711.56352/4–2952: Telegram

No. 852
The Ambassador in Spain (MacVeagh) to the Department of State 1


1163. USNEG. Embtel to Dept 1104, rptd Paris 194; Rome for Unger 45, April 18.2 You will recall Vigon at mtg promised written answer Kissner’s April 16 memo3 which included statement of US requirements. Kissner had fourth mtg with Vigon April 26 and latter then presented memo, our translation of which fols:

“In answer to the points outlined by Gen Kissner, I have pleasure of informing you that:

A. Upon reviewing (your) memo of 16 April, we notice, generally speaking, a better explanation of measures which can contribute to air and naval operational requirements of US Forces. If, as we hope, our requirements of similar nature which will be outlined to you are accepted by your authorities, we are confident that majority of requests formulated cld be favourably resolved, in a similar manner to those agreements you have made with other countries.
B. The observations that fol are primarily intended to clarify and define the nature and extent of the Amer desires regarding collaboration that Spain cld offer to defense of West by authorizing preparation of certain installations in its territory, and later, their utilization under conditions to be established. We also wld like to review consequences which as a result cld affect Spain, as well as means to face them.

C. Location of aforementioned installations, circumstances under which they are to be prepared and eventually utilized, we hope will be object of detailed study by reps of armed forces of Army, Navy and Air Force of both countries which may shortly begin their tasks.

We wld desire that you wld share our criteria that partial agreements which, in principle, will be reached shld be considered of provisional value, subj to rectifications, until gen polit, mil and econ agrmt is reached.

D. Based on foregoing and reiterating that Spain is, in principle, disposed to coop in Def of West, we wish to submit for your consideration:
1. The collaboration, apparently passive, which is now required of Spain, in reality wld not be so in any sense, because granting of [Page 1843] mil facilities implies position of belligerency, whose immed consequences cld:
(a) Air attacks against all natl territory which cld be launched from beginning of hostilities.
(b) We cannot discard possibility that before mobilization of part of NATO divisions begin, armored forces of aggressor cld initiate large-scale operations, nor possibility of enemy airborne forces attempting to create centers of harassment and resistance in distant zones, attacks on Pyrenees barrier and in interior of Peninsula, cld be launched in very short time.
(c) Within short time, we must expect attacks on our maritime communications in peninsular and inter-insular waters.

2. Above mentioned eventualities indicate priority of urgency of Def measures that Spain shld adopt, with material and tech assistance of US, which shld be:

(a) Organization of anti-aircraft defense of natl territory, which wld require:
Radar net.
Air interception.
Anti-aircraft artillery.

(b) Reinforce armament of our active divisions which shld be deployed in Pyrenees and which require replacement of part of their artillery, completing their anti-tank and anti-aircraft armament presently very deficient and completing and renovating their transport material.

Complete armament of light divisions and their transport material.

(c) Equip our ships with fire direction and radar installations for effective protection of our maritime communications.

We consider that a part of these requirements cld and shld be contributed by our industry by completing and modernizing its equipment; however, for certain requirements of an urgent nature, material from existing stocks shld be utilized, considering that creation of NATO divisions appears to be delayed.


E. Considering review of your concrete proposals, I can state that we are willing, in principle, to render active collaboration that is possible to us to develop and equip mil installations referred to in paras (a) and (b) of your memo and to grant in gen terms authorizations referred to in paras (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) the details of which should be object of technical mil agreements between services.

Regarding utilization of said installations, we understand it shld not be exclusively Amer, that they will also be utilized by Span Armed Forces and that mil command of said bases shld be Span, without limiting operational independence of Amer commands nor interfering with control of their troops.

[Page 1844]

A now old and painful experience causes Span populace to view with certain amt of reluctance establishment of Allied Forces on Span soil. In order to avoid aggravation of this legitimate sensitivity, which wld be played up by enemy propaganda, it is our desire that tours of duty in Spain of instruction cycle units (units on rotational training) be limited to amt of time considered strictly necessary for accomplishment of their missions. Personnel of technical services which are more or less stable in nature cld be relieved at greater intervals of time which wld not adversely affect efficiency and continuity of their work.

