611.5231/603: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spam ( Laughlin ) to the Secretary of State

93. My telegram No. 92, November 10, 8 p.m., regarding Franco-Spanish commercial arrangement. I saw Lerroux this morning to urge reconsideration of Spanish decision not to give us reduction of rates accorded France by new arrangement. In the course of the conversation he reflected Calderon’s attitude about “concessions” on our part and the staggering balance of trade against Spain in the United States which he said they must find some means to correct.

When it became clear to me that the Spanish Government is bent on bargaining I asked for a suspension of their decision to give you time to consider my reports and possibly make concrete propositions. I think some concessions in the administrative regulations mentioned in my No. 92 would go a long way toward a satisfactory settlement. I urged that the delay I asked for would be in the interests of Spain as much as ourselves since it would leave you free from any outcry of exporters which might force your hand and oblige the President to use his retaliatory powers. I made it quite clear that such retaliation was possible.

Lerroux seemed impressed by my argument especially when I stated that the Minister of National Economy had promised the Commercial Attaché that the new rates would automatically become applicable to us. In the end he said he could not give me an immediate answer to my request for delay since he would have to take advice on that point; but he promised to send me his answer this afternoon. Since it has not reached me up to this hour I despatched this telegram without waiting longer and shall include it in a later message.