740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–2246

The Secretary of State to the Spanish Ambassador (Cárdenas)

Excellency: I have the honor to call to your attention the pressing matter of the repatriation from Spain of German officials and agents and other obnoxious Germans.

As the Spanish Government is aware, an opportunity to demonstrate its good faith by helping to eliminate from Spain a large number of the most dangerous of these Germans was offered when the American vessel, the Marine Perch, with a passenger capacity of approximately 900, was made available to transport repatriates on June 9, 1946.

In a Note Verbale addressed to the Spanish Foreign Ministry on May 16, 1946, the American Embassy at Madrid pointed out this opportunity and emphasized its desire that the total passenger capacity of the vessel be utilized and that repatriates should be from among those Germans, with their families, whose repatriation had been most urgently requested in various Priority Lists which had been presented to the Ministry. It was especially requested that there be included 40 specifically named and particularly obnoxious Germans, who had repeatedly been mentioned in previous communications to the Foreign Ministry.

Notwithstanding the frequently expressed intentions of the Spanish Government to cooperate in matters of repatriation, and the fact that ample advance notice of the sailing of the Marine Perch had been given, only 341 Germans were made available, thus leaving almost 600 spaces unfilled. Only one of the 40 Germans most urgently requested in the Note Verbale referred to above was included. The following table shows, furthermore, the number of Germans, without families, on each of four priority lists presented to the Spanish Foreign Ministry, who were still in Spain prior to the sailing of the Marine Perch, and the number of persons from each list who were actually repatriated on that vessel:

Priority List Number Requested Number Repatriated
I 105 1
II 75 5
III 221 31
IV 227 46
Totals: 628 83

These figures clearly illustrate that the Germans repatriated on the Marine Perch were largely either voluntary repatriates or relatively [Page 816]unimportant persons, and that the Spanish Government is continuing to give refuge and protection to the most obnoxious of the Nazi elements in Spain.

This is only the latest in a series of instances in which the Spanish authorities have failed to cooperate effectively in the repatriation of Germans from Spain. For example, only one-third of the passenger capacity of the British vessel, the Highland Monarch, which sailed from Bilbao on March 7, 1946, was utilized. Airlifts for groups of 16, which the American Embassy at Madrid stood ready and still stands ready to arrange at any time, have failed to materialize since March 5, with the exception of one airlift on May 10 in which 4 out of 16 Germans listed for passage did not appear.

The United States Government, through its Embassy at Madrid, and the British Government, have repeatedly urged upon the Spanish Government the importance of eliminating from Spain those Germans regarded as inimical to general security. In making facilities available to accomplish this objective, the United States Government has gone to considerable effort and expense, and notes with deep regret the meager results so far attained.

The failure of the Spanish Government so far to make good its frequently expressed intentions with regard to the repatriation program inevitably tends to substantiate the repeated charges of past and present collaboration by Spanish officials with Nazi Germans. The continuation of this situation can only serve to worsen Spain’s relations with the United States and with the other nations principally involved.

The United States Government trusts that the Spanish Government will appreciate the importance of prompt and effective action on its part in the matter of repatriation, that the Spanish Government will give assurances of its intentions in this regard, and that it will fortify such assurances by concrete evidences of its good faith such as (1) the immediate apprehension of the Germans requested for repatriation by air and their detention until transportation is arranged; and (2) sufficiently close supervision of those requested for repatriation by sea to enable them to be produced at short notice when further means of transportation are arranged. Action in the near future on the part of the Spanish Government, demonstrating its intention to cooperate effectively, would obviate the necessity of the United States Government’s notifying the interested authorities of the reasons for its difficulty in proceeding with the repatriation program.

Accept [etc.]

James F. Byrnes