The British Embassy to the Department of State


His Majesty’s Government have sent a reply, through His Majesty’s Ambassador in Paris, to Mr. Bidault’s recent note concerning the suggestion that the Spanish question should be referred to the Security Council of the United Nations.
His Majesty’s Government have informed Mr. Bidault that they remain firmly opposed to the suggestion that the Spanish question should be referred to the Security Council, and that they are not convinced by the arguments which Mr. Bidault had advanced in support of his theory that the Spanish situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
His Majesty’s Government repeat that in their view it is not possible to maintain that the existence of the present regime in Spain does in fact constitute a threat to any foreign country at the present time.
His Majesty’s Government point out that the dispute turns on the form and nature of the Spanish Government. This is essentially an internal, domestic Spanish question and one which in their view cannot properly be brought before the Security Council. His Majesty’s Government emphasize that, apart from procedural objections to bringing an internal Spanish question before the Security Council, a dangerous precedent would be set. If it were once admitted that a foreign country could be arraigned before the Security Council solely [Page 1056] because the form of its regime was distasteful to one or more foreign governments, it is not possible to surmise what might happen in the future.
His Majesty’s Government are convinced that many other governments would be opposed to bringing such a purely domestic matter before the Security Council and this might bring about the gravest difficulties for the United Nations Organization. If the Spanish problem were turned into a major international issue before the Security Council, His Majesty’s Government believe that such action would not be calculated to facilitate an early and peaceful solution of the Spanish problem and might well strengthen the present Spanish Government’s internal position. There are, in fact, many indications that the Spanish Government has already been strengthened by recent French actions.
His Majesty’s Government point out that the question of economic sanctions, which Mr. Bidault mentioned, has been considered and that there are serious objections to such a policy. His Majesty’s Government emphasize that the imposition of sanctions would be futile unless they were imposed not only by France and Great Britain, but by other European countries, the United States, and the Argentine, from which Spain at present draws much of her wheat. His Majesty’s Government feel sure that the State Department will agree with the view expressed in paragraph (2) above that the French proposal would not in fact facilitate an early solution of the Spanish problem.
His Majesty’s Government very much hope, therefore, that the State Department will feel able to instruct the United States Ambassador in Paris to reply to the recent French note along lines similar to the instructions sent by His Majesty’s Government to Mr. Duff-Cooper.49
  1. Alfred Duff Cooper, British Ambassador in France.