194. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Lopez Laureano Rodo, Spanish Foreign Minister
  • Ambassador Angel Sagaz
  • The Marquis de Perinat
  • Mr. Martinez-Caro (Spanish Notetaker)
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Walter J. Stoessel, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Robert J. McCloskey, Ambassador to Cyprus
  • Elwood Rabenold (State Notetaker)
  • A. Denis Clift, NSC Staff

Kissinger: I believe this is our first meeting.

Rodo: Yes, I think it is. I would like to give you a letter from our President. (He handed Secretary Kissinger a document.)

I would also like to express our appreciation for having had the opportunity to review your draft declaration of principles. Spain wants to participate in the preparation and signing of this declaration.

Kissinger: This will lead to a new branch of theological studies, namely, how every country will participate in the declaration.

Rodo: But, the Common Market supports such participation.

Kissinger: The position of the EC is to place the blame on the United States in any instance where a country cannot sign. We are open-minded on this problem. In fact, we have the same problem with Canada and Norway as well as Spain.

Some formula has to be found that enables friendly countries to associate themselves with the declaration, directly if they wish. This might be done in two stages, first a USEC stage and then another.

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Rodo: Would this involve Canada also?

Kissinger: There will be two documents, one involving the EC and one involving NATO. Canada can join in the NATO document but not in the other. The USEC draft is not exactly suitable for Spain in that it speaks specifically of the United States and the EC.

Rodo: Our government believes that any document not involving Spain will have a very negative impact for Spain.

Kissinger: Walt (Assistant Secretary Stoessel) will you please study the problem of adhesion by other European countries. Intellectually I think it is fair to say that Canada might be about to associate itself with the EC document as now drafted. Spain and Norway probably could not. Japan could not. However, we see no reason to exclude Spain. (At this point, Foreign Minister Rodo gave Secretary Kissinger a paper relating to the declaration of principles, which the Secretary then read.) That last paragraph has slightly threatening overtones.

Rodo: But it is important.

Kissinger: I know. (Foreign Minister Rodo provided Secretary Kissinger with another document—a portion of a letter from Franco to the President.) Mr. Minister, let me be perfectly honest, there is no sense in being diplomatic. I have only been in this position for a short time and I will be more diplomatic next month. We have not studied the problem of how Spain might adhere to the declaration, but in principle we see no problem with some sort of association. There will be no trouble with Spain’s associating itself as an equal, sovereign country. But you have to take into account the problem of existing institutions, the fact that these declarations are being developed in existing institutions.

Rodo: Perhaps it would be useful if you were to review this personally with our new Prime Minister Carrero Blanco. On your next trip to Europe we could meet with him. This would be in keeping with the tradition established by previous American Secretaries of State that of visiting Spain after visits to other European countries. We attach great importance to this tradition.

Kissinger: In mid-October I will only be coming to Europe to deliver a speech in London. While there, I will also be meeting with the heads of our European missions. Thus the visit will be 90% internal U.S. business. I may have meetings with the British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, and perhaps the German Chancellor. However, it will all be very brief. I have to return to the United States to accept an award, and then I will be preparing for my visit to China.

With your permission, I will defer my visit to Spain until after the NATO meeting this December. Then I will be honored to come.

Rodo: Good. Yes, this is important, not only as it relates to the declaration of principles but also for discussions on renewal of the United States-Spanish Agreement.

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Kissinger: I have only been to Spain once, and that was with the President. You can imagine, it was a very busy time.

Rodo: Well, this will be a good visit, and we can look at Spain’s place in the Atlantic area.

Kissinger: I would be prepared to have Secretary Stoessel come to Spain before my visit in order to assist in the preparations.

Stoessel: I will be glad to come.

Rodo: When you have occasion to speak with Sir Alec, you can give him this memo (the Spanish Foreign Minister hands Secretary Kissinger a document), and he can give you an explanation of the British position on the subject.

Kissinger: (Secretary read the document). I have never discussed this question with the British, but I have a pretty good idea of what their views are. (Laughter)

Rodo: It is our belief that Spain adheres to the Atlantic Alliance through this agreement with the United States of America. On the other hand, I beg of you through your good offices with the UK government, to help us find a good solution to the problem of Gibraltar. This is linked to the last item which I wish to raise, the conference on the Law of the Sea.

[Omitted here is discussion of the Middle East, Latin America, and a Presidential visit to Spain.]


Memorandum From the Government of Spain to the Government of the United States



The Spanish Government concurs with the Government of the United States in the basic criteria put forth in the draft for a “Joint Declaration of Principles” handed by the Department of State to the Embassy of Spain in Washington on September 5, 1973. The Government of Spain assumes that the said Declaration will serve as the basis for dialogue and cooperation between North America and Europe, as separate entities joined together by historical and cultural ties and by common objectives and ideals. Both regard each other as equals and hold in mutual respect their independence, personality and aspirations, as well as those of each member nation.

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Spain’s past and her cultural and economic ways of life, make her a part of Europe. Spain wants, specifically, to become a member of the European Economic Community, once pertinent economic arrangements have been worked out and within a convenient period of time. Spain and the EEC have already subscribed to a preferential trade agreement and negotiations are presently under way to adapt it to the enlargening of the Community. The United States supports this position under the provisions of Article 24 of the Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation with Spain.

The Declaration purports, as its territorial latitude of application, the “Atlantic Area”, in which Spain is included because of geographical, historical, ethnic, strategic and economic reasons.

Geographically, Spain controls the Strait of Gibraltar, the waters of which are a part of Spanish territory and her security is directly affected by transit along the Strait.

Atlantic area countries are therefore interested in linking Spain to their Community, in such a way that Spanish security in general, as well as in the zone of the Strait in particular, will be harmoniously integrated into the security system of the other countries in the North Atlantic area.

The Spanish Government, therefore, affirms that, as a matter of principle, Spain should participate in the Declaration, on an equal footing with other North American and European States who might subscribe to it.

From a procedural point of view, a solemn Declaration signed at the highest level by the countries of the Atlantic area, would appear most appropriate.

Spain believes that should the signing of the Declaration take place on a basis of inequality, this would call for an essential modification of the juridical nature and content of the Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation between Spain and the United States, which will expire on September 20, 1975.

  1. Summary: Kissinger and Rodo discussed the Year of Europe, Spain, and Gibraltar.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1027, Presidential/HAK Memoranda of Conversation, Memcons—HAK + Presidential, April–November 1973 (2 of 5). Secret. The meeting took place in the Waldorf Towers. Attached but not published is an undated translation of a letter from Franco to Nixon; and an unofficial translation of an undated Spanish memorandum on Gibraltar. In telegram 179849 to Madrid, September 11, the Department reported that Springsteen gave a copy of the U.S. draft Declaration of Principles to Sagaz on September 5. (Ibid., Box 706, Country Files, Europe, Spain, Vol. IV, January 1972–(June 1974) (2 of 2)) In telegram 186211 to Madrid, September 19, the Department reported that on September 18, Sagaz gave Stabler a note indicating that the Spanish Government, having studied the draft declaration, “would be ready to subscribe to the principles contained” therein. (Ibid.)