Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The British Chargé d’Affaires called to see me on Saturday, November 9, and again on Monday, November 11.

Mr. Butler first took up the question of the attitude of the Government of the United States towards the Spanish Government, particularly with respect to the shipment of food supplies for civilian relief, and with regard to the granting of credits to the Spanish Government for the purchase of raw materials in the United States. The views of the British Government are set forth in detail in the aide-mémoire attached herewith.39

I informed Mr. Butler that this Government had been in close touch with the American Ambassador in Madrid during the past few days in connection with this general subject and that after very full and careful consideration, final instructions in this regard had been sent to Ambassador Weddell. I told Mr. Butler that, as I believed he would realize, the funds which would be expended by this Government for the purchase of food supplies for civilian relief in Spain were funds of the United States Government itself and were not funds of the American Red Cross. I said that neither the Congress, which had appropriated these funds, nor American public opinion would countenance the utilization of these funds for grants to the Spanish Government unless positive assurance were had that the Spanish Government would not facilitate the war of the axis powers against Great Britain, nor acquiesce in the passage through Spain of German or Italian troops. I stated that if the Spanish Government were willing to give positive assurances in this sense, and let it be publicly known that such was the policy of the Spanish Government, this Government would be prepared to proceed with the plans which were already under consideration when Señor Serrano Suñer undertook his visits to Berlin and Rome and the apparent change in the policy of Spain came about. Mr. Butler seemed to comprehend the reasons for this attitude on the part of this Government.

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