121.67/3586: Telegram

The Chargé at Tangier (Elbrick) to the Secretary of State

732. Legation’s telegram No. 722, May 21, noon. I was unable to see Castillo yesterday but sent the formal protest mentioned in the telegram under reference and arranged to see him this afternoon. He thought the responsibility for the incident at the frontier fell upon the two couriers who would not permit their brief cases which were not part of the diplomatic mail to be searched. I said that as he was well aware the American Legation does not admit the right of the authorities to subject American diplomatic and consular officers to customs examinations in Spanish Morocco and that in any case this would not explain the discourteous treatment accorded the couriers by the customs officers. He agreed that it was an unfortunate affair and that the least the customs officials could have done was to telephone him or the authorities at Tetuan in order to clarify the situation. [Page 722]He said further that inasmuch as I had referred the case to the Department he felt he would have to send a copy of my note to the F.O. in Madrid. I said that I hoped this procedure would clarify matters once and for all since it was just as annoying to this Legation to have to make periodic and unavailing protests to him regarding such incidents as it was for him to receive them.

He told me that in the near future diplomatic indentity cards will be issued to the officers of the various countries represented in Tangier and that definite instructions would be given to custom authorities to permit all baggage of such individuals to pass without examination. A full report will go forward by the next airmail pouch.

Sent to the Department; repeated to Madrid, Algiers, Casablanca for General Clark.