852.00/1–3046: Telegram

The Chargé in Spain (Butterworth) to the Secretary of State

confidential

174. Morning press gives front page prominence to interview granted by Franco to Associated Press correspondent De Witt Mackenzie. Published version of interviews covers all of points submitted in writing but omits mention of question raised orally during interview as to whether Caudillo supported Nazi and Fascist policies and whether he subscribed to political views of Hitler and Mussolini. Mackenzie states Franco replied categorically in negative, stressing Spain developing along own lines and pointing out that after terrible civil war country must proceed carefully and cannot jump haphazardly to another regime. He alleged that Cortes has ultimate authority in passing laws and that government is developing slowly toward “absolute democracy” for which people not yet prepared. Other unpublished statement was that World War and [had?] threefold meaning for Spain, as war among civilized countries of Europe which was matter of regret to Spain, as war against Russia by Germany which had Spain’s sympathy as calculated to halt communism, and as war in Pacific in which Spain had greatest sympathy with America and was always for us.

Brief summary of published interview main points of which were emphasized by headlines of principal morning dailies follows: Free exchange of news is necessary to international understanding only on condition reporting be honest and accurate; Spain trying cultivate this idea for its press and radio in order to prevent prejudice of relations with other countries and hopes for reciprocity from those countries; Spain’s internal political reform difficult to understand in countries not knowing past and present facts notably Spain’s political development through 150 years including recent “eruption into politics of the laboring masses and their obedience to foreign commands in order to unleash social revolution” and present importance of Cortes, recently promulgated referendum law, Council of State, Supreme Court and Catholic ideals and uprightness; Spain geographically and [Page 1032]historically close to US and Great Britain and destined to understanding with them; Potsdam Declaration regarding Spain11 has been rejected by Spain and is of little importance to it since Spain, well out of present difficult international political situation, can in own way and by own means contribute its share to peace among peoples; and government’s evolution and improvement including question of possible restoration of monarchy proceeding step by step as circumstances warrant and by will and initiative of Spanish people alone and definitely not to be dictated by foreign pressure.

Full text by despatch. Repeated to Tangier as 6 and Lisbon as 12.

Butterworth