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

No. 1154

Sir: The Department has had under discussion with the Navy Department the question of firing on Allied aircraft by shore batteries in Spanish Morocco. Telegram no. 187 of June 29, 1944 from Tangier stated that anti-aircraft batteries in Spanish North Africa had been ordered not to fire on Allied aircraft flying (1) unintentionally over territorial waters of Tangier or Spanish North Africa, or (2) intentionally over the territorial waters of Tangier in pursuit of enemy submarines. It was indicated, however, that no assurance could be given that Allied aircraft which dropped depth charges in such territorial waters would not be fired on, and that this question had been referred to Madrid where any decision in the matter would have to be reached.

You are requested to bring this matter to the attention of the Spanish authorities and to point out the difficulty of determining in all cases whether an aircraft is over Spanish territorial waters and to request that in order to avoid any untoward incident Spanish antiaircraft batteries be instructed to refrain from firing on American aircraft in any circumstances, leaving for discussion by the Spanish Government and this Government any cases in which the Spanish authorities may consider that the facts so warrant.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
A. A. Berle, Jr.