611.5231/575: Telegram

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

24. Have just been confidentially, and I believe accurately, informed that Carlos Prast, President of the Spanish Overseas Commerce Board, has written long letter to Primo21 reciting various Spanish commercial grievances and asked for the immediate denouncement of existing commercial modus vivendi. 22 My informant who is, I think, friendly to the United States, takes these grievances seriously and has promised to obtain for me copy of the letter in order that Prast’s allegations may [Page 789] be investigated. One allegation is that Spanish tomatoes and peppers are often thrown overboard by United States customs because it is pretended that they are in bad condition and no chance is given to the shipper to recover the merchandise.

Considerable propaganda is being waged in the press obviously with censor’s approval against alleged unfair treatment of Spanish products by the United States and Primo referred guardedly to this in his speech at Huelva dedication monument April 21st. Various phases of the matter are reported in Embassy’s despatches 1209, April 22; 1210, April 23; 1211, April 25,23 the latter enclosing interesting report by Commercial Attaché. In a recent conversation Primo again referred to grievance of requiring Spanish corks to be stamped and said that this was another effort to hinder Spanish trade with the United States. See despatch 1203, April 16th.24

Under the circumstances I would appreciate telegraphic information regarding status of various Spanish grievances brought to the attention of Department with explanation thereof as I may have to discuss matters at any time with Primo and would like to be prepared. Commercial Attaché concurs. Please inform Department of Commerce.

[Paraphrase.] My belief is that the Spanish Government will not dare denounce the modus vivendi at present time, but the Government may be forced by the somewhat tense political situation to make a patriotic issue out of alleged grievances against the United States and thereby create a diversion. It is probable that unfriendly foreign interests are in every way encouraging propaganda for that purpose. [End paraphrase.]

  1. General Primo de Rivera, Marqués de Estella, President of the Spanish Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. iii, p. 729.
  3. None printed.
  4. Not printed.