Spain's Socialist prime minister, Felipe Gonzalez, hopes to have an ''open and sincere'' conversation with Secretary of State George Shultz, who will be arriving in Madrid Wednesday.
According to Monitor contributor Ana Martinez-Soler, Mr. Gonzalez wants to explain Spain's position on freezing NATO membership and discuss the US-Spanish bilateral friendship and cooperation agreement, which is awaiting Spanish parliamentary ratification.
''We are not working under a thesis of neutralism,'' Mr. Gonzalez said Monday , denying that Spain would opt for a role in Europe similar to Switzerland's. ''Spain belongs to the Western world and we have no interest in modifying the status quo,'' he added, which seemed to tone down earlier electoral promises for a national referendum on NATO membership. He indicated that his predecessor's decision to push Spain into the alliance was simply premature; he did not deny the eventual convenience of belonging to NATO.
Mr. Gonzalez linked Spain's participation in NATO to a satisfactory solution to the Gibraltar issue. He asserted that the British colony in Spanish territory involved national dignity. He said it would be impossible for Spanish military officers to obey commands of foreign officers on Spanish territory. (The gates of Gibraltar, closed unilaterally by Gen. Francisco Franco 13 years ago, are to be opened Wednesday.)
Mr. Gonzalez termed the US bilateral agreement signed last spring ''the best we have had so far'' but said he wanted to work out some additional ''clarifications'' regarding Spanish sovereignty. Mr. Shultz's visit to Madrid was described by the prime minister as a first contact - with no pretensions of reaching any formal agreement.