369. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Spain0

221. Spanish Ambassador saw Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Johnson Sept 19 at former’s request to discuss base extension. Garrigues emphasized he not under instructions and merely wished informal exchange of views on his own initiative without commitment either government.

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Garrigues believed all three agreements (Defense and Economic and Military Aid) needed updating and renewal. Detailed negotiations required meant one year left before Sept 63 date for “renewal agreements” was not much time. On military side, weapons and situations had changed during ten years since agreements signed so that military strategy now different. Agreements should be reviewed in light changed circumstances; this necessity clearly in Franco’s mind. On economic side, Spain receiving no more aid. This perhaps all right, but “miracle of Spanish recovery” unfortunately limited largely to foreign exchange reserves. Personal income for instance about same ($300 per capita) as three years ago. Spain preparing new development plan based IBRD report. Social and economic deficiencies could affect stability of present or future regime. Franco’s great authority and prestige should be used to effect major controversial changes. Important that military bases under agreements rest on strong economic and social basis.
Garrigues stated perhaps new form of alliance necessary. Imagination should be used to think of ways to improve ten-year old agreement.
Johnson stated US viewed question as relatively simple matter. Of three agreements signed in 1953 only Defense Agreement had specified duration and this provided for automatic extension for two additional periods of five years each in absence notification desire to cancel. Ambassador Woodward had indicated to FonMin Castiella US wished Defense Agreement to continue and we understood this also view of Spanish Government. We therefore assumed Agreement itself would be automatically extended for additional period unaffected by fact discussions and possible modifications of Technical Annexes might be required. From US standpoint we quite satisfied with Defense Agreements and Technical Annexes as they stand. We had invited Spaniards to examine them and suggest any changes they thought desirable. With regard conduct of such negotiations as may be necessary, we agreeable to discussions Madrid or Washington, although Madrid seemed more logical, and favored use normal diplomatic channels. In response to question, said State Dept was negotiating agency for US Govt, though military and technical advisors of course would be available to us.
Johnson stated we agreed world strategic situation since 1953 had indeed changed. We would be glad have exchange of views with Spaniards and bring them up to date on our thinking on and assessment of world situation. With respect to military and economic aid agreements we had more than fulfilled our obligations. Relations between two countries had happily grown much closer and we are friends and allies with common interests and common problems. Therefore we believe [Page 1002]questions military and economic aid should be considered on their own merits and without reference to base agreement. We would be glad examine Spanish economic plans in spirit helpfulness within our capacity as limited by Congress. Similarly, we would continue review with Spaniards military requirements of Spanish armed forces to meet needs of Spanish defense. However, we wished consider these matters on their merits and quite frankly we did not feel we were “buying” anything. Extension Base Agreement is matter of mutual interests and our relationship with Spain should now be one of mature mutual understanding.
Garrigues personally agreed to Johnson statements in 4 above but not certain his government’s view. Expressed thought we can be mutually helpful to each other in many fields. For instance Spain might be helpful to US with Portugal or Latin America and US could perhaps be helpful to Spain regarding Common Market. Garrigues said he would report conversation to Ministers Finance and Commerce (who were greatly interested this subject) immediately and they in turn would promptly bring report to Franco.

CommentGarrigues appeared surprised we regarded base renewal as divorced from economic and military assistance.

Re point 2 above Garrigues not at all specific but appears possible Franco regime may be seeking formal alliance and tangible recognition its greater acceptability internationally.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 752.56311/9–2162. Confidential. Drafted by Matthews and Meloy (WE), cleared by Kitchen, and approved by Johnson.