No. 362


The Secretary of State to the Ambassador-Designate to Spain (Griffis), at Madrid1

top secret
No. 73

Sir: The President determined, on February 1,2 that the United States should seek closer relations with Spain in order to develop the potentialities of Spain’s strategic position and to bring Spain into the NATO. The President also determined that “Any MDAP [Page 796] 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 to 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.”3

In the past General Franco, in his public statements and interviews, has frequently derided the objectives of the UN and NATO and the efforts of the United States and its allies to provide effectively for the defense of Western Europe. In view of the President’s decision, it is important that, at the earliest possible moment, you discuss with General Franco generally and as a first step the desire of the United States to develop closer relations with Spain, as well as closer relations between Spain and its Western European neighbors. You may assure him that we will at the same time work with the Governments of the other Western European nations, particularly Great Britain and France, toward this end. It is important to keep before him the fact that our policy in Western Europe is based on the NATO and the common defense of that area and that our relationship with Spain must therefore be in line with this objective. In the meantime, if his Government is in agreement with this basic principle, we are prepared to explore with them the military assistance which could be extended by the United States to Spain. The extent and nature of this assistance will be directly related to Spain’s role in the common defense against Communist aggression.

Your conversations with General Franco will form the basis for detailed instructions to you in regard to the further steps to be taken.

Very truly yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. Drafted by Dunham and Byington of the Office of Western European Affairs; cleared by Bonbright, Matthews, and Ambassador Griffis.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 359.
  3. Verbatim restatement of a portion of paragraph 2b of NSC 72/4, Document 359.