811.2381/6–2944: Telegram

The Counselor of Legation at Tangier (Childs) to the Secretary of State

187. Orgaz has confirmed to Gascoigne (183, June 2540) that on June 14 following my interview with him AA41 batteries in Spanish North Africa were ordered to refrain from firing on any Allied plane flying: (1) unintentionally over SNA42 or Tangier territorial waters or (2) intentionally over such waters in pursuit of enemy subs.

Orgaz added unless Spanish Government so ordered he could not promise AA batteries would not fire if Allied planes dropped depth charges on subs in territorial waters. He stated this question had been submitted by him to Madrid where decision would have to be made. Gascoigne replied he must reserve British right to open fire on subs in territorial waters.

Orgaz has introduced a reservation which Gilmore and I when we saw him on June 13 both considered had been withdrawn. Spanish Consul de Castro who was present at interview and made record of conversation states Orgaz in his opinion was not definite on this particular question. My view is Orgaz may have considered after our interview he had committed himself on an important point affecting neutral rights about which Madrid was alone competent to decide. De Castro confirms Orgaz has in fact referred question to Central Government and I therefore do not believe any useful purpose would be served by my pursuing it with him. As Jordana appears to have [Page 422] found quite reasonable my understanding of the arrangement reported my 168,43 Madrid’s 2136, June 19 there exists a very favorable basis for discussion in Madrid.

The only question remaining unclarified therefore is whether AA batteries in SNA will hold their fire against Allied planes and blimps after depth charges have been dropped in territorial waters.

Repeated to Madrid, by courier to Algiers.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Antiaircraft.
  3. Spanish North Africa.
  4. Dated June 13, p. 419.