701.0052/18: Telegram

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

X–89. Diplomatic Corps this afternoon discussed question of protection of foreign missions and inviolability of the residences of foreign diplomats raised by the following incidents: first, group of armed militia yesterday sought entrance to Argentine Embassy and were only dissuaded after arrival of special police patrol sent on urgent request of Chargé d’Affaires; second, residence of British Embassy Attaché protected by the British flag and Embassy certificate was entered by armed militia Saturday afternoon and three Spaniards found there were arrested. British citizen also there was immediately released. Attaché is at present in France. British Chargé d’Affaires has made formal protest and reported to his Government. The residence was shared jointly by the British Attaché and titled Spaniard [Page 684] who had apparently given refuge to two others. Government claims that three men arrested have been sought for some time by the police. Commission representing Diplomatic Corps will see Foreign Minister this evening to inquire what assurances Spanish authorities can give that incidents of this kind will not be repeated.

Neither this Embassy nor residences of American Government officials in Madrid have been molested as yet. Apartment of Spanish citizen with American wife was searched Sunday but with proper authority and after first notifying this Embassy and requesting that a representative of the Embassy be present, which was done. No certificate had been issued to protect this property because of lack of evidence that it belonged to wife. The husband sought by authorities is an active Fascist. An American flag had been hung at the entrance to apartment without my permission. I expressed my appreciation to commander of searching party for the consideration shown in this instance and he promised that if it was found necessary to search residence protected by American flag and/or our certificate, Embassy would be notified first. We have used every care to give protection only to American property. Moreover, none but Americans have been admitted to the Embassy. This action is undoubtedly known to authorities and militia and has resulted in their showing us every possible consideration.