293. Memorandum From the Chairman of the National Security Council Under Secretaries Committee (Richardson) to President Nixon1


  • Spanish Base Negotiations


You requested2 that the Under Secretaries Committee prepare recommendations on agreed quid pro quo that can be offered to the Spanish in the forthcoming base negotiations. The Spanish Foreign Minister, Gregorio Lopez Bravo, plans to be in Washington on March 17 and 18. We request your approval of this memorandum as guidance for the Secretary of State in his exploratory discussions with the Spanish Foreign Minister. We will make further recommendations to you with regard to quid pro quo and consultations with Congressional leaders following Lopez Bravo’s visit.

We have reviewed the continued requirements for our present facilities in Spain. It is our view that we would not want to abandon or dispense with any of these facilities and rights, even taking into account the projected stringencies of the Defense budget in the FY 72–76 period. We note, however, that the re-examination of U.S. strategy and forces for NATO directed by NSSM 843 could, depending on your future decisions, alter our requirements for facilities in Spain.

We recognize that while retention of all of these facilities is desirable to support our current strategy, some are more important than others. Accordingly, a listing of priorities is being forwarded through the DPRC.4 This listing will indicate the relative importance of the various facilities. If during the course of negotiations it becomes necessary, because of limitations on the quid pro quo which we can offer or because of a Spanish desire for a reduced U.S. presence, to release or to move certain facilities out of Spain or to move to less visible locations in Spain, this list will serve as the guide to our negotiators.

[Page 904]

Quid Pro Quo:

As recently as February 275 the Spanish Ambassador speaking on instruction said that Spain did not consider money the primary quid pro quo in a new agreement, but that Spain had “abandoned the idea of granting bases for money.” He said, rather, that Spain wanted to put principal emphasis on obtaining a defense guarantee and protection with U.S. assistance through multilateral arrangements. The GOS, in terms of quid pro quo in the negotiations, he stated, is looking for “a multilateral solution based on the Atlantic or Mediterranean, provided a satisfactory agreement could be reached previous to the expiration of the present Agreements.”

1. NATO Link

Our ability to persuade our allies to accept a NATO-Spanish relationship will be an important element in the negotiations.

While we believe full Spanish membership in NATO will be strongly resisted for political reasons as long as Franco lives, an arrangement short of full membership may be palatable to our allies, if we are prepared to exert strong pressure on the grounds of the importance to NATO defense of our continued access to Spanish bases. Depending upon Spanish wishes, we could explore several kinds of arrangements:

—military liaison arrangements between Spain and those NATO commands in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, i.e. IBERLANT, and AFSOUTH (MARAIRMED and/or AIRSOUTH);

—regular consultations between SACEUR and the Government of Spain on military matters of mutual interest;

—establishment of, and full Spanish participation in a “NATO-Iberian Training Complex,” enabling NATO forces to meet weapons training requirements at Spanish and Portuguese facilities, and which might involve the participation of the UK, FRG, Portugal, and Spain (and perhaps France, in granting the necessary overflight rights);

—enhanced political consultation, like current NATO/Malta arrangements;

—possible Spanish involvement in the Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society.

British and German support would be a key to achieving any relationship, and we should be prepared to use all the influence which we can muster with them to achieve their consent. The main problems lie in the political opposition to Franco by the Socialist parties in the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, and the UK.

[Page 905]

Tactically, we believe that before approaching our allies, we should discuss a possible “scenario” with the Spanish so that we would have a better idea of precisely what arrangements might be of interest to them. We expect Foreign Minister Lopez Bravo to visit Washington on March 17 and 18, and we could discuss all of the possible Spanish-NATO arrangements with him at that time. The Spanish may relate this more to their own desire to move towards Europe and use their own new activist “European” policy—including their rapprochement with France—to gain support from other countries for these arrangements. In any event, we should be prepared to make the strongest possible effort on behalf of a NATO-Spanish arrangement.

The Spanish clearly desire positive results from these NATO initiatives within the lifetime of our present Defense Agreement, i.e., September 1970. We may not, in fact, be able to make any of them materialize within that period. We must, therefore, get the Spanish Government to accept our earnest and sincere efforts as quid pro quo in itself.

2. General Cooperation Treaty

Spain has expressed an interest in a General Cooperation Treaty which, in addition to endorsing a continued base agreement, would largely affirm existing cooperative accords in the educational, scientific, space, atomic energy, and other fields. We are presently drafting such a treaty, which would be submitted for the advice and consent of the Senate. From the Spanish standpoint, the treaty would serve to dignify our bilateral relationship by dramatizing the broad scope of cooperative arrangements. It should, therefore, be helpful in reducing the amount of funds needed for quid pro quo. Care will have to be taken in the drafting of such a treaty to avoid language which might be construed by the Senate as involving additional defense commitments. For their part, the Spanish will be anxious to avoid prolonged and hostile Congressional debate.

