702.5181/24: Telegram

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

374. Department’s 52, February 28 [27], midnight. Not being able to see Orgaz34 until tomorrow I left with Castillo35 an aide-mémoire concerning Vichy representation a copy of which was enclosed with my despatch 1319, March 4, 1943.36

Castillo who has just returned from Madrid said he had seen the account of Ambassador Hayes’ conversation with Jordana on this subject. He added that Genty had returned to Madrid and it was not known whether Vichy would pursue the matter of representation in Tangier. If the request were renewed he did not see how it could be refused as the Vichy Government whether a responsible one or not was still recognized by Madrid. However, La Vastre the present French Consul General would be left undisturbed in his official quarters. Castillo remarked that one could not say what the situation might be a month from now, leaving the impression that there might be a revision of Madrid’s recognition of Vichy. He recalled that both the Vichy and Algiers Governments had been born through force and it was in his opinion just as much reason for recognizing Algiers as Vichy. He also recalled the precedent established at the time of the Spanish Civil War when Franco and Republican Consulates functioned in Tangier.

Castillo recalled that the original juridical justification for the Spanish entrance into Tangier in 1940 had been to preserve its [Page 737] neutrality.37 He added that Spain, by way of personal explanation, had always coveted Tangier and that Spain’s signature to the Tangier Statute38 “had been forced”.

Article 10 of the Tangier Statute he recalled prohibits any agitation, propaganda or conspiracy in the Tangier zone against a foreign country.

With a view to achieving this object and preserving Tangier’s neutrality he had returned charged with reducing foreign propaganda as far as possible. The taking over of the Shereefian post office he justified as in the interest of Tangier’s neutrality as the Sultan to whom the post office belonged was considered a quasi belligerent.

I said that if the Spanish wished to reduce propaganda to a minimum, I thought they were promoting rather than checking such propaganda by the admission of Vichy representatives.

He said Laval39 and Pietri had given Genty strict orders not to identify themselves with the Axis but to “stand close by the Spanish representative.”

I said it was absurd to think that the representatives of an authority in the minds [hands?] of the Germans would not serve as Axis instruments. In any case I said that the presence of Vichy representatives could not but tend to divide the French colony and was sure would in the long run be a source of as much trouble for the Spanish authorities as for us. He agreed that this might in fact be the case.

Sent to the Department; repeated to Madrid, Algiers and true reading to General Clark.40

  1. Gen. Luis Orgaz, Spanish High Commissioner in Morocco.
  2. Cristobal del Castillo, Spanish Consul General at Tangier.
  3. Not printed.
  4. For correspondence relating to the reservation of U.S. treaty rights in Tangier following the Spanish occupation, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iii, pp. 783 ff.
  5. Convention Regarding the Organization of the Statutes of the Tangier Zone, signed at Paris, December 18, 1923, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. xxviii, p. 541; revised July 25, 1928, ibid., vol. lxxxvii, p. 211.
  6. Pierre Laval, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Minister of the Interior in the Vichy Government.
  7. Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, Commanding General, Fifth Army.