852.01/12–1245: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

7133. In accord with what he told me on December 8 Bidault handed me this morning a note reading in translation as follows:

“The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has the honor to invite the attention of the Embassy of the United States of America to the very sharp reaction of public opinion in the democratic countries, caused by the recent publication of the correspondence exchanged, during the last few years between Hitler, Mussolini and General Franco.

“In the light of this publication, the attitude of the present Chief of the Spanish Government appears to be such that it can be denounced as treason with respect to the democracies at war. This can only accentuate the hostile attitude which public opinion has adopted toward the political tendencies of General Franco and toward the absence of a sincere effort to prepare the way for guarantees of political and personal freedom of thought in Spain.

“France, as a neighbor of Spain, is particularly sensitive to the political evolution of that country, and feels a special responsibility in everything concerning it. As matters stand, the French Government considers that the disclosures outlined above make it difficult to continue to give to the Franco regime the support which is, in fact, [Page 699]afforded to it by the maintenance of relations, even when reduced, as in the case of France, to the exchange of official representatives.

“The French Government considers, however, that the breaking off of these relations would assume its full significance in the eyes of the Spanish people only if it formed the subject of a joint decision on the part of the American, British and French Governments The French Government considers, in particular, that common action on the part of the Three Powers would alone be capable of bringing about a change of regime in Spain.

“The Ministry for Foreign Affairs would be obliged to the Embassy of the United States of America if it would be good enough to convey to its Government the above information. The Ministry would, moreover, appreciate greatly knowing the attitude of the Department of State concerning the possibility, at present, of concerted action with respect to the Franco government. The Ministry would also like to be informed of the position which the American Government in case of rupture (of relations) with Madrid, would propose taking with reference to the Giral government,41 considered as legally representing Republican Spain. A similar communication has been made to the Brit Emb.”

Sent Department 7133, repeated to Madrid 410, London 859 and Moscow 437.

  1. An émigré government in Mexico City, under the premiership of Sefior José Giral.