852.48/1441: Telegram

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

576. Department’s 494, March 5, 1 [11] a.m. Colonel Malaise states that although 25,000,000 francs have been voted for relief of French refugees in Spain there are no immediate prospects of any substantial portion of peseta proceeds becoming available to him here and at present he is not even receiving enough to pay off back indebtedness. Moreover, recent cancellation by Spanish Government of permission for 1400 refugees to leave Spain (my 541, March 6) together with continuing influx of refugees from France is resulting in a steady increase in the number of persons to be cared for. The practical result of these factors is that number of French refugees looking to us for assistance is increasing rather than decreasing and will continue to do so until French representatives here can be effectively supplied with adequate peseta funds or until large scale evacuations can be arranged.

Until such time, therefore, as French North African representatives in Spain may be in a position actually to take over financing of relief to their nationals and in view of increasing scale on which such relief must be administered, it is estimated that Embassy will need at least $100,000 a month for refugee relief, starting from March 15, on which date it appears that present funds will be virtually exhausted.

According to best present estimates this amount will be spent approximately as follows: Subsistence allowance to 1,225 persons in Miranda and in prisons at 5 pesetas a day, totaling 183,750 pesetas monthly; supplementary food to 650 in Miranda at 120 pesetas a month, totaling 78,000 pesetas; maintenance of 1,100 persons in pensions at 25 pesetas a day, totaling 825,000 pesetas monthly. Grand total 1,086,750 pesetas monthly or $99,246.58 at rate of 10.95. Small reductions in expenditures which may be occasioned in near future [Page 268] by availability of Red Cross food will be balanced by increase in numbers involved.

The declared Americans, numbering from 200 to 250, are included in the above figures and it is estimated that about $10,000 a month will be expended for their care.

In explanation of number of persons maintained in pensions it should be stated that they were removed from imprisonment at our request because of severe overcrowding and abominably unsanitary conditions in northern prisons, and in an attempt to forestall a threatened typhus epidemic which could have reached disastrous proportions.

It is of utmost importance that we receive prompt information as to availability of funds and assurance that arrangements will be made to permit uninterrupted continuance of this program. We clearly recognize extreme desirability of transferring this responsibility to its proper place in hands of French North African regime and have worked with this constantly in mind but it appears that, unless other means can be devised of making funds available to their representatives here, the financial burden may remain on our shoulders for some time to come. Meanwhile we are continuing to seek a workable formula for large scale evacuation of these persons to North Africa.