740.0011 European War 1939/18237: Telegram

The Chargé at Tangier (Childs) to the Secretary of State

4. Legation’s despatches number 470 [475] and 503 of December 9 and 17, 1941. Evidence is accumulating that General Orgaz, High Commissioner for Spain in Morocco, is taking measures to insure himself of the united support of Spanish Morocco in any development which may cast him as the successor of Franco.12 High officials of the Spanish Zone administration are being replaced one by one with professional soldiers of unquestioned loyalty to Orgaz (see last paragraph Legation’s telegram number 421 December 29, 4 p.m.13). From numerous reliable sources, the Legation is informed that Orgaz who is said to be very highly regarded by the Spanish Army and [Page 447] who is very ambitious is taking every precautionary measure to insure himself of control as far as possible of any emergency situation that may develop.

A reliable contact of the Legation who has no connection with the informant mentioned in my despatch No. 470 [475], suggests like the latter that Orgaz should be approached and asked what he and the Spanish Army propose to do in the event of the occupation of Spain by Germany or in the event of a westward push from Tunisia by British forces. The same source suggests the Spanish Army could be mobilized by Orgaz if he were assured of material support by the Allies.

There are increasing signs of Spanish doubt of Germany’s [apparent omission]. Orgaz has remarked to a mutual friend upon the great Spanish losses in Russia while Uriarte, delegate of the High Commissioner in Tangier who has just been promoted general, has expressed to my British colleague great admiration of the recent accomplishments of the British Navy in the Mediterranean.

The increasingly friendly attitude on the part of the Spanish authorities toward the Legation reported in my despatch 475 continues. When Uriarte called with his wife on the 1st to convey New Year greetings he reiterated the hope previously conveyed through my Spanish colleague that we would send an American vessel here with supplies (see my telegram 426, December 31, 4 p.m.14). On this occasion he expressed the belief the war would be over by the end of this year. I stated that I did not see how this would be possible as we would not be in a position to exert our full strength for some months yet and he could rest assured that a compromise peace was entirely excluded.

Repeated to Madrid.

  1. Gen. Francisco Franco, Spanish Chief of State.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.