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L'américanisation en Europe au xxe siècle : économie, culture, politique. Volume 1

 | 
Isabelle Lescent-Giles
, 
Dominique Barjot
, 
Marc de Ferrière

Troisième partie. Une diffusion progressive

French technology or US technology?

Spain's choice for modernisation (1953-1970)

Esther Sánchez

Résumé

L’américanisation de l’Espagne doit être resituée dans le cadre d’une hésitation dans le choix d’un partenaire privilégié entre les États-Unis et la France. L'Espagne commença par signer un triple accord économique, militaire et technique avec les États-Unis pour compenser son exclusion du Plan Marshall et mettre un terme à l'isolation du régime franquiste. Mais, trouvant l'assistance américaine insuffisante et coûteuse, elle se rapprocha de l'Europe occidentale, et notamment de la France. Pourtant, consciente que la CEE n’assouplirait pas ses réserves envers la dictature et que la France n’était pas en mesure de remplacer la capacité militaro-économique des États-Unis, le maintien du lien nord-américain devint l'axe fondamental de la politique extérieure espagnole. Deux études de cas menées dans l’industrie aérospatiale et le nucléaire suggèrent que le choix entre technologie française et technologie américaine devint un enjeu politique plus qu’économique pour les gouvernements espagnol et français.

Texte intégral

1Spain underwent a difficult time in the forties. The country had been virtually destroyed by civil war. Collaboration with Germany and Italy and Franco’s dictatorial regime had led to political isolation. As a result, Spain was excluded from both Marshall aid and NATO. In the fifties, though, at the height of the Cold War, Europe and America came to accept that Franco was going to stay in power and pushed their objections to his dictatorial regime aside in the face of Spain's staunch anticommunist stance, its economic potential and its geostrategic importance. This was the very moment Franco chose to launch a campaign of seduction towards the West, emphasising Spain’s political stability and playing down the most offending aspects of his regime.

2In 1953, the Spanish government allowed the United States to build military installations and use the Iberian Peninsula's strategic facilities, in exchange for economic and military aid. Franco wanted the United States to become Spain’s main ally, both because it was leading the Western world and because it was the first, and for a time the only country ready to put an end to Spain’s international ostracism. This did not, however, prevent Spain from making some discreet, then open overtures towards other countries. It entered into bilateral negotiations, requested entry into the main international organisations, and expressed a will to take part in the process of European construction. From the late fifties onwards, conscious of the limits of its relationship with the US, Spain approached several European countries. France played a key role in this process. Contacts were intensified after General De Gaulle's rise to power. Various agreements on military co-operation in North Africa were signed and trade, tourism, and immigration were encouraged. Both countries shared a staunch anti-communism, feared the confrontation between the two superpowers, and defended what they saw as Europe’s third way.

3Spain renewed with economic growth after the 1959 Stabilisation Plan and its admission into several international economic organisations (OEEC, IMF...). But in order to ensure lasting growth, it needed outside help. Imports of foreign capital, products, and technology were stimulated by new and more open legislation on foreign trade. Europe and the United States were the main trading partners, for both imports and exports. The Spanish foreign policy tried to reconcile its “special” relationship with the United States with its burgeoning European partnerships, most notably with France. This determined choices of foreign technology. This tendency is nowhere clearer than in aeronautics and the nuclear sector, for two reasons: the Spanish government treated them as “strategic sectors” and was actively involved in their day to day operations by the government and both required extensive foreign assistance in capital and technology.

COMING OUT OF ISOLATION: RELATIONS WITH THE US FROM 1953 TO 1963

  • 1 The Agreements signed in 1953 consisted of three different pacts: the “Defence Agreement”, the “Mut (...)

4The Spanish government was convinced that the agreements signed with the United States on 26th September 19531 would compensate for their exclusion from Marshall aid and NATO. They expected it to provide the finance for rebuilding some of Spain’s infrastructures, help drag the economy out of recession and modernise the army. This alliance with the leader of the Western world would give the Franquist regime some legitimacy and strengthen Spain's standing in the concert of nations. That is why the Spanish government ratified the Agreements, in spite of the loss of sovereignty that they entailed and the dangers of US domination.

  • 2 Telegram from the Embassy in Spain to the State Department. Madrid, 31/I/58. Foreign Relations of t (...)
  • 3 Among the authors who have dealt with this subject, the majority emphasise the meagre effect that A (...)

