852.75 National Telephone Company/8–1844

The American Chargé in Spain (Butterworth) to the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs (Lequérica)56

[No. 2914]

Excellency: I have the honor to call to Your Excellency’s attention the fact that during the course of the current year the Embassy has addressed to Your Excellency’s esteemed predecessor, the late Count Jordana, a number of communications requesting the good offices of the Ministry in obtaining an early and equitable solution to certain difficulties which have for some time past been outstanding between the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation of New York, an American business concern and the principal stockholder of the Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España, and the Spanish Government.

In his Note No. 2001 of February 10, 1944 the Ambassador transmitted to the late Minister a copy of a petition submitted by Mr. Fred T. Caldwell, Vice-President of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation, addressed to the Presidency of the Government appealing for a solution to these difficulties, together with a request that prompt and full consideration be accorded to the matters set forth therein. The Minister was kind enough to reply, in his Note No. 1698 of February 16, 1944, that the Ambassador’s Note had been transmitted to the Presidency of the Government for study.

On April 4, 1944, no further reply having been received from the Spanish Government in this matter, the Ambassador addressed to the Minister a second Note, No. 2258, requesting once more on behalf of his Government assurances that the claims and complaints submitted [Page 429] by the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation would be given the prompt and careful attention to which they were entitled, and that, pending a final decision, the interests of that company in the Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España would be in no way disturbed by any action of the Spanish Government.

In the continued absence of a reply to his reiterated representations, the Ambassador, after having again brought this matter to the attention of the Minister in a personal letter of May 6, 1944, addressed to the latter on July 7, 1944 his Note No. 2718, in which he pointed out that no action appeared to have been taken on any of the claims and complaints of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation and that the latter had received no definite indication that the petition submitted with the Ambassador’s Note of February 10, 1944 was receiving the attention of the agency of the Government to which it had been addressed.

On July 28, 1944, during the course of an interview with the late Minister for Foreign Affairs, I emphasized the urgent necessity of prompt action by the Spanish Government with respect to the claims and complaints of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation and in return received his oral assurances that he would endeavor to expedite such action, an undertaking which, however, he was prevented from carrying out by his sudden death six days thereafter.

In further pursuance of this question, I now have the honor to enclose two copies of the Spanish text of a second petition, dated August 8, 194457 which Mr. Caldwell has addressed to the Presidency of the Government setting forth further claims and complaints of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation against the Spanish Government with the request that Your Excellency be so kind as to ensure prompt and full consideration of the arguments set forth therein.

In view of the very considerable investment of American capital involved in the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation’s majority interest in the Compañía Telefónica de España and in view of the guarantees which were given by the Spanish Government as a condition precedent to the investment of that capital, my Government attaches great importance to the early rectification by the Spanish Government of the claims which have been brought against it by this American company, claims which have been under consideration by the Spanish Government for many months, and it is my earnest hope that Your Excellency will intervene personally and without delay to make certain that prompt action will be taken [Page 430] by the appropriate agencies of the Spanish Government in the direction of a settlement of these claims.

I would remind Your Excellency that, despite its repeated representations with respect to this important question, the Embassy has as yet received no definitive reply from the Spanish Government as to its attitude concerning the allegations of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation nor has it been given any indication that this matter has been made the subject of active consideration by the Spanish authorities concerned. I am fully certain that Your Excellency will not wish to permit the continuance of this deplorable situation and will, on the contrary, wish to make sure that the American interests involved in this case are accorded the same consideration which, I am certain, the United States Government would accord to interests of Spanish nationals under similar circumstances, and consequently I confidentially await Your Excellency’s reply in order that I may assure my Government that the Spanish Government is, in fact, earnestly devoting its attention to a settlement of the claims and complaints which have been placed before it by the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.

Accept [etc.]

W. Walton Butterworth
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department in despatch 2926, August 18, from Madrid; received August 29.
  2. Not printed.