852.00/2190: Telegram

The Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier (Blake) to the Secretary of State

8. Question of fueling Spanish war vessels in Tangier Bay causing menacing situation. General Franco threatens bombardment of ships in Tangier harbor if supplies are furnished. Tangier International Administration delaying action on question of principle, pending arrival of warships from Italy, France, Portugal, and England. Shell declining to furnish on pretext of unsuitable stocks available. My suggestion to Vacuum Oil Company was to inform ships that the company, as an American concern, would prefer to make no deliveries until they knew through the Sultan’s representative in Tangier that the constituted international authorities of the zone do not consider such deliveries to violate the statutory neutrality or failing such advice from Sultan’s representative until the American Legation in Tangier has received instructions in the matter from its Government. Vacuum Oil Company, however, have decided on their own initiative advisable to supply small quantity desired on demand of Spanish Minister at Tangier. Transaction to be effected through third party.

Technically it is difficult to decide whether the neutrality provisions of the Tangier statute7 could be deemed to oppose delivery in the circumstances.

Would deeply appreciate cable advice of Department’s reactions and instructions.

  1. Convention between Spain, France, and Great Britain regarding the Organization of the Statute of the Tangier Zone, signed at Paris, December 18, 1923, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxviii, p. 541.