The Chargé at Tangier (Childs) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 16—7:34 a.m.]
274. The following repeated to Madrid.
General Orgaz, Spanish High Commissioner, received us most cordially when I presented to him today Colonel Johnson, the new Military Attaché.
In the course of an extended conversation during which I endeavored to draw Orgaz out he renewed previous hopes expressed to me that the status quo would remain unchanged in Morocco. He observed he saw no reason why the situation should change. When I inquired specifically whether he anticipated any military operations he said the French seem to be disturbed and referred to movements of troops in the French Zone.
I asked him against whom these were directed in his opinion and he said they were not toward the Spanish Zone frontier as the French had nothing to fear from the Spanish Zone. The troop movements he added seemed to be toward the coast and he left the impression that they were being taken against a possible allied landing (Casablanca reported on June 12 that there had been a general movement of troops from the interior to the coast).[Page 466]
I referred to the press campaign in the Spanish press regarding Spanish claims in North Africa (see my 271, June 1336 and similar reports from Madrid) and asked him concerning its significance. He parried my questions, but when I pressed him he said that Spain had certain claims for frontier readjustments but he did not consider the present opportune time for pressing these claims. This is in line with what Noguès stated to me on June 5th that the Spanish generals were not supporting this agitation which was inspired by Suñer and the Falange (see my 257, June 836). I asked if he were seeing Noguès again shortly and he said he expected to meet him in July to discuss work on a barrage to furnish waterpower to the two zones. He added with a smile it was much more interesting to discuss constructive agricultural questions than movements of troops.
I spoke briefly of our remarkable progress in war production, he interrupted me and remarked, “you do not need to tell me about this we have our own sources of information and we consider what you are doing astounding. It is astonishing to think you are supplying as you are four armies mentioning in particular Russia”.
Both Colonel Johnson and I gained the impression that Orgaz is sincerely desirous of maintaining peace in Spanish Morocco, that he is tremendously impressed by our war output and potential and that he is very favorably disposed toward us.
Spanish officials are inclining more and more to open expression of their confidence in us. In a conversation today with General Uriarte, Orgaz’ deputy in Tangier, he expressed the unqualified belief in our eventual victory.
To Casablanca and Algiers by courier.