425. Letter From Spanish Chief of State Franco to President Nixon1 2

My dear Friend:

I thank you for your courtesy in sending me the text of your report of February 9 to the Congress of the United States. I am happy to tell you that I fully share the concerns and the sense of responsibility which motivated it and ensure that it will be favorably received by all countries which are friends of the United States and by all peace-loving nations.

I want to assure you that Spain wishes to contribute to the attainment of a more mature political relationship with the United States, as mentioned in your report, and is ready to concert with the other Western countries its own independent policy.

On the other hand, I should inform you, Mr. President, with the frankness that our friendship permits, of my sincere conviction that a new international rule regarding transit through straits, which would eliminate the legitimate powers of protection of the adjacent coastal State, would only [Page 2]appear to favor the security of peaceful States while affording new opportunities to possible aggressors who would like to put their own interest above the vital interests of the adjacent coastal countries and above peace in general.

Spain can have no fundamental doubts about this matter since the Strait of Gibraltar, where there is a foreign military base whose maintenance is tenaciously desired at the cost of our territorial integrity, and become a source of grave dangers to our tranquility. However, Spain is prepared to collaborate with its friends, and very especially with the United States, on all questions affecting the security of this important zone.

Accept, Mr. President, my sincere thanks and the assurance of my most cordial and friendly consideration.

[s] Francisco Franco
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL SP-US. No classification indicated. Published from a copy that bears Franco’s typed signature. The letter was received in the Department of State and forwarded to Kissinger for the President by Eliot under a March 24 covering memorandum. (Ibid.) Nixon’s Report to Congress, “U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970’s: The Emerging Structure of Peace” is published in the Department of State Bulletin, pp. 314-418. See pp. 409-411 for the section that refers to ocean policy.
  2. Franco communicated Spanish objections to a section concerning free passage through straits in Nixon’s February 9, 1972, foreign policy report to Congress.