The Spanish Embassy to the Department of State
In the exclusion of Spanish citizens from United States military service constant difficulties are occurring which it would be of the greatest interest to terminate.
In applying the law of the “Selective Service System”, the procedure followed is a submission to Spanish citizens by the corresponding [Page 497]“Local Boards” of certain questionnaires in which they have to state whether they oppose or accept inclusion on the lists for induction into the armed service and, if objection is made, they are given a form of petition to apply for the said exemption.
Many Spaniards, either from ignorance or fear and even for both reasons, in view of the sharp tone of the text contained in the forms, do not dare to make any objection to their induction into military service, and they are then incorporated therein on the allegation that such is their will.
The Embassy of Spain feels it must express its lack of conformity with such a procedure since it considers that the provisions of Article V of the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and General Relations between the United States and Spain of 1902 are mandatory in excluding the citizens of both contracting parties, residing in the other, from military service. Accordingly, such exclusion should be automatic and there should not and cannot be taken into account the will of the persons concerned whom this Diplomatic Mission believes it has the obligation of releasing from the rendering of such service, whether or not they have signed the forms submitted to them and made the administrative petitions which the Local Boards require.
The Military Service Act, like any other, must be applied without contradicting existing treaties, unless the latter are denounced in the manner and with the procedures established therein and it appears obvious that with the system which is being followed at present the principles contained in the above-mentioned Convention of 1902 are disregarded.