The Chargé in Portugal (Hibbard) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:53 p.m.]
103. Due to the accumulation in Lisbon of approximately 500 American citizens awaiting repatriation at Government and Red Cross expense and whose departure must be expedited, the American Export [Page 399] Line now refuses to accept further bookings from aliens. I understand that this has the Department’s approval and I concur as I consider it essential to clear these people as quickly as possible because of the political situation even if it requires the temporary cancellation of passages already sold to aliens. In every particular there are from time to time important officials, diplomats or businessmen with their families of other countries who have important missions in the United States who must use this line and cannot obtain passage under the ruling above.
It is respectfully suggested therefore that the Department make an arrangement with the Export Line so that I may be given authority to request priority for this class of alien passengers which would probably not exceed ten on any one voyage. This would relieve the Export Line and save me the embarrassment of refusing such requests when I am constantly obliged to ask similar courtesies for our numerous Missions and officials traveling through here to other countries.
As there are four urgent diplomatic cases now awaiting, I would appreciate instructions by telegraph.