205. Telegram From the Embassy in Spain to the Department of State 1

2225. Pass White House.

At a meeting with General Franco this morning Jack Valenti told Franco that he had come here at what might be construed as a difficult time because of the attention the press was drawing to the CIA issue in the US.2 Valenti explained that this matter was causing President Johnson concern and that a very high level review and investigation were underway. He emphasized however that what has been said of CIA activities should not be interpreted as a change in American policy or of the President’s attitude of friendship with Spain. Valenti said he was sure that the President was unaware of many details of the activities of CIA.
Franco reacted to Valenti’s comments with good humor saying the current CIA issue is illustrative of the problems of leadership at the highest level. He said he sympathized with President Johnson in this situation and understood it well. He then pointed out that in the security field agents too often act on their own initiative.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL SP-US. Confidential; Priority; Exdis.
  2. A Ramparts story revealing CIA funding of the National Student Association was released to the press on February 14. The story was subsequently picked up by the European press. In its February 21 edition, the London Times reported on assistance furnished to Spanish student groups. President Johnson directed the CIA to cease its funding activities on February 15.