As these instructions which have been communicated to Mr. Willard appear to imply a change of attitude on the part of the Government of the United States upon a question in which, owing to the initiative taken by the King of Spain, the Spanish Government feels a keen interest, I should consider it a very great favor if you could confidentially inform me to what reasons it responds.
If, as I hope, you have no objection to communicating them to me, I should be most grateful if you would do so as soon as possible; and if you should prefer to do so verbally, I shall be glad to go down to Washington and see you at any time which may suit your convenience.
Believe me [etc.]