800.515/3–1945: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant )

2111. As we understand their position from your 2219, March 3,25 and cable dated March 3 from British to their Embassy here, British are willing to inject Safehaven into supply purchase negotiations with Spain but are not willing to make Safehaven compliance a condition [Page 864] precedent to formulation current 6 months’ program. Additionally, even should Spanish be given to understand that Safehaven performance by them will directly affect our performance under the current supply program, British are not willing to cease certain supplies.

We, on the other hand, feel that it is highly desirable that the United Kingdom together with this Government take a strong and uniform position toward Spain. After due consideration, we have again concluded that wholehearted adoption and implementation of the Safehaven program must be a condition of any agreement or shipment of any supplies. It is our hope that the British will agree with this position and take concurrent action, thus preserving the unity of policy represented by Bretton Woods Resolution VI and the other pertinent policy declarations. Our view is that unless this stand is taken with respect to Spain now, the prospect of any salutary action on the part of Spain in the future would be considerably lessened. As an example of possible further action by this Government, Treasury is prepared to revoke the Spanish General License.

Evidence of weakness now toward Spain might seriously prejudice our position with the other neutrals. Obviously, strong action must be taken before hostilities cease and while Spain is dependent upon the United Nations for essential commodities. The war is at such a stage that we have little need to treat Spain better than other neutrals in order to obtain future supplies or services, and what little there is to gain by such treatment can not in any sense be compared to the stakes in balance in an effective control of German external assets in Spain.

It is understood that MEW26 has reiterated to British Embassy Washington its desire to make a joint diplomatic presentation of Safehaven note to Spain immediately. Department’s telegram 2016, March 15,27 indicates that this procedure is also desire of this Government. It is hoped therefore, that joint instructions can be sent to Madrid in accordance with Department’s 2016, March 15, as soon as possible. It is felt, however, that technical advice will not be needed in Madrid until our supply purchase negotiations get underway and until Spanish have an opportunity to study our joint note. Our purposes would therefore be better served by having Bliss28 come to Washington as soon as possible.

You are instructed urgently to bring these matters to the attention of the British.

Sent to London, repeated to Madrid.29

  1. Not printed.
  2. British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Don C. Bliss, Commercial Attaché at the Embassy in London.
  5. As telegram 490.