The Chargé in Spain (Bonsai) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 21—6:08 a.m.]
574. Foreign Ministry has just addressed note verbale to this Embassy and to British Embassy re “extremist anti-Spanish campaign” being carried out in France. Occasion of note is fact that Security Council of United Nations is about to meet.
Note states that as long as General de Gaulle was at head of French Govt, French military and police forces controlled aggression against Spanish territory across Pyrenees frontier by Spanish exiles and extremists “many of them common criminals”. However, with de Gaulle’s departure55 and increasing participation of Communists in French Govt situation has changed for worse. Reference is made to communiqué published by Spanish Govt on March 2 (Emtel 422 of March 256). It is stated that terrorist groups are constantly being forced [formed?] on French territory with the indifference not to say complicity of responsible French authorities and that such groups are crossing into Spain.
Note goes on to say that from testimony of captured members of these groups there appears to exist in Toulouse important center which directs this agitation and that there are schools of terrorism where groups are prepared to cross into Spain with purpose of committing murder and banditry. In province of Leon alone five priests in isolated villages are said to have been murdered as well as mayors of small hamlets and owners of farms. Acts of sabotage against trains and bank holdups are attributed to same source.
French Communist Party and international communism are alleged to promote agitation and support intense campaign against Spanish regime and are preparing Communist attack against peninsula as part of general plan to bolshevize Europe. Note mentions La Pasionaria unfavorably in this connection.[Page 1060]
According to Spanish Govt information services there is plan to attack frontier posts in Pyrenees for purpose of provoking serious incident for which Spanish authorities might be blamed. According to this information certain extremists wearing Spanish uniforms and carrying Spanish arms would fake attack against some French frontier point.
Arbitrary closing of frontier by French Govt, reception of “republican” leaders from Mexico, proven activities of Soviet military mission in south of France, French Communist [anti?] Spanish campaign in meetings, press and radio and efforts made to cross Pyrenees secretly as well as state of personal insecurity and lack of defense of Spanish Consuls in southern France and above all insistence of French Communist Party that French Govt accuse Spanish regime before United Nations, an accusation which would have to be based on alleged aggressive attitude on part of Spain, all tend according to the note to prove truth of intention to provoke violence at frontier.
Note concludes that for above reasons Spanish FonOff in name of Spanish Govt is obliged to denounce for information of US conduct of French authorities who (?) at least passively contributes to maintaining state of hostility against Spain. It is stated that Spanish regime is not danger to peace in spite of French provocations and that it is determined to maintain peace and to collaborate so far as possible in “noble task of universal pacification”. Approaching meeting of Security Council again mentioned.
This is under communication foreshadowed by FonMin (Embtel 549 of March 1857) in his conversation with me March 18.
Repeated Paris as 167; London as 164 by courier to Lisbon and Tangier.