124.52/168: Telegram

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

240. Your X–444, January 9, 7 p.m. We feel that you should emphasize again to the American nationals in the Embassy premises that they remained in Madrid contrary to our advice and upon their own responsibility. Events of the last few days make it clear that they are subjecting themselves to the most serious personal danger. The general evacuation of civilians ordered by the Government will probably be followed by an intensification of military activity with even greater dangers to noncombatant. Moreover, the food supply in the Embassy premises is almost exhausted.

In the circumstances, if facilities are available to permit the Americans in Madrid to depart for a place of safety, you should immediately urge them to do so without delay. If such facilities are not available, please discuss with the appropriate authorities the matter of their providing facilities to accommodate those Americans who can be persuaded to depart from Madrid.

We are giving consideration to your suggestion to close the Embassy premises and will instruct you later regarding this question. Can you ascertain informally whether the Spanish authorities could provide facilities to transport our Spanish employees and their families to Valencia, in addition to the American nationals, if we decide to close the Embassy premises.

In the meantime, since important developments may occur suddenly, we desire to give you full discretionary authority in connection with closing the Embassy premises if you feel that an emergency should be met without time to communicate with us.

We should be glad to have any further suggestions or recommendations which you may have in connection with this matter.