881.00/1261: Telegram

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

60. The Minister for Foreign Affairs sent for me yesterday and said that he had been instructed by Primo to inform me of the resumption of negotiations regarding Tangier. Following is substance of his remarks:

Spain and Great Britain have agreed to admit participation of Italy in administration of International Zone if the latter country will adhere to the statute. Negotiations to this end are now going on in Rome. France has not yet concurred in this proposition but has submitted matter to consideration by experts and a decision is expected shortly.

Spain is very anxious to obtain control of International Zone and therefore intends to propose that the Zone be incorporated in her protectorate or, failing this, that the powers interested grant Spain a mandate over the Zone for twelve or fifteen years as a trial period preparatory to ultimate definitive cession of control. In either case Spain, prompted by the desire that the Straits be neutralized, would guarantee the neutrality of the Zone and agree not to construct fortifications or establish naval bases therein. She would also guarantee it absolute equality of treatment in trade and commerce.

He asked that I communicate these proposals to the Department by cable, adding that Spain is very anxious to gain the acquiescence of the United States as an interested power and party to the Treaty of Algeciras, which treaty would of course have to be modified if Spain’s aspirations are realized. In conclusion he expressed the opinion that the proposals are calculated to meet the views of the United States regarding the neutralization of the Straits and the open door. Similar pourparlers are being had with the representatives of the other governments interested and he expects the negotiations to go forward rapidly.

In response to my question he denied categorically that the recent convention between Spain and Italy7 which has elicited so much comment in the European press relates to other than the arbitration of disputes and the neutrality of either country in case of an attack on the other by a threatening state. He promised me a copy of this treaty which I shall send by the pouch.

Copies of this telegram mailed to London, Rome, Paris and Tangier.

  1. Treaty of Friendship, Conciliation and Judicial Settlement, signed Aug. 7, 1926; for text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. lxvii, p. 365.