General Franco makes his position clear in 1972
Taken from the UK National Archives, click on the logo to see the original.
Transcript of Official Document
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN
AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS
Record of conversation during the call by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Secretary on HE General Franco at the Pardo
Palace, Madrid at 1.00 pm on Tuesday, 29th February 1972.
The Rt Hon Sir Alec HE General Francisco Franco
Douglas-Home, KT, MP HE Sr Gregorio Lopez Bravo
HE Sir John Russell HE el Marques de Santa Cruz
1. The conversation began with social niceties which
pass on to a discussion of salmon fishing, the poaching
in Spanish waters by Danish boats and salmon disease in
2. Polite generalities were then exchanged about
Anglo/Spanish relations in general and the continued need
for improvement and rapprochament.
3. Sir Alec Doublas-Home then broached the question of
Gibraltar and developed the basic principle of HMG's
position, namely that they could no coerce the Gibraltarians
into accepting transfer to a third power against their will.
That will, at the moment, was steadfastly set against
incorporation in Spain whose Government, the Gibraltarians
felt, had shown itself hostile over the last few years,
particularly in the restrictions imposed. Sir Alec wished
to ask General Franco personally and directly whether some
gesture could not now be made towards the Gibraltarians in
the form, of an at least partial lifting of those restrictions.
Sir Alec added that he already knew from the Spanish Foreign
Minister that this would be difficult; but he still wished to
put it to the Head of State. When the interpreter reached
the word "difficult" General Franco interjected "impossible".
At this Sir Alec said that surely nothing was impossible for
the Head of State? "This is" replied General Franco.
4. In the course of further discussions on the same point
Sir Alec Douglas-Home suggested that the Spaniards might
welcome a visit by a small group of responsible Gibraltarians,
including perhaps some civil servants, who would be able to
see for themselves how pleasent life is in Spain and how
agreeable the Spaniards can be. General Franco neatly
sidestepped this question.
5. A further 10 minutes or so were then spent on a general
discussion, during which Sir Alec Douglas-Home explained
that he would be going home to consult his colleagues on
his exchanges with Sr Lopez Bravo but that he felt that
it would be difficult in present circumstances to make any
progress on the matter of sovereignty.
6. The interview concluded with further complimentary
exchanges of a personal nature and an invitation from
General Franco to Sir Alec to return to Spain for some