852.00/3–1246: Telegram

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


1199. Dept’s 1096, March 8. Following is translation of note Bidault has just handed me regarding Spain.

Begin translation.

By a note dated the 9th of this month,46 Your Excellency was good enough to inform me of the American Govt’s comments on the French note of February 27 last, relative to bringing before the Council of UNO the present situation in Spain.

The French Govt notes with satisfaction the identity of views of the Govt of the US with respect to the present Spanish regime. It [Page 1053] takes cognizance of the renewed assurance contained in Your Excellency’s note, that satisfactory relations cannot exist between the US and Spain as long as the present regime continues to exist, that a change of regime is eminently desirable for the Spanish people, and that it constitutes the primary condition for the entry of Spain to the place which is due it in the concert of peaceful nations.

It appears from Your Excellency’s communication that the American Government has doubts, not about the legal possibility of informing the Security Council of the situation existing in Spain, but about the advisability (opportimité) of such action.

From the legal point of view, there is, in fact, no doubt that the provisions of paragraph 7 of article 2 of the Charter, prohibiting the United Nations from intervening in the internal affairs of a state, do not apply in this instance. The case of Spain is, in fact, a very special one. If it is true that it (Spain) was not explicitly mentioned in the “Declaration of Liberated Europe” issued at Yalta on February 13, 1945, it cannot be questioned, after the recent publication of documents, that General Franco’s Government acted, during the war, as an “Axis satellite”.

Moreover, this stood out in the Potsdam Declaration of August 2, 1945, in which the Allied Governments adopted their position with regard to “the present Spanish Government which, established with the help of the Axis powers, does not possess, because of its origin, its nature and its close association with the aggressor countries, the necessary qualifications for belonging to the United Nations organization”.47 In making this public declaration of the question of the present political regime in Spain, the Allied Governments themselves recognized that they did not consider this question as “a matter coming essentially within the national jurisdiction of the state”, and that as long as this regime should continue, Spain could not form “a peaceful state” in the sense of article 4 of the Charter.

It is in this sense that the maintenance of Spain of a dictatorship, which from its inception until the recent past established and maintained close relations of complicity with Hitlerism and Fascism as today has been publicly established constitutes a threat to security which should properly receive the attention of the Council.

As to the time, it appears to the French Government as to the American Government, that it is incumbent upon the Spanish themselves to put an end to General Franco’s regime and to replace it by a government of their choice; however, the Government of the (French) Republic considers that it is the duty of the United Nations not to prolong a situation which is of a nature to discourage those elements, both in Spain as well as outside Spain, which desire a change of regime. The French Government fears, after the prolonged experience in this direction, that neither emphatic moral pressure nor collective public condemnation are sufficient to convince General Franco of the necessity of giving up power.

It is in this spirit that the French Government recently took the initiative in economic measures against the present Spanish Government, measures similar to these which it took of its own accord, if taken [Page 1054] by the highest competent international authority (instance) would, in the opinion of the French Government, be likely to hasten considerably the evolution of events.

In case, however, the Security Council should wish to have a careful study made of the measures which might be taken in carrying out any “Résolution de principe” which it might adopt, it could delegate this study either to the Council of Foreign Ministers or to the four Governments, American, British, French and Soviet.

From the point of view of procedure, I desire to make it clear that, in the opinion of the French Government:

It is a question of a situation and not a dispute. This statement, which should be made from the outset to the Council, would avoid useless discussion and would avert the possibility of the appearance of Spanish representatives (comparution espagnole);
It is a question of a situation which, if prolonged, could threaten the maintenance of peace and international security (article 34).

I would be obliged if, in communicating the above to your Government, Your Excellency would be good enough to indicate how greatly the French Government would appreciate being informed as soon as possible of the opinions of the Government of the U.S. on the various aspects of this matter, and would likewise appreciate pursuing with it the study of the political solutions best calculated to meet the legitimate desires of the Spanish people.

Please accept, Mr. Ambassador, the assurances of my very high consideration. (Signed) Bidault.

  1. See footnote 40, p. 1049.
  2. Reference is to the Potsdam Communiqué. For text, see Foreign Relations, The Conference of Berlin (The Potsdam Conference), 1945, vol. ii, pp. 1499, 1510.