352.115/7: Telegram

The Third Secretary of Embassy in Spain (Wendelin) to the Secretary of State

X–33. Department’s telegram No. 69 of August 3, 6 p.m. Personally presented formal note to Sub-Secretary of State today setting forth Department’s position regarding interference with American property and insistence on prompt and full payment for any property requisitioned for necessities of war or otherwise. Sub-Secretary promised immediate and sympathetic consideration and stated that he would immediately request Minister of Industry and Commerce for explanation of his reputed statement quoted by Department. The statement in question appeared in the local press several days ago.

I asked the Sub-Secretary if he had any objection to the Embassy furnishing certificates American firms in Madrid to be displayed at [Page 662] their places of business; that in future no goods may be taken or requisitioned therefrom without written authority from the Government and immediate payment therefor. While declining to make a formal reply, he made no objection when I pointed out that surely the Spanish Government would not permit unauthorized seizure of American property and non-payment therefor if requisitioned. German Embassy has already issued such certificates and informed me today that in at least two instances this measure has prevented seizure of property of German nationals.

We have already furnished certificates to protect residences of Americans and are issuing similar ones to American owners of automobiles requesting that their property be respected. Thus I am glad to report that no American property is known to have been requisitioned or seized in Madrid except several private automobiles all of which have been recovered except one. Consul Franklin, Barcelona, reports similar record there, except for taking over of Ford and General Motors plants previously reported. Will transmit Ministry of State’s reply to my note today as soon as received.