The Chargé at Tangier (Childs) to the Secretary of State
[Received 11 p.m.]
703. Following note dated November 25th received today from the Spanish High Commissariat.
“I have the honor to inform you that on the 24th instant from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. 34 motored [three 4–motored?] planes have passed over Ceuta singly and later another also singly and nine bombing planes in formation all American over the port and the fortress of Hacho.
On the same date at 3:45 p.m. a fighter American plane flew over Punta Malabata circling over the cape and flying thence in a westerly direction.
Finally at 11 a.m. of the 25th instant fighters of American nationality flew over the city of Alcazarquivir at very low altitude returning afterwards to the French zone.
His Excellency, the High Commissioner, has asked me to inform you of these repeated violations of the above mentioned territories and to express together with his energetic protest the request that you communicate to whom it may concern the necessity of avoiding in future incursions of this kind that may provoke incidents of which the High Commissariat will not consider itself in any way responsible.”
When I called on the High Commissioner today to present Consul Flood, General Orgaz mentioned the above note and said that in addition 26 planes had flown within the last few days over Larache. He added that there had been several previous flights by American planes over Melilla which he had not brought to my notice as he considered they had been made in ignorance.
I expressed skepticism concerning the American identity of these planes but he was very pleasantly insistent on this point. I said that if they were American planes I felt sure that the flights had been made entirely in ignorance. I said that I would communicate the protest immediately to my Government which would I feel sure bring the facts to the attention of the proper authorities.
Orgaz received us very affably and assured Flood that he hoped that he would call on him if there was anything he needed to facilitate his task as Consul at Ceuta.
At Colonel Johnson’s request who had just returned from French Morocco I informed Orgaz that our Military Attaché had asked me [Page 523] to state that owing to the necessity of avoiding too great a congestion of our troops at Casablanca there would probably be a movement shortly to spread these troops out more to the north but that he should not be concerned in any way should such a movement take place.
Orgaz asked how far north they would advance. I replied I was not informed.
He smilingly suggested that they might have been dispersed south rather than north. I replied that the movement north from Casablanca was not only a perfectly normal one in the interest of decreasing the concentration at Casablanca but that the troops would be more conveniently disposed for movement if necessary eastward.
He seemed entirely satisfied with this explanation. I commented to Orgaz on the general calmness in the Spanish Zone. He said that it was true and that he had much less work to do in consequence as conditions were much less disturbed than they had been some 2 weeks ago. He added that this was true except as concerned Tangier where the situation was usually in a ferment, he did not know why.
Repeated to Madrid. Paraphrase to Casablanca for WTF.94
- Western Task Force, one of three subordinate commands comprising the Allied Force, North Africa; it was commanded by Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, and at this time its headquarters was located at Casablanca.↩