651R.5331/b: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Portugal (Fish)

163. Department and interested agencies have studied with interest the observations contained in Lisbon’s 51 of January 11 and Madrid’s no. 14 of January 2 concerning trade with French North Africa. On the basis of these observations, the Department is telegraphing its views concerning trade between the Peninsula and French North Africa to Algiers, asking for comments.13 The Department’s telegram as well as Algiers’ comments will be sent to Lisbon and to Madrid direct from Algiers.

The Department and interested agencies here feel that, in the final analysis, this trade must be controlled through Algiers and consequently it is important that any procedure to be adopted should first be approved there. However, in its telegram to Algiers, the Department has stressed the fact that in any negotiations for trade between the Peninsula and French North Africa, it must be borne in mind that the US and British Governments have in effect assured Spain and Portugal that the occupation of French North Africa will not interfere with ordinary commercial agreements as regards goods for their own internal use.

It is hoped that Algiers’ comments on this matter will be forthcoming promptly and that it will be possible to undertake the formal negotiations concerning the trade within the near future.

Further instructions will be sent shortly.

Please repeat to Madrid as Department’s no. 212, 9 p.m.

  1. See telegram No. 205, infra.