5But the 1953 Agreements did not live up to Spanish expectations. Caught up in the Cold War, the US authorities saw Spain as a military ally and were not so concerned with economic modernisation. Their objective was to install military bases and devices on Spanish soil in order to complete the cordoning off communism and further its chances in case of communist aggression.2 In exchange, it offered military equipment for the Spanish army and technical and economic aid to the country. But in the end, the equipment delivered was below Spanish expectations both in quantity and quality and economic aid did not come anywhere near what had been given through the Marshall Plan's framework. Besides, it was earmarked for the purchasing of food and raw materials rather than for capital investment to develop Spanish production of goods.3 Worse, direct economic aid was suspended before the end of the ten-year period covered by the Agreements to be replaced by loans and private investment. Military help was also reduced and was conditional to purchases of US equipment.

6The Government, egged on by public opinion, sought to offset the privileged accesses the 1953 Agreements had given to the US by entering into negotiations with Europe. This policy was given more importance as the date for the lapse of the 1953 Treaty approached. The Spanish authorities asked for increases in aid and improvements to the political and legal status of the Agreements. It claimed Spain’s strategic position had been reinforced by the dismantling of US bases in North Africa and USSR’s advances in the Mediterranean area. The Pentagon admitted that Spain was of strategic importance and stressed that the Rota base (a shelter for nuclear armaments) was a key component of the European defence System. Unfortunately for Spain, the American Congress had other priorities and wanted to downsize its existing hases in the face of improving East-West relations and increasing budget deficits. America had taken note of the spectacular recovery of the Spanish economy in the wake of 1959 Stabilisation Plan and entry into the OEEC. It therefore ignored Spanish requests, leaving Spain with no other choice than to back down on its demands in order to obtain the renewal of the Defence Agreement. This resulted in a “Joint Declaration” signed in Washington on26th September 1963. It gave the appearance of close military collaboration but fell short of a firm defence agreement. In fact, the new Treaty was the exact copy of the 1953 agreement. It totally ignored the demands of the Spanish government and simply extended for five years US military co-operation.

7For the Spanish government, the new Treaty had the advantage of preserving the appearance of a strong relationship with the United States. It must be remembered that this was Franco’s strongest argument in negotiating with Europe and as such, could not be dispensed with. His first official attempt at opening negotiations for possible association with the EEC, made in 1962, had been acknowledged by Europe, but not followed up. Several members (in particular those with a socialist majority) strongly objected to the Spanish regime. Besides, the EEC was wrapped up in internai problems relating to the common agricultural policy and the model of integration. It also needed to resolve first previous demands for admissions from Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark). The Spanish question was not considered a priority.

EUROPE AS AN ALTERNATIVE: SPANISH RELATIONS WITH FRANCE AND THE US, 1963-1970

8Admission into the EEC was highly unlikely. But as US economic aid decreased and its drawbacks became clearer, Europe was hailed as the obvious solution. Closer collaboration with Europe would help Spanish economic growth. It would be an asset in negotiating improvements to the 1953 Agreements. Europe would act as a counterweight to U.S. hegemony in Spain. This accounts for the increase in economic relations with the major European powers in the 1960s. Several bilateral agreements were signed on cultural and technical exchanges, on tourism, on social security amongst others. In 1964, Spain's second application to join the EEC was met with a promise of negotiations. In 1967, the EEC offered Spain a Preferential Trade Agreement, which was eventually signed three years later. But it was made clear to Spain that full membership of the EEC would be dependent on political democratisation. The Spanish authorities found it impossible to play the European card without political change.

9France was Spain’s main partner in Europe. During the sixties, FrancoSpanish trade reached new heights. Bigger loans were granted. Investment and technological transfers increased. The aim was to develop key sectors of the Spanish economy, such as energy and transport. The French became the bread and butter of Spanish tourism while France was the first choice for Spanish emigrants. French tourism and money sent home by Spanish immigrants helped the Spanish balance of payments. Military co-operation intensified in the late fifties, encouraged by both governments. Military personnel were swapped and there were link ups between specialised schools, as well as companies in the defence sector. Contacts were established to discuss sales of French technology and raw materials to Spain. France was the most viable alternative to a hypothetical European military alliance. Germany was hampered by its recent past and the dispute over Gibraltar cast a shadow over relations with Britain. Both were close allies of the US in any case. On the other hand, General de Gaulle’s France had withdrawn from Nato’s military structure, regularly clashed with the US and made some overtures towards Eastern Europe. To Spanish eyes, it proved how resistance to American hegemony could serve national interests better than mere acceptance. Spain went as far as to propose the conclusion of a Mediterranean Pact, which would have included France, Italy, and, eventually, North Africa. This idea, however, never got further than ministerial conversations and these countries finally opted for bilateral military relations outside Nato’s framework.

