852.00/8950: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in Spain (Thurston), Then in France, to the Secretary of State


Military. The Nationalists are now in occupation of all peninsular Spain except the southern area and all Spanish possessions. Should the Government make the tragic decision to continue the war it is virtually certain that the Nationalists would in a relatively brief period conquer the southern area as well—for despite the Government’s manpower there, the handicaps under which it would labor are fatal. It would be without direct access to France and without the great Catalan industrial plants and it would be exposed to a probably effective sea and air blockade. At the same time it is to be assumed that the Nationalists would utilize their almost absolute control of the air with an intensity of devastation which would be appalling. I find, however, a general feeling here that the efforts presumed to be in course by the British and French Governments may contribute to an early settlement of some kind.
Political. Authoritative information regarding the whereabouts of the various members of the Spanish Government is not obtainable. I understand, however, that President Azana and Minister Giral34 are in Paris. I also understand that Azana has virtually divorced himself from the situation and that he would not return to the southern area should it be decided to prosecute the war. Mariano Gomez, President of the Supreme Court, and Martinez Barrio, President of the Cortes, are here as is the Chief of Staff. Other members of the Cabinet are at Toulouse. I assume that we would require the presence in the southern area of more than the Prime Minister and Minister of State before following the Government back there.
  1. José Giral, Minister without Portfolio.