711.56352/6–752: Telegram

No. 858
The Ambassador in Spain (MacVeagh) to the Department of State


1321. USNEG. Ref Embtel 1314, June 51 rptd info Paris 249, London 128, Rome 60. Fol is our translation Vigon’s memo. Believe this most important and revealing expressions Spanish views yet [Page 1855] recd and your comments earnestly desired. Since these not anticipated for guidance before next mtg now scheduled for Monday, June 9,2 Kissner plans defer discussion on important points. Meanwhile, we convinced that argumentation contained this memo represents strong feeling likely prove increasingly serious impediment, possibly requiring for its removal some reasonable increase in military assistance along limited lines suggested.

(Begin memo) “Having made consultations I spoke to you about upon receiving your memo of May 5 [9],3 I can outline views of your authorities re observations that you formulated after having seen our explanation of our requirements.

I must begin by insisting on several of reasons that justify our points of view and which, although based on requirements of Spain, do not forget common interest that unites us.

Weaknesses and deficiencies which presently exist in our armament—and which are, in great measure, consequence of isolation to which we have been condemned by arbitrary hostility which we have been enduring for years—as well as necessity to overcome these deficiencies, have been faithfully and clearly revealed by His Excellency, Chief of State, to Admiral Sherman and to General Spry. It is to be assumed that these are not ignored by American military authorities because they have been revealed many times to different personalities.

It is your responsibility to judge whether or not rearmament of Spain can be useful towards solution of problems of west, but it is for us absolute necessity and it was so emphasized by our “Caudillo” in above mentioned occasions. From another point of view there is no way to explain to our people that in this aspect, as well as others, we were to be object of discriminatory treatment on same occasion that, for first time, you manifest desire to count on us in a cause that was always our own.

Based on above considerations, we submit for your examination reasons that, in our judgment, serve basis for our moderate desires as well as means to fulfill them without creating difficulties in progress of your war production, nor interfering in appreciable manner with supply of matériel to other countries.


We have always recognized that our anti-Communist ideology makes us preferential objective of Russian hostility; therefore, in event of Commie eruption towards west there wld undoubtedly arrive time when struggle wld take place on our Pyrenees border with all its consequences, one of which wld be unanimous reaction of our people against menace of unprovoked invasion, which wld permit them to face all necessary risks such as air attacks. This taken-for-granted hostility of all Commies toward Spain shld not in our judgment be reason to consider of lesser urgency and interest [Page 1856] rearmament of Spain, because it shld be recognized that, if our air bases are utilized by American forces from beginning of struggle, Red aviation wld have primary interest in attacking Spanish bases with objectives of interfering with their utilization by US Air Force and that they wld extend their activity, if they cld do so, against our centers producing war matériel. Considering numerical superiority that apparently that aviation (presumably Soviet) presently has, presence of Allied interception on Elbe or Rhine wld not necessarily impede Russian bomber formations, stationed in some Balkan country, from overflying Mediterranean to attack Spain, whose own people wld be considered unarmed and unassisted to repel aggression which, to certain extent, we wld have provoked, or to say least, precipitated. And one shld not count on assured and unfailing presence of American Air Force because you shld not and can not give up possibility of deploying it to concentrate in theatres of operation which circumstances may demand at given moment.

For this reason we insist on necessity, for Spain, which may be convenience for yourselves, to grant to our air defense attention and means that, from first moment, we consider indispensable in three fol aspects:


Radar net

Project that, in general terms, you indicate in 3a (presumably para 4a Kissner memo May 9) cld, without doubt, adequately fulfill requirements of Spain when it is completed. However, idea of not beginning these installations until third year we believe shld be revised, by beginning in the first year of work to establish most indispensable elements in Pyrenees and Balearic Islands and developing during fol two years rest of plan simultaneously with progress of work on airfields. In this manner if due to precipitate development of political events, air forces have to be deployed prior to proposed completion deadline, incomplete but sufficient warning net wld be available.



As we shld not count on continuous presence of American Air Force on Spanish soil because, as we have mentioned before, military requirements cld make it advisable to concentrate it temporarily in another area, we consider existence of national air force absolutely indispensable; this shld not necessarily mean that you shld disregard other commitments you have contracted. Limited collaboration in jet engines and accessory matériel wld suffice to begin production of some type of relatively simple but effective fighter aircraft in Spain; at same time training matériel that you cld supply us wld permit us to train our personnel.

Requests which we have formulated in our previous memo were not specific because we understood that, if you accept in principle our point of view, manner and quantity of aid cld be studied by corresponding military and technical services.

[Page 1857]

With ref to comments you formulate in section 1 and 2 of para B (Kissner’s memo May 9)4 I wish only to express our sincere desire that planned deliveries effectively serve, in all cases, purposes to which you have assigned them; if this were case we wld look into future with less preoccupation. However, it is not permissible for us, nor do we feel it desirable, to base defense of our soil in effort or sacrifice of someone else. Also existence of interception units in Central Europe does not exclude possibility of air attacks from other directions as we have mentioned before. In addition, eventual conflict cld begin and evolve in different form to that generally foreseen.


