The Ambassador in Spain (Armour) to the Secretary of State
[Received 3:40 p.m.]
924. The Foreign Minister has just made to me the suggestion that Laval and his entire party be turned over to the British authorities at Gibraltar. He said that their presence here is becoming increasingly embarrassing to the Spanish Government and he feels that this would be the best solution.
I asked him whether this would include the German crew of the plane. While he was not entirely specific he indicated that they were not interested in the crew, and I judge that satisfactory arrangements with regard to them could be made. The idea apparently would be to have the party sent to Gibraltar by car or by any means that the British might suggest.
I immediately consulted my British colleague who is telegraphing London. He said he assumed the delivery would be made to the British on the understanding that they would receive them on behalf of the United Nations.
I am also notifying my French colleague.
The prompt handing over of Laval to the Allied authorities will no doubt deter other war criminals from seeking refuge in Spain. [Page 711]I believe that the proposed method would be the most expeditious manner of handling the matter since the Spanish will obviously be reluctant to hand Laval and his party over directly to the French, particularly since the French have thus far been unwilling to enter formal diplomatic relations with Spain.
Repeated to London as 263, Paris as 185 and Lisbon as 89. By courier to Tangier.