10France saw US influence in Spain as prejudicial to its national interest. It threatened France's traditional spheres of influence such as culture and language. It also threatened France’s economic standing in Spain. The French authorities followed Spain’s foreign policy closely, and were kept informed of the limits of American aid and of Spain's desire to improve relations with Europe. It was in this context that France acted as Spain's political sponsor for admission into the EEC.

  • 4 « Développement de l'influence des États-Unis en Espagne et ses conséquences pour la France ». Repo (...)

« [...] dans toute la mesure du posible, il est souhaitable que ce soit la France qui, avec le tact et la prudence nécessaires, soit le guide ou le parrain de la future Espagne, son introducteur dans la nouvelle Europe [...] c'est ce que nous pouvons faire de mieux, sur le terrain politique, pour limiter à de saines proportions le rôle des Etats-Unis dans la Péninsule Ibérique [...] il ne faut pas penser qu'il suffit de piquer la vanité des Espagnols en leur répétant qu'ils sont colonisés par les yankees pour les retourner contre les Etats-Unis. Ils sont assez fins et intelligents pour le penser et en souffrir. Mais ils n'aiment pas qu'on le leur dise et ils répliquent asussitôt: que nous offrez-vous de mieux et moins cher ? »4.

  • 5 Note of the Direction des Affaires Economiques et Financières. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vo (...)

11Perhaps overestimating the strength of its position, France deployed a sustained effort to present alternative solutions (politiques de rechange ou de complément) to the Spanish government. They resulted in technical and financial aid, coming in direct competition with US investment. Interestingly, France was always the initiator and Spain was placed in the comfortable position of deciding whether to accept the offers or not. France’s motivations were two-fold: grants for licenses, technical aid and exports of raw materials provided France with much-needed foreign currency and improved the balance of payments. It also gave France an opportunity to close in on US positions in Spain by obtaining a monopoly for the manufacture of certain materials. The French authorities encouraged industrialists and exporters to take advantage of the disagreements between Spain and the US and seek direct contact with their Spanish counterparts. In order to do this, they redirected their commercial offer towards the needs of the Iberian market, highlighted the quality of national technology and materials and offered favourable conditions of sale and manufacture.5

12In March 1968, negotiations between Spain and the US reopened. The first official Spanish declarations, headed by Fernando Maria Castiella, Minister of Foreign Affairs, were defiant in tone. Spain threatened to approach Gaullist France if it didn’t obtain concessions in the political, economic, and military provisions of the Agreements. Still, Spain made it very clear that it hoped for the renewal of the Agreements, as long as they were acceptable and did not involve a loss of face. At this juncture, Spain gave conflicting messages to the United States. On the one hand, it made several pro-American gestures, such as allowing an American base in Zaragoza to compensate for the loss of the Libyan base of Wheelus after Gaddaffi's coup. At the same time, it put the US on the spot by signing three major agreements for military co-operation with France:

    • 6 «Acuerdo de colaboración técnica e industrial en materia aeronaütica entre el Gobierno de la Repúbl (...)

    On 10 February 1970, the purchase of 30 Mirage III aeroplanes was approved. These would be manufactured in Spain with French licenses and technical aid.6

    • 7 «Protocolo de cooperación técnica e industrial en materia de co-fabricación de carros». Signed in P (...)

    On 4 June, it signed an industrial co-operation program for the jointmanufacture of AMX tanks. This included the sale of 19 tanks and the joint manufacturing of a further 180 in a four-year period (20 tanks in 1972, 40 in 1973, 60 in 1974, and 60 in 1975).7

    • 8 Among other aspects, this treaty regulated meetings between ministers and high military commands, t (...)

