711.52/9–3045: Telegram

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

2029. I have not yet had any direct official reaction to publication of Acting Secy’s statement on Spain.30a It has not, of course, been published here nor has any reference direct or indirect to it appeared in any paper. Emb’s confidential bulletin sent to high Spanish officials and certain Spaniards outside of Govt contained full statement including text of Pres. Roosevelt’s letter as well as comment on it in US and British official circles. British Ambassador who saw FonMin day following publication tells me Artajo made no reference to it or what surprised Mallet to publication of Churchill30b–Franco exchange.

I learned from American correspondent that one or two high officials in FonOff expressed indignation over publication which they considered unethical. While admitting that our Govt’s position as [Page 689]stated in letter had been fully presented to Govt and therefore came as no surprise, they argued that it was unprecedented to make public confidential instructions of this nature. In other words it is clear that Govt here had hoped to be able to keep Spanish public including their own supporters in ignorance of the true attitude of our Govt towards Franco regime and probably realize that in spite of strict censorship contents of letter are bound to become known to some extent thru clandestine channels. What apparently worries Govt most is that statement is a unilateral one by our Govt, as Churchill letter was of British Govt, in contrast with San Francisco and Potsdam declarations which were participated in by Soviet and other govts.

Judging from past instructions to OWI31 outpost we take it for granted Dept would desire to secure full publicity on pronouncement of this nature and despite fact that British Embassy has decided to publish Churchill–Franco correspondence in their corresponding bulletin we are arranging to carry translation full text including President’s letter in next number of Emb’s Semanario Gráfico scheduled to appear Oct. 3. This has circulation of 90,000 copies that probably reach more than a million people. Since this action will undoubtedly be resented by Govt as tending to defeat their censorship and may even call for strong protest possibly coupled with sanctions against Semanario, I feel Dept should be informed of procedure we propose to follow. As publication will follow closely upon action British Ambassador and I are taking in not attending Te Deum and official reception tomorrow to celebrate Ninth Anniversary of Franco’s assumption of power to which all Chiefs of Missions are invited and majority apparently attending, the challenge will inevitably be clear and provocative.

While in agreement with what I believe to be the Depts policy that no suitable opportunity should be overlooked to make clear our attitude toward present Spanish regime, I feel we must, however, not lose sight of fact that so long as regime remains in power it is the one we have to deal with and on whose cooperation we must rely in such matters as repatriation of Germans, Safehaven, aviation and other questions. While Franco would probably hesitate to retaliate openly he can always find ways in which to make things difficult for us. Furthermore, I believe we must take into consideration that peaceful evolution can only be achieved thru those who now hold power and influence in the present Spanish State, notably the Army, the Church and to a lesser extent industry, and we should weigh our acts so as not, through offending Spanish pride and patriotism, strengthen Franco and Falange by drawing to their support those who now favor peaceful evolution.

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I feel, therefore, that before proceeding finally with proposed publication all preparations for which have been made, I should bring these considerations to Dept’s attention. Unless hearing from the Dept we propose to send out bulletin on the morning of Wed, Oct 3.

  1. This statement was printed in the weekly publication of the American Embassy, Semanario Gráfico, dated October 3, 1945.
  2. British Prime Minister until July 26, 1945.
  3. Office of War Information.