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

No. 656

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 640 of February 25 [24] enclosing a proposed aide-mémoire to be left with my Spanish colleague in reply to his informal request for our acceptance of the so-called “Social Belief Tax” and to state that upon reflection a revised draft aide-mémoire has been prepared a copy of which is enclosed, which it is believed better suits the situation.

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It would be appreciated if, in the event the Department approved this proposed draft reply that telegraphic authorization be given the Legation.

Respectfully yours,

J. Rives Childs

Draft of Aide-Mémoire

The American Chargé d’Affaires has the honor to recall his conversation with his Spanish colleague on February 16, 1942, in which the latter referred to a note, dated July 14, 1941, addressed by the Legation to Colonel Carvajal, taking exception to the levy of various taxes on American ressortissants, some of which taxes were collected by the Customs at the time of the importation of merchandise. Among the latter was a five per cent Social Relief Tax, and in regard to this the Spanish Consul inquired whether the Legation’s position might not be reconsidered and assent given to the levy of this tax inasmuch as it was, in effect, a contribution for charitable purposes affected to all classes of the local population.

The Legation has not failed to refer the informal suggestion of Señor Soriano to the Department of State which has given careful and sympathetic consideration to his conciliatory suggestions.

The Legation has been authorized to reiterate its desire previously expressed on more than one occasion to afford the Spanish authorities all possible practical cooperation in the general interest of the community in the present exceptional period. The Legation has not however been authorized to make any concessions in respect of the principles recalled in its note to Colonel Carvajal affecting any single item of taxation therein referred to.

The Legation has been instructed to point out that the material object of the Spanish administration relative to the Social Relief Tax, namely, the raising of revenue, is in fact being attained in so far as American ressortissants are concerned. The latter, though under protest, are actually paying this and other taxes not legally applicable to them into the customs house to enable them to obtain the clearance of their goods.

In accordance with the Legation’s desire to assist the Spanish authorities in a practical manner, without prejudice either to the community or to the treaty position of the United States, the Legation is authorized to refrain from disturbing the foregoing procedure pending a more opportune consideration of the situation.