President Roosevelt to the Ambassador in Spain ( Armour )1

My Dear Mr. Armour: In connection with your new assignment as Ambassador to Madrid I want you to have a frank statement of my views with regard to our relations with Spain.

Having been helped to power by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, and having patterned itself along totalitarian lines the present regime in Spain is naturally the subject of distrust by a great many American citizens who find it difficult to see the justification for this country to continue to maintain relations with such a regime. Most certainly we do not forget Spain’s official position with and assistance to our Axis enemies at a time when the fortunes of war were less favorable to us, nor can we disregard the activities, aims, organizations, and public utterances of the Falange, both past and present. These memories cannot be wiped out by actions more favorable to us now that we are about to achieve our goal of complete victory over those enemies of ours with whom the present Spanish regime identified itself in the past spiritually and by its public expressions and acts.

The fact that our Government maintains formal diplomatic relations with the present Spanish regime should not be interpreted by anyone to imply approval of that regime and its sole party, the Falange, which has been openly hostile to the United States and which has tried to spread its fascist party ideas in the Western Hemisphere. Our victory over Germany will carry with it the extermination of Nazi and similar ideologies.

As you know, it is not our practice in normal circumstances to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries unless there exists a threat to international peace. The form of government in Spain and the policies pursued by that Government are quite properly the concern of the Spanish people. I should be lacking in candor, however, if I did not tell you that I can see no place in the community of nations for governments founded on fascist principles.

[Page 668]

We all have the most friendly feelings for the Spanish people and we are anxious to see a development of cordial relations with them. There are many things which we could and normally would be glad to do in economic and other fields to demonstrate that friendship. The initiation of such measures is out of the question at this time, however, when American sentiment is so profoundly opposed to the present regime in power in Spain.

Therefore, we earnestly hope that the time may soon come when Spain may assume the role and the responsibility which we feel it should assume in the field of international cooperation and understanding.

Very sincerely yours,

Franklin D. Roosevelt
  1. This letter was released to the press on September 26, 1945.