740.5/1–1451: Telegram

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


3901. From MacArthur for Perkins. Remytel 1001, January 11 from The Hague, repeated Madrid 4.1 Joe Kingsbury Smith asked to see me privately and unofficially this morning. He referred to the message which he had sent to Franco and said that on January 11 Lojendio (counselor of Spanish Embassy Paris) called on him in The Hague. Lojendio asked whether General Eisenhower or US Government had knowledge of and approved Smith’s message to Franco. Smith said he replied that the initiative came solely from INS.

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Lojendio allegedly told him that while Franco would be glad to see Eisenhower and would even be willing to travel to the Spanish-Portuguese frontier or Lisbon to meet with him, Franco would only give Smith a reply for publication after he was certain that Eisenhower would agree to such a meeting. Smith said he told Lojendio that in his own (Smith’s) judgment there was no possibility of Eisenhower seeing Franco on his trip to the NAT capitals and Lojendio allegedly replied that in this event matter should be dropped.2

I told Smith that in my personal opinion his initiative in this matter seemed designed to create publicity and confusion and did not serve the best interests of the US, the other NAT countries, General Eisenhower and for that matter Franco himself. I also told him that he should not consider his private meeting with me as constituting any form of channel to General Eisenhower. He said he understood this and added that I was free to deny we had even talked about this matter. [MacArthur.]

  1. Not printed. In it MacArthur reported that he had heard that Joseph Kingsbury Smith, a correspondent for International News Service, who was in Europe reporting on the Eisenhower tour, had sent a message to General Franco asking him if he would invite Eisenhower to visit Madrid. (740.5/1–1151)
  2. In telegram 3923, January 16, from London, MacArthur reported that Smith had phoned him that afternoon stating that he, Smith, had received a telephone invitation from Lojendio to proceed to Madrid for an interview with Franco. Smith was disinclined to accept the invitation, but he asked MacArthur to authorize him, in a confidential message to INS headquarters in New York, to state that General Eisenhower preferred that Smith not hold the interview. MacArthur replied that he had no such authority, that his conversations with Smith had been strictly personal, and Smith would have to be guided by his own conscience in the matter. (740.5/1–1651)