652.113 Auto/35: Telegram

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

63. Your telegrams 92 to 95 inclusive. The Spanish Chargé d’Afiaires called Friday to leave a memorandum18 stating in substance that the tariff concessions granted to France do not contravene the modus vivendi, as contained in Royal Decree No. 958 and the note from the Spanish Minister of State of November 7, 1927,19 and offering to bargain for the extension to us of the French rates, on the basis outlined in the last sentence of paragraph 1 of your telegram No. 92.

The Department expressed no opinion on the relation of the Spanish action to the modus vivendi, but informed the Chargé d’Affaires that you were reporting on the entire situation and that any negotiations would continue to be handled between you and the Spanish Foreign Office.

The Department is gratified by your comprehensive reports and approves of your representations to date. In view of Spain’s definite refusal at present to grant us the reduced rates, as stated in your telegram No. 94, I agree that there would appear to be no current advantage in your presenting a formal protest; certainly not before we have come to a decision as to whether or not there has been a contravention of the modus vivendi. The matter is being carefully studied and you will receive specific instructions as soon as possible.

Please comment as to your opinion of the validity of the Spanish contention that their action does not contravene the modus vivendi, and inform me when the Department may expect to receive the text of the Franco-Spanish Agreement. Unless very lengthy I think it would also be desirable to cable a translation of the provisions of the agreement granting the preferential rates (but not the tables of rates themselves).

The Department will be pleased to receive and will sympathetically consider any statement of Spanish desires which the Government may wish to submit (reference, last paragraph of your telegram No. 94). I do not believe, however, that discussions on your part with the Foreign Office regarding the “simplification of American administrative regulations” should give the impression of being on instructions from your Government, for the reason that any modifications would appear extremely remote if not out of the question. The following is for your information only: With respect to Almeria grapes and oranges, the Department of Agriculture states that it cannot reconsider its decision [Page 1000] of last year continuing the embargo.20 Regarding preserves, I understand that there are no special requirements governing entry from Spain other than compliance with the general pure food laws and regulations which are applicable alike to domestic and foreign products. Regarding garlic, the Department of Agriculture informs me that a permit must be obtained for importation (this also applies to onions), but that the permit is available to anyone, on application. The Department has no record of correspondence regarding revolvers since 1928 [1929], and understands from the Tariff Commission and the Treasury Department that Spanish firearms are freely admitted provided that they do not simulate patented American models.

The press has been informed, in response to inquiries, merely of the available known facts concerning the Franco-Spanish agreement, of the Spanish refusal to grant us the reduced rates, and of the fact of the receipt by the Department of a protest from the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. iii, p. 732.
  3. For previous correspondence concerning the American embargo against Spanish fruits and vegetables affected by the Mediterranean fruit fly, see Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. ii, pp. 714 ff.; ibid., 1927, vol. iii, pp. 733 ff.; ibid., 1930, vol. iii, pp. 813 ff.