File No. 652.119/156
The Ambassador in Spain ( Willard) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 25, 12.50 a.m.]
840. Following note received from Minister of State:
I have received from Senor Siaño news which has made a deep impression.
The American Government continues to refuse to give authority for the departure of the steamers Aragon and Cataluña whose cargoes of petroleum are so needed in Spain that I fear that in a short time a serious condition will arise on account of lack of gasoline.
Also our Ambassador tells me that the American Government refuses to grant licenses to sailing ships of any country for European waters2 without taking into consideration that for this class [Page 1211]of ships there is no question about coal. This attitude calls for a most energetic protest on the part of His Majesty’s Government as among the sailing ships anchored in American ports are some Spanish ones with cargoes for this country. Only from the fact that the transmitter of this information is His Majesty’s Ambassador, could I accept this news as authentic as I should have been inclined to suppose that this report of the application to neutral vessels of a friendly country, which, in the exercise of their legitimate rights and trusting to the respect due to them and to their flag, have entered American jurisdiction, was a mistake.
The matter is settled and although pending advice I have instructed Señor Riaño to present a due protest and secure the repeal of this measure in as far as it affects Spanish ships, I have not thought that this should prevent my calling the matter to Your Excellency’s attention, sure that, in view of your desire for the maintenance of and strengthening of the relations between our two countries, you would be the interpreter to your Government of the bad impression and displeasure that this attitude has produced on His Majesty’s Government.
As to the mineral oil our Ambassador was told that if we allowed the same amount of pyrites to be sent to the United States those ships would be permitted to come with the desired oil. The assurance was given but then Riaño was informed that the prohibition was general and no exception could be made until the wants of the market could be studied.