711.52/7–647: Telegram

The Chargé in Spain ( Culbertson ) to the Secretary of State

confidential

627. Accompanied by Maffitt, I saw Foreign Minister Thursday at Ministry at my request and again last evening at his residence at his suggestion. On Thursday we discussed Safehaven , Readers Digest, repatriation of Spaniards in Germany and Germans in Spain, the bill for oil supplied to Italian vessels, and our interest in matter of political prisoners. I indicated my hope that by a bit of give and take on both sides these lesser problems could be settled. Artajo agreed. I then said that while I thought we could settle the lesser questions I was not sanguine about the major problem. It was then two o’clock and Artajo suggested coming to his residence last evening where we could continue our talk. Artajo measures out his soda first and that is a bit the way the two hours conversation went since we never did exactly reach the scotch. Joaquin Ruiz Gimenez, Spanish Culture Institute head, was present for last evening’s talk and did most of the interpreting.

Artajo opened emphasizing special viewpoint of those who underwent civil war on Franco side and proceeded to hew closely to the present party line saying that Spain is basically pro-American; is together with us in opposition to Communism and would surely be with us in any future conflict against Communism. Spain was undeniably neutral in war, at great risk to herself; cannot understand our hostile attitude toward Spain which although at first by force of circumstances authoritarian not totalitarian is now slowly developing own democracy in own way, while at same time we continue relations with totalitarian governments like Russia, Yugoslavia, etc.; feel that Roosevelt’s 1942 letter1 to Franco and secret promises Churchill and [Page 1083] Eden2 allegedly made to Ambassador Alba about same time have not been fulfilled; if US had put as much effort into understanding Spain as we have into attacking her, our relations would be much better today and that today’s referendum will demonstrate to world that Spanish people give full support to Franco and that he is free choice.

My end of conversation was limited largely to factual, historical presentation except for remarks about today’s “free” election, and sharp distinction we draw between Spanish people and Franco. I told Artajo frankly that we did not and would not consider the result of the referendum as free expression of will of the people. It was by then ten o’clock and meeting had to break up. Artajo suggested we meet again soon. Hope to reach the scotch next time and would appreciate guidance on what if anything might be said along lines of policy being well developed prior my departure from Washington.

Sent Department 627, repeated London 62.

Culbertson
  1. See Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. iii, p. 306.
  2. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1940–1945.