Courtesy Reuters

Spain in Western Defense

NO ONE doubts that Spain is part of the West, but few are sure what part she can play in Western defense. The Spanish Chief of State, Francisco Franco, and the Portuguese Prime Minister, Dr. Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, issued a joint statement on April 15, 1952, declaring that the Iberian peninsula was a single and indivisible strategic bloc and that this "implies the adoption of adequate measures to carry out a policy for the defense of both countries within the general framework of Western defense." While the two leaders were holding their conference near the Portuguese frontier, United States and Spanish military and economic experts were instituting discussions at Madrid for the purpose of bringing Spain into the scheme of Western defense. These were resumed in April of this year, following the arrival of the newly-appointed United States Ambassador, James C. Dunn. Parallel discussions with Portugal were unnecessary since that country is a member of NATO.

The geological accident which cuts Portugal off from the high Spanish tableland, plus other geographical and historical factors, have firmly established Portugal's political separation from Spain. The recognition of the strategic unity of the two countries is nevertheless of prime importance to the military planners. Strategically Spain is a redoubt, a fortified castle in the European theater of war, if by this latter term is meant that part of Europe and the Atlantic lying westward of a line drawn from the Scandinavian Peninsula to the Persian Gulf. Within that larger theater of war Spain is considered to be an indispensable stronghold in the Mediterranean operational area and a bridge between North Africa and the European peninsula. Though Hannibal used it for the invasion of Rome, it has in fact seldom served as such a bridge because of the natural barriers between it and the main body of Europe. But the increased range and effectiveness of sea power and especially of air power, to which labyrinthine mountains are no longer a formidable obstacle, have given Spain's rô

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