740.0011 European War 1939/25811: Telegram

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

652. I called on Orgaz today with Colonel Johnson to give the High Command account of our visit to French Morocco. He was keenly interested and appeared much impressed.

We asked concerning the significance of the partial mobilization in Spain. He emphasized it extended only to Spain and not to Spanish Morocco where not one soldier had been sent since our operations.

Regarding our internees he expressed regret that living conditions were not comparable to those in the United States but he assured me [Page 521]he was doing everything possible for them. The two planes belonging to the soldiers landing at Targuist might be brought to Tetuán for better protection. The sick would be permitted to come to Tangier as I had requested. He thought the best solution for the internees would be for them to be transferred to Spain where greater facilities existed for their housing and feeding. I said I was in correspondence with Washington concerning their possible exchange for internee members of the Axis Armistice Commissions. He replied that was a question which would have to be settled in Madrid (I thought it useful to keep actively before him our interest in the Commission members).

I recalled his assurances to me concerning the maintenance of the neutrality of Spanish Morocco and my own assurances of cooperation. He interrupted to remark that two responsibilities were involved, that he had to think not only of the neutrality of Spanish Morocco but also that of Spain.

I said I had given the strictest injunctions to my staff with a view to the fulfillment in letter and spirit of my assurances particularly as concerned propaganda among the natives. He would realize that there would be efforts to muddy the water between United States [and Spain?] on the part of the Axis in particular. I cited the case of a Spanish officer which had been brought to my attention who had been heard to say that we were in Morocco to dispossess the natives. I said that the Germans had a weekly news bulletin in Arabic which we had never attempted to imitate which was still continuing publication and I felt he would agree we might legitimately combat propaganda directed specifically against United States among the natives. I thought an excellent means to that end not inconsistent with my assurances to him would be a publication in Arabic of the President’s letter to the Sultan.93 He expressed his instant concurrence observing that he did not consider that this could possibly be productive of the agitation he wished to avoid.

Repeated to Madrid.

Childs
  1. Department of State Bulletin, November 28, 1942, p. 961.