    Three weeks later, a co-operation treaty was signed between the French and Spanish armies, in which the countries agreed to annual programs to regulate all aspects of their military co-operation.8

13These military agreements were a testimony to France and Spain’s will to preserve some form of independence vis-à-vis the US. But France was not ready to endorse any sort of political co-operation with a dictatorial regime. For its part, Spain was aware that no military treaty with Paris could compensate for the loss of US support. All things considered, Spain preferred dependence towards one superpower, in the shape of the US, to collaboration with a considerably weaker French rival. On 6th August 1970, Spain signed a “Friendship and Co-operation Agreement” with the United States, to replace the 1953 Defence Agreement. It extended co-operation to areas outside the military sphere, such as education, culture, science, and technology. But it still fell short of the reciprocity demanded by the Franquist regime.

FRANCE OR AMERICA? POLITICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHOICES

14During the sixties, Spain tried to find a way into European integration by playing the French card without alienating the United States. The resuit was a succession of concessions granted to each country in turn. Previous paragraphs showed this was the chosen policy in the military sphere. But industrial policy followed the same principal. Industrial concessions were instruments of Spain’s foreign policy.

15French documents reveal that none of the offers of industrial implantation made to the Spanish government during the sixties received an immediate response. They were left pending for a while with evasive and imprecise answers from the Spanish authorities. Acceptance coincided with moments of tensions in the Spanish-US relations. US hegemony was the greatest obstacle to France’s attempts to consolidate and broaden its position in Spain. America had undisputed scientific and technological superiority, had built great influence in Spain and received preferential treatment from Spanish authorities keen to keep US support at almost any price. The resuit was that France’s offers were not considered on technical or economic merit but on political usefulness. This is what an analysis of the aerospace and nuclear sectors show.

Competition in the aerospace sector

  • 9 See the origins of the aerospace sector in Spain in C. Marin Jiménkz-Ridruejo, “La industria aeroes (...)

16At the end of World War II, the Spanish aeronautics industry could no longer count on imports of German raw materials and links with other industrialised nations. It had no choice but form its own national organisation dedicated to promoting research, development, advice, and assistance in this area.9 This is how the “Esteban Terradas” Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeronáutica, later Aeroespacial (INTA), was born. It was placed under the supervision of the Air Ministry. INTA managed to maintain links with foreign counterparts in spite of Spain’s political isolation and the country’s scientific and industrial backwardness. INTA took part in several international activities. The US paid for the training of its first technicians and engineers, most of who were military men, and the transfer of technologies and equipment. Payments were made through the California Technological Institute, the United States Air Force Service, and the National Administration for Space and Aeronautics (NASA). In the sixties, international relations with the INTA extended to other European organisations, such as the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) and France’s Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

  • 10 «Acuerdo entre los Gobiernos de España y los Estados Unidos de América para el establecimiento en l (...)

17In March 1960, the Spanish and US governments signed an agreement in Madrid to establish a station for tracking and communicating with space vehicles. It was located at Maspalomas and was designed as a component in a world-wide satellite launching and tracking System known as the Mercury project. Both governments delegated the application of the aforesaid agreement to NASA and INTA. The Americans were responsible for installing, equipping, maintaining, and directing the station, guaranteeing a continuous exchange of information and an ample participation of Spanish technicians and specialists.10

  • 11 Letter of the ambassador in Spain to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 23/IV/63. AMAE (...)
  • 12 J.M. Sánchez Ron, Cincel, martillo y piedra. Historia de la ciencia en España (siglos XIX-XX), Madr (...)
  • 13 «Acuerdo entre el Gobierno de la República Francesa y el Gobierno del Estado Español relativo a la (...)

18In August 1963, one month before the date set for the first renewal of the Spanish-US Agreements, France sent the Spanish government a project to install, on the Canary Islands, a space station for telemetry and artificial satellite control. The project was discussed for some months, but according to the French authorities, the two countries could not agree on who would head the station. Spain argued that naming a Spanish director would facilitate relations with local authorities while the French wanted a French expert, stressing that it was not a political or administrative argument but a question of technical efficiency.11 In the meantime, Spanish leaders were busy informing N ASA of France’s intentions, and undertaking not to conclude any intergovernmental pact that would interfere with the U.S. operations in Spain.12 In the end, a compromise was reached on joint-direction and, with US approval, Spain signed an agreement in Madrid on 4th June 1964. The proposed station would be located at Llanos de Sardina, in the south of Las Palmas. Spain would provide the land and the buildings (which would remain Spanish property) facilitate access for material and personnel through lower taxes and improved transport, provide some finance, and guarantee a continuons exchange of information. The French government, for its part, would supply the technology, the equipment, and the necessary personnel to build and get the station started. The CNES would supervise the project's first phase, either directly or through a French subcontractor. INTA would be more actively involved in a second phase that would also entail the use of local labour and raw materials.13

  • 14 Letter of the ambassador in Spain to French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 29/IV/64. AMAE-F, (...)
  • 15 Sanchez Ron 2000: p. 397-398.

