852.75 National Telephone Co./306: Telegram

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

259. Department’s 19, December 18, 6 p.m. Colonel Behn now informs me that he has been advised by Colonel Galarza, Sub-Secretary of the Presidency, not to attempt to see General Franco as the latter has consistently refused to take any part in administrative matters pertaining to the Government and would most certainly not receive him even though the request were made through this Embassy.

Colonel Behn has asked me to abstain from making this request but feels, and I concur, that the time has now come when the only hope of a solution of the telephone matter lies in the presentation of an emphatic note to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. If the Department concurs I suggest I be authorized to submit the following note:

“Excellency: Acting under instructions from my Government I have the honor to recall a conversation which I had with Your Excellency at Burgos on September 29 during which I stressed my Government’s interest in attainment of an equitable solution of the status of the management of the National Telephone Company of Spain (Compania Telefonica Nacional de Espana). At that time Your Excellency seemed to agree with my view that equitable treament of the American interests in the company would consist in returning the management to its majority stockholders.

I regret to inform you that since my conversation no progress appears to have been made in this matter notwithstanding the fact that for more than 4 months the representative of the American majority stockholders, Colonel Sosthenes Behn, has patiently endeavored to reach a settlement with the various Spanish authorities to whom he has been successively referred. My Government directs me therefore to express to Your Excellency its deep concern at this situation and to express its hope that in view of the Spanish Government’s previous assurances of its desire to treat American interests in Spain justly and equitably the Spanish Government will give its early attention to the question of a settlement of the status of the management of the Telephone Company which will fully protect the American interests involved.

I avail myself, et cetera.”

Behn left today for France. He says he will promptly return when his presence is required.