851.00/5–445: Telegram

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

938. The Foreign Minister telephoned me again this morning to ask whether I had any reply on the Laval matter and to urge a rapid decision on our part. He said that the situation was becoming increasingly embarrassing for the Spanish Government as it was developing into an international incident. He said that he still felt that the [Page 712]Gibraltar solution was the best one and that his Government would be prepared to hand Laval and his entire group over to the British authorities without any attached conditions. If, however, a decision was not reached shortly, he proposed again to insist with Laval that he and his party leave Spanish territory on the same plane in which they had arrived. For obvious reasons, he said he did not feel that this would be a satisfactory solution, nor did he seem hopeful that Laval would be more responsive now to this suggestion than he was 2 days ago, but he insisted again that a decision must be reached as soon as possible.

In the given circumstances the Spanish Government obviously does not wish to hand Laval over directly to the French authorities, although they probably assume that eventually Laval will have to stand trial in France. If the direct transfer is insisted on for its own sake, I fear that it will only serve to cause delay, all of which I must emphasize may result in encouraging others to make similar attempts to impose upon Spain for refuge. Please instruct.