711.52/335: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain ( Hayes )55

351. Your 377, February 3, and 390, February 4.56 I am afraid Jordana may have misunderstood our willingness to meet his desire that radio and press publicity with regard to the present problem be stopped. We here feel that our having brought the pending difficulties into the open and thus to the knowledge of the Spanish people has been helpful. At the same time we were willing to accede to your suggestion and Jordana’s wish in order to give the Spanish Government an opportunity to arrive at a satisfactory settlement without loss of face. The fact remains, however, that had it not been for Spain’s 3 months’ delay and procrastination no publicity would have been necessary. We see no justification therefore for Jordana to take the position that it is up to us to find a public formula for saving the Spanish Government’s face. We will of course be prepared to be as helpful as we can on this score once a [Page 333] satisfactory solution to all of the various problems has been found.

The Spanish authorities seem to have read into our action ideas which are figments of their own minds. We have noted the Spanish Cabinet’s statement with regard to Spanish neutrality. You will have seen the statement made by the President in a recent press conference to the effect that we desire nothing more than that Spain should maintain neutrality in the true sense of the word. Any other assumption is completely without foundation. Cárdenas, and possibly Jordana, seem to be obsessed with the thought that we have been influenced by pressure from the Soviet Government. The Russians have never in any way approached us with regard to Spain. The present policy towards Spain is purely Anglo-American. Our press release57 meant just what it said, i.e., that oil shipments had been suspended in order that we could reconsider our whole position with regard to our help in maintaining economic stability in Spain. We must seriously examine whether we can continue to supply Spain with materials which are needed for our war effort and by our civilian economy. We do not feel that the sacrifice incident to thus supplying Spain is justified, so long as Spain permits the export to Germany of an item which is of vital importance to her war effort and which is directly converted from the raw material into actual American and Allied casualties.

The proposals outlined in your 389, February 4, are interesting and helpful. We appreciate that the Spaniards have come some distance in meeting most of our requests. The proposals, however, are not satisfactory with regard to the item on which you must realize we place most emphasis, namely, wolfram. We wish a complete embargo—permanent not temporary—on the exportation of wolfram to all destinations and we feel that such a step on the part of Spain falls fully within the scope of her declared position of neutrality. The proposal contained in your 409, February 5,58 is, therefore, unacceptable. Anything short of complete embargo might well be meaningless because of the difficulty of policing smuggling. We realize that the British seem to look with favor on some compromise similar to that outlined in your 409. We do not agree.

In view of the foregoing we cannot authorize loadings for the 1st of March. Neither this notice nor notices given for February loadings have even the semblance of an ultimatum, even though Jordana seems to have put that idea forward in his discussions with you. It is simply a question whether we can continue to supply Spain with what she needs so long as she continues to supply the enemy with a material so [Page 334] vitally needed by the enemy in order that he may continue his war against us. The Department might add, for your own information, that it appreciates that our attitude at the present time is stiffer in character than it was a year or so ago. You will, we are sure, understand, however, that our greatly improved military position fully warrants such a change on our part and permits us to advance fair and reasonable requests with an expectation that they will be met which was not possible a year ago. The Department does not share your fears that the submission of such requests can or will adversely affect the long term friendly relations between Spain and the United States to which we so hopefully look forward.

  1. Repeated on the same date to London as No. 956 and to Lisbon as No. 317.
  2. Latter not printed.
  3. See telegram 238, January 29, to Madrid, p. 307.
  4. Not printed; Ambassador Hayes proposed that he be permitted to discuss the matter of the wolfram embargo along the line of seeking a limited rather than a complete embargo (711.52/341).