19The French authorities confessed to their Spanish counterparts that their project was “closely inspired by” the 1960 agreement with the United States.14 With this statement, France proclaimed its intention to take up positions in Spain, thus competing with the most successful US projects on record. But the directors of INTA regretted “the limited interest of the French project”, and thought its only attraction was “the start of a relationship with the French Space Commission”.15 The Spanish authorities backed the project by giving technical and economic considerations a second place behind the political advantages that a doser co-operation with France represented.

France and the United States in the nuclear sector

  • 16 Review of the material in A. de Los Santos Lasúrtegui, Problemas juridicos de la energia nuclear. M (...)

20In Spain, nuclear energy became attractive very early on to complete the national electric grid and stimulate other areas of development. In 1948, a nuclear agency was founded, camouflaged as a nominally private company called Estudios y Proyectos de Aleaciones Especiales (EPALE). In 1951, once the climate of international secrecy started to lift, the Junta de Energίa Nuclear (JEN) succeeded EPALE. The new agency kept the same structure and most of the executives. During its first years, it was chaired by the Government. It was later put under the supervision of the Ministry of Industry. The JEN’s mission was to prospect and exploit mines, train technicians and scientists, and implement projects. It also advised the government on legal matters and managed the links with foreign organisations. The Nuclear Energy Law of 25 April 1964 gathered all existing directives and brought them in line with international agreements and the legislation of the main industrialised nations.16

  • 17 For a more detailed analysis of the origins of nuclear energy in Spain, see R. Caro et allii, Histo (...)

21By signing bilateral treaties with countries that produced nuclear energy, Spain gave its physicists and engineers access to training that they could not have acquired in another way. It then increased its foreign connections to international organisations. In 1959, Spain became a member of the United Nation’s International Agency of Atomic Energy and of the following OEEC organisations: the European Nuclear Energy Agency (ENEA) and the European Society for the Chemical Treatment of Irradiated Fuels (EUROCHEMIC). It subsequently joined the European Atomic Forum (FORATOM) in 1962 and was gradually admitted into the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) between September 1962 and October 1968.17

22The first nuclear agreement between Spain and the United States was signed in Washington on 18 July 1955. For five years, the United States would supply set quantities of raw materials, as well as the equipment and technical aid needed to build experimental reactors. It would also loan Spain the money to finance the project. In exchange, the Spanish government promised restrict the use of the material received to civil purposes, to ensure the security of the operations, and to supply ongoing information on progress made. On 16 August 1957, a new agreement paved the way for the construction of Spain's first experimental nuclear reactor. JEN received a maximum of 500 kg of uranium, technical assistance, and a specialised library on atomic energy. This reactor, a “pool”-type reactor known as JEN-1, was installed in the “Juan Vigón” National Centre of Nuclear Energy in Madrid and went into operation in October 1958. In the following years, the most important private Spanish companies collaborated with the United States to construct two new nuclear reactors, which were installed in the Superior Technical Schools of Industrial Engineers in Barcelona and Bilbao.

23Until the mid-fifties, French-Spanish relations on nuclear energy were limited to occasional scientific exchanges, in which the subject of nuclear energy's industrial applications was barely touched upon. The October 1956 agreement between the JEN and the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) was the starting point for co-operation between the two countries. It established a program of annual meetings to discuss projects and supervise implementation. During the following years, various collaboration treaties were signed in specific areas, such as the industrial production and application of radio-elements (May 14, 1964), the treatment of plutonium (June 17, 1965), and the safety of nuclear installations (January 30,1968). In parallel, the CEA, the Ecole Polytechnique de Paris and the Centre de Physique Nucleaire d'Orsay agreed to several projects giving technical assistance to the Science departments of the universities of Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia, Seville, and Valladolid.

24The Spanish government had given JEN the powers to negotiate the contracts for building nuclear power stations directly with their foreign counterparts. The JEN and the electric companies would operate them. But first, Spain had to choose between the two technologies that competed in international markets. The first one, developed in the United States, used enriched uranium for fuel in a reactor that was moderated and refrigerated with natural water, through either a pressurised water reactor (PWR) or a boiling water reactor (BWR). The French technology was based on the use of natural uranium for fuel, graphite as a moderator, and carbonic gas as a cooling agent.

