The Chargé in Spain (Crosby) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 671

Sir: With reference to my telegraphic despatch No. 31 of April 10, 11 a.m.,10 I have the honor to transmit herewith a corrected translation of the Minister of State’s Note of April 5, 1932, concerning the Spanish Government’s point of view with regard to the application of Most Favored Nation Treatment to American products in Spain, which I shall ask you to be so good as to substitute for the copy forwarded you as an enclosure to the Ambassador’s despatch No. 667 of April 6, 1932.10

Respectfully yours,

Sheldon L. Crosby

The Spanish Minister of State (Zulueta) to the American Ambassador (Laughlin)


My Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s kind memorandum of the first of this month,11 in which you were so good as to state that the Government of the United States, in authorizing unconditional most favored nation treatment to products originating in Spain, is unable to accept on the part of Spain any other treatment than that which is analogous and general, since this concession, as far as it concerns the United States, is derived from the provisions established by American legislation.

At the same time Your Excellency states that his Government is unable to accept the proposal that the negotiations, either concerning the desires formulated by the United States or the petitions made on the part of Spain, should take place simultaneously in Washington.

In reply to the memorandum referred to, I have the honor to make known to Your Excellency that the legal provisions in Spain, in accordance with those established by the decree of December 23, 1931, published in the Gaceta of the 24th, of which Your Excellency assuredly has knowledge, and the provisions of which were communicated by our Chargé d’Affaires in Washington to the Undersecretary of State, Mr. Castle, on the 12th of January last, prohibit the general concession of most favored nation treatment, and in accordance [Page 538] with these regulations the Hispano-Italian Commercial Agreement was recently concluded, and there are in course of negotiation at the present moment other negotiations with different countries. That which I have set forth, I hope, will convince Your Excellency of the legal difficulty on the part of Spain to concede to the United States, in spite of its ardent desire, a general treatment of greater favor, and which if conceded would result in prejudice to other countries which have negotiated or are negotiating conventions with Spain on the basis indicated. I must, however, call the attention of Your Excellency to the fact that the Government of the Republic is disposed to concede in practice, and disregarding the question of principle, most favored nation treatment and the greatest benefits granted by Spain to other countries, to all such articles as may be of interest to the United States, leaving, as has been proposed, to the Government represented by Your Excellency the care of submitting the list of those products for which the said treatment is requested, and, adding, as an expression of the good-will animating the Spanish Government, that the latter is disposed to agree to the commitment that, if hereafter, the Government of the United States may find any product of interest to its exports which shall not have been included in the list it may, at any time formulate its desire that the product in question be included among those that enjoy the benefits of most favored nation treatment. I, therefore, desire again to indicate to Your Excellency the good-will animating this Government in its intercourse with the United States and the concessions it is disposed to make in order to reconcile the desires that Your Excellency expresses with the formal regulations of Spanish legislation.

With the same purpose, the Government of the Republic is disposed to agree that separate negotiations may be carried on, based on the requests of the United States and those that relate to the desires formulated by Spain, though the proposal that joint negotiations of both points should be carried on had been made by the Spanish Government with a desire to facilitate and expedite the conclusion of the negotiations in progress, and, therefore, in agreeing to the separation of the two discussions in conformity with the desire expressed by the Government of the United States the Government of Spain hopes that the requests that have been made by it to the Government of Your Excellency will be adjusted in the most advantageous manner possible for the Spanish products mentioned therein, inasmuch as the unfavorable commercial balance of Spain in its trade relations with the United States greatly affects its national economic situation.

I avail [etc.]

Luis de Zulueta
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. See telegram No. 20, March 31, 5 p.m., to the Ambassador in Spain, p. 535.