No. 365


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


Subject: Spain

Participants: Mr. Burrows, Counselor, British Embassy
Mr. ByingtonWE
Mr. DunhamWE

I explained to Mr. Burrows that the Department had given great attention to the views which his Government had expressed here through the Embassy and also in London through our Embassy there.1 It had been decided that before any substantive consideration was given to future developments in our relations with Spain we would want the fullest consultation with the United Kingdom. In the meantime out of deference to their views, the Department had decided to instruct our Ambassador that in his conversations with the Spanish Government that he should at no time make any reference to even the possibility of an association between Spain [Page 800] and the NATO nor should he discuss Spain’s relations with the other countries in the NATO. The Ambassador’s conversations will therefore be strictly limited to a very general exploration of the Spanish attitude and should not create any change in the present situation other than the possibility of providing our Government with further information concerning Spain. We will of course continue to consult with the British and French before deciding on any future course of action.

Mr. Burrows replied that following our previous conversations on the subject the British Ambassador had spoken to the Secretary of State2 pointing out the desirability of consultations between the United States and the United Kingdom and France before any approach to the Spanish Government. The Secretary agreed and undertook that Ambassador Griffis would have no discussions on this matter with the Spanish Government until there had been prior consultations with the United Kingdom. The British Ambassador had so reported to the Foreign Office. It seemed to Mr. Burrows that the step I had outlined was contrary to this understanding. He felt there should first be military discussions in the standing group3 before Ambassador Griffis took any initiative.

I suggested we hold the question in suspense until I could communicate with him further.

  1. See telegram 4094, Document 355, and the memorandum of conversation, supra.
  2. No record of Ambassador Franks’ conversation with Secretary Acheson on this topic has been found in Department of State files. According to Franks’ telegram 259 to London, February 23, however, the conversation took place on February 22. He had stressed the need for joint consultations before the United States opened talks with Spain. (Public Record Office, F0371/96181/S1071/12)
  3. Standing Group, NATO Military Committee, comprised of representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of France, Great Britain, and the United States.