852.75 National Telephone Co./303: Telegram

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

252. Although as stated in my 240 [241], November 30, 10:00 a.m. [noon], Serrano Suner promised to receive Behn again within a few [Page 850] days he only received him last evening, the interview lasting only a few minutes. Behn states that Suner’s previous cordial attitude had completely changed and the interview was most unsatisfactory. Suner refused to discuss the question of reinstating the Americans, stating that he could do nothing until he received a report from the bureau which was investigating their previous activities in Spain. He also refused to discuss the question of the Spanish officials of the company. He gave Behn the distinct assurance that he has no desire or intention to arrive at a settlement of the status of the Telephone Company.

Behn is convinced that Suner was annoyed at having to receive him and had only done so on account of direct orders to this effect from Franco which in turn resulted from the personal intervention of Colonel Galarza, the Sub-Secretary of the Presidency, who has been very helpful to Behn and seems favorably disposed toward the interests of the Telephone Company.

Suner gave Behn a vague promise that he would see him again during the course of this week but refused to fix a time for the interview. Behn feels that he must wait until the end of the week to see whether Suner will receive him or not.

If Suner does not receive him Behn then feels his only recourse is to ask me to approach the Minister for Foreign Affairs and request that General Franco receive him. I told him I would be glad to do this whenever he requested it.

Behn is convinced that all of the other members of the Cabinet are favorably disposed and that the principal stumbling block lies in the fact that Suner on several occasions previously had stated publicly that the American employees of the company would never again be allowed to have any say in its management and he is now loath to take any decisive action which would place him in a position of having to retract these statements.

In the course of our conversation Behn informed me that he has learned on indisputable authority that the Spanish Army needs various supplies badly and is contemplating in the near future requesting through the Spanish Ambassador in Washington that the Export-Import Bank arrange to extend credits in order to enable Spain to make these purchases. If this be true, I venture to repeat the suggestion made in my telegram 232, November 19, 9 a.m., that the Department request Pierson to make no commitments whatsoever pending a final solution of the telephone question or at least pending a further report from me.