740.00115A European War (1939)/622: Telegram

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

157. Following telegram sent to the Embassy, Madrid, January 23, repeated for your information:

January 23, 11 a.m. British Consul,17 Melilla, reports he visited our internees Tauima 21st and that officer in charge informed him our men are getting out of control due recent harsher treatment by Spanish. They [are] stated to be confined to barracks and there have been cases of soldiers being threatened. Officer in charge fears incidents may occur in consequence.

On January 10 High Commissariat informed me that due to lack of proper behavior on part our internees in Tauima and incidents which had occurred following visit to neighboring town of Nador where High Commissariat had permitted them to go for distraction in accordance with our request authorities have been obliged to suspend authorization in order to avoid incidents of greater importance.

It is presumed reference to recent harsher treatment by Spanish refers to this suspension.

Major Bernadoni, Assistant Military Attaché, is flying to Melilla the 26th to investigate and to endeavor to calm the restive spirits of the men. I discussed the situation with my Spanish colleague yesterday and asked if the men were not to be sent to Spain shortly they be brought near Tangier where we could keep a better eye on them.

It would be helpful if the Embassy might urge upon the authorities in Madrid the desirability of transferring these men to Spain as soon as possible. The internees are so far removed from us that it is extremely [Page 731] difficult to maintain adequate contact with or control over them and they are naturally restless from the absence of amenities which would probably be more available to them in Spain than in Morocco.

  1. S. R. Gore-Edwards.