Category: History

Why the Communists are Winning as of 1976...
by William D. Pawley & Richard R. Tryon

Spain and Miami pale besides the insights on when Dwight Eisenhower might run for President, and the need of Harry Truman to know if Ike would run in 1948!

Chapter Thirteen


Labor troubles with the Miami Transit Company, which I owned, forced my hurried return to the United States. In two weeks I was able to secure a new contract with my employees and avert a strike.
On November 1, 1948, accompanied by my wife Edna and Anita, my niece and secretary, I returned to Paris. This time I was an official member of the United States delegation to the United Nations as an Adviser to Secretary Marshall. The delegates were Secretary of State George Marshall, John Foster Dulles, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Benjamin V. Cohen and Phillip C. Jessup.
I sent word to Franco of the good news of the progress that had been made with the plan to get the United Nations to repeal the anti-Spain resolution, and assured him that I believed we could now move forward.
My good friend, Raul Fernandes, the Foreign Minister of Brazil, who had arrived to head his country’s delegation, agreed to Marshall’s request that he spearhead the repeal campaign, with the proviso that I serve as his chief associate. Since Fernandes was strongly pro-Franco, able and highly respected, he made an excellent choice.
After we had spent days approaching the key delegations and lobbying for repeal of the 1946 Polish Resolution, Franco sent two diplomats from his first team to lend us a hand - the Marquis de Santa Cruz and Conde de Casa Real.
Regrettably, our efforts were being sabotaged by members of our own delegation, among them Mrs. Roosevelt and Phillip Jessup. Eleanor had been diligently feting exiled enemies of Franco at lunches, dinners and receptions.
As the deadline approached, I found that we needed one more vote to avert a defeat on the repeal of the resolution. At the last minute, I urged Guillermo Belt, whom I had known for many years, to give us his support. At the time, he was Cuban Ambassador in Washington. In addition, he was a frequent choice to lead Cuba’s delegations to international conferences because of his popularity in general and his articulate command of English in particular. But Belt had a sticky problem.
“I intend to run for the Presidency of Cuba and I think I can win, unless I am accused of being a Falangista (Franco’s official political party),” he said. “You will have to get Prio (Dr. Carlos Prio Socarras, newly elected President of Cuba) to write me a letter in longhand instructing me to vote for repeal. I need proof for the Cuban people that I voted for Franco only on direct instructions from my President.”
As Belt well knew, there was not sufficient time for this, with the vote coming up in two or three days. We had to abandon the attempt. Franco, naturally, was disappointed, but I assured him that in my judgment the United Nations would come around in the very near future. The offensive resolution was, in fact, repealed in 1950.
Meanwhile, back at the State Department, several of the bureaucratic natives were becoming restless, perturbed by the evidence that negotiations with Spain were apparently being taken out of their hands and routed through unorthodox channels such as myself. The opening cannon shot against “trouble-shooter diplomacy” was fired, and heard around most of the world, by Cyrus L. Sulzberger of The New York Times, in a dispatch from Paris:
“Many Americans connected with the ERP mission and other observers are reported to be worried by the recent flurry of visits by distinguished U.S. personalities to General Franco and by the growing campaigns to establish friendlier relations with the Falange leader.
“During recent weeks, General Franco has received, not only Senator Chan Gurney, but also Eric Johnston, former Ambassador William D. Pawley and James A. Farley. All seem to have been favorably impressed by General Franco and by his Government and impetus has been given to a movement to arrange a military agreement with Spain and admit her to ERP benefits.”
Three weeks later, on November 8, 1948, Sulzberger fired a more explosive salvo, this time from Madrid. He wrote that now the elections were over, with the reelection of Truman, “many American diplomats hoped that the growing habit of sending private envoys to foreign capitals will be terminated.” The effect of such visits was “confusing to the governments of the nations visited” and irritating to the diplomats who were bypassed.
Why a foreign government should be any more “confused” by a message conveyed by a private Presidential representative than by one conveyed by a Charge d’Affaires, Sulzberger failed to explain. He was critical of Eric Johnston for reporting the results of his talk with Franco to Dulles, but not to Charge d’Affaires Culbertson. Another American was castigated for having failed to bring Culbertson along to his conference with Franco. Apparently, nobody had bothered to tell Sulzberger that the Spanish caudillo had a firm rule against seeing any diplomat below the rank of Ambassador.
I was accused of telling Foreign Minister Artajo that I “had been instructed by Secretary Marshall to survey the Spanish scene and report back to Mr. Marshall” and then neglecting to repeat to Culbertson what I had told Marshall. The fact was that I had not informed either Franco or Foreign Minister Artajo that I represented Marshall. The real burden of State Department complaints, reflected in the Sulzberger dispatches, was that Spain was being misled by these unofficial envoys into believing that “the Truman Administration no longer truly reflected U.S. opinion” and that our Spanish policy was “on the verge of drastic changes.”