3. Education Assistance

This is a most promising area for exploration. An important objective should be to strengthen the basic U.S. relationship with Spain through a major program of cooperative assistance to Spain’s radical and comprehensive educational reform program. Spain has shown strong interest in U.S. support for its educational reform plan, which is expected to be approved by the Spanish Parliament in early April. The teacher training aspects of the plan would enable us to influence the shaping of Spanish youth for years to come. The Department of State is now spending about $180,000 on academic exchanges with Spain. This existing program could be expanded to provide additional training in the United States for teachers and administrators and associated in-country assistance for education reform. Such assistance should be preceded by a joint review of Spain’s education reform needs. We be [Page 906] lieve that $1–$5 million per year would let us play an effective role in the reforms. We would need to seek special funds for this program from Congress.

4. Base Payments

We believe that we should be prepared to pay up to $25 million a year for the bases if it can be included in the Defense Department budget. This would be a proper method of funding, since it would in effect be payment for the maintenance of facilities that are important for U.S. defense and should not be subtracted from funds we count on for the regular military assistance program.

We believe that the first claim on increasingly hard to obtain MAP funds should be for assistance to our allies with whom we have mutual defense commitments. We have no such commitment with Spain, and have no intention of entering into any in the course of the base negotiations.

It should be recognized that the transfer of Spanish facility funding from MAP to the Defense budget might be objected to in the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Congress. In the past, the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees have reacted against this type of funding. Such opposition may in part be overcome, however, by submitting the funding to Congressional review in the General Cooperation Treaty with Spain which would be submitted to the Senate.

If you approve, we will sound out the leaders of the key Congressional Committees on the possibility of Defense funding.

Financing base payments out of the Defense budget may, of course, pose other problems with Congress. At present there is no line-item in the budget for such purposes. In order to re-program funds it would be necessary to secure the approval of the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, where resistance may be encountered.

If there is continued Congressional opposition to this approach, we will have to choose between making a major effort—personal efforts by the Secretaries of State and Defense, supplemented by the White House, to obtain Congressional acceptance of Defense funding—and resorting once again to MAP funding.

If, despite our best efforts it becomes necessary to turn to MAP funding, we should not agree to an amount higher than $5–$10 million per year, given the competing demands on MAP.

Additionally, excess stocks could be offered to provide a larger military assistance package, but the Spanish are not likely to give much weight to used material.

[Page 907]

5. Military Credits (Ex-Im Bank)

Spain has shown an interest in Export-Import Bank credits for the purchase of F–4 aircraft. The Bank has earmarked $85 million this fiscal year for that purpose, in addition to the $35 million already promised during the last base agreement extension. Additionally, the Bank has outstanding $445 million of credits and $270 million of advance commitments for non-military items.

In the negotiations we should state that the Export-Import Bank will continue to consider sympathetically applications for credits involving military as well as non-military equipment and services.

6. FDIP Reclassification

The Spanish feel that our classification of Spain in Schedule C (developed countries) of the Foreign Direct Investment Program has reduced American investment in Spain to the detriment of the Spanish economy. They argue that they should have been put into Schedule A (less developed countries). They would undoubtedly be satisfied with a reclassification into Schedule B (countries heavily dependent on U.S. investment, such as the U.K.).

We are prepared to reclassify Spain from Schedule C to Schedule B. When this reclassification becomes public knowledge, other countries which in the past have requested reclassification will probably renew their requests. However, entirely apart from the Spanish question Commerce may consider a merger of Schedules B and C. Even if this is done subsequently, the position of Spain along with the other countries in Schedule C will be improved.

7. Spain-EC Negotiations

Our attitude toward Spain’s negotiations for a preferential trade arrangement with the European Community will be an important factor in the base negotiations. In accordance with NSDM 45,7 we will oppose the Spanish-EC agreement as presently proposed, but will indicate our acceptance of any arrangement consistent with the GATT rules which Spain and the EC might work out, such as one which provides a definite plan and schedule for the formation of a free trade area within a reasonable length of time. If we can convince the Spanish that our position is designed to support their objective of closer ties to the EC we may succeed in mitigating the adverse effect on the base negotiations. If our position should result in the EC giving Spain a firm commitment on economic integration within a fixed period of time the Spanish might be pleased. If, however, the Spanish-EC agreement should not be consistent with GATT rules, we will require your decision on a fallback position.

[Page 908]

In summary, it is evident that the intangible quid pro quo which we can offer the Spanish probably outweighs the tangible. The items of primary importance in the negotiations, therefore, are those which will build Spanish goodwill toward our continued presence, i.e., efforts to develop a NATO link and the offer of a general treaty of cooperation. To the extent that these give the Spanish a sense of partnership with the Western Alliance and with the U.S., we hope that they will weigh heavily in Spanish attitudes toward retention of our military facilities.8

Elliot L. Richardson9
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Executive Secretariat, National Security Council National Security Decision Memorandums, 1969–1977, Lot 83D305, NSDM–43. Secret. The memorandum was cleared in the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense and by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Export-Import Bank.
  2. In NSDM 43, Document 291.
  3. Document 25.
  4. Not found.
  5. The discussion was reported in telegram 30170 to Madrid, February 28. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 SP)
  6. Document 292.
  7. In a March 13 memorandum to Richardson, Kissinger reported that the President had approved the recommendations in the Under Secretaries Committee’s report. (National Archives, RG 59, Executive Secretariat, National Security Council National Security Decision Memorandums, 1969–1977, Lot 83D276, NSC–U/DM–29)
  8. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.