740.0011 European War 1939/3649: Telegram

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

178. I called upon the Foreign Minister this afternoon in an effort to obtain first reactions to the Italian entry into the war. The Minister appeared quite tense and stated that the Italian action was “madness” and that he had not foreseen it.

In response to my direct query if I might assure my Government that the neutral attitude of Spain of which he had previously given me categoric statements was unchanged he seemed to hedge declaring textually “that is to be presumed”. He added that if for example Italy should attack the Balearics or England Ceuta Spain would resist.

I pressed him for a more definite statement on Spain’s neutrality to which he repeated his remark above and added that neutrality was what Spain aspired to and that the whole question would be discussed by the Cabinet. Our conversation was intercepted [interrupted?] by a telephone call to Tetuan his representative there declaring that “all was quiet”.

I am expecting to see Franco6 within the next day or so and will not fail to emphasize the fact that any assistance from the United States would be conditional upon the maintenance by Spain of its neutrality.

  1. Gen. Francisco Franco, Spanish Chief of State.