352.1115/3018: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in Spain ( Thurston ) to the Secretary of State

X–510. The Embassy at Madrid requests that it be furnished the following supplies, based on the requirements of 100 persons for 2 months: “360 pounds corned beef large sizes; 336 red salmon; 100 [Page 479] bacon; 150 pounds each codfish, sauerkraut, macaroni, dried peaches, apricots, prunes, navy beans, lentils, garbanzos, sugar; 240 cans tomatoes; 30 cans each cornstarch, tapioca”.

The Military Attaché, who recently visited Madrid, states that the situation in the Embassy with respect to food supplies is not satisfactory and that the articles listed are necessary.

There are at present 28 American nationals in the Embassy, classified as follows: “6 newspaper correspondents; 1 resident (Captain Cannaday); 12 Puerto Rican and Philippine adults; 9 minor children of above.[”] The 73 non-nationals are classified as follows: “1 Dane (acting manager International Banking Corporation); Embassy and related employees and families, 40 adults 5 children; servants of absent American residents, 7 adults, 4 children; guards 16.[”]

A statement submitted to me by the International Banking Corporation implies that only one-third of the occupants pay for subsistence and that the resulting deficit is being met by the bank for the account of the “State Department or Red Cross fund”. I am not informed with respect to the authorization for such expenditures. The amount due the bank as of January 31 was approximately 13,000 pesetas.

The alternative to the existing situation is to close the Embassy and bring its occupants to Valencia, a difficult procedure both as to transportation and accommodations in this overcrowded city where the necessity for their maintenance would continue. Moreover, such a move would, I believe, provoke adverse criticism on the part of the American press, while in the event of the fall of Madrid it presumably would be desirable to have our Embassy occupied even though only in the charge of a custodian.

If the supplies requested are to be furnished they should be delivered at Valencia by a naval vessel. Transportation to Madrid can be effected by motor. To facilitate this, as well as other official travel it is [requested?] that 150 gallons of gasoline in 50-gallon drums be supplied at the same time.