711.52/346: Telegram

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

453. My 421, February 7, 11 p.m.59 In a conversation yesterday with Hoare along lines of Department’s 314, February 3, midnight, I was unable to convince him of the possibility that we might obtain in the near future a full Spanish embargo on export of wolfram. He is disposed, and he believes his Government is disposed, to accept a compromise settlement on the basis of a limitation of Spanish wolfram exports to Germany for this year to a figure not greater and preferably less than the figure of 720 tons for last year this amount to be distributed in equal monthly or quarterly installments. He expressed conviction that such an arrangement would be helpful to British-Portuguese negotiations about wolfram and would suffice to deprive Germans of Spanish exports during the ensuing and most critical 3 months. He seemed quite adamant in this position and told me that London was urging Washington to agree.

He further stated that London shared Spanish view that our case in international law for release of Italian warships is weak and that he and his Government are reluctant to hold up agreement with Spain on other important pending matters in order to secure a pledge for the release of the warships before resuming petroleum shipments. He expressed belief that, after atmosphere is otherwise cleared, Spain can be prevailed upon to let the warships go one by one. I argued the point with him indicating I had instructions about it from the Department and emphasizing reasons for my full concurrence with those instructions. I fear, in the light of the conversation, that unless Washington and London can speedily agree upon the course to be [Page 335] followed and give uniform instructions accordingly a general settlement of the points in controversy will be unduly delayed.

  1. Not printed.