852.75 National Telephone Co./283: Telegram
The Ambassador in Spain (Weddell) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 26—10:40 a.m.]
136. Department’s 61, July 22, 1 p.m. I was cordially received yesterday afternoon at Burgos by Franco with whom I went over the points brought out in the Department’s telegram under reference.
Franco said that as regards Behn he thought the matter of his entrance would be favorably settled “in a day or so,” that he knew him and had a good opinion of him but that he had been denounced by various people and that it had been necessary to investigate these denunciations. Franco added that however the investigations “had been delayed too long”.[Page 842]
Franco then stated with reference to the American prisoners of war that he thought there was no objection now existing to their prompt release.
To all the foregoing I countered that while I was gratified yet he had given me nothing of a definite character.
Franco replied to this by saying that the Minister for Foreign Affairs was fully informed and that I should see him. I thereupon requested him to arrange an interview for me with Jordana and this very day; this he said he would do and instructed his secretary accordingly.
I went immediately to call on the Minister for Foreign Affairs. As I began to go over the same ground as with his chief he interrupted me to say that he was fully informed as he had just been talking by telephone with Franco. I again urged the point that I be given some definite statement on the questions at issue to which he replied “the American prisoners are at your disposition; where do you wish them delivered?” I said that I would promptly consult my Government and inform him.
Referring to Behn, the Minister said that his “activities” had been under investigation by their secret police and that a report had been promised him last week which in view of Franco’s statements would doubtless be a favorable one; that he would endeavor to expedite this report and would try to communicate with me later in the evening wishing to clinch matters. I then called on the Under Secretary who as I entered remarked “I congratulate you on your victory”, adding after a pause “and I also congratulate myself a little” adding that he had always been a partisan of the idea of Behn’s prompt entry. I said I was glad but that I really had nothing definite concerning his entry but that the Foreign Office had told me he would try to let me know that night; the Under Secretary remarked that he too would do his best.
About 10:30 the Under Secretary called at my hotel saying he came to inform me that I was authorized to inform my Government that Behn would be permitted to enter the country and that the Spanish Consul at Hendaye was being instructed to issue him a visa any day after Thursday the 27th. I am today informing Behn of this.
As I desire to liquidate the matter of the prisoners as soon as possible I would appreciate a reply to my telegram 124, July 17, 5 p.m.,14 and information regarding payment of their transportation subsistence from the time they cross the frontier (presumably at Irun). Although I will endeavor to secure the release of as many as possible the Government may well refuse to release some who have been sentenced on account of specific charges. For this reason I suggest that [Page 843] the Department inform me as to the amount I can use for each individual rather than a lump sum to cover an indefinite number. If the Department prefers these funds could be placed at the disposition of the Consulate at Bordeaux and an officer of that Consulate be instructed to receive the prisoners at the frontier and handle their transportation et cetera from that point.
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