  • 18 J. Ortega Costa, «El futuro de la energía nuclear en España», Economía Industrial, no 70, 1969, p. (...)

25The first two nuclear power plants installed in Spain used the U.S. technology and were financed by loans from the Export-Import Bank. The first plant consisted of a 140 MW pressurised water reactor situated in the town of Zorita de los Canes, in Guadalajara region. It was built by The Union Eléctrica Madrilena under licence from Westinghouse, an American company and opened in 1968. The second plant, a 300 MW boiling water reactor, was located in the town of Santa Maria de Garona. The company responsible for the project was the Nuclenor group (directed by Iberduero and Eléctrica del Viesgo), under licence from General Electric. It was operational by 1971. In both cases, technology was transferred off-the-shelf from the US and Spanish participation did not go beyond 39% in Zorita de los Canes and 43% in Santa Maria de Garoña.18

  • 19 Texts of the work group meetings in the historical archives of the Electricité de France (Archives (...)

26The third Spanish nuclear power plant was the resuit of FrancoSpanish co-operation. It therefore used the natural uranium/graphite/gas technology. On 2 October 1964, a joint-declaration in Madrid announced plans to build, equip, and start up a 480 MW nuclear plant in Catalonia. The town of Vandellos, south of Tarragona, was chosen for its location. The plant was the exact replica of France’s Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux site under construction on the banks of the Loire. A joint working group was formed to study the practical aspects of the operation and determine the conditions that had to be accepted by both sides before the contract could be signed. A comparative study was undertaken with the Vandellos and Santa Maria de Garona plants to compare running costs and the competitiveness of the projected plant. It concluded that, at equal power, the French technology was substantially more costly than its US rival: 1,042 francs per kW as opposed to 746 francs.19

27The French authorities, determined to proceed with the project without delay, put pressure on their industrialists to accept the proposed conditions:

« [...] Nous estimons que les propositions qui nous sont soumises doivent être acceptées afin de faciliter la réalisation de la centrale, compte-tenu de l'intérêt politique et économique de cette réalisation [...], il importe que notre décision ne se fasse pas attendre, car nos partenaires espagnols risquent d'être soumis à la pression d'offres américaines plus alléchantes ».

  • 20 The project was financed with three loans: 350 million francs (at 3% interest for 15 years) to buy (...)
  • 21 Letter of French Minister of Industry to French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Archives EDF, box 328.
  • 22 Ortega Costa 1969: p. 27.

28To make up for the larger initial outlay and to align running costs on those of the US plants, the French authorities offered extraordinary financial conditions. They agreed to pay for all building costs, estimated at 455 million francs (5 billion pesetas).20 That amounted to nearly21 of the total 2.5 billion francs earmarked by France's 5th Plan to finance exports of equipment. To make up for the preferential financial conditions, most of the equipment would be built in France. The Ministry of Industry set local participation at 35%. This was lower than in the case of the U.S. plants.22 Électricité de France (EDF) took ultimate responsibility for the work carried out in Spain by French industrialists, promised to buy all excess energy that wouldn't be absorbed by the Spanish market, and paid for the first load of fuel.

29The French offer put the cost of the project for Spain at the level of American-backed reactors. France offered Spain an added advantage: the EDF and CEA Chairman ensured that Spanish uranium deposits in Salamanca, Jaén, Câceres, and Badajoz would be exploited. The use of natural uranium lowered the price of fuel since there would be no need to send the ore abroad for treatment. The plant would have a secure supply of uranium and would produce plutonium that could be used as fuel in supergenerator plants.

  • 23 At first, 25% of the capital remained in EDF'S hands and the other 75% was shared out equally betwe (...)
  • 24 For more information on the development of negotiations and the institutional framework of the Span (...)

30With the financing of the plant solved, the project moved on quickly. In November 1966, the Flispano-Francesa de Energía Nuclear SA (HIFRENSA) was formed to oversee the construction of the plant. It was a joint venture between EDF and three Spanish electricity producers: the Empresa Nacional Hidroeléctrica del Ribagorzana (ENHER, a subsidiary of INI), Fuerzas Eléctricas de Cataluna SA (FECSA, a private company), and Hidroeléctrica de Cataluna SA (HECSA, a private company).23 The final contract was signed in Madrid on 27 July 1967 and the plant opened on 26 July 1972. It operated until 30 May 1990, when the reactor was finally shut clown.24

  • 25 Zorita de los Canes, Santa Maria de Garoña, and Vandellos I were the so-called «first generation» p (...)

