374. National Security Action Memorandum No. 2470


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • U.S. Policy Toward Spain

We seem to have the Spanish Government’s initial terms for renegotiating our base agreement. As reported by Embassy Madrid [Page 1013] (Madrid’s telegram 1224),1 these include an undefined combination of military, economic and political assistance and an explicit proviso that unless the United States is prepared “to make certain concessions in various fields to Spain . . .2 there would not be an extension of the base agreement”.

Although the Franco Government clearly does not expect all it is now asking, the President desires that the base problem and the question of negotiation be looked at in their broadest contexts before we go forward with the Spanish, to determine the desirability and utility of maintaining the present arrangements in Spain, as well as the price they may be worth.

He wishes a brief review of our policy toward Spain, in terms of our relationship with the Franco Government and Spain’s role in the Western European Community, and with due regard for the fact that Spain may be approaching the end of the Franco era and a succession problem.

In this connection, the President would like answers to the following specific questions:

To what extent are the Spanish base facilities militarily essential, rather than merely desirable, for the maintenance of the Western deterrent in the European, African, Middle Eastern areas? Specifically.
if we were to give up the Spanish bases, either with the Azores available or with the Azores no longer available, what alternative facilities could be used for such operations, as reflex, refueling, recovery, re-strike, Polaris support, communications and logistical support generally?
to what degree would our ability to respond to contingencies in North Africa and the Middle East be degraded?
how would the time factor affect these evaluations, i.e., are the bases more valuable now than they will be later or vice versa?
what effect does the strategic role of Spain’s armed forces and territory have on these considerations?
Apart from the military considerations, is there a political need for maintaining some or all of the present bases—and through them an American military presence in Iberia at this time?

If some or all of the military facilities should be retained, what is the price this Government should pay in terms of military, economic and political assistance and what forms can these take? In this what would be the impact of our actions on our relations with Spain as well as outside of Spain, particularly with NATO Europe? In addition, if any of our forces are to be redeployed or withdrawn from Europe, would it be preferable to have these come from Spain, rather than from NATO?

[Page 1014]

The President would appreciate having responses to these questions not later than June 10. On the basis of these responses he will then wish to determine our negotiating position in consultation with the Secretaries of State and Defense. He expects that there will be no discussions of the base question with Spanish officials until these problems have been considered.

McG. Bundy
  1. Source: Department of State, NSAMs: Lot 72 D 316. Secret.
  2. Telegram 1224, May 22, reported that although Franco had no preconceived idea on a quid pro quo for an extension of the Defense Agreement, he did feel strongly that Spain should receive from the United States support in the economic, military, and political fields. (Ibid., Central Files, Def 15–4 Sp-US)
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.