The British Embassy to the Department of State
Before he assumed his post General Orgaz had several conversations with Sir S. Hoare22 who reported that his influence was increasing and that he was regarded by many as the country’s strong man.
His career in Morocco has largely borne out this view. Some time ago His Majesty’s Consul-General at Tangier reported that General Orgaz was before everything pro-Spanish. After that he was a friend of Germany but although he admired the Germans more than the British it was doubtful if he really wished to see Germany win. His friendship for the Germans was largely based on fear, his desire to keep them satisfied in order to achieve some satisfaction in regard to Spanish claims on French Morocco, and lastly on the fact that he had to keep in with the Germans or risk dismissal by Señor Suñer.
Since this report the attitude of the General seems to have improved from the Allied standpoint. As High Commissioner he has always been well disposed towards British interests and has maintained cordial relations with His Majesty’s Consul-General, and although his subordinates have cooperated closely with the Germans and imposed certain restrictive measures on distribution of British propaganda, the situation has been somewhat restored as a result of representations to the General.
Mr. Gascoigne23 is convinced that a British victory in Libya for instance would weigh very heavily with General Orgaz and he has suggested that it would be worth while in that case for us to make some concrete proposals to bring him definitely on to our side.
In conversations with His Majesty’s Ambassador in Madrid, General Orgaz has several times repeated that his duty in the Spanish zone is to maintain strict neutrality and that he intends to maintain it in spite of pressure from outside. In the autumn of last year he strongly advised General Franco to resist German demands on Spain. [Page 452] The recent change in the administration of Morocco which has removed control from the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs to the office of the Head of State undoubtedly strengthens the General’s position by making him responsible only to General Franco.
The impression of the Foreign Office therefore is that General Orgaz intends to play an independent role and if given encouragement and support he might be persuaded to take active steps to stand up to any German aggression in North Africa.