31It must be emphasised that in 1969, with Vandellos still under construction, the French government publicly announced its decision to abandon natural uranium/graphite/gas technology in favour of enriched uranium along US Unes. It acknowledge The latter were much more profitable in both time and production costs. Vandellos was the last time that French technology was used, and the first and only time it was exported. All second and third generation plants later built in Spain used US technology25, including Vandellos II, awarded to Westinghouse in 1980, and built with PWR-type technology.

32French pressure on Spanish authorities goes a long way to explain the use of French technology in Spain’s third nuclear plant. France needed access to international markets to prove the worth of its national technology and the viability of its nuclear plants. The construction of Vandellos gave France the opportunity to increase the role of private industry in a nuclear sector dominated by public organisations (EDF and CEA). But these economic considerations alone cannot explain France’s acceptance of the high cost of the project. PoUtical considerations were paramount: the project offered France an opportunity to increase its presence in Spain and compete with the United States. Political factors were also key to Spain’s decision and explain why the project went ahead even after France had announced that it was abandoning its national technology in favour of rival US technology.

CONCLUSION

33The Agreements with the United States allowed the Franco regime to overcome international isolation, even if it was at the price of losing its independence. US aid did not live up to expectations but the importance of closer Unks with the leader of the Western world was never challenged and remained the fundamental principle behind Spanish foreign policy. From the late fifties onward, the Franco regime looked towards Europe for new allies. But, having explored European sentiment, Spain acknowledged that the EEC remained firmly opposed to the dictatorial regime on principle. As for France, Spain realised that it could not provide a viable alternative to the US as its main military and economic partner. In this context, approaches to Western Europe, and to France in parücular, soon became a mere bargaining chip in its negotiations with the US. The case studies we conducted of both the aerospace and nuclear energy sectors illustrate how political considerations were given priority over economic matters. It remains to be seen whether French co-operation with Spain followed a more rigorous economic logic in other sectors.

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Notes

1 The Agreements signed in 1953 consisted of three different pacts: the “Defence Agreement”, the “Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement”, and the “Economic Aid Agreement”. Texts in Archivo General del Ministerio español de Asuntos Exteriores (AMAE-E), R-25713/6.

2 Telegram from the Embassy in Spain to the State Department. Madrid, 31/I/58. Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1958-60, vol. VII, part 2. Washington, United States Government Printing Office, 1993, p. 697-699.

3 Among the authors who have dealt with this subject, the majority emphasise the meagre effect that American aid had on the Spanish economy. Nevertheless, more recent interpretations stress their middle-and long-term indirect effects. In this sense, American aid freed up currency that could be used to import equipment. It had also a noticeable effect on business and labour formation for the Spanish staff groups that were to be instrumental in the sixties take-off. In short, aid improved business perspectives, strengthened investment and economic growth. On the other hand, the Spanish government could could have turned to other sources of finance: long-term loans from the Export-Import Bank and the Development Loan Fund, imports of agricultural surpluses under Public Law 480, donations by the National Catholic Welfare Conference and other private groups, distributed through Caritas. It must also be noted that authors disagree on the amount of aid received. See O. Calvo, “¡Bienvenido, Mister Marshall! La ayuda económica americana y la economia española en la década de 1950”, Revista de Historia Económica, no extraordinario 2001, p. 253-275 and L. Delgado Gómez-Escalonilla, “Les États-Unis et l'Espagne, 1945-1975 : une liaison stratégique avec des effets secondaires”, D. Barjot, Ch. Réveillard (dir.), L’Américanisation de l'Europe occidentale au XXe siècle, Paris, Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2002.

4 « Développement de l'influence des États-Unis en Espagne et ses conséquences pour la France ». Report of Robert de Boisseson, ambassador in Spain, to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 4/V/65. Archives du Ministère français des Affaires Etrangères (AMAE-F), EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 1721 (old number).

5 Note of the Direction des Affaires Economiques et Financières. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 354.

6 «Acuerdo de colaboración técnica e industrial en materia aeronaütica entre el Gobierno de la República Francesa y el Gobierno del Estado Español». Signed in Paris, 10/II/70. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 356.

