Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Exchange of Letters Between the President and the Chief of State, General Franco, of Spain.

September 02, 1959

[Released September 2, 1959. Dated August 31, 1959]

Dear General Franco:

Thank you for your cordial letter of August 24, 1959, delivered to me by your Foreign Minister, Mr. Fernando Maria Castiella, when he called on me in London on August 31.

I am of course pleased to know that you think well of the planned exchange of visits between Mr. Khrushchev and myself and that you clearly understand the basic thought that I have in mind in this connection.

I appreciate also your reference to the aid which we have extended to Spain in order to help our Spanish friends to assume certain responsibilities in defense of the west.

The agreements signed between our two countries in 1953 have produced good results for both of us. I am happy to have this opportunity to express to you my appreciation of the spirit of cooperation with which you have worked with us on the construction and operation of our joint bases. They are an important element in the common defense.

I should like also to congratulate you on the bold new economic program already auspiciously begun and on your membership in the OEEC. This constitutes another important link in forging the European unity to which you refer.

Your gracious invitation to Mrs. Eisenhower and me to visit your beautiful country so full of artistic treasures and historic landmarks is greatly appreciated. I hope that some day we shall have the opportunity to enjoy the friendly Spanish hospitality about which we have heard so much.

In the meantime, dear General, please accept my renewed thanks for your best wishes which are fully reciprocated.



Note: This letter and General Franco's letter to the President were released during the President's visit in Paris. General Franco's letter follows:

Dear Mr. President:

Allow me, first of all, to thank you for your sacrifices and efforts to assist our western world and to lead it along the path of peace and understanding and in particular for the aid and benefits that Spain is receiving from the United States under your administration.

There are many people who do not fully realize that in the present circumstances, lack of action, inertia and an exclusively defensive attitude would lead, in no time, to defeat, and that in today's situation, all contacts are useful which seek to unveil the immediate aims of our opponents. As for the general and permanent aim of universal domination held by the Soviets, I know, that such a great soldier and strategist as you yourself are, always keeps it clearly in mind. For this reason, I reject the view of those who, forgetting your personal record, are fearful of the consequences of your meeting with Khrushchev.

When the late lamented Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, visited us, we reached full agreement on our assessment of the general situation and on the needs of the hour. I have no doubt that the same identity of views will be reached at the forthcoming meetings of our Foreign Minister and Your Excellency and with your Secretary of State.

Your Excellency is well aware that western superiority based as it is, on the industrial power of the United States and its ability to adapt it to the needs of war, could be weakened, should the Soviet Union develop fully all its industrial potential and western Europe fails to reinforce its unity and its state of preparedness. The nations of our continent, as you well know, easily tend to disunite. I consider your presence here--your prestige--most useful in forging unity.

I cherish the hope, my Dear General, that whenever the international situation permits, you and Mrs. Eisenhower, will in the course of one of your journeys, visit our country.

With confidence in and sincere best wishes for the success of your great mission, I offer you, the assurance of my consideration and friendship.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Exchange of Letters Between the President and the Chief of State, General Franco, of Spain. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234142

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