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

No. 545

Sir: Pursuant to the Department’s telegraphic instruction of the 4th, instant,2 directing me to press for a reply to the Department’s Note of December 5th, last, to Ambassador Riaño,3 I discussed with the Acting Foreign Minister last night the points raised by the Department and endeavored by every means possible to have them accepted.

I then reminded Señor Espinosa of his promise of last Thursday to furnish me with a definite reply to the Department’s Note aforementioned within three days. I also inquired whether he had obtained the opinion of the Treaty Board of the Council of State regarding the proposal contained in the Department’s Note, a copy of which I had handed him in my interview of the preceding week. Señor Espinosa replied that both he and the Treaty Board held the opinion which he had expressed to me on the 2nd. instant, (see my telegram No. 9, April 2, 4 P.M.),2 to wit: that Spain could not entertain, even for thirty days, a proposal which violated the Spanish law against making reductions in excess of 20% below the second column of the Spanish customs tariff. He added that he was sending telegraphic instructions in this sense to Ambassador Riaño at Washington in order to enable him to reply immediately to the Department’s Note of December 5th, last. Señor Espinosa then said that as it had been intimated to him that the Government of the United States would not consider any treatment less favorable than that accorded at present to England, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Norway, all of which were receiving concessions in the form of duties lower than 20% below the second column, he doubted that a treaty could be made at this time. He intimated, nevertheless, that his Government might [Page 708] accede to a further prorogation of the treaty between our respective countries.

I have [etc.]

Alexander P. Moore