Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Western European Affairs (Achilles)


Participants: Mariano Yturralde, Director General for Economic Affairs, Spanish Foreign Office
T. C. Achilles, WE

Yturralde called to say goodbye before returning to Spain. In response to my question as to how he felt about his visit, he said that naturally the limited extent to which the Eximbank might be able to meet the projects he had raised was somewhat disappointing but that on the whole he was not discouraged. On his return to Spain he would push the formulation of specific requests for fertilizer plants and phosphate, lead and zinc mining machinery. He said that Mr. Gaston1 had appeared satisfied with the general information concerning Spanish economy which he had brought but that he would be glad to assist in furnishing any further information which might be desired and that his government would be glad to have a representative of the Bank visit Spain at any time to conduct any investigations it might wish.

He expressed gratification at the Secretary’s letter to Senator Connally. I used this opening to say that we were sincerely desirous of better relations with Spain but that this was necessarily a two-way street. We believe that good will and constructive action by the Spanish [Page 1556] Government was essential to the improvement of relations and we deplored the Spanish belief that Spain had merely to sit tight and be accepted on its own terms. One example of the Spanish attitude was the expurgation of the letter before its publication in Spain. He said that he had of course read the whole letter and saw no reason why any of it should have been expurgated. I cited as another example the continued presence here of Lequerica2 and reminded him that we had some weeks ago asked his government for a clarification of Lequerica’s status but have received no reply. I said that Lequerica would undoubtedly claim and probably receive credit for the eventual return of Ambassadors but that I thought it only fair his government should know that this and any other step in improving relations would be taken despite Lequerica’s efforts rather than because of them. He said that he had attempted to stay exclusively within the economic field while here but that he would of course take note of my statements and advise the Foreign Minister of them.3

  1. Herbert E. Gaston, Chairman and President of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank.
  2. José Felix de Lequerica, Spanish Ambassador at Large, had come to the United States in the spring of 1948 for the ostensible purpose of inspecting the Spanish Embassy and Consulates and had remained despite a number of efforts to have him recalled or have his status clarified.
  3. On January 25, Yturralde had a similar conversation with Willard L. Thorp, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, and William B. Dunham, Country Specialist in the Office of Western European Affairs. A memorandum of this conversation is in file 852.00/1–2550.