851.00/5–445: Telegram

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

947. Personal for the Under Secretary. My British colleague has shown me a telegram sent last night by the British Embassy in Washington to the Foreign Office London and repeated to him in Madrid indicating that I am to receive instructions from the Department to make representations to the Spanish Government jointly with him to the end that Laval be turned over to the French. My French colleague has received no instructions from Paris and my British colleague has not received any instructions from London to take any action. In its first telegram to Madrid the Foreign Office appeared to take the position that although the Spanish Government was probably entitled to put these undesirable aliens across the frontier into France, they were under no obligation to do so.

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There is no doubt that the quickest means of ending this matter is for Laval and party to be sent to Gibraltar where with British consent they could be immediately handed over to the French and placed on a French vessel. For obvious reasons the Spanish Government would be most reluctant to hand Laval directly over to the French and the relations between Spain and France are such that, if left to their own devices, this matter may well drag on.

I bring this matter to your attention because if Laval is not considered a war criminal by the American and British Governments the two Embassies have really no local stand in the case and if the French are unable to get Laval extradited, will it not be difficult to explain why as alleged in British telegram, Laval is not on the United Nations’ list of war criminals.

Repeated London as 270 and Paris as 193 to Lisbon by courier.