740.00119 (Potsdam)/8–845

No. 1179
Memorandum by the Executive Secretary of the Central Secretariat ( Yost )1

top secret

Berlin Conference


Soviet Policy

The Soviets proposed that all the United Nations be asked to break all diplomatic relations with the Franco Government and to support the democratic forces in Spain.2 They took the position that the regime of Franco was gaining strength, that it was feeding semi-Fascist regimes in other countries and that it was a menace to democratic governments both in Europe and in Latin America. They expressed the view that action short of force to oust the Franco regime would not be intervention in the internal affairs of Spain since Franco had been installed by external intervention on the part of Hitler and Mussolini. Stalin stated that it was not the fact that the Franco regime was a dictatorship to which he objected but the fact that it owed its origin to Fascist intervention. When they found the British and the United States unyielding on the question of breaking diplomatic relations with Franco, they urged that the Conference issue a statement setting forth the view of the three governments on the Franco regime. They finally accepted without much discussion the brief statement on Spain in that section of the communiqué dealing with “Conclusion of Peace Treaties and Admission to the United Nations Organization”.3

British Policy

Churchill said that his Government had a strong distaste for Franco and that he, Churchill, had been misrepresented as having been friendly to this gentleman. He opposed, however, breaking diplomatic relations with the Franco Government on the grounds that it might, in view of the Spanish character, rally the Spaniards behind Franco. Furthermore, we should be injuring our own interests if we withdrew our ambassadors. His principal point, however, was that he did not wish to interfere in the domestic affairs of any state, except those for which we had assumed a certain responsibility [Page 1176] because of the presence of Allied troops as a result of the war. He was in addition most anxious not to take any step which might lead to a renewal of Spanish civil war. He pointed out the provision in the United Nations Charter4 against interference in domestic affairs. He stressed the importance of British trade with Spain. He said that he would personally favor a constitutional monarchy in Spain but thought that the matter should be left to the Spanish people.

There was no discussion of the Spanish question after the change in the British Government and therefore no opportunity was afforded to obtain the views of the Labor Ministers on this question.

  1. Printed from an unsigned carbon copy. For the minutes of the discussions summarized in this memorandum, see ante, pp. 122127.
  2. See document No. 1177.
  3. See document No. 1384, section x .
  4. The reference is to article 2, paragraph 7, of the Charter of the United Nations, signed at San Francisco, June 26, 1945 (Treaty Series No. 993; 59 Stat. (2) 1031).