740.00119 Control (Germany)/1–546: Telegram

The Chargé in Spain ( Butterworth ) to the Secretary of State


21. Despatch 1345, December 2128 Embtel 7, January 2 London 1 Berlin 1 Lisbon. Concluding portion Spanish FonMin note on repatriation [Page 797] of Germans calls for Allies to meet high repatriation expenses and expenses all German internees, pointing out that German funds for latter purpose have been turned over to US; Spanish have no objection to internees engaging in public work to support themselves.

FonMin official now presses for early Allied payment of expenses of internees indicating that no Spanish funds are now available and that men run danger of severe suffering. He states FonMin understands expenses of those interned should be charged to authority replacing German Government, that obligation to intern belligerents of military age ceased and men should have been released moment war ended.

In approving deduction 283,683.40 pesetas for camp support Deptel 2052, December 20 London 10958, Paris 5958, Paris 597429 we stressed that same was not to be considered precedent for further deductions or payments. We also directed attention to the apparent disappearance of some 2 million pesetas believed to have been disbursed by German Embassy for internee support just prior to closure. However, this is a disputable point and a minor matter which cannot be allowed to interfere with major repatriation problem and the present reality is that FonOff regards camp support as legitimate charge against Allies and in event of our failure to assume same we run risk of Spanish Government releasing promptly the interned espionage agents as well as customs guards with concurrent repercussions on repatriation program and loss Allied prestige. It must be stressed that continued cost of camps is regarded by Spaniards as due in final analysis to failure of Allies to initiate repatriation program promptly after surrender of Germany.

Embassy considers best procedure to advance funds under close control for all and in any event to secure prompt exodus all guards via train as soon as possible. It no longer appears their remaining here at our expense would in any way force Spanish to speed up removal our candidates for repatriation or effect movement thereof by air or sea; trusteeship would desire such expense stopped by prompt removal guards.

Former German funds in pesetas sufficient to cover costs of short period of maintenance and transport (Embtel 2533, December 14 paragraph 2 London 697 Berlin 8729) Embassy therefore requests that USFET promptly arrange train transport of customs guards via Hendaye about January 31 (tel S–34583, December 11 HQ Main to MA Madrid29). Please keep Embassy informed as to progress. Embassy will endeavor to persuade Spain to expel all 1253 customs guards.

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Repeated London as 7. London please relay to Berlin as Embassy’s 3.

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