711.52/322: Telegram

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

300. Your 291, January 29, 5 p.m.,52 and 293, January 30, noon. The Department assumes your references are to American short-wave broadcasts of the OWI and is recommending to that agency that the subject be dropped. The Department has not been aware of any violent public campaign directed against the Spanish Government. Publicity in general has not appeared unfair or sensational and has not been very extensive. While some publications carried the news on the front page no particular prominence was given the item and no banner headlines were observed.

Your reply to Count Jordana very accurately states the case. Our several requests have been pending with the Spanish Government for some time and the possibility of an adverse effect on our trade program has repeatedly been mentioned. As stated to Ambassador Cárdenas in his conversation with Mr. Taft, this Government has sustained and is prepared to continue to sustain Spanish economy but must expect in return a cooperative attitude toward its requests. It can scarcely be held that the Spanish Government was not informed in advance that a threat to the trade program was created by the dilatory treatment of our requests. We have no wish to threaten Spain and have amply demonstrated this in the past, but Spain’s own attitude has produced a very considerable discouragement here. The suspension of these tanker loadings certainly does not place in doubt the assurances furnished Spain at the time of our North African landing.

Our primary concern is to cause a cessation of wolfram exports. In view of Germany’s tight position in ferro-alloys every ton of wolfram now reaching Germany our military authorities say can be translated directly into terms of American casualties. This is therefore of extreme importance and urgency and should resolutely be pressed for. The Department would be very reluctant to entertain any proposed compromise which would permit the continued export of wolfram.

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You may say to Count Jordana that his statement has been read with the most sympathetic interest and that his frank exposition of his views is deeply appreciated, but that it is the earnest wish of this Government that he will examine with care our position vis-à-vis Spain and our difficulties, to which we have frequently drawn attention, and which have brought about this most unsatisfactory situation. We have tried by every other means at our disposal to arrive at an understanding and to place our trade relations on a mutually satisfactory basis but that latterly we have sensed in the inaction of the Spanish Government a complacency toward our proposals which left this Government, we feel, no other choice than that of restricting our own response to Spanish requirements. This action was resorted to with utmost reluctance and only after we had borne with months of delay. Having taken the action it was inevitable that there should be some publicity on the subject. This publicity resulted from the freedom of our press and was not inspired by this Government and the Department’s press release was only issued with the intention of rationalizing publicity and limiting the field of free conjecture.

You may add that this Government will be glad to receive from Spain a concrete assurance respecting our desires on the basis of which we may resume a normal course. We feel in this connection that the Spanish Government will wish to consider very carefully not only this immediate situation and the remedies which rest with it, but to reexamine the entire position of Spain. In order to be able to conduct satisfactorily a mutually profitable trade program it is obvious that in the political field we must be able to look forward with greater security than heretofore to the conduct of our overall relations with that country and that these should not suffer the disconcerting and unfortunately all too frequent occurrence of incidents reflecting an unfriendliness on the part of Spanish officials or party members.

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