204. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Spanish

    • Prime Minister Arias
    • Foreign Minister Cortina
    • Ambassador Alba
  • U.S.

    • The President
    • Secretary Kissinger
    • Ambassador Stabler

Meeting divided in two parts. Later meeting participants same as above plus the Chiefs of the three services on the Spanish side and Mr. Perinat. On the U.S. side—General Scowcroft and Mr. Hartman.

(Ambassador Stabler will be sending notes on the first part of this conversation.)

Arias: As Prime Minister I am inviting in the Chiefs of the General Staff so that they can listen and hear directly from you Mr. President the results of your discussions in Brussels.

Cortina: I wonder Mr. Prime Minister, because of the shortage of time, instead of discussing those questions again could we talk about two specific details. We should try to define the new outlook of the American relations and especially the acknowledgement of the Spanish contribution to Western defense. It is clear that there is an American recognition of this contribution. I do not believe that we should put this in a communiqué but if it could be in your remarks Mr. President at the dinner tonight that would be best.

Secretary: I talked to the Foreign Minister in the car and I mentioned your intervention in Brussels and the fact that you had pointed out the contribution that Spain was making to Western defense. I told [Typeset Page 651] the Foreign Minister that there was a consensus view reflected in a statement by Secretary General Luns that the U.S.-Spanish bilateral relationship is important to the defense of the West and I told the Foreign Minister that we would say something to this effect in the toast tonight.

President: In my opening statement at the meeting of the Alliance, I stated the importance of our bilateral military relationship with Spain and its direct connection with the defense of Western Europe. It is interesting to note that in the summary given by Secretary General Luns he noted that there was a consensus that there is a direct relationship between the security of Western Europe and the bilateral U.S./Spanish military relationship. He used the word “unanimous” (all 15) recognition of the importance of our bilateral relationship to the security of Western Europe. I am told that this is the first time that this has been recognized. It was of course stated in the Council—not publicly—but it is my impression that this change of attitude can only be beneficial for Western Europe. This new attitude is pleasing to me and I am sure it will bear fruit in the years ahead. With this impression of change in the attitude of alliance members I think it emphasizes the importance of continuing a strong military relationship between the United States and Spain. Our 20-year effort will pay dividends as other NATO countries recognize its need and importance. But I wish to emphasize the need for continuing our efforts in a strong and effective way. I am confident that we will do so in our mutual interests and also in the interest of Europe. I look forward to gradual inclusion of Spain in Western Europe so as to form a solid group which would meet the challenges from the Communist East.

Cortina: I agree on the principal points. There is a still larger difference inside NATO and outside. The United States has to acknowledge different moods. The United States has to adapt to the mood in Brussels. But here we have a press too. Our public and press are not always looking with favor on these arrangements. You could help to clarify this by a strong statement. You should make it clear that the U.S./Spanish relationship will reach a point where there must be practical consequences of the American recognition of the role played by the U.S.-Spain relationship. The Spanish public wants this. Your expression of recognition of this relationship and its importance must have practical consequences.

Secretary: Now you can see what I am up against (with the Foreign Minister). The Foreign Minister in Paris had two useful suggestions. First, the U.S. could make a statement—namely that our bilateral relationship is in the interests of Western defense and the Western European countries should not contradict this. We can work on this and there is a good chance of achieving it. Second there should be practical liaison with NATO commands. I have talked to Secretary General Luns [Typeset Page 652] and General Haig. They think that something can be done but it would be a mistake to say anything prematurely before the allies are organized. We will study this but not announce anything until preparations have been made. But we can head in this direction and I think we can make progress.

President: Excuse me but I must leave to greet Prince Juan Carlos who is arriving in a few minutes and I will therefore have to leave after the interpretation of these last remarks.

Cortina: I do not wish that there be any mention at this time of the practical consequences.

  1. Summary: Ford, Kissinger, and Cortina discussed U.S.-Spanish relations and NATO.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 12. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Stabler; and approved by Covey in S. During the first portion of this meeting, before the arrival of U.S. and Spanish officials, Arias discussed Portugal, the Spanish domestic situation, U.S.-Spanish relations, and Spain’s importance to the defense of the West. (Memorandum of conversation, May 31; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Entry 5403, Box 13, Misc. Docs, Tels, Etc., 1975, Folder 1. The meeting ended at 4:40 p.m. (Ford Library, White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) Ford and Kissinger were in Madrid from May 31 to June 1. Ford and Franco met on May 31 at 1:30 p.m., when they discussed NATO, Spain, Communism, and Portugal. (Memorandum of conversation, May 31; ibid., National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 12)