284. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Spanish Bases

With reference to our telephone conversation today,2 I called Aguirre de Carcer and told him that the President was very pleased that we had been able to reach a mutually satisfactory understanding on renewal of the base agreement; that the President also desired to reaffirm his expressions of regard for Spain and desire to maintain a truly friendly relationship which he had expressed to Foreign Minister Castiella on the occasion of his call last March, and would be looking forward with interest to the Spaniards’ thoughts on how this relationship can be maintained and strengthened during the course of the discussions contemplated by the understanding that has now been reached.3

Aguirre de Carcer expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation for the message, stating that it is “a good omen” for the future.

My statement to you that I had not detected any unhappiness or dissatisfaction on the Spanish side with the agreement, nor had they expressedly or impliedly referred to any unhappiness with Senator Fulbright’s statement,4 was confirmed by Country Director Landau’s informal conversation with Aguirre de Carcer following my last meeting with him today. However, I feel that the President’s message was very helpful and useful.

As I also told you, I told Aguirre that if the Foreign Minister desired, we would be very pleased to announce at the time the agreement is signed (probably Wednesday, June 11)5 that Secretary Rogers had in[Page 884]vited the Foreign Minister to Washington to a meeting on July 15 to open negotiations on the new arrangements that the Spanish Government envisaged. (The Foreign Minister has already been invited to observe the launching of Apollo XI at Cape Kennedy on July 16.) I told Aguirre that it seemed to me this would be far preferable to having the Foreign Minister come here on June 11 simply to sign the agreement, because at that time Secretary Rogers, who will have just returned from Midway,6 will be so pressed with other engagements that it will be physically impossible for him to receive and treat the Foreign Minister in the way that the Secretary would desire.

For your information, Aguirre very privately informed me that he suspected there will be some reorganization in the Spanish Government within the next few weeks, possibly including for the first time the appointment of a Prime Minister, and that Foreign Minister Castiella may be replaced. However, Aguirre indicated that this would not be the result of Spanish dissatisfaction over our base negotiations, which the Foreign Minister considered a political plus for himself, but rather the result of internal factors.

U. Alexis Johnson7
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15–4 SP–US. Confidential; Nodis.
  2. No record of this discussion was found.
  3. A summary of this conversation is in the National Archives, RG 59, Records of U. Alexis Johnson, Lot 96D695, Telecons, June 1969.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. After further discussion with Spanish officials, the exchange of notes extending the 1953 agreement took place on June 20. The Department of State reported on discussion between Rogers and Castiella following the ceremony in telegram 102136 to Madrid, June 20. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15–4 SP–US) During these talks, Rogers presented the Spanish Foreign Minister with a letter from Nixon to Franco. The text transmitted in telegram 102138 to Madrid is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 762, Presidential Correspondence, Spain Franco corres.
  6. Rogers accompanied Nixon when he met with South Vietnamese President Thieu, June 8.
  7. Johnson initialed “AJ” above his typed signature.