852.00/2175: Telegram

The Ambassador in Spain (Bowers) to the Secretary of State

46. My telegram No. 45, July 18, noon. Government has prohibited public use of telephone and telegraph but Wendelin in Madrid permitted to telephone me this morning. Madrid is quiet but reports there possibly exaggerated and impossible to check are that there is fighting at Barcelona, Seville, Burgos, Cádiz, Pamplona and Valladolid between Assault Guards loyal to the Republic and segments of the Army. Persistent reports that revolt in Morocco successful and officials and Foreign Legion moved to Spain. This according to rumors, impossible as yet to confirm, made possible by reported revolt of the Navy. On other hand today’s local press reports that Navy is bombarding rebel forces. All perfectly quiet in this section thus far.

At 3 this morning government of Casares Quiroga resigned and Azaña6 named José Giral, Minister of Marine in last Cabinet, Prime Minister, who immediately formed a government with General Miaja as Minister of War.

Last night Señor Moles, Minister of Gobernación, issued statement that revolutionary leaders had aroused confidence of their followers and stirred them into action. False report over radio from Seville that Madrid entirely in possession of the rebels. He claimed revolt in Morocco quelled and three generals under arrest. Closing of all means of communication and conflicting reports from the two sides make impossible an absolutely accurate description of present situation but resignation of government indicates serious trouble. Fighting confined thus far to armed forces without participation by civilian population. Powerful Socialist organization has issued statement supporting Government but apparently not active yet. In Madrid yesterday popular street ovations for Civil Guards and Assault Guards because of their loyalty to Government in putting down insurrection.

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No American interests have suffered thus far, so far as we can ascertain. Have conferred with other diplomats here and find all as much in the dark and with the same reports we have. The Syndicalists appear to be working with the Fascists and a portion of Army. If successful they plan probably for a military dictatorship or a Fascist regime.

Will keep you informed as accurately as is possible under the circumstances.

  1. Manuel Azaña, elected President of the Spanish Republic on May 10, 1936.