Haig sees new Spanish arms tie
US Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr. wound up a visit to Spain, announcing that a new bilateral defense agreement would be drawn up with the Spanish government which takes account of Spain's new democratic situation, Monitor contributor Jane Monahan reports. The present agreement, drawn up in 1953, expires in five months.
Speaking at a press conference after meeting with the spanish King, Prime Minister Calvo Sotelo,and Felipe Gonzales, leader of the Socialist opposition party, Mr. Haig confirmed that one subject in the negotiations for a new treaty will be the use of existing US bases in Spain by American forces in the case of a major conflict beyond Spanish territory. He emphasized that he considered these bases to be of the "utmost importance, not only to the United States but to Western collective security as a whole and to Spanishc security."
He also reaffirmed US support of Spain's entry into NATO, but said that would have to be decided by the Spanish government and people.
A concluding statement also gave special emphasis to the US government's support of the Spanish democracy. Mr. Haig's casual remark to a group of journalists in Washington during the abortive Feb. 23 military coup in spain, saying it was an internal Spanish affair, caused a stir in political circles here and set off speculation in the Spanish press that the Reagan administration was indifferent to the fate of the young Spanish democracy. Mor important,the statement was misinterpret by certain sectors in the Spanish armed forces. Mr. Haig said he hoped this point had been cleared up "once and for a ll."