352.115 Eastern States Petroleum Co./38: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain (Bowers), Then in France

B–407. Tour 433, January 29, 2 p.m. Careful consideration was given by the Department when this case first arose as to the best manner of communicating with General Franco. You were requested to take the matter up with Franco’s representative because this appeared to be the most satisfactory means of communication. This conclusion was in line, moreover, with your own recommendation that communications to General Franco should be addressed through you and not through Bay and General Queipo de Llano. Unless circumstances have changed since your recommendation was made, we fail to see what useful purpose would be served by making representations to Queipo de Llano. Our desire is to communicate in the quickest and most direct manner possible with General Franco, who alone appears to have the authority to order the release of the Nantucket Chief.

Message from Fisher via Gibraltar, dated January 29,22 reports trial of captain “was held 9 o’clock morning of 27th and naval prosecutor asked 12 to 20 years for captain and confiscation ship’s cargo. Verdict not yet announced. Captain in prison, all other members of crew on board.”

In telegram on January 29,22 to which no reply as yet received, Department instructed Fisher to report circumstances of captain’s arrest and exact charges against him.

You are requested again to communicate with General Franco’s representative with a view to immediate action by General Franco for release of captain and vessel. It may be added that owners have assured Department that when released vessel will not be used in further trade with Spanish ports. We are not interested in cargo.

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