121.67/3592: Telegram

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

754. Our telegram 739, May 24, 6 p.m. Our couriers Valenza and Owen arrived yesterday from Casablanca without incident. They brought a report by Chatfield and Owen on last week’s incident at Quedadra (Arbaoua) (see enclosure to Rabat’s despatch 35 [55] of May 226) which places the behavior of the Spanish customs officials in a more flagrant aspect than did the incomplete preliminary reports received here. These customs officials were studiedly insulting towards these couriers with no slightest provocation and treatment accorded them tend [tended?] to humiliate them before the French authorities and public at the frontier.

I am furnishing excerpts of the above mentioned report to Castillo with the following conclusion: “I feel confident that you and His Excellency, General Orgaz, after having been acquainted with the foregoing facts will recognize the appropriateness of a prompt investigation and the taking of such disciplinary action with reference to the offending Spanish officials as is indicated. If the present instance were an isolated one the Legation would be more disposed to consider the possibility of mitigating circumstances. However, the fact that the present incident follows repeated instances of complaints of the conduct of Spanish customs officials at Quedadra toward members of the Legation staff obliges me to reserve fully the right of my Government to judge the adequacy of such explanations and reparation as [Page 725]may be offered for the studiedly offensive and grossly insulting conduct of the Spanish officials in the present instance as reported by more than one witness.”

It is recommended that if after the lapse of a reasonable time say 10 days no reply has been received I be authorized to inquire of my Spanish colleague when a reply may be expected and to inform him that an early reply would be appreciated as my Government is considering the publication of the correspondence. Full text of note is going forward on May 29 by airmail.7

Repeated to Madrid, Algiers, Casablanca for General Clark and Rabat.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Despatch No. 1474, dated May 25, 1943, not printed.