No. 366


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


You will see from the attached memorandum of conversation that Mr. Byington this morning spoke to Mr. Burrows along the [Page 801] line of our proposed telegram on Spain, which you saw last evening.1

You will note from the second paragraph that there is apparently a difference of opinion as to what precisely transpired in the Secretary’sconversation with Sir Oliver Franks. According to the British, the Secretary gave an undertaking that Ambassador Griffis would have no discussions on this matter with the Spanish Government until there had been prior consultations with the U.K. The Embassy interpreted this to mean that military discussions in the Standing Group should precede any conversation between the Ambassador and Franco. We, on the other hand, have gone on the assumption that what the Secretary meant was that there would be no substantive discussions with the Spaniards without prior consultation with the French and British. Following along this line, we felt that for this purpose the discussion this morning with Mr. Burrows constituted consultation, and that, having had this talk with him, we would be free to let Ambassador Griffis do his sounding out along very general lines.

Since you were present at the Secretary’s talk with the Ambassador, do you think we are on sound ground? (There can be no doubt but that the British interpreted the talk the other way because Burrows showed Mr. Byington the telegram which Sir Oliver sent.)

There seems to be the basis for real disagreement here, and you may want to consider whether it would be wise to have another word with Sir Oliver before he gets away tomorrow so that we can be sure that we understand each other.

  1. The memorandum under reference is printed supra; the telegram is 578 to Madrid, see Document 368.