852.00/3–124.6: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Caffery)

secret
us urgent

1261. Deptel 1144 March 12 and Embtel 1219 March 13.50 In handing to Bidault reply to his most recent note on Spain you should, in addition to any comment you may make along lines previously suggested bring out orally following points:

Second paragraph of our present note is included because of reference in French Govt note of Mar. 12 to our apparent approval of the “legality” of their proposed action. We had thought that our note of Mar. 9 made it quite clear that we did not believe that the internal Spanish situation now was proper business for the Security Council. On the other hand, we do not wish to say how another member of UN shall interpret the Charter. We simply gave our interpretation in light of our present views on Spanish situation.

Bonnet said to Under Secretary51 on Mar. 15 that he hoped we would support proposed French action in Security Council. While we do not know whether he was acting under instructions from his Govt, you should make it quite clear that French should not count on support from us if question is raised either by them or by another country in the Council.

As to Yalta reference in his note you should say that declaration of 11 Feb. 1945 did not refer to Spain and we do not interpret it as applying to the present situation there. Reference to Spain in Potsdam [Page 1058]communiqué concerned only application by present Spanish Govt for membership in UN”, and cannot therefore be interpreted as a determination that Spain constitutes threat to international peace and security.

As to general application of economic sanctions, which appears to be the only new proposal in French note, we are not now prepared to support measures of this nature. We believe that such measures offer too little prospect of contributing to early and peaceful development inside Spain toward stable and moderate regime. Such measures would bring great distress to the people of Spain and if continued indefinitely would probably result in economic and political chaos.

In any event there can in our opinion be no question now of a decision by the Security Council under Article 4152 that economic sanctions should be employed as such decision must be preceded by a determination under Article 39 of the existence of a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression.

As indicated in last paragraph of our reply to Bidault’s original note of Dec. 12, 1945,53 we have always been ready to discuss with the French and British Govts, any suggestions looking toward a mutually satisfactory solution of Spanish problem. This holds true whether or not the question is brought before the Security Council. We still believe that method of exchanging views proposed by us, namely oral frank and realistic discussion of all aspects of Spanish situation is preferable to continuation of present exchange of notes.

Sent Paris as 1261 rptd London as 2402 and Madrid as 405.

Byrnes
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. Dean Acheson.
  3. Article 41 of United Nations Charter states: “The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions …”
  4. For Bidault’s note, see telegram 7133, December 12, 1945, from Paris, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. v. p. 698; for Department’s reply, see telegram 5992, December 22, 1945, to Paris, ibid., p. 706.