121.67/3579: Telegram

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

1251. Referring to Tangier’s 722, May 21, noon, and 754, May 27, 7 p.m., concerning detention and treatment of our couriers at Arbaoua, you are requested to bring this to the attention of the Spanish Government at once, stressing the fact that our urgent official communications were delayed and two duly documented diplomatic officers were subjected to detention and other indignities.

If in this connection reference should be made to the incident that occurred last October in New Orleans when Spanish diplomatic pouches were removed from steamship Magallanes, you may observe that in a formal note dated October 19 [20], 19429 the Department informed Ambassador Cardenas that the removal and opening of the Spanish pouches had been unauthorized and the result of an error, and this Government expressed its sincere regret and asked the Ambassador to communicate to his Government this Government’s apologies.

It is thought that the present incident may afford you an opportunity to mention again the whole series of unpleasant incidents of [Page 727]which a few examples are cited in the Department’s W–18 of May 15,10 and the continuing hostile tone of the Spanish press, and to mention that inasmuch as General Franco11 is the head of the Falange Party as well as the Chief of the Spanish State an inevitable impression is created that the attitude of party members and of a number of Spanish officials may reflect a policy of the Spanish Government toward the Government of the United States and its interests in Spain. In view of the fact that previous representations have already been addressed to Foreign Minister Jordana, and especially of the fact that he evidently encounters strong opposition in some quarters in Madrid, the Department suggests that you may wish to avoid placing an additional strain upon his position in the Cabinet by taking these matters directly to General Franco.

You should endeavor to get firm and formal assurances that our couriers will not be molested or delayed in any way in future and that measures will be taken appropriately to deal with the party members and Spanish officials responsible for the series of incidents above referred to, and, if possible, that the competent Spanish authorities will be directed to tone down the Spanish press in a manner more in harmony with the assurances we have already had from the Spanish Government respecting Spain’s neutrality.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Gen. Francisco Franco, Chief of the Spanish State and Prime Minister.