852.2221/1574a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Bullitt)

234. Department’s 233, April 4, 7 p.m.78 For Matthews. As soon as possible after your arrival in Spain it is desired that you take up [Page 806] with the appropriate authorities the question of the release of the American prisoners held by General Franco. Thurston reported on April 279 that he had discussed this matter with the Marquis de Rialp, who expressed the opinion that these Americans would be released in accordance with the original program, which contemplated the reciprocal release of Italian prisoners in the hands of the Loyalist authorities, even though it had not been possible to carry it out before final occupation of the country by Franco. Rialp appeared to believe that this would be done as an indication of the friendly attitude of the Nationalist Government, and promised Thurston that he would do everything possible to obtain such action.

It is suggested that you consult with Thurston by telephone before proceeding to Spain, with a view to taking such action thereafter as may be practicable and feasible to obtain the release of these Americans.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted the designation of H. Freeman Matthews as First Secretary of Embassy in Spain and the information that General Jordana, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at Burgos, had been requested to receive Matthews as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim (123M431/166).
  2. Telegram No. 607, not printed.