No. 358

S/SNSC files, lot 63D351, NSC 72

Memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Bonbright) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

Subject: NSC Discussion of U.S. Policy toward Spain, February 1

NSC 72/3,2 the Defense Department’s comment on our paper NSC 72/2,3 is in three sections: a letter from Secretary Marshall with two enclosures, a memorandum by the JCS and recommended amendments to the conclusions of NSC 72/2.

Secretary Marshall’s letter, after reviewing the JCS paper, states: “The fact is, however, our security interests require, as a minimum, early military association between NATO and Spain, immediate military association in the planning field between the United States and Spain, and provision of military assistance by the United States to Spain. Timing is a very important consideration today and for this reason I think our Government’s attitude toward Spain should reflect more of a sense of urgency in securing our objectives with respect to that country.”

“With the foregoing considerations in mind, there are proposed in the enclosure certain amendments to NSC 72/2.”

The JCS memorandum recommends from the security point of view, which they believe should be overriding, that the U.S., instead of discussing immediate policy toward Spain with the British and French Governments, should: (1) propose the acceptance of Spain as a member of NATO; and (2) “Regardless of whether or not Spain soon becomes a member of NATO, the United States propose to NATO that authority be given for the military agencies of NATO to establish military association with Spain, and the necessary political arrangements be made at the earliest possible moment for United States military planners to enter into conversations with Spanish military planners.” We accept the main thesis of the JCS as an ultimate objective, namely, that Spain should be a full NAT partner. Disagreement arises over the method and form to be employed. We believe tactics will determine whether the objective is attainable and our information concerning the current political situation in Western Europe counsels against the methods and forms proposed by the JCS. Forcing this issue immediately in the NAT, as the JCS suggest, might arrest or reverse the trend in [Page 788] France toward eventual acceptance of Spain as a part of the Western European defense system; the reaction, in the coming elections, would also force Socialist votes to the Communists. In England the trend is likewise toward ultimate acceptance of Spain, but in the present delicate political balance premature action would only lead to British opposition which could be avoided if careful advance preparations are made. Certainly a proposal now, that the NAT admit Spain to membership, would be rejected and might well postpone indefinitely further consideration.

However, the second enclosure to Secretary Marshall’s letter, which was apparently prepared after consultation with him, accepts our paper with only a few changes. These were discussed, and agreement reached, at the NSC Senior Staff meeting this afternoon. It is recommended that the Department’s position on these amendments be as follows:

(1) Paragraph 7a: accept the changes.

(2) Paragraph 7c: accept the deletions.

(3) The change recommended in paragraph 7d contradicts paragraph 8b. This subject was thoroughly discussed and it was agreed that military assistance should not be given to Spain without Spanish commitments under NAT as indicated in paragraph 8. Agreement therefore was reached on the following as the first sentence: “Provide military assistance to Spain insofar as this is consistent with paragraph 8.” It is recommended that this substitute language be accepted.

In the event that this change is not finally accepted by the JCS or the Defense Department, we believe we should hold firmly to the position that military assistance, as distinct from the sale of military equipment, should follow, not precede, Spain’s agreement to contribute to the integrated defense forces. We should not place ourselves in the position of asking for Spanish favor when it is still within our capability to make it appear desirable to the Spaniards to join us. By agreeing to the Defense Department’s proposed amendment we would be giving away an important bargaining weapon and shifting the emphasis of our entire position.

(4) Paragraph 7f: We were unwilling to accept this change initially since we believe that the early arrival of a military mission, which this paragraph might otherwise immediately permit, would also shift the emphasis of our position. Precipitate action by the U.S. could only encourage the Spaniards to raise the price of their cooperation. However, during the discussion at the Senior Staff meeting the JCS and Defense Department representatives stated that the paragraph as redrafted left such details to agreement between the two Departments. The amendment was accepted with that understanding.

(5) Paragraph 8a: accept addition.

  1. Drafted by Dunham of the Office of Western European Affairs.
  2. Supra.
  3. Document 353.