851.00/5–245: Telegram

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

919. The Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs61 has telephoned me that Laval and his associates refuse to leave. Castillo spoke to Laval personally by telephone and the latter said that he also refused to give himself up to a French Tribunal where he would not get a fair trial, but was disposed to submit himself for trial to an American or International Tribunal. On these conditions he proposed to come to Madrid and give himself up to the American Embassy. I told Castillo that I would, of course, refuse to see him or have anything to do with him, and reminded him that the Foreign Minister had told me that, in the event that Laval and the others did refuse to leave, they would be held here in Spain at the disposition of the Allied Governments. I said that, of course, I presumed they would not be permitted the liberty of a hotel but would be confined.

Castillo called me back later to say that he had again spoken to Barcelona and that Laval and all the others on the plane except Madame Laval would be imprisoned in the military fortress of Monjuich at Barcelona, to be held at the disposition of the Allied Governments as a whole. He said that the Spanish Government would, therefore, await word from the Allied Governments as to their desires. I said that I presumed that all documents in their possession would also be held at our disposition. He said that Laval had expressed a desire to retain certain of his documents in order to prepare his defense while in prison but indicated that the Spanish Government would not permit this. I have brought the above to the attention of my British and French colleagues and shall await instructions from the Department.

The Foreign Office has given me the following as the list of those who arrived in the plane: Pierre Laval, Madame Laval, Abel Bonnard, Eugene Bonnard, Maurice Gabol, Paul Neraud. Also three members of the crew (apparently German) Gerhard, Helmuth, and Funk.

Repeated to Tangier as 42, Lisbon as 87 and Paris as 180.

  1. Cristobal del Castillo y Campos.