“We don’t want Gibraltar back” said the Spanish king in 1983…will he be able to keep that promise?

 The Monarch chosen by General Franco as his successor as Head of State, admitted in a private conversation with the then British ambassador to Madrid, Richard Parsons, that “it was not to the advantage of Spain to recover Gibraltar” newly declassified documents from the 1980s released by the Foreign Office reveal.”If it did so, King Hassan would immediately reactivate the Moroccan claim of Ceuta and Melilla,” Parsons said in a telegram he sent to the Foreign Office in London on September 7, 1983.        gibraltar

Details of the meeting were released last week by the National Archives in Kew as part of a swathe of secret government papers declassified under the 30-year rule and are likely to cause some discomfort after a year that saw Spain’s government reiterate calls for talks over sovereignty.The king had made the statements “with a burst of his usual frankness”, the ambassador said.    jc

At the time of the meeting, Spain was negotiating its entry into what was then the European Economic Community (EEC), the forerunner of the European Union.
The border between Spain and British-held Gibraltar was shut in 1969 by the Franco regime and only partially opened in 1982. Spain opened the border completely in 1985, a year before it joined the EEC.

According to the telegram, the king “accepted that the opinions of the (Gibraltarian) population must be respected” in the debate over its future — putting him at odds with the Spanish government’s position which was to press for direct talks between London and Madrid.
The king also agreed that “Gibraltar was an emotional issue and we must be sensitive towards public opinion and to the demands of national interests“, Parsons wrote.

At the time King Juan Carlos urged “confidential talks” over Gibraltar be conducted between the two foreign ministries to ensure Spain’s path into what was then the European Economic Community was not upended over the issue.


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