740.0011 European War 1939/25322: Telegram

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

563. 560, November 8, 10 a.m. After vainly seeking even a doorman at the High Commissariat in Tetuán, in order to learn the whereabouts of General Mugica or someone in authority, he was finally found in his home.

He received me most pleasantly. I stated I understood General Orgaz was in Madrid and that I accordingly would convey to him the message I had been authorized to make to the High Commissioner. I then conveyed to him the statement that the United States understands and appreciates the desire of the Spanish Government and people to remain neutral in the present world crisis and that there is nothing in the policy of the United States itself that would necessitate any departure by the Spanish Government from their neutral purposes.

Mugica said the British Consul in Tangier had conveyed the peaceful intentions of the British Government toward Spain early in the morning and that Orgaz, with whom he had been in telephonic communications in Madrid, had stated similar assurances had been given [Page 512]the Spanish Government by Sir Samuel Hoare. He added that Orgaz was returning by plane today and would arrive in Tetuán about 5:30 p.m.

Mugica was perfectly placid throughout our conversation, he was constantly called during our interview to answer the telephone in another room to receive reports on the North African situation which were being telephoned to him every few minutes from Melilla and various other places. He said he had just heard we had occupied Safi, Port-Lyautey, Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. He went in search of an atlas and said that the diffusion of operations in such a fashion would ordinarily, in his opinion, have been very dangerous in exposing our forces to so many points of attack, unless we could count on the cooperation by important French elements. He was called again to the phone and came back to say he had just heard of reports that General Giraud had made a statement a few moments ago in Algiers in our behalf and that it was evident his, Mugica’s surmises had been correct and that we had very important French support. I said I had no more authoritative information than he had, but I felt certain we also had forces in very great strength.

Owing to the fact that Tetuán is without electric current except for a few hours in the evening, the news of the landings had not become generally known there even upon my arrival at noon in contrast to Tangier where the news had spread like wildfire after it was received by radio.

There was no traffic on the road between Tangier and Tetuán, either going or coming, other than a few of the regular buses. Tetuán was calm, the streets of the town being filled as usual with the customary throngs of Sunday promenaders.

Unless I am badly deceived, the Spanish will not stir from the Spanish Zone. They appear to have been caught quite unprepared by our action; they seem very much impressed by the rapidity and effectiveness until now of it, and they appear anything but displeased by it.

Tangier remains entirely calm.

Repeated to Madrid.

Childs