222. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Leddy) to Secretary of State Rusk 1
- General Wheeler’s Discussions in Madrid
Attached is a copy of General Wheeler’s interesting memorandum2 which you may wish to read in full reporting on his discussions with Spanish military officials in Madrid, November 18-20, 1968. General Wheeler reports that the Spanish took a hard line concerning the increased threat from Soviet forces in the Mediterranean and the inadequacy of the present defense agreements between Spain and the U.S. He estimates that in order to continue the full use of the Spanish bases, the U.S. offer will have to be approximately 100 million dollars more in grant aid than what might have been agreed earlier (i.e. $200 million instead of our offer of $100 million).
In conversations with the Spanish Vice President, Admiral Carrero Blanco, and General Diez-Alegria, General Wheeler elicited the following information:
- Spain has no intention of pursuing a neutralist course.
- Spain must have a military force capable of unilateral defense actions, presumably in North Africa.
- Considerable difficulty would be encountered in “stopping the clock” on the time period left for negotiations.
- No decision has been made by the GOS, as yet, regarding the continued use of Torrejon Air Base.
- Senior Spanish officials desire to continue a military relationship with the U.S., but consider the present arrangement an inadequate guarantee of Spanish security.
- The Spaniards would leap at the chance to become a member of NATO, although they will not make any overt effort to do so.
General Wheeler agreed with Spanish military officials to hold the next meeting in Madrid on December 4, 1968, in order to identify in greater detail those threats which could affect either country, and to jointly study ways to meet such threats by determining appropriate tasks and missions which each should undertake. General Burchinal will be General Wheeler’s representative for these discussions.
The JCS will meanwhile proceed with our present reassessment of the military value to the United States of base rights in Spain, to provide a basis for United States re-examination of our current position.