740.0011 European War 1939/4875: Telegram

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

401. There is evidence that Spanish official circles are becoming seriously preoccupied with the possibility that there may be trouble in French Morocco which they fear might result in the necessity of Spanish action there. This is reflected in a recent conversation between the Naval Attaché and the Minister of Foreign Affairs48 in which the latter was plainly “jittery” over the possibilities.

In this connection the Naval Attaché in Paris who has just returned from French Morocco states that there is a strong movement among the French forces, civilians and natives there to refuse to abide by the terms of the armistice and if given any opportunity and support French Morocco would be defended against all comers, with the exception of the British. One estimate of the situation is to the effect that if it would be possible for the British to give any support to the leaders of this movement in French Morocco it could be confidently expected that orders from Paris would be disobeyed and that [Page 576] any British forces which might be sent there with due advance notice would be joyfully received.

It seems doubtful whether the Spanish for the moment have any intention of attacking French Morocco particularly if they have reason to believe that the French would resist. It also seems doubtful that French forces in French Morocco would attack Spanish Morocco. The reason for Spanish uneasiness as regards the present situation therefore is due to the fear that German pressure would force Spain to attack French Morocco in the event that there was a revolt of the French armed forces in that area in which case Spain would be placed in a serious predicament.

  1. Juan Beigbeder.