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[Emperor's Clothes]

The Incorporation of Spain and Javier Solana Into NATO
An Historical Analysis by Francisco Javier Bernal,

One of the main contentions regarding Javier Solana Madariaga's past is his presumed anti-NATO stance during the 1980s. Although this volte-face from alleged peace activist to born-again militarist has been debated many times before, I think it is necessary to put it into historical context.

In June 1980 U.S. President Jimmy Carter affirmed his administration's conviction that Spanish membership in NATO would significantly enhance the Organization's defensive capability. During the Cold War, the importance of Spain for NATO was clear due to its great geo-strategic importance, particularly its possession of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, of Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan coast, next to the straight of Gibraltar, and of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It meant that Spain controlled a vital maritime route. Moreover, it had first-class facilities for air-force operations, like Morón de la Frontera, an American base in Andalusia that had been operative since 1953, following an agreement between President Eisenhower and Generalísimo Franco.

However, at that time the by then Spanish Prime Minister, Adolfo Suárez, was not being very "cooperative". Though coming from a conservative party, the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD), he was conducting himself as an individual too independent in his views, making contacts with Castro, Qadhafi, Arafat and other pariah leaders. Of course, something needed to be done: The Pentagon's impatience with such disobedience soon resulted in its rattling its sabers... In just two months, Suarez was the victim of a smear campaign from inside his own party, leading him to resign shortly thereafter. The objective of the White House was to integrate Spain into its military engines, even at the cost of seriously damaging (or even aborting) the constitutional process in the course of performing this integration. In February 1981, an attempted coup d'etat occurred: The U.S. Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, affirmed publicly that "it was an internal affair only of concern to Spain," despite the publicly known active participation of agents from the U.S. Embassy in the preparations of the military pronunciamiento.

Solana's Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) had already shown itself as very useful for the U.S. Secretary of State's purposes, having promoted a vote of no confidence in the parliament against PM Suárez. The new UCD designated Prime Minister, the greatly unpopular Calvo Sotelo, pushed the incorporation of Spain into the Atlantic Alliance in the autumn of 1981. Of course, it was still not the ideal situation for the Pentagon. Javier Solana, an old Fullbrighter, accused of being a CIA man inside the PSOE structure (see the book. 'Soberanos e Intervenidos, Estrategias globales, americanos y españoles,' by Jaon Garces), was the person who made the official presentation of Felipe González (PSOE's Secretary General) to the US Embassy in Madrid.

Washington was very much interested in controlling the Spanish political scene, as it had done through the efforts of U.S. Ambassador Frank Carlucci shortly before in Portugal to "manage" the revolution of 25 April there, isolating people like Saraiva de Carvalho and, mainly, Vasco Goncalves, and offering in exchange blind support for "moderate democrats" like Costa Gomes.

What the Spanish Socialist Party receivedas payment was indirect financing for the next round of general elections, via the omnipresent AFL-CIO trade union federation, whose foreign activities peculiarly always coincided with the State Department's and the CIA's interests.

Anyway, if the Socialists wanted to win the elections they needed to play the NATO card very wisely. Most of the Spanish people were fiercely anti-NATO and any different position would alienate the leftist voters. (The Communist Party, PCE, had been the only real political underground opposition during Franco's dictatorship). The views of the PSOE on that matter were always far from being clear. Even their slogan for the 1982 campaign had a strange double meaning: "OTAN, de entrada no" that could be understood as "NATO. No incorporation" or "NATO, at first no; but later..."

The Socialists also promised a referendum so that Spaniards could decide whether they wanted their country to remain inside NATO or not. After winning the elections in October 1982, the Socialists changed their position and the new government of Felipe González quickly adopted a pro-NATO stance. Three months later they signed an agreement for the renewal of the US military bases in Spain. With each succeeding day, they were making clear their NATOist position: "The permanence in the alliance is a vital step towards the consolidation of democracy"; "If Spain wishes to join the EEC, then it has to be part of the defense system of the West"; "NATO membership, and joining the European Community, mean the end of the traditional isolation of Spain."

The country which Felipe González offered as the example of democracy that Spain might emulate was...Turkey.

González even threatened pensioners, telling them that an eventual exit from the Alliance would mean "the end of the Welfare State." Anyway, the Spanish people did not want to swallow that so easily. In 1986, two million Spaniards signed a petition for a referendum on continued membership in the Alliance.

The referendum was held in March of 1986: The Socialist government campaigned in favor of NATO, the Communist Party and many other groups on the left campaigned against it, and the Popular Party (pro-NATO) adopted a contradictory position and asked its voters to abstain. Of course Solana, González and their acolytes were not going to give the electorate a simple choice to make. That would be too easy and very dangerous if they happened to choose "the wrong one." They rephrased the question to be asked in the following way: Do you consider it advisable for Spain to remain in the Atlantic Alliance, provided that:

1) Spain will not be incorporated into NATO's integrated military structure?

2) Spain would be a nuclear-free country?

3) American presence on Spanish territory would be considerably reduced? Results: Yes: 52.5%; No: 39.8%; Abstention: 40% of the electorate. Solana and Co. had found a way to divide the strong anti-NATO feeling among the country's majority. Many people believed in their words again when they promised that "Spain will never join the Common Command," keeping outside the military structure; they also believed that any status changes would require further referenda before being approved. At the same time, the United States looked aside while the Spanish Government profited from a $280 million re-sale of American arms to Iran.

Spanish duties inside NATO would be restricted to:

1. Defence of the national territory. 2. Naval and aerial operations in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. 3. Control over the Strait of Gibraltar and its access points. 4. Naval and aerial operations in the Western Mediterranean Sea. 5. Control and defence of the air space of Spain and adjacent areas. 6. Use of the national territory as a retreat or multifunctional platform (traffic, support and logistics).

According to the above points, any Spanish collaboration in a future NATO aggression against Yugoslavia would be illegal. However, on November 14, 1996, during the last Socialist term, one year after Solana became NATO Criminal-in-Chief (sorry, I mean NATO Secretary General), they rushed a law into the Parliament to "authorise the government to negotiate the terms for the incorporation into the new NATO Joint Military Command," clearly breaking the previous referendum's commitments. Javier Solana welcomed this change with the words "It is time for Spain to assume the role it should have inside the Alliance." In regard to his old "anti-NATO" positions, he told the Spanish language paper 'El Nuevo Herald' of Florida that, "he - the same as Clinton or even the CIA director, James Woolsey, himself - is a pacifist who knew how to evolve with the new times," and (in another interview given to 'El País ) that "he was proud to represent an Alliance dissociated from its Cold War origins,".

Some biographical details: · Javier Solana's brother, Luis Solana, was the first Spanish Socialist politician to join the Trilateral Commission; · Solana was the author of the Manifesto titled "50 reasons to say NO to NATO" that led to the Socialist Party victory in the 1982 elections; His favorite hobby is collecting guns.

Further Reading

During recent elections in Kosovo, Solana went on a bizarre campaign tour with UN Kosovo chief Bernard Kouchner. See 'Solana and Kouchner push Kosovo Independence' at

Belgrade is outraged at Javier Solana's visit to that city, which his NATO warplanes bombed. So are we. See:

  • Belgrade Demands: 'Arrest Solana!'
    By Milosh Zorich, Special to Emperor's Clothes, at
  • 'Don't entertain him - arrest him!' Statement by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Jared Israel and Nico Varkevisser at


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