352.1121 Blodgett, Walton/171: Telegram

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

12. My telegram No. 11, January 21, 4 p.m. Saw Foreign Minister last night. Government amazed at taking two Americans to jail Saturday. As promised, Minister of War Sunday morning telegraphed instructions to Auditor at Palma not to imprison anyone and after receipt of instructions Auditor sent other two to jail. Taken to task he said he had instructions from Supreme Court which were superior to those of Government to imprison Americans. Learned Court ordered it on representations from Auditor prisoners planning escape. Foreign Minister says this disobedience of Auditor to be subject of serious consideration Council of Ministers today.

Foreign Minister explained Government plan to have decision accompanied with provision that prisoners to be “held at the disposal of Court” rejected by Court on the ground that since pardon to be asked sentence must be in operation before petition can be considered. Process of pardon follows: The military division of Supreme Court that decided the case acts first on application for pardon. If it decides favorably Council of Ministers instantly asks President of the Republic for pardon. If unfavorable, entire Supreme Court acts on it and Foreign Minister says pardon positively certain here. Meanwhile Government earnestly seeking formula through which prisoners may be out of jail in the interval. Informed confidentially by Associated Press its man told last night by the judge of the military division who wrote the decision that the Fiscal of the Republic would recommend pardon, the Court would accept his recommendation and that pardon will be granted within 5 days.

Am positive Government has exerted itself consistently to end the case satisfactorily to us and has been hampered by conflict of authority in the courts and harrassed by the malice against the regime by the Auditor at Palma de Mallorca.

… here insistent that Dawson be ordered to Palma de Mallorca to investigate prison conditions of prisoners. Is the cost authorized?