852.00/2395: Telegram

The Chargé in the Soviet Union (Henderson) to the Secretary of State


178. My 177, July 31, 9 p.m. Soviet press and leaders are beginning more openly to show their sympathy for the Spanish Government as the latter’s position becomes more precarious. Mass demonstrations of solidarity with the Spanish people were held in cities and towns of the Soviet Union yesterday. The Moscow Pravda of this morning states that 120,000 demonstrators gathered in the Red Square and that 100,000 took part in the Leningrad demonstration. According to the same source the meetings, both in Moscow and Leningrad, addressed telegrams to the President and Prime Minister of Spain.…

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Funds “for the assistance of the fighters” are being collected in factories and institutions; meetings of employees are voting from one-half to one percent of their aggregate monthly salaries to the cause.

A responsible Soviet official told me last night that a number of Soviet officials charged with the conduct of Soviet foreign relations were opposed to sending funds to Spain since they felt that such action would be used by Germany and Italy to justify the aid given by themselves to the rebels. These objections were overruled, however, by those Soviet leaders who take the view that if the Soviet Union is to continue to maintain hegemony over the international revolutionary movement it must not hesitate in periods of crisis to assume the leadership of that movement. The same official pointed out that since the funds collected cannot be exported until after they have been exchanged into foreign currency with the special permission of the Commissariat for Finance it will be difficult for the Soviet Government to maintain that it has no connection with the collection and despatch of such funds.

There is no indication as yet that the Soviet Union is expecting to lend the Spanish Government other than pecuniary assistance.