The Secretary of State to the Spanish Ambassador (Riaño)

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: I have your letter of July 17 regarding the desire of the Spanish Government to postpone indefinitely the negotiations initiated by Spain and the United States relating to the exclusion of certain hospital supplies from the lists of contraband of the belligerent countries.

The original proposal in the matter was communicated to the British Government on October 14 last. On May 17 the American Ambassador in London forwarded to the Department the list of hospital supplies which the British Government was prepared to accept as coming within paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Declaration of London, subject to the formation of a general agreement among the belligerent powers. This communication, a copy of which is enclosed, was received in the early part of June.1 In the meanwhile, however, during your call at the State Department on June 1, you informed me that the Spanish Government desired an indefinite postponement of the negotiations in question.

Inasmuch as the British Government, at the suggestion of the United States Government, had committed itself to a definite proposal before the Department had been notified of this attitude of the Spanish Government, the Department did not feel that it could properly withdraw from its expressed willingness to be of assistance in this matter, and consequently forwarded to the various belligerent powers, under date of June 25, the list submitted by the British Government.

In view of these circumstances, therefore, the Department considers that it has no alternative than to endeavor to secure from the powers concerned their replies to the proposal communicated to them by the Department on June 25, and will be glad to continue to advise you of any further steps in the negotiations.

I am [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. Not printed.