711.52/10–3149: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Spain

top secret

A–287. The over-all objective of US policy toward Spain continues to be the reintegration of Spain into the free Western European community through the progressive normalization of relations. We still believe that the policies set forth in Deptel 903, Dec. 18, 19471 afford the best prospects, however slow, of bringing this about. Despite the lack of progress to date, we hope the Spanish Government can be convinced of the simple truth that this is a friendly rather than a hostile policy and is designed to further Spain’s best interests.

At the same time, we would like to build up the popularity of the US with the Spanish people. The unpopularity of the present regime poses a dilemma for us in endeavoring to secure an attitude in the Spanish Government friendly enough to extend full cooperation in the event of a possible war while at the same time attempting to foster and maintain a popular attitude of support rather than hostility for the US.

We obviously cannot engage in effusive government to government friendship nor, in the absence of favorable developments in Spain, can we (1) promote its participation in such programs as the ERP, MAP or NAT; (2) extend government to government financial assistance or an outright program of aid on a project basis; (3) take a strong lead in seeking to alter the UN position on Spain. If the Spanish Government would show convincing concrete evidence of good intentions we could work progressively toward all three. However, we see little prospect of its being willing to do so in the near future.

Accordingly, we would like to promote a program to popularize the US with the Spanish people but without giving the Spanish Government cause for either antagonism or undue complacency. Obviously the most effective course would be an economic assistance program. However, we feel we cannot now go beyond the present US position which permits the Export-Import Bank to accept applications for individual project loans.

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Meanwhile, another course of action is open through the USIE program. We intend to build up and expand this program in Spain as the best means presently available to promote a wider knowledge and better understanding of the US among the Spanish people. In addition to some increase in skilled personnel which will be supplied to direct this program, we believe that the Embassy and the Consulates in Barcelona, Seville and Bilbao should make every effort to assist and promote this program in order to ensure its greatest possible effectiveness. Futher suggestions as to specific measures for implementing this plan will be sent as the need may require.

Any comments or suggestions the Embassy or Consulates may have would be welcomed.2

  1. Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iii, p. 1096.
  2. In airgram A–615, November 28, from Madrid, not printed, Culbertson expressed his concurrence in this proposed plan, but deferred sending comments or suggestions pending the arrival in Madrid of the Public Affairs Officer (124.526/11–2849).