The Secretary of State to the Counselor of Embassy in Spain ( Thurston )
Washington , January 16, 1939—7 p.m.
506. Your 1116 , January 15, 11 p.m. We have given careful consideration to your telegram and to the problems which may have to be faced in the near future at Barcelona.
- Our first concern is the personal safety of the members of our staff. As we have repeatedly stated, we do not desire that our officers expose themselves to danger if it can possibly be avoided. We must necessarily leave much to your discretion, but from this distance it seems to us that it would be hazardous for you and the consular staff to return to Barcelona under present conditions. You should also bear in mind that it is considerably safer to send one of our naval vessels to Caldetas than to Barcelona.
- Whenever in your judgment circumstances justify such action the Consulate General should urge American residents to leave while means of transportation to France are still available.
- We recognize the desirability of keeping the Consulate General open if it can be done without personal danger to the staff. If Barcelona should be occupied by General Franco consideration will be given to returning Flood12 and the consular staff to that City on an American naval vessel.
- If the Spanish Government should remove to some other place in Spain we shall in all probability desire you to follow if it is safe and practicable. Before doing so, however, you should inform us of your plans. Embassy clerks Gilbert and Krieger would accompany you.
- With reference to your 1167, January 16, 10 a.m.,13 the Navy Department approves the despatch of a vessel upon your request, and has so informed Admiral Lackey.
Keep us informed of all developments, including action taken by your principal colleagues.
Copy has been sent to Ambassador Bowers for his information.