811.20 Defense (M) Spain/412a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Consul General at Algiers ( Wiley )

403. For Murphy. Your 274, February 24 and 308, March 1.19 Department is strongly of the opinion that Bataille should be requested to delay his departure until we have had an opportunity to consider the lists contained in your 308 and you have had an opportunity to consider the lists and proposals set forth in the Department’s 402, March 6. For Bataille to commence negotiations before there is a common US-Anglo-French understanding on objectives and procedures might well be injurious both to the economic warfare operations which we have been conducting over a long period in the Iberian peninsula and to the program of economic assistance to North Africa which we are endeavoring to carry out. You are requested to urge upon Bataille the great importance to the joint war effort of the French coordinating their commercial operations in neutral countries with the analagous operations being conducted by the US and UK.

With reference to your 274 we do not feel that arrangements for joint negotiations in Algiers, Madrid and Lisbon and for supervision of the trade by NAEB are clearly enough stated. Please discuss these aspects more fully with the French. On the other hand, while the USCC and UKCC are from our point of view the most satisfactory means of handling the trade, we would not wish to insist, if the French object to such an arrangement, that the trade between the peninsula and North Africa be channeled exclusively through these corporations. The essential point is that the proposed commercial exchanges be coordinated at all times with the activities of the NAEB and the US and British missions in Madrid and Lisbon and that, like the US and British operations in these areas, they be considered as combined Allied operations rather than as those of a single Ally acting independently.

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A further message will be sent as soon as study of your 308 has been completed.

  1. Latter not printed.