J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff1

most secret
C.C.S. 321

Policy Towards Spain

We have examined the suggestion put forward by the United States Chiefs of Staff (C.C.S. 303 paragraph 102) that the time is now ripe to take full advantage of our present position and adopt a stern and frankly demanding policy towards Spain.
We can say at once that we agree entirely with the sense of this suggestion. The only point at issue is exactly how far we should go.
We feel that it will be agreed that:
The Spaniards, with Germany on their doorstep, will not be persuaded to take any military action which appears to threaten Germany and which might bring on them German retaliation. Any action or threat on our part to coerce them in this direction would merely tend to unite them against us.
From our point of view, it is most undesirable that we should press the Spaniards to a point which might impose upon us any military commitment in support of diplomatic or military threats.
We suggest therefore that it would be unwise to go so far as to press the Spaniards to transfer the bulk of their defensive forces to the North, which they would be most unlikely to do.
We suggest that our general policy should be to deny the enemy his present privileged position in Spain, and to (supplant him there to as great an extent as possible, thus transferring to the Germans the anxiety that has hitherto been ours. In pursuance of this policy, we suggest that we should now intensify pressure by economic and political means in order to obtain the following objectives:
Discontinuance of supplies of raw materials to Germany. The most important material which Germany obtains from Spain is wolfram, of which commodity Spain and Portugal supply the largest proportion of German requirements. A note on the wolfram position by the Ministry of Economic Warfare is attached.
Withdrawal of the Blue Division from the ranks of the enemy.
A modification of the present distribution of Spanish forces in Morocco so as to remove any suggestion of distrust of the United Nations.
Cessation of the use of Spanish shipping for the benefit of our enemies.
Denial to the enemy of secret intelligence facilities.
Facilities for civil aircraft of United Nations.
A more benevolent attitude towards escaped Allied prisoners of war.
The strictest interpretation of international law towards enemy personnel and naval and air units.
Elimination of objectionable anti-Allied propaganda and increase in pro-Allied propaganda.
Owing to the resentment which we are likely to cause if we interfere directly in Spanish internal affairs, it would not be in our military interests openly to promote the restoration of the monarchy since such interference would be likely to cause serious disorder in Spain, of which the Germans might take advantage by infiltration.

We should, however, welcome and encourage the formation of a less anti-Allied Government.


Memorandum Prepared in the British Ministry of Economic Warfare

Wolfram From the Iberian Peninsula

1. Germany’s Present Position

The virtual absence of stock, Allied preemptive purchasing in the Peninsula and the success achieved against blockade runners has made Germany’s wolfram position critical.

2. Stocks and Supplies

Germany started the war with a stock of 12,000 tons of concentrates. After the outbreak of war, Germany was dependent upon what was then a small output in the Peninsula, of which Portugal provided some 2,000 to 3,000 tons and Spain only 300 tons. Until 1942 Germany used her stocks to maintain an annual consumption of about 9,000 tons. From 1942 onwards, her consumption has been at the rate of about 5,800 per year, of which about 4,300 are basic industrial consumption and the balance for A.P. projectiles. Mines in Germany and France produce about 250 tons a year. Should our preemptive purchases in Spain and Portugal continue to be successful Germany will receive only about 2,000 tons from each country in 1943 and may receive substantially less from Spain. As Germany started the year with only 500 tons of stock, a further cut in consumption will be necessary unless she succeeds in obtaining further supplies by blockade running.

3. Effects of Shortage

Germany’s main uses for tungsten (the metal derived from wolfram) are to make tungsten carbide, which is used for providing a hard tip for machine tools, and for cores for armor piercing projectiles. [Page 1101] Small quantities of tungsten are also used for providing filaments for electric lamps, radio valves, etc., and as a hydrogenation catalyst. A substantial reduction of supplies would therefore face Germany with the following alternatives:

A cut in the production of weapons of all types, resulting from the absence of tungsten carbide tips from cutting tools and consequent less efficient production, or
The sacrifice of armor piercing ammunition with tungsten carbide cores.

Should supplies from the Peninsula be entirely cut off, Germany would probably suffer both as it is improbable that she would obtain sufficient supplies by blockade running. Blockade running by surface ships should prove impracticable in the future and submarines could only bring the desired quantity at the expense of all other much needed commodities.

4. Speed of Effect

The loss of supplies from the Iberian Peninsula would probably not affect military operations for six months but after that the effect would be increasingly felt.

5. Conclusions

Failure to obtain wolfram from the Iberian Peninsula would seriously affect the rate of production throughout German industry and would render impossible the manufacture of armor piercing projectiles with tungsten carbide cores on any substantial scale. These effects would become apparent in actual operations after about six months, depending on the rate of military wastage.

  1. Approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at their 113th Meeting, August 20, 1943. See ante, p. 910.
  2. Ante, p. 480.