881.00/2–945: Telegram

No. 1349
The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Spain (Armour)

us urgent

1200. 1. We have given careful study to the various points raised in your 1475 of July 9, 7 p.m.2 and fully realize that the course which we may be compelled to follow in solving the Tangier problem may result in a deterioration of our relations with Spain and that such deterioration may render more difficult our efforts to use Spain as a source of supply and a base for A. T. C. operations.

2. We agree that Spain has interests in Tangier which should not [Page 1409]be ignored. Nevertheless, we are convinced that if the United States is to discharge its world responsibilities it must take a more, rather than a less, active interest in areas which are a potential source of trouble. If we do not insist just now in appropriate participation in the administration of Tangier, an impression may well be created that we shall not insist upon being consulted in matters of international importance relating to North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Near East. We feel that we must continue actively to interest ourselves in these areas with the primary purpose of preventing developments from taking place in them which might lead to international conflicts involving ourselves. Since clashes of interests originating in the Western Mediterranean might result in conflicts involving the Soviet Union and since as far back as Algeciras3 Russia was admitted to have a legitimate interest in Tangier, we do not believe that the Soviet Union can be kept out of Tangier without giving it the impression that the Western powers are discriminating against it. We believe that the Soviet Union would continue to insist upon participation in discussions relating to Tangier even though the United States would withdraw from such conversations.

3. It is possible that Soviet representatives participating in conversations or in conventions relating to Tangier may insist that the present Spanish Government be barred. If they do so we shall make every effort to find a formula which would admit both the Soviet Union and Spain. If that is not possible, we shall be prepared to consult with the British and French Governments with a view to dealing with this situation when we are confronted with it.

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  1. For the other part of this message, see document No. 1175
  2. Document No. 671, printed in vol. i .
  3. i. e., the Algeciras Conference of 1906. For the text of the Act of Algeciras, signed April 7, 1906, see Treaty Series No. 456; 34 Stat. (3) 2905; Foreign Relations, 1906, pt. 2, p. 1495.