AA artillery.

Since you know actual condition of our anti-aircraft defense and therefore are willing to make available to us some training anti-aircraft equipment, I desire to bring up point that this wld be hardly beneficial if, once training in this equipment is acquired, we were not going to receive additional anti-aircraft equipment in adequate amount. If shipments now proposed are part of initial program which eventually will have further developments in accordance with our needs and with ability of US to furnish this equipment, we wld be very grateful to have this confirmed.


With regard to equipment and armament for our active diversions [divisions], aside from recommendations that in more detail central general staff of army may submit at later date, it is our opinion that this equipment shld be oriented toward equipping these divisions in such way that their organization and fire power be same as similar units of other countries. Taking into consideration that most of this armament cld be manufactured in Spain, equipment that wld be made available to us wld not entail significant reduction or delay in delivery of this equipment to other countries. Some of this equipment cld be part of anti-aircraft equipment and some medium caliber howitzer battalions.

As to anti-tank armament (presumably 105 mm. howitzer), drawings that General Garvin has brought5 no doubt will be of great benefit and for this we are very grateful; our own ordnance services are actively developing some prototypes which seem very interesting. As to transportation, it is our opinion that furnishing of this material will not be difficult for us, taking into consideration fact that number of vehicles in our tables of organization is smaller than number of vehicles in similar US units.

You indicate to us that amount of 12 million dollars of military aid program is maximum amount for first year in material and armaments for light divisions. We assume that you refer to initial training period course all units and for organization of larger units, after which period we wld receive other material, light tanks [Page 1858] and general purpose vehicles. If this is case, we wld appreciate that we be so informed.
We wld also like to know that, if once it is proved feasible to install modern equipment in some of our ships without risk to their seaworthiness, as we believe, there is possibility of installing this equipment in some ships that wld go to US and, upon return to Spain, wld be used for instruction purposes, simultaneously being utilized as model for modernization of rest of units of our navy.
In your para 4e you indicate that amount of 100 million dollars is top limit for aid plan for first year and in your para 5 you reiterate this projected aid is an initial step in military cooperation with Spain. If our interpretation is correct, that is, if this is really initial program that is to be continued, we believe convenient joint study, taking into consideration our needs, of plan to be developed within same three years which you have specified for installations that you desire to use; and also taking into consideration that future Congressional appropriations shld give rearmament of Spain attention and importance which presence of your mission in our country demonstrates. If you accept this proposal, detailed studies cld begin immediately between personnel of mission and general staffs of our three armed services.

We still believe appropriate to insist on some of our previous indications regarding length of stay of US Air Forces in our territory during peacetime.

Presence of US forces in some European countries, more or less continuously since last war, can not surprise people of those countries as they are used to such presence since years of common fighting; nevertheless you must realize that it is difficult to prevent certain friction. We consider it politically unsound to impose on Spanish people certain limitations and servitude in time of peace, without people themselves realizing necessity of accepting them or simply because of convenience of these impositions. First incident wld be taken advantage of by Red propaganda against you and against Spain; even now such propaganda has been initiated and we shld presume that it is going to be intensified.
Besides, we do not consider presence of your wings in time of peace indispensable in order to be acquainted with installations and to reassure yourselves of correct functioning of services in these installations. It wld be enough with visits of forces of smaller size similar to visits that fleets now make to Allied ports and, of course, as frequently as it wld be convenient.

More liberal criteria wld be applied to technical personnel which is responsible for certain services.

Since in our opinion length of mutual aid agreement between our two countries depends on certain political aspects, development of which at present can not be foreseen, we believe that it wld be convenient to fix period of time of between five to nine years, for example, and to make provisions for extension of this term in accordance with circumstances as they develop.” (End Vigon memo)
  1. Telegram 1314 reported that Vigon had handed Kissner the Spanish reply to the memoranda presented to the Spanish on May 1 and May 9 during the seventh meeting between the negotiators on June 5. (711.56352/6–552)
  2. Records of this meeting, the eighth between Kissner and Vigon, were transmitted from Madrid in telegram 1335, June 11, and in despatch 1252, June 13. (711.56352/6–1152 and 711.56352/6–1352)
  3. The consultations, which were with Generalissimo Franco, were alluded to in the memorandum of conversation by Kissner transmitted in despatch 1142 from Madrid, May 12. (711.56352/5–1252)
  4. The sections under reference corresponded to that part of the instructions for the May 9 memorandum contained in the first and second paragraphs of Document 855.
  5. According to the memorandum of conversation transmitted by Kissner in despatch 1142, May 12, these blueprints were handed to the Spanish at the sixth meeting between the negotiating teams on May 9. (711.56352/5–1252)