In late 1950, Truman appointed General Eisenhower to be Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE). Shortly thereafter I was pleased to learn that Ike had been suggesting to people in Washington to have me named Ambassador to Spain. In a P.S. to a letter to both Edna and me dated February 16, 1951, Eisenhower wrote:
“For Bill:I did not fail to voice my sentiments around Washington that you would have made an ideal representative at Madrid. Obviously, it had no immediate effect, but the future is still a long time. If either one or both of you would come to Europe, please, by all means, give us advance notice so we will be sure to get together.”
Mr. Truman, it developed, had already promised the Spanish post to Stanton Griffis, owner of Brentano’s large chain of bookstores. That boat had sailed. Nothing Ike could do would change things.
Several months later, in June 1951, I was in London as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Dean Acheson to negotiate for our government with Prime Minister Nehru concerning the purchase of monazite sand, a black beach sand found in Travancore, India, and a few other places. This material contains ten per cent thorium which makes nuclear fission possible and contains seventeen rare earths essential to industrial development. I received a telegram from Ambassador Griffis asking me to include Madrid in my itinerary. I was convinced that he wanted my help because of my previous talks with Franco and Artajo. I replied to Griffis that I would I would be glad to got to Madrid but only if instructed to do so by the Department, and on June 6th, I received a cable approving my trip. Accordingly, I rearranged my schedule to squeeze in a visit to Madrid in mid June.
Proceeding first to Paris, I was met by Colonel Vernon Walters, who informed me that General Eisenhower and General Gruenther would like me to dine with them the next evening, June 8th. After dinner we discussed the general political and military situation in Europe. Ike and Gruenther pressed me to obtain a reaffirmation from either Franco or Foreign Minister Artajo that Spanish troops would be available, not only for the defense of the Iberian Peninsula, but for that of Western Europe as a whole. I was also to ascertain their present views concerning the possible inclusion of Spain in NATO.
Ike placed his personal plane at my disposal for the flight to Madrid. Wishing no publicity, I had arranged with Griffis that the press be informed that my personal visit was purely personal.
I spent June 12th to 14th in Madrid and during those three days Griffis and I had two conferences with Artajo. He reaffirmed what Franco had told me three years previously, adding a few refinements. Returning to Paris on June 15th, I reported to the State Department with copies to our Embassies in London, Paris and Madrid on the gist of it in the following terms:
“Franco does not object to the use of Spanish troops in Western Europe, but the subject requires negotiation. He would want to know they would be used and who would command them. He would not risk collapse of any project with Spanish troops involved through lack of confidence or unsympathetic leadership.”
“Franco is willing to make available to U.S. Air, Naval and other bases by means of a negotiated bilateral treaty, and he would have no objection to Spain’s ultimate integration into NATO, although he does not necessarily prefer membership in NATO to a pact with the U.S. He is willing to prepare for training up to 1,500,000 men, of which a reasonable number would remain in Spain for local defense. The Foreign Minister did not know the number that could be made available for use outside Spain, but felt sure agreement could be reached.”
“He is confident that a bilateral treaty would quickly influence England and France, and other NATO countries as well, to insist on Spain’s becoming a member of NATO. The Foreign Minister feels it would take some time for the Spaniards to regain confidence in them. They do have complete confidence in U.S. treaty integrity and in U.S. military superiority and leadership. He feels that with ten per cent of the aid being given England and France, Spain would prove far more formidable as an ally and bulwark against Communist aggression.”
“Franco feels that there is a chance of loss of valuable military equipment if given to Yugoslavia which would not be the case with Spain. The Foreign Minister says Spanish roads, railroads and shipyards are worn out and would be of little or no value in their present condition.”
“Neither Franco nor other Spanish leaders agree with the theory of England and France that there is no hurry with reference to Spain. Time is running out and the potential power of a completely anti-Communist nation may be useless unless something is done soon. U.S. self-interest should make her awaken to the urgency of this irrespective of what Franco calls ‘the political foibles of the Socialist Government of England and the weak coalition Government of France.’ He emphasized that the only positive help to be strongly counted on in case of disaster would be a rearmed and well-equipped Western Germany, Turkey and Spain. He says Greeks will fight, but he doubts that they will be as effective as the Turks. He specifically pointed to Greece as evidence of what could be accomplished with American aid and military supervision,”1
On the matter of freedom of worship for Protestants in Spain, which was such a major influence on American public opinion, Martin Artajo pointed out that Ambassador Griffis had raised this matter with Franco on March 14th and the Generalissimo had promised immediate steps to liberalize the interpretation of existing laws. He declared that if the American Ambassador should report any instances of failures of local authorities or Catholic groups to comply with these order, the matter would be corrected forthwith.


