German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Spain to take a bailout from the International Monetary Fund at the peak of the eurozone crisis.
The proposal is revealed in a soon to be published memoir written by the ex-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (2004-2011).
Certain stunningly candid extracts of the memoir, called El Dilema (The Dilemma), concern a meeting between Merkel and Zapatero in November 2011, at the beginning of a G20 summit in Cannes.
"She greeted me pleasantly and almost without any introduction put forward a proposal about which we had not had any indication," Zapatero writes in the book, which was seen by Reuters ahead of its Spanish publication.
"Merkel asked me if I was willing to ask for a preventive credit line of €50bn from the IMF, while another €85bn would go to Italy. My response was also direct and clear: 'No'."
Apparently Merkel accepted his answer and leaders then exerted far greater pressure on Italy to take a bailout, hoping this would halt a spreading crisis that had erupted in Greece the previous year.
Zapatero stepped down before his Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE) party suffered a landslide election defeat that month.
He is the first European leader to publish a memoir covering the eurozone crisis. It will be published on Tuesday 26 November.
The ex-PM said that there was a general feeling of panic among policymakers to get ahead of rapidly developing events and prevent the crisis from becoming worse.
There was "the feeling of a certain impotence on the part of democratic governments in relation to the markets," he said.
Spain has suffered its fair share economic troubles in recent years..
Spain's lenders suffered badly from the 2008 property asset collapse, having been tied up in the financing of the real estate boom beforehand.
In August 2012, Spanish banks borrowed €411bn (£342bn, $555bn) from the European Central Bank (ECB) to maintain liquidity.
The country's unemployment rate currently stands at 25.98%, according to the National Institute of Statistics for the third quarter of 2013.