740.0011 European War 1939/34440: Telegram

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

1957. British Ambassador has not yet received instructions similar to those contained in your 1549, May 30, 7 p.m.

[Page 417]

However, both Embassies have received identic notes from Spanish Foreign Minister35 protesting strongly in particular against recent sinking in Spanish harbor of German Baldur, though reference is also made of German Hochheimer as sunk in territorial waters and to bombing last March of Spanish Cabo San Sebastian in company of two German ships Killisi and Stumur off Catalan coast. In regard to the Baldur the note points out that “extraordinary gravity of this violation of Spanish neutrality cannot be concealed from us inasmuch as it undermines right of Embassy to make claims against other violations of neutrality much less important than present one”.

Under instructions from London the British Embassy has today offered a full and unreserved apology, indemnity for the Spanish nationals killed and injured and disciplinary measures against the British submarine commander.

The British Ambassador and I both agree that the most suitable and effective means of implementing Algiers telegram No. 1744, May 24, 4 p.m., to the Department is to act on the suggestion made in Tangier’s 139, May 26, 4 p.m. to the Department. He is sending a similar telegram to London recommending that Gascoigne36 be instructed to concert with Childs in an attempt to arrange matters directly with Orgaz. If such a move proves unsuccessful it is still open to us to make representations to Jordana but even if the situation described in paragraph 2 had not occurred our representations to the Spanish Government could be based purely on legalistic considerations. Our base would rest in the main on the assumption that British and American airplanes always kept outside the 3-mile limit whereas I should have thought what we really wanted was for our planes not to be hit if they seemed fairly near. Furthermore the relations between Jordana and Orgaz are tenuous at best and in effecting the closing of the German Consulate General and the exodus of the staff Orgaz has received from Madrid more peremptory telegrams than no doubt was to his liking. Accordingly he might not prove very amenable at the moment to instructions in this matter from Jordana or decide to put them into practice literally. Please instruct.

Repeated to Tangier and Algiers for Murphy.

  1. Gen. Francisco Jordana.
  2. Alvary D. Gascoigne, British Consul General at Tangier.