852.2221/1719: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spain (Weddell) to the Secretary of State

159. Referring to my telegram Number 157, August 22, 5 p.m.,94 in calling on the new Minister of Foreign Affairs at Burgos yesterday I took occasion to point out that only 11 prisoners had been sent here for repatriation although I knew of the presence in Spanish prisons of at least 8 others notwithstanding that General Franco had told me that all prisoners of war would be released and that I hoped these 8 men would be placed at my disposition.

I remarked further that there were perhaps other Americans held by the military authorities but of this I could not be certain as my requests for a full list had been fruitless. To this latter statement the Minister instantly responded by sending for the Sub-Secretary and directing that the appropriate official in the Ministry of War be immediately communicated with and declaring that he would endeavor to meet my wishes in this respect at the earliest possible moment.

The Minister then remarked that while not fully conversant with the matter it might be that the 8 prisoners to which I referred were charged with crimes. I replied that the promise of Franco to release the prisoners had been unconditional and that I accepted this declaration and promise as all inclusive since the pardoning power lay entirely with the Chief of the Spanish State. This point seemed to impress the Minister who repeated the argument to the Sub-Secretary in my presence and promised me a prompt reply to my verbal request for the release of the remaining prisoners. I left in his hands a note listing the 8 prisoners referred to above; meanwhile preparations have been completed to send into France tomorrow morning the 11 prisoners now here.

  1. Not printed; it reported that 11 American prisoners of war who had been confined at the concentration camp at San Pedro de Cardena had arrived at San Sebastian (852.2221/1717).