811.20 Defense (M) Spain/578: Telegram

The Chargé in Spain (Beaulac) to the Secretary of State

594. (1) Although we shall discuss with the British Embassy the proposal outlined in your 510 March 6,20 we shall not approach the Spaniards until we receive your further instructions after studying Algiers’ 274, February 24 and my 542, March 7 in which my views are fully expressed.

(2) We interpret Murphy’s telegram under reference to mean that exclusion of the French from a voice in the disposition of French North Africa products is undesirable. We agree.

(3) If we are to begin discussions with the Spaniards without French North African participation this would be interpreted as indication that we do not deem it necessary to consider French views in relation to this economic program. As phosphates have the greatest interest for the Spaniards by removing them from a French program and applying them to a British-American program we weaken the power of the French North African representatives here to combat Vichy and Axis influence. In effect we deny the French the right to negotiate on important economic matters and thereby impair their effectiveness to handle their political matters hence it is not improbable that the burden of negotiations to clear up irritating political matters would fall on us. We consider this wholly undesirable.

(4) There are two clear indications that the High Commission considers it should have a voice in economic negotiations with Spain

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(a) recently instructions were sent to Malaise relating French refugee problem to the release of phosphates, (b) we understand Bataille is due to arrive in Spain shortly for the purpose of discussing economic affairs.

Repeated to London, Lisbon and Algiers for Murphy.

  1. See footnote 18, p. 14.