No. 359

S/SNSC files, lot 63D351, NSC 72

Statement of Policy by the National Security Council1

top secret
NSC 72/4


1. The immediate objectives of United States policy toward Spain should be:

a. To develop urgently the military potentialities of Spain’s strategic geographic position for the common defense of the NAT area. All action in this regard should be tempered by political considerations.

b. To concentrate planning on the use of Spain for the common defense, not for the defense of the Iberian Peninsula. U.S. officials should emphasize in all discussions that the primary role envisaged for Spain is in support of the common policy of defending, not liberating Western Europe.

c. To approach the Spanish Government in order to acquire such facilities as bases for long-range bomber and fighter operations and behind-the-lines staging areas. We should similarly approach the Spanish Government for bases for naval operations.

d. To provide military assistance to Spain insofar as this is consistent with the objectives set forth in paragraph 2 below. All action in this regard should be guided by the principle that the NAT countries have priority for our aid and for materiel under the NAT, MDAP, and ERP. We should release from the Defense Department through the CAA, either direct to the Spaniards or through the U.S. air lines operating in Spain, as much as possible of the air navigational aids and other electronic equipment which the Spanish Government requested last June during the renegotiation of the Civil Air Agreement.

e. The following should also be provided for in the field of military and naval cooperation.

completion of surveys concerning the military requirements and capabilities of Spain;
provision for mutual interchange of information;
consultation regarding Spanish defense plans;
technical advice on problems of Spanish military and naval production and supplies;
consultation and technical advice concerning the improvement of Spanish ports, roads, railroads, telecommunications and airfields.

f. Relations with Spanish officials, inherent in the foregoing recommendations, should be carried out in close coordination between officials of the Departments of State and Defense.

g. To assist the Spaniards to improve their relations with the NAT nations in order to obtain a cooperative attitude toward the objectives of the NAT.

h. This policy should be discussed with the British and French Governments for the purpose of informing them of our decision and, if possible, of agreeing on a common policy; if and when the latter is achieved, the NAT Council of Deputies should be informed and an effort made to establish a common NAT policy along these lines.

2. The ultimate objective of United States policy toward Spain should be:

a. To obtain early Spanish participation in the NAT. While this is not politically practicable at this time, we should prepare the way for discussions with our NAT allies, particularly with the British and French, to achieve this objective.

b. To reach agreement within the NAT on Spanish participation, and thereafter to initiate discussions with the Spanish Government. Any MDAP assistance given to Spain should be given under such terms and conditions as to advance and not retard Spanish participation in NATO. The Spanish Government would doubtless prefer a purely bilateral relation with the United States under which Spain received United States aid and the United States received certain rights from Spain without involving Spain in any obligations for the defense of Western Europe. This result should be avoided and aid should be given only if we are satisfied that by so doing we are advancing Spain closer to participation in NATO.

  1. Attached to the source text were a cover sheet and a note by Acting Executive Secretary of the NSC Gleason which indicated that this statement of policy was being transmitted to President Truman as a report of the National Security Council and that the Council had considered NSC 72/2 (Document 353), the Department of State draft, and NSC 72/3 (Document 357), the Defense amendments, at its 82d meeting on February 1. The resulting paper, NSC 72/4, printed below, was adopted by the Council at this meeting and forwarded to President Truman who approved it on February 2 and directed “its implementation by all appropriate executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government under the coordination of the Secretary of State.” (S/SNSC files, lot 63D351, NSC 72)