852.00/4–1947: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

1818. Personal for the Ambassador. There are some points brought out in Embtel 2314 April 19 which we feel can be clarified.

In proposing these discussions with British we proceeded on assumption that Brit Govt would agree with us that continuation of present [Page 1074] situation in Spain serves Moscow’s interest and that longer Franco remains in power the more dangerous situation becomes and more certain the eventual disintegration. Brit Govt has failed to comment on this assumption and has merely pointed out, through its Chargé in Madrid, that our approach will probably not work. We feel strongly that although there are prospects of temporary economic improvement as indicated by Brit Chargé nevertheless dangers inherent in present situation are such that some positive action should be taken very soon.

Our plan of action was put forward only as one method of achieving our end. If Brit agree with our premises we of course would consider any other scheme which they may desire to advance.

We agree with Brit Emb Madrid that for obvious reasons French should not be brought into this plan at present time.

We note that British seem to think we are proposing intimidation in order to achieve our objective. We agree that emphasis on this point would produce little result and we would not threaten application of economic sanctions. On other hand we should have to point out trend in the UN and emphasize our determination to support UN even if recommendations are made with wisdom of which we were not entirely in accord. We assume that Brit Govt is in the same position.

Furthermore with reference to emphasis placed by Brit Emb Madrid upon approach to Franco himself, we also in our previous telegram had indicated we considered this an essential element of plan. This approach must be made and it presents a possibility which has not yet been thoroughly explored. We recognize that it may not be successful but if no such direct approach is made Franco might well be justified in continuing to believe his own propaganda to effect that US-British opposition to his regime is nominal, and that insofar as US is concerned recently announced policy of President1 would indicate that we are prepared to shift our policy in regard to Franco and support any non-communist regime in Spain, including his own.

  1. Apparently a reference to President Truman’s Special Message to the Congress on Greece and Turkey, March 12, 1947; for documentation on this message, see volume v .