711.56352/4–1852: Telegram

No. 849
The Ambassador in Spain (MacVeagh) to the Department of State 1


1104. USNEG. Kissner had third mtg with Vigon Apr 16.2 His résumé of conversation fols:

“I handed Vigon and two staff officers copies informal memo3 containing in gen terms US mil requirements and info designed to answer Vigon’s questions 8 Apr mtg. Vigon and officers appeared generally satisfied contents memo and appeared understand ref therein that mil aid is annual Congress appropriations matter and outside province of mil group. Vigon asked whether we had improvement specific installations in Spain in mind. I replied we prepared recommend such installations for joint agreement. I mentioned no particular installations. Vigon asked whether ref in memo to mil aid training items provided such for Span Navy which particularly needs electronics and communications equipment and training in use. I replied that in my recommendation to Wash on Span requests for particular items, training requirements all Span services wld be considered. Vigon apparently satisfied.

I stated that outline US requirements shown in memo envisaged three-year implementation period. Vigon indicated three years perhaps too late as emergency that may break, will occur sooner. I replied any construction progress made in implementation base agreement wld be particularly valuable. In two years we cld expect 2/3rds facilities completed. Vigon understood apparently satisfied.

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Vigon indicated satis and pleasure with memo and stated wld clear info therein with Franco, who plans mtg of Natl Def Council Sat or Mon, following which Vigon wld have some written answers for me. Vigon stated he wished my consideration fact unfavorable comment abroad and some adverse opinion within Spain wld ensue from presence bombardment and fighter units in Spain. I replied our requirements did not contemplate peacetime stationing full complement info facilities. US wld wish rotate such units thru installations for two or three months duty to train realistically. Permanent care-taking detachment wld approximate 500 per base. Vigon understood readily appeared satisfied.

Vigon referred to his statement to Spry 4 regarding joint rather than exclusive use of bases. He said arrangements should contemplate Span commander for areas but we cld use all facilities therein and have operational control our forces. I replied we wld bear that in mind. Our specific requirement was operational control our units and equipment. Vigon stated he and Spry discussed use Span forces to occupy Medit island bases in war.5 Upon my reply that this item became dormant since Spry’s visit but I wld seek further info if he wished. Vigon said he understood and we cld postpone question.

Vigon referred to pending Ital elections and serious sitn to US shld Commies win some communities, and asked if US planned action. I stated I had no current info. Vigon stated his source, two retired Ital gens in Madrid who cld be sent Italy for further info. I stated our MA cld discuss this with Itals and I cld inform Carney if serious. Vigon said no, wait until return of Itals from Italy when he wld further inform me personally. Vigon regretted negots delay about one week for council decision after which we cld expect rapid progress. He stated meanwhile I had complete freedom to go throughout Spain and suggested I visit installations at my pleasure. I replied I wld so visit to become familiar personally various installations but not make surveys.”

Copy memo left with Vigon and full memo KissnerVigon conversation6 fols airmail.

Natl Def Council (Junta de Defense Nacional) to which Vigon referred meets rarely (see Embdes 999, Mar 2 [28]7) and is top mil policymaking body in Spain. It is chairmanned by Franco and includes three Def Mins, three chiefs of staff and chief of high gen staff.

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They will undoubtedly discuss recent FrancoSalazar mtg (Embtel 1090, April 158) as well as establish policy lines for mil negots with US.

  1. Repeated to Paris and Rome.
  2. The first and second meetings, both introductory, were held on Apr. 7 and 8. The reports submitted by Kissner concerning them, contrary to instructions, were not sent in the “USNEG” series, but rather in telegrams Jusmg 5, Apr. 9, and Jusmg 6, Apr. 10, from Madrid to the Department of the Army. (752.5/4–952 and 752.5/4–1052)
  3. Infra .
  4. Reference is to a letter of Aug. 30, 1951, from Vigon to Spry, transmitted from Madrid as Appendix 2, Annex G, Enclosure 1 of despatch 425, Nov. 2, 1951. (752.5/11–251)
  5. The discussion under reference was reflected in a memorandum from Spry to Griffis, Sept. 29, 1951, transmitted from Madrid as Appendix 14, Annex G, Enclosure 1 of despatch 425, Nov. 2, 1951. (752.5/11–251)
  6. Transmitted from Madrid as Enclosure 2 of despatch 1067, Apr. 21. (711.56352/4–2152)
  7. Despatch 999 reported on all political events of significance during the preceding week. (752.00(W)/3–2852)
  8. Telegram 1090 reported that Franco had met Salazar on Apr. 14. (652.53/4–1552)