For the U.S. State Department, the case of Dictator Franco's Fascist Spain had long been an embarrassing diplomatic anomaly.

In 1946, the U.S. voted for a United Nations resolution calling upon U.N. members to withdraw ambassadors from Madrid as evidence of disgust with the Franco dictatorship. Since then the U.S. Embassy has been manned by a career charge d'affaires whose attitude of official coolness was frequently compromised by junketing U.S. Congressmen and businessmen streaming through Madrid to shake hands with General Franco.

Last week, in a letter to four congressional leaders, Secretary of State Dean Acheson signaled for a change of...

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