852.00/7–2447: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Douglas ) to the Secretary of State

top secret

4029. When in London recently, Hickerson1 discussed Spain with Sir Oliver Harvey,2 who promised obtain review British position. In absence on leave of Harvey, Warner3 tells us British have explored [Page 1085] all aspects our proposed action and are convinced plan will not work. He says (1) British are confident Franco is less interested in Spain and Spanish people than in maintaining power in his own hands and that therefore he would refuse under any conditions voluntarily to step down and (2) leaks would most surely occur with resulting embarrassment which would be seized upon by Soviets or others to make our position in respect of Spain at UN more difficult and worse than it is.

Accordingly, British Embassy Washington is being instructed to renew to Department previous proposals for soliciting support friendly nations to prevent further UN action on Spain.

As FonOff dossier indicated Harvey had not presented Hickerson arguments very forcibly, we suggested possibility of having Ambassador see Sir Orme Sargent once more but Warner thought such action would be ineffective, saying that Bevin had himself taken position outlined above.

If therefore Department desires this matter pursued further in London, it will likely be necessary that I go direct to Bevin.

  1. John D. Hickerson, Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs.
  2. Deputy Under-Secretary of State, British Foreign Office.
  3. Christopher Frederick Ashton Warner, Assistant Under-Secretary of State, British Foreign Office.