Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Moffat)

Mr. Thurston telephoned me this noon from Marseille. He said that although his instructions were to follow the Government, he found that there was no accommodation in or near Figueras, and accordingly proposed to go to Perpignan,25 on the French side of the border, crossing over as soon as lie could to make an appointment to call on Del Vayo and keep contact in that way. I replied that this seemed entirely logical, and that I could think of no better way in which we could convey the impression that there had been no loss of touch between the Government and our representation following the former’s departure from Barcelona.

I inquired what the British and French representatives were doing. Mr. Thurston replied that the British Minister was reaching Marseille tomorrow, but that the French Ambassador had already gone to a place the name of which, owing to our poor connection, I did not seize.

He told me that he had left the American Flag flying over the Consulate in Barcelona, and had instructed Flood, when the Franco authorities took over, to announce himself and to request protection of the offices. I said this seemed all right.

I also told Thurston that everybody here felt he had done an exceedingly good piece of work; that he had kept his head and managed the evacuation, both as to timing and otherwise, with real skill.

He said that he had one other thing to tell me, namely, that, despite press reports of a sensational nature, he did not believe that the Franco authorities had specifically endeavored to bomb the Americans while attempting to board the U. S. S. Omaha. In any event, he had given out no statement whatsoever.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. He arrived at Perpignan the evening of January 27.