501.BC Spain/5–2349

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


No. 267

Sir: I have the honor to report that I had lunch today with Ambassador Nicholas Franco, brother of the Chief of State.

While disappointed over the United Nations General Assembly vote on the Brazilian Resolution, General Franco does not consider the matter to be of outstanding importance. It was the General’s feeling some time ago that the Brazilian Resolution should have been withdrawn and that it would have been to Spain’s advantage to have had only a resounding defeat for the Polish Resolution, leaving the Spanish question unfettered for a later decision. Ambassador Franco agreed that the defeat of the Brazilian Resolution was more important to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs than any other branch or element of the Spanish Government.

The Spanish Government and General Franco are more annoyed with the British than with the French since they feel that the latter did the best they could have done in the UN General Assembly vote in the face of French local politics. I told Ambassador Franco that it was most unfortunate that any attitude contra England, France or any western European country should develop because our interests and relations with these countries were and continue to be more important than our relations with Spain. He replied by saying that the essential element of his brother’s policy was improvement of relations with the United States.

General Franco was, according to the Ambassador, rather disturbed over the Secretary’s statement of May 11.1 Ambassador Franco defended the question of habeas corpus by saying, in considerable detail, that under Spanish law a person arrested must be given a hearing within seventy-two hours and that the legal authorities would not dare violate this legal right. I cited a couple of cases known to us where people had been arrested and held incommunicado for weeks. The Ambassador asked for details so that he could look into these cases.

Respectfully yours,

Paul T. Culbertson
  1. General Franco’s feelings on the Secretary’s statement had been manifested on May 23 in a note verbale (No. 417), not printed, to the United States Embassy in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “profound surprise and displeasure” with Acheson’s remarks. Culbertson’s reply merely acknowledged receipt of the note verbale and informed the Ministry that a copy had been forwarded to Washington. A translation of the note verbale and Culbertson’s reply were transmitted as enclosures to despatch 269, May 24, not printed. (852.00/5–2449)