852.48/437: Telegram

The Chargé in Spain ( Matthews ) to the Secretary of State

32. I learn that some three million bushels of wheat contributed by our Government to the American Red Cross are about to be shipped to Spain for distribution to the needy by the Auxilio Social in cooperation with the American Friends Organization; and that American business concerns with interests in Spain are being asked to defray the expenses of transportation. If the foregoing is correct I wonder if it would not be possible for us to utilize the opportunity afforded by this humanitarian action to help correct certain widespread misunderstandings existing here with regard to previous food shipments to Spain during the war and to help in some small measure to bring about the needed improvement in relations between Spain and the United States—an improvement which seems desirable for a number of obvious reasons. What I have in mind is the transmission and publication of some formal and carefully phrased communication from the Department to the Spanish Government either through Cardenas or through me. If this seems at all feasible given the origin of the proposed shipment I respectfully venture to suggest that the Department give it careful consideration.

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(In this connection the British Ambassador went to Bilbao yesterday and “delivered” with appropriate ceremony a shipment of 500 tons of foodstuff “contributed” by the British Government. This morning’s press also headlines “foodstuff and coal sent by Germany and Italy continue to arrive”.)