740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1246: Telegram

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

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1289. Reference is made to Embtel 1287, August 11; repeated London 344; Berlin 256; Lisbon 71; transmitting text of statement made by Spanish Minister Education regarding repatriation agreement reached at Council of Ministers August 9.64

Neither this Embassy nor British Embassy here have at any time given to the Spanish Govt any guarantees to the effect that German repatriates would not be “obliged to reside in the Russian occupation zone”. We have at the Spanish Govt’s request run down an unfounded rumor to the effect that former German Chargé d’Affaires von Bibra, repatriated from Spain last January, had been obliged to reside in the Russian Zone. We have also informed the Ministry that the Embassy knows of no case where a German has been forced into the Russian zone from the British or American zones but that on the contrary movement of persons is largely the other way out.

I would appreciate advice if any statement has been made to Spanish representatives with whom matter has been discussed in Washington or London.65

In any event while it is regrettable that Spanish Govt has perhaps made an unjustified statement, fact remains that correction of that statement would have serious adverse effect on repatriation program currently at critical stage with Spanish Govt apparently disposed to make maximum effort to overcome obstruction both active and passive of some of its own officials and Falangists. Therefore unless Dept contemplates that any appreciable number of high priority candidates for repatriation from Spain will be turned over to Soviets, it is suggested that we not insist that Spanish Govt correct published statement.

At the first convenient opportunity, and provided the Dept and Foreign Office approve, the British Ambassador and I will indicate [Page 818]to the Foreign Minister, that while we have made no commitment of the nature set forth in the cited statement, we have no reason to believe that any of German repatriates other than those who may have been involved in war crimes against Soviets would be subject to being turned over to the Soviet authorities. I do not believe there are any such cases but am checking carefully. Please confirm my assumption that no German is obliged by the British or American authorities to proceed against his will to the Soviet zone unless specifically wanted for offense against Soviets.

Presumably Dept will have to answer questions from Soviet and American press on the above matter. It is earnestly hoped this can be handled in such a way as to produce minimum unfavorable effect here on repatriation program.

Repeated to Berlin as 257, London as 345; Lisbon as 72.

Bonsal
  1. Telegram 1287, August 11, not printed. Don José Ibañez Martin, the Spanish Minister of Education, issued on August 10, 1946, the following statement:

    “On proposal of Minister of Foreign Affairs Government occupied itself once more with insistent reclamations presented by British and American Embassies that there be carried out repatriation of all German subjects whose presence in Spain they consider prejudicial to good relations between our country and United Nations. Government agreed to suggest again to such Germans that they return to their country since they have received guarantee that they will not be compelled to reside in Russian zone of occupation nor subject to exceptional treatment.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1146)

  2. The Department in telegram 1074, August 19, 1946, stated that no statements had been made to Spanish representatives implying guarantees against resettlement in Russian zone of occupation (740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1246).