We equally desire that proximate and far (close in and outer) defense of bases be entrusted to Span troops, with Amers taking charge only of guarding and custodianship of their own material and installation.


F. We find concept contained in part (h) too vague and imprecise and we shld like to have it clarified. We shld also like to have contents of part (k) clarified. In it they refer to requirements which are not foreseen today but which cld derive from future polit or mil requirements; perhaps this part cld be held in abeyance until proper occasion arises.

Insofar as contents of part (j) are concerned, it appears to us difficult to find, in our gen heavily-populated coasts, adequate space for exercises of such amplitude.


G. Even though nothing indicates period of time of agrmt, it seems to us that it cld be fixed at five years. This period cld be prolonged by mutual consent, in event that circumstances make an extension advisable.

With understanding that gen staffs are not the agencies responsible for econ consequences of this type of agrmt, we nonetheless desire that in plans for purchase for construction required for proposed installations and for employment of Span personnel, interservice agrmts shld inspire themselves to (be dedicated to) proposition of preventing inflation.”

In amplification of above Vigon orally stressed certain points and asked questions on others as fols:

US can not expect exclusive use of bases which must be commanded by Span officer altho US Forces and facilities thereon cld be commanded by US. Set-up similar US bases UK.
Concerning negots in gen all oral agrmts must be considered provisional and subj final amend correction and approval higher auth.
Anytime Kissner wished to reply to Vigon’s memo wld be satisfactory to Vigon.
Vigon asked for clarification of part (h) Kissner’s memo 16 Apr and in particular words “projected US Army requirements”.
Re part (k) Kissner’s same memo, Vigon asked again clarification and stated this para might involve negots with other countries such as passage of Fr troops thru Spain from Morocco to France. Gens agreed to defer further discussion on this and preceding point.
Re US Navy requirement amphibious training area, Vigon stated Span coast either rugged or populated therefore no areas available for major amphibious exercises if we intended use extensive forces. Kissner explained area desired for marine training and large land area not contemplated. Vigon stated Span extremely sensitive fon Allied troops in Spain. Kissner expressed our understanding this matter and explained that contemplated US base personnel more in category technicians than armed combat formations. Vigon appeared understand, adding, however, that rotation of combat units for training shld contemplate minimum time in Spain.
[sic] Vigon states concern over possible inflationary impact of US program on Span econ, and Kissner replied US concerned in minimizing effect any such impact.
Vigon said that after considering Kissner’s next memo, he wld be in position to assign definite work for service level mtgs.

In regard Vigon’s memo above, it appears clear that Spans hopes US will compute and contribute amt equipment required for broad improvement Span Forces in partial preparation hostilities, and that though he realizes Span industry must help Vigon expects some indication in Kissner’s next memo of what items US may furnish. Furthermore, he seems to feel existing US equipment for NATO may be available to Spain in view delay schedule organizing forces for NATO.

Other points on which clarification or instr desired are as fols:

Supply of material requested in para 4(b) Vigon’s memo.
Details re proposed allocation mil end-items.
Amplication of para (4) and (5) above.
Five-year term proposed. (This particularly interesting since topic of duration not yet broached by Kissner).

Pending receipt requested guidance Kissner intends supply Vigon with interim memo this week4 with view providing Span with clearer conception of contemplated use bases, details of facilities required thereon, cost estimates, and desired duration.

Copies Vigon’s memo in Span and Kissner’s memo of conversation fol airmail.5

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, and Rome.
  2. Document 849.
  3. Document 850.
  4. Kissner transmitted the interim memorandum, which he handed to Vigon on May 1 during the fifth meeting between the two negotiators, in despatch 1117 from Madrid, May 5. (711.56352/5–552)
  5. Vigon’s memorandum and the memorandum of conversation were transmitted to the Department of State in despatch 1106 from Madrid, Apr. 30. (711.56352/4–3052)