Eisenhower called a meeting at SHAPE Headquarters, where I briefed him, General Gruenther, General Jerry Persons and other military leaders, together with Ike’s political adviser, Douglas MacArthur II, nephew of General Douglas MacArthur, the great American military leader. I recommended a major commitment of our European defense resources, Army, Nary and Air Force, in Spain. I also recommended a substantial transfer of European defense expenditures from France to Spain.
To this, MacArthur, one of our most influential Foreign Service officers on all European questions, and strongly pro-French, took vehement exception. He insisted that France was politically and militarily reliable as an anchor for NATO and for American military might on the Continent. So-called “Franco Spain,” he believed, was shaky. I hotly debated the issue with him. History was to prove him wrong on both scores.
Detailed discussions with Spanish officials on air, sea and ground force bases followed immediately on the heels of my report. In July, Admiral Forrest Sherman, the exceptionally able Chief of Naval Operations, went to Spain and began military discussions with Generalissimo Franco and his staff. While Truman had finally consented to the arrangements, the main impetus came from the Navy, which was determined to acquire a major base near Cadiz for the Sixth Fleet. Shortly after these eminently successful negotiations, Admiral Sherman died.
I was able to experience the enormous satisfaction of knowing that ground work laid in my mission to Spain in 1948 had culminated in making possible American access to the Iberian Peninsula as a bastion, from which our air, sea and land power could help repel any Soviet invasion of Western Europe, and that I had not let General Marshall down. It was he who had shared the vision. And he had the guts to skate on thin ice, in sending me on his own initiative in the first place. I was on what amounted to a clandestine mission. Marshall had not sought the President’s approval, which would not have been forthcoming anyhow.
No one has ever questioned Marshall’s loyalty, both up and down as a “good soldier.” The breaking of the boycott and the pouring of billions of dollars into the bases, plus the great oil pipelines from Sanurjo-Valenzuela to Rota in Andalucia, sparked a dramatic recovery for the Spanish economy.
When I visited Spain in 1948, it was one of the most impoverished nations in Europe. Today, it is enjoying a near miraculous economic boom, due chiefly to Franco’s private enterprise policy.

