811.20 Defense (M) Spain/408: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spain (Hayes) to the Secretary of State

14. Your 1482, December 24, 9 p.m. I consider our purposes can best be served by having Spaniards negotiate with French North African representation in Madrid and the promise of North African goods is the only bait sufficiently attractive to induce Spain to recognize [Page 4] French representation here. Eventually French representatives could take over French refugee problem using funds derived from such commercial transactions. They could also assist the Giraud5 Government in other ways and would be a valuable channel to us for military information from France. In the absence of at least informal recognition French now here working for us may become subject to persecution. Spaniards may insist on subterfuge that French representatives are acting for the Sherifian Government.6

The French should be supported in their efforts to acquire materials from Spain for the needs of North Africa; this might be extended into a triangular arrangement by which some of our own Lease Lend civilian supplies can come from Spain.
By proper control we could attain the desired objectives for our own purchase supply program. British would continue to exercise navicert control but we believe acquisition of entire exportable surplus of French North African commodities would increase our control and provide reason for British and ourselves to participate in French-Spanish negotiations. Such quantities of French material as we may wish to allocate to Spain in return for Spanish merchandise should be earmarked.
Unlikely Spaniards would agree to our acting as purchasing agents for them; they have in mind using private Spanish sources to conduct negotiations with Rabat thus side-stepping the question of recognition. This should be resisted by the French with our support.
The British Embassy agrees in principle to above with reservation that French negotiations [negotiators?] should be acceptable to us. We disagree with this reservation as we believe French should be free to select their own negotiators so long as we have veto power.
The Rabat commercial agreements services recently authorized Pettit, former Commercial Counselor, (see my 2132, December 26, 2 p.m.7) provisionally to open discussions with Spaniards to supply the quantities of materials set forth in the above mentioned desiderata. Apparently Algiers concurred. The British do not favor Pettit but we consider him satisfactory.
If you concur that French representation desirable I suggest Murphy be requested to inform Algiers Government that we must participate in discussions here and that their program should be integrated with ours.

From preliminary material available to us we understand that under the 1941 agreement the Spaniards obtained from North Africa 1,200 tons wheat of 6,000 promised; 2,100 tons barley of 5,000 promised; [Page 5] 250 tons antimony; 500,000 tons phosphates of 520,000 promised in that and supplementary agreement; manganese none; small quantities of beans; sorghum; millet and fodder; cattle and approximately 3,000,000 francs sundries. Spain supplied a small tonnage of potash; 4,500 tons of pyrites; 525 tons chemicals including turpentine and rosin; 21 tons batteries; 30,000,000 francs wool textiles; 27,300,000 francs rayon textiles; 3,600 tons salt, small quantities of matches; beer bottles; sandals and 1,700,000 francs sundries. In a new agreement under consideration when invasion occurred Spain desired 200,000 tons of phosphates (in addition to 200,000 advanced under supplementary agreement); 400 tons antimony; 2,000 tons broad beans; 5,000 tons of chick peas; 2,000 tons linseed; 2,000 tons canary seed; 12,000 boxes eggs; 4,000 tons of smoked and salted fish; 3,000 tons clay; 10,000 tons alfalfa and, (to be applied against textile exports): 250 tons of cotton; 1,000 tons of wool; 500 tons of wool waste. Spain also desires as much barley as can be supplied.

  1. Henri Giraud, High Commissioner of French North Africa.
  2. Government of the Sultan of Morocco.
  3. Not printed.