The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at London
588. For Secretary Byrnes from Acheson. Balfour10 came in this afternoon to discuss the Spanish situation, particularly in relation to the recent French note suggesting tripartite discussions. The British preferred not to have a meeting but exchange views through diplomatic channels. They do not wish to break relations with Franco but feel that internal developments are progressing and should be allowed to develop. I told him that I did not feel that we could go on indefinitely with mere statements of our dislike for Franco but that we would be obliged to take some action. Merely by way of suggestion I put forward the thought that the three governments might agree to some statement which would be made public and which would be somewhat along the following lines: that the three Foreign Ministers had discussed this question in London; that we reiterated our dislike for Franco and the maintenance of a Fascist regime in Spain; that while the determination of the Government of Spain is a matter for the Spanish people the three governments are agreed that in order for a government in Spain to be an acceptable member of the community of nations certain measures would have to be taken by the Spanish people themselves. These measures would involve such things as the withdrawal of Franco, the possible establishment of a caretaker government which would enunciate certain fundamental principles such as political amnesty, return of refugees and free elections. [Page 1031] Balfour seemed to feel that some such move might be possible and said he would wire London with regard to it.
We shall try to make this more specific and submit it to you.
- John Balfour, British Minister in the United States.↩