The Ambassador in Spain (Woods) to the Secretary of State

No. 380

Sir: Confirming my cable No. 66 of November 9, 1 P.M.,6 I have the honor to transmit herewith, in copy and translation, the text of the Note, No. 139, received November 9, 1922, under date of November 5, 1922, from the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Department will note that the Minister of State, in accordance with Spanish Tariff Law, denounces, on one year’s notice, the Commercial Agreement of August 1, 1906, as provided for in Article 3 thereof. The Department, moreover, will observe that the Minister of State recognizes the 1906 Agreement as being in full force and effect, and expresses on behalf of the Spanish Government the desire to reach an agreement for the negotiation of a new commercial treaty.

The Department is aware that many advantages have been conceded by Spain to France, England, Switzerland and other countries through treaties which she has recently negotiated on the “quid pro quo” basis provided for under Spanish Tariff Law. This denunciation, giving one year’s notice in accordance with Article 3 of the aforesaid Agreement of 1906, is, I believe, highly advantageous to American business interests, as it evidently gives them during that year the benefit, under the “most-favored-nation” clause of the Agreement of 1906, of the advantages already gained by the other principal trading nations through treaty concessions.

During my recent visit to the United States, I discussed at length the background of the present situation with Mr. William R. Castle, Jr., Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs, who should be in a position to acquaint you with my views on any phase of the matter which you might care to consider in reaching a decision with regard to entering into new treaty negotiations with the Spanish Government.

In connection with the significance to be attached to the fact that the Minister of State recognizes the 1906 Agreement as being in full force and effect, I have the honor to call the Department’s attention to its confidential instruction No. 88 of August 10, 1922.6

I have [etc.]

Cyrus E. Woods
[Page 918]

The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Prida) to the American Ambassador (Woods)

No. 139

Sir: Since the law of April 22 of the present year prescribes that such tariff reductions as may be conceded by Spain to any nation can be extended to another only by virtue of a special agreement and the obtainment of equivalent advantages, and since the commercial agreement of August 1, 1906, now in force between Spain and the United States is in conflict with that law, therefore His Majesty’s Government finds itself obliged to denounce the aforesaid agreement in order to comply with the terms of that law.

Consequently, instructions have been issued to His Majesty’s Ambassador in Washington to notify the North American Government as of this date of the denunciation of the commercial agreement in question, which, therefore, will terminate on November 5, 1923, in accordance with its third article.

Nevertheless, as His Majesty’s Government is desirous that commercial relations between Spain and the United States shall not suffer any deterioration upon the termination of the present contractual regime, it is disposed to come to an agreement with the North American Government for the negotiation of a new commercial agreement.

In informing Your Excellency of the above, with the request that you will kindly bring it to the attention of your Government, I take the opportunity [etc.]

Fernandez Prida
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  3. File translation revised.