286. Telegram From the Embassy in Spain to the Department of State1

5056. Subj: Assistant Secretary Hillenbrand’s conversation with Foreign Minister Lopez Bravo.

1. Following is summary of conversation by Assistant Secretary Hillenbrand and Ambassador Hill with Foreign Minister Lopez Bravo December 9. Full text memcon being pouched.2

2. After amenities, FonMin expressed full confidence in Ambassador Hill and said he had had several useful talks with Ambassador on matters mutual interest. While much can be done through Ambassadorial channel, he said it necessary for policy makers meet frequently so problems can be solved. Lopez Bravo noted he disappointed by lack progress on base negotiations. Asst Sec Hillenbrand then described policy review of strategy and bases now underway, and expressed hope decisions regarding US military requirements in Spain would be forthcoming in early 1970. Then, he continued, US would be prepared enter meaningful talks with GOS. FonMin replied as far as he concerned Sept. 26, 1970 very close, “It is the day after tomorrow.”

3. Sec Hillenbrand explained need examine these matters on world-wide and then on European-wide basis, and he pointed out need to secure Congressional support before entering into agreement with foreign government. Lopez Bravo commented he had full power nego[Page 888]tiate for Spain, and delay in defining problem serves no purpose since political atmosphere both countries is deteriorating. He emphasized that he has full authority negotiate.

4. Turning to $50 million military aid item, Lopez Bravo said as far as he was concerned US had entered into solemn engagement; and that he felt certain matter was in good hands.

5. Sec Hillenbrand described highlights NATO meeting3 pointing up themes which emerged as meeting highlights: progress on European security conference and mutual force reductions; Sec[garble—Rogers’s] pledge US will maintain US combat forces in Europe at present level through June 1971; progress within NDAC and NPG toward greater understanding nuclear strategy by European leaders; and more positive attitude present French Government leaders on NATO political affairs.

6. Lopez Bravo gave Sec Hillenbrand and Ambassador aide-mémoire expressing GOS policy on security conference (copy pouched).

7. FonMin asked for US attitude on proposal expel Greece from Council of Europe.4 Sec Hillenbrand noted US not member Council, that matter had come up in bi-lateral talks in Brussels, described continuing US efforts foster revolutionary process in Greece. FonMin urged US use its influence with London and in other key European capitals to prevent them taking action which could have serious consequences. He said he certain Greeks would not wait for resolution condemning them, but would withdraw suddenly and with great emotion. Later Greeks might decide withdraw or disengage from NATO.

8. After Ambassador asked FonMin whether he had matters to raise, Lopez Bravo said he wanted to convey to senior authorities in Washington seriousness Spain’s bid for EEC affiliation and eventual membership and Spanish inability understand unfavorable US attitude. He dismissed trade preference arrangement as “scheme.”5 Sec Hillenbrand explained Spain’s case only one of number that could establish precedent harmful to US trade relations. Lopez Bravo rejected this argument, noted US favorable balance trade with Spain, and said US should recognize Spain as unique case. FonMin recalled that when Minister Industry he had created favorable market position for US pe[Page 889]troleum companies whose sales now cost Spain several hundred million dollars each year. While he did not want his statements taken as threat or menace, Lopez Bravo said he wanted Washington policy makers to know if discriminatory action taken against Spain in GATT or elsewhere he could stop Spanish purchases from American petroleum firms and US favorable balance of trade would end. Sec Hillenbrand said he understood seriousness of Spanish policy in this regard, and he assured FonMin US seeks friendly relations in every sphere and that his views would be conveyed to appropriate officials.

9. Finally, Sec Hillenbrand said US had been giving careful attention to Spanish request for credit to buy F–4 planes, and he felt he could now convey to FonMin information there was good reason expect favorable reply within next week or ten days. FonMin expressed thanks for information, and in parting requested Sec Hillenbrand take back to Washington phrase “Sept. 26 is only day after tomorrow”.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL SP–US. Secret; Immediate; Limdis.
  2. Not found.
  3. The meeting was held in Brussels December 4–5. For text of the communiqué, see Department of State Bulletin, December 29, 1969, pp. 627–630. See also Document 26.
  4. On December 12, Greece withdrew from membership in the Council of Europe. The decision was taken after a majority of member states lined up in support of a German resolution suspending the Greek Government.
  5. Documentation relating to U.S. policy toward a preferential trade agreement between Spain and the EC is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–1972. See also Document 292.