7 «Protocolo de cooperación técnica e industrial en materia de co-fabricación de carros». Signed in Paris, 4/VI/70. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 356.

8 Among other aspects, this treaty regulated meetings between ministers and high military commands, the execution of joint manoeuvres, the exchange of technical and logistic information, sending experts to Spain, training Spanish technicians in France, support to Spanish industries interested in using French licenses, and launching joint commercial actions for exportations to other countries, with special attention to Latin America. «Acuerdo de cooperación militar entre el Gobierno de la Repüblica Francesa y el Gobierno del Estado Español». Signed in Madrid, 22/VI/70. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 352.

9 See the origins of the aerospace sector in Spain in C. Marin Jiménkz-Ridruejo, “La industria aeroespacial en España”, Economia Industrial, no 112, 1973, p. 73-87 and J.M. Sánchez Ron, INTA: 50 años de ciencia y técnica aeroespacial, Madrid, INTA/Ministerio de Defensa, 1997.

10 «Acuerdo entre los Gobiernos de España y los Estados Unidos de América para el establecimiento en la isla de Gran Canaria de una estación de seguimiento y comunicación con vehiculos espaciales». Signed in Madrid, 18/III/60, Boletin Oficial del Estado (español), 7/IV/60.

11 Letter of the ambassador in Spain to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 23/IV/63. AMAE-F, Europe, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 358.

12 J.M. Sánchez Ron, Cincel, martillo y piedra. Historia de la ciencia en España (siglos XIX-XX), Madrid, Taurus, 2000, pp. 398-400. The author has used the materials in NASA's historical archives (NASA History Office, Washington D.C.).

13 «Acuerdo entre el Gobierno de la República Francesa y el Gobierno del Estado Español relativo a la instalación de una estación de control de satélites en las islas Canarias». Signed in Madrid, 4/VI/64. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 358.

14 Letter of the ambassador in Spain to French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, 29/IV/64. AMAE-F, EUROPE, Espagne, 1961-70, vol. 358.

15 Sanchez Ron 2000: p. 397-398.

16 Review of the material in A. de Los Santos Lasúrtegui, Problemas juridicos de la energia nuclear. Madrid, Servicio de Publicaciones de la JEN, 1964 and «Regulación de las actividades nucleares en España», Economia Industrial, no 5, 1964, p. 5-10.

17 For a more detailed analysis of the origins of nuclear energy in Spain, see R. Caro et allii, Historia nuclear de España, Madrid, Sociedad Nuclear Española, 1995.

18 J. Ortega Costa, «El futuro de la energía nuclear en España», Economía Industrial, no 70, 1969, p. 24.

19 Texts of the work group meetings in the historical archives of the Electricité de France (Archives EDF), box 461.

20 The project was financed with three loans: 350 million francs (at 3% interest for 15 years) to buy material, equipment, and services in France; 60 million francs (at 5.5% interest for 15 years) to pay for the set-up, equipping, and construction costs in Spain; and 45 million francs (at 4% interest for 10 years) to cover the first load of fuel.

21 Letter of French Minister of Industry to French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Archives EDF, box 328.

22 Ortega Costa 1969: p. 27.

23 At first, 25% of the capital remained in EDF'S hands and the other 75% was shared out equally between the three participating Spanish societies. In June 1966, the Catalan company Fuerzas Eléctricas del Segre (SEGRE) petitioned for participation in the social capital of HIFRENSA. The other three Spanish companies each agreed to cede 2%, so that the total was shared out in the following manner: 25% for EDF, 23% for FECSA, HECSA, and ENHER, and 6% for SEGRE.

24 For more information on the development of negotiations and the institutional framework of the Spanish-French plant, see F. Marty, E. Sánchez, «La centrale nucléaire hispanofrançaise de Vandellos: logiques économiques, technologiques et politiques d'une décision», Bulletin d'Histoire de l’Electricité, no 36, p. 5-30.

25 Zorita de los Canes, Santa Maria de Garoña, and Vandellos I were the so-called «first generation» plants. The «second generation» plants were Almaraz, Ascó, Lemóniz, and Cofrentes, and the «third generation» plants were Valdecaballeros, Sayago, Vandellos II, Trillo, and Regodola. French technology was never again employed in any of them.

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Université de Paris-Sorbonne (France) et Instituto de Historia-CSIC (España)

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