File No. 652.119/9
Memorandum of the Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk)
The Spanish Ambassador called and said he had seen some statements in the papers in regard to this Government’s embargoing wheat and coal to neutrals. I told him that nothing had been settled by this Government; as yet the matter was being considered and discussed. I told him for his confidential information that while we had come to no conclusion it was being urged that this Government use the embargo to control the export of necessities, not to embargo the neutrals further than was necessary for our own protection, that we were considering the proposition of asking certain neutrals to get their wheat for instance from Australia so the neutral shipping could be used and relieve shipping of the belligerents. I said that it had been suggested that this country take over the supply of coal to South America and Spain, but of course if this were done we would be most careful not to interfere with any reciprocal arrangements existing with the European belligerents. That is to say, if any neutral was giving anything to Great Britain in exchange for coal it would be necessary that that agreement be carried out then we would [not?] supply the coal, otherwise we would be in a position of supplying neutrals and depriving our allies of necessary supplies. He thought it was all very reasonable and said he could quite see why this Government would refuse to give supplies to neutrals if as the result of these supplies being sent to neutrals they would be relieved of arrangements now existing with Great Britain and France.