740.0011 European War 1939/18691

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. George of the Division of European Affairs

Participants: Mr. Barclay, British Embassy;
Mr. George, Division of European Affairs.

Mr. Barclay stated that General Kindelan, now Captain General in Barcelona, recently sounded by the British Consul General in that city, stated that the Germans appear to be exerting no special pressure at this time.

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In regard to Spain, Mr. Barclay stated that the British are in possession of information from an irrefutable source, to the effect that Axis submarines have been refueling in Vigo. He added that a strenuous protest was being lodged with the Spanish Government by Sir Samuel Hoare, and that the Government was being asked to put a stop to this refueling at once and, moreover, to immobilize Axis supply ships in Spanish ports by placing Spanish guards aboard them. I remarked that this sort of thing made it very difficult for us to go on with the policy of supplying Spain, to which Barclay agreed. He added, however, that it was nonetheless the conviction of the British Government that now, more than ever, it was extremely important to continue a limited aid to Spain. It was not felt that isolated incidents of the character of the one just cited should be permitted to disrupt a policy which was felt to be of vital importance in the whole western European situation. In fact this was felt to be so important that the Government in London was understood to have asked Mr. Churchill particularly to mention the matter to President Roosevelt.

In connection with the recent occupation of Portuguese Timor by a combined Dutch and Australian force, Mr. Barclay said that as the result of subsequent conversations with the Portuguese Government it appeared to have been decided in principle that a Portuguese force, numerically stronger than the Allied force now holding Portuguese Timor, would be or had already been despatched to Timor, and that upon arrival of this Portuguese force the Allied forces of occupation would be withdrawn.