Memorandum by Mr. Harry N. Howard of the Division of International Organization Affairs2


The Problem of Spain

I. The Nature of the Problem

In the event that the question of Spain comes before the United Nations Organization, should the United States adhere to its policy of leaving action to the Spanish people themselves and oppose assumption of any responsibility by the United Nations? Should the United States take steps in advance with all or certain of the Latin American countries in the interest of avoiding the raising of this question? If so, on what basis should such a step be taken?

II. Proposed Position of the United States

It is altogether probable that the question of Spain will come either before the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations, or possibly both. The problem may arise in one of two forms: 1) As a recommendation for action on the part of the United Nations Organization; or 2) as a recommendation for action on the part of individual members of the United Nations. In view of the interests involved, the United States should keep in touch with Great Britain and France concerning the development of a joint policy concerning the problem of Spain. It is improbable that concerted discussions with the various Latin American countries, beyond the exchange of information, would serve any useful purpose in this respect.

Should the question arise, the United States should not discourage discussion of the Spanish problem or the presentation of a formal [Page 1024] resolution concerning the question. The United States should support any resolution reiterating the position taken at the San Francisco3 or the Potsdam Conference.4 It is possible, however, that a resolution may be offered urging member governments to withdraw diplomatic recognition from the present Spanish Government, and at the same time to assure the Spanish people that the restoration of representative government is favored. In this event, or if other action by UNO with respect to Spain is favored, the Delegate of the United States should consult with the Department of State.

[Here follows background discussion of the Spanish position during the war and the evolution of the attitude of the United States during 1945.]

  1. This document was one of 29 position papers which projected substantive issues that might arise at the impending first session of the United Nations at London and which established a United States position thereon. These papers are located in the files of the Reference and Documents Section of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (hereafter cited as the “IO Files”) in series USGA/Gen/1–29.
  2. For documentation on this Conference see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. i, pp. 1 ff.; for information on action on the Spanish problem see also Documents of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, 1945, vol. 6, pp. 124–136.
  3. See Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, p. 1637, entries in index under “Spain: Franco regime”, and “Spain: United Nations”.