852.75 National Telephone Co./301: Telegram

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

241. My 232, November 19, 9 a.m. Colonel Behn informs me he was received last evening by Serrano Suner and conversed with him for over 1 hour. The interview was most cordial and Colonel Behn is much encouraged. Suner opened the conversation by stating that although he had previously been opposed to the contract between the Telephone Company and the Government he had since examined it and considers it entirely practical and that it adequately protects the interests of the Government. He added that Behn could rest assured that the American interests in the company would be respected.

From this point the conversation led to a question of personalities in the management of the company. Suner assured Behn that the Americans will be reinstated with the exception of one or two whose cases will be jointly examined by Behn and Suner. Behn insisted on his right of appointing Spanish officials in superior posts in the company and this inevitably led to a discussion of Mestre, the general manager. This matter was left for further discussion. While Behn insisted on his right to appoint officials in the high posts he assured Suner that he had no intention of appointing any person who has not the entire confidence of Franco and Suner. Suner promised to receive Behn again within the next few days at which time they will settle and attempt to settle not only the question of the Americans referred to above but the high Spanish officials in the company.

While Behn does not consider that this interview is conclusive as regards settling the difficulties of the Telephone Company, he is more hopeful than at any time since his arrival in Spain on July 30.

Weddell