Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Armour)

Participants: Señor Don Germán Baraibar, Spanish Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
Mr. Norman Armour, Assistant Secretary of State
Mr. Outerbridge Horsey, WE
[Page 1084]

Mr. Baraibar called to pay his respects. He mentioned the recent referendum in Spain on the law of succession as evidence of Franco’s strong position. While admitting that there was widespread opposition to Franco, Mr. Baraibar said that the general feeling was that he was the only alternative to Communism. Mr. Armour recalled that, speaking personally, he had suggested to the Spanish Foreign Minister as long ago as November 1945,1 that there was a third alternative which was for Franco to turn back power to the generals from whom he received it in 1936, who would be in a position to maintain order and to return the country to representative government.

Mr. Baraibar thought that the most important feature of the referendum was that the ideas of Falange had now been suppressed entirely since the “26 points” of Falange were no longer part of the constitutional basis of the Government. The basic laws are now the Bill of Rights, the Labor Charter, the Constituent Law of the Cortes, the Referendum Law and the new Succession Law. Mr. Armour commented that the Bill of Rights was all very well but its importance lay in whether or not it was implemented. Mr. Baraibar expressed confidence that the referendum was a sign of real evolution in the Government. He thought it would soon be followed by municipal elections. Mr. Armour expressed hope that this was indeed so. Mr. Armour recalled that municipal elections had been promised over two years ago and had not yet materialized. Mr. Armour called attention to the bad effect created by continued political oppression and by restrictions on the freedom of foreign press correspondents. In conclusion, Mr. Baraibar offered his cooperation and assistance in any way in which it might be needed.

N[orman] A[rmour]
  1. See telegram 2438, December 1, 1945, from Madrid, Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. v, p. 695.