The Ambassador in Spain (Hayes) to the Secretary of State
[Received 4:58 p.m.]
17. Several thousand French and other United Nations refugees now in Spanish concentration camp and prisons are undergoing great suffering from inadequate housing, clothing, heat, food, medicines and sanitary facilities. American and British Embassies are doing everything possible to ameliorate their hardships, and Foreign Office and War Department appear to be doing their best to cooperate but Spanish Minister of Interior reported to be placing obstacles in way.
Papal Nuncio actively interesting himself in problem under special instructions from Vatican.
I believe it would be helpful if you would call in Ambassador Cárdenas and remind him that Spain is now being given treatment usually accorded to a neutral and that we expect that Spain will accord humane treatment to United Nations refugees and in particular will give them as favorable treatment as that given to Axis refugees, such as members of German-Italian Armistice Commission who escaped from French to Spanish Morocco and have never been placed in concentration camp but have been allowed to return to Germany. If you agree you might request that French refugees be permitted to continue their journey to French North Africa just as many Spanish citizens were allowed to pass through France from one nationalist zone to another during Spanish civil war. Please acknowledge.