During the 1948 campaign in which President Harry Truman ran against Governor Thomas E. Dewey of New York, we held frequent meetings on the ‘porch’ that Truman had added to the White House. About twenty of us would gather there in the evening and talk political strategy over sandwiches, coffee and sterner stuff.
I was always intrigued by the fact that after each of these meetings, Drew Pearson would be able to give his readers a quite accurate report of much of what had been said. We never knew (at least I didn’t) who was tipping Pearson off. My friend Tom Clark, then Attorney General, and I agreed to watch our tongues.
I recall one evening when George Allen, one of Truman’s closest political friends and advisers, was present. Truman asked George to see Chief of Staff Eisenhower and request him to make another statement that he was not interested in running for President in 1948. Allen answered that he had discussed the matter with Ike, who didn’t believe another statement was necessary.
“Well, George,” the President commented, “I know you are just as good a friend of Ike’s as you are of mine, and it doesn’t make much difference to you which of us is elected.”
He then turned to me:“Bill, you are a close friend of Ike’s. Would you mind calling him tomorrow and making a date. Ask him to make a really strong statement, just as strong as the one made by George Marshall, that he’s not interested in running in 1948.” Truman continued;
“Now I’m authorizing you to tell that if he will do this for me - because I want it understood that he is not available as a candidate in 1948 - I will support him for the Presidency in 1952, and that he will very likely be elected.”
I assured Mr. Truman that I would do my best.
I invited Ike to my Virginia farm for a private talk. I picked him up at Ft. Myers and we rode down to the farm together. Ike had been a frequent visitor and was helping me to plan a fishing lake I was having dredged. He arranged to stay for dinner and have his chauffeur drive down to “Belvoir” for him later in the evening.
Choosing the right moment, I relayed the President’s message.
“I’m afraid that answer has to be ‘no’, Bill. I’ll begin to look pretty foolish if I keep repeating that I am not a candidate. I don’t intend to be, and I’m not interested in the Presidency.”
“All I can tell you, Ike,” I answered, “is that Truman wants a final, strong statement so badly he is willing to commit himself to your support in 1952, if you run, which I’m sure you will. And I promise you here and now that I’d like to be one of the first to offer you substantial support of my own, whether you run as a Democrat or Republican - or on both tickets. By the way, are you a Republican?”
Ike replied: “That reminds me of a story. A friend came by my office a while back, pulled a $1,000 bill from his wallet and tossed it on my desk. I told him ‘I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a $1,000 bill before.’ Then he said, ‘Ike, I’d like to ask you a question. Your answer is worth a thousand dollars to me.’ I told him that I wouldn’t answer his question, whatever it might be, but that I would have answered if he hadn’t put that money on my desk . He put up quite an argument, promising that my answer could not hurt me, but I stuck to my position. Finally, as a matter of curiosity, I asked him what the question was. ‘I just want to ask you whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, he said.”
When Ike finished his story, I told him: “Well, I suppose that even though I’m not offering a thousand dollars, I won’t get an answer to that question, either.”
Ike smoothly changed the subject. I never did discover what his preference was at that time. My personal guess is that he didn’t know the answer himself.
I returned to the White House next day with Ike’s answer. Truman was not entirely satisfied, but I gave him my assurance that Ike was not a candidate that no conceivable pressure could make him change his mind.
In his memoirs, Truman tells of an earlier incident in which he asked Eisenhower whether he intended to run. Ike said “no” and showed Truman a letter he had previously written to a friend:
“The necessary and wise subordination of the military to civil power,” he wrote, “will be best sustained when life-long professional soldiers abstain from seeking high political office.”
“Eisenhower showed me this letter,” Truman’s memoirs continue, “and I told him that I thought he was using good judgment.” I said that I didn’t think he could add anything to his splendid career, and that the only thing he would accomplish by getting into politics was to detract from his reputation, just as General Grant did when he was inveigled into running. A political position, I told Eisenhower, is far different from a military one. The head of a military organization is not subject to attack by his underlings, but a President has no underling and must expect attacks from every source.”
This version of events is inconsistent with what the President told me. If Truman really believed that Eisenhower’s military training unfitted him for the White House, it strange that in 1948, through me, he offered Ike his support in the 1952 contest for the Presidency.

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