The Chargé in Spain ( Culbertson ) to the Secretary of State
Sir: I have the honor to refer to despatches nos. 621 of October 26, 1948; 371 of July 11, 1949; 519 of October 3, 1949 and 574 of November [Page 769] 9, 19491 concerning the establishment and development of the Monarchist-Socialist-Ariarchist political alliance under the name of Comité Interior de Coordinacíon, more commonly known as the C.I.C.
A member of the Embassy and a … source have had several conversations recently with the secretary of the C.I.C. Those of the … source were reported to the appropriate offices in Washington on November 28 and entitled, “Opinions of Secretary-General of Comité Interior de Coordinacíon”.2 The present despatch transmits the results of a conversation between the member of the Embassy and the C.I.C. secretary on December 19.
The secretary stated that neither he nor General Aranda, the Monarchist member of the Committee, had been molested in any way since July, despite the fact that he now had definite proof that the Spanish authorities had known as early as July 19 that he was implicated in the Committee’s activities. He attributed the failure of the authorities to arrest both himself and General Aranda, first, to the fact that both are Army officers and, second, to his belief that the extent of his own intervention was still not known.
He expressed the desire to be presented to the Chief of Mission, saying that he would soon have an important document to deliver to him, which would ask for “diplomatic support” of Don Juan. He was unable to define “diplomatic support” except to say that there should be an understanding with Don Juan after which the latter would make a pronouncement, to be supported immediately by the opposition within Spain. It was pointed out to him that in both the Tri-partite Note of March 4 and in the United Nations Declaration of December 12, 1946, the attitude of the participating nations with respect to the Franco regime was clearly stated; that in neither those pronouncements, however, nor in any of the official announcements which had been made during that period or since, had any commitment been made that the United States or the United Nations would support a change of regime and that the two above-mentioned declarations made abundantly clear the fact that the United Nations expected the people of Spain to bring about any change of their own regime. He said that he was fully aware of these facts and that although he, personally, did not believe that the U.S. would be willing to make any specific statement, he hoped that some way might be found for the United States to assure the Spaniards that the King’s pronouncement was made with the knowledge and “moral support” of the United States. Such assurance, he said, would remove all hesitancy on the part of those who are afraid to join an anti-regime movement.[Page 770]
The sectary expressed great interest in the anti-Franco declaration of the newly-formed International Confederation of Free Trade Unions3 and asked whether the Embassy would transmit to it a document from the C.I.C. He was informed that such use of the diplomatic pouch is strictly prohibited. When asked why the organization did not have its own people in France deliver the document, his answer revealed that he was hoping to lend authenticity and prestige to the C.I.C. by having the document transmitted through American official channels.
The secretary said that the letter which Don Juan had allegedly been expected to address to Franco, calling upon him to arrange the early restoration of the Monarchy, had been held up, first, because it was not desirable to send it too soon after Franco’s visit to Lisbon and, second, because it would be better for the present arrangement to be completed and a public pronouncement made instead.
The secretary warned against measuring the potential strength of the Opposition by the degree to which its activities and plans are known to the general public, adding that, because of the severe repression of any Opposition activity, the C.I.C. had been obliged to limit knowledge concerning its activities to four or five persons. He insisted, however, that the Committee members were fully accredited by the members of their own organizations and that commitments and agreements made by them would be respected and supported.
The C.I.C. hopes to keep the intervention of the Army to the barest minimum, believing that it will gladly support the Monarchist restoration whenever Don Juan calls for its support. Through avoiding such political intervention, the C.I.C. believes that it may be able to keep the Army out of politics in the new government.
Speaking of the economic situation, the secretary said that it is worse than ever. He pointed out that the discontent within the civilian security forces is becoming so great that Franco is infiltrating loyal Civil Guards into those offices. He spoke of the wheat shortage and warned that, although the miserable people would probably not rise of their own accord, the Communists might take advantage of the situation and organize disturbances. He said that the new taxes would be passed on to a public already on the verge of starvation and that the Army, which would be adversely affected by attempts to cut the budget, would be increasingly discontented and more amenable to a call from Don Juan. He stated that the Committee is in constant contact with important Army officers and is convinced that all the officers, even though not well-informed concerning the [Page 771] activities of the C.I.C., would support Don Juan. He named Generals Varela and Munoz Grande as two important officers who are not in favor of the present regime but who continue in their positions of control, awaiting developments.
Documents delivered to the Embassy by a Monarchist emissary on December 22 (see A–702 of December 28, 19494) show great similarity to the statements made by the C.I.C. secretary and their delivery may have been timed to concide with the secretary’s remarks.
The effective strength of the C.I.C. is difficult to assess. Its prestige within the Opposition is high but the organization is greatly weakened by the fact that its leaders cannot be known to their constituents nor can their plans and programs be submitted to the membership in general for acceptance or rejection. The belief of the officers of the C.I.C. that the Army will respond immediately to Don Juan’s call is somewhat naive. Nevertheless, there is some discontent and, if the Army were fairly certain that a move toward restoration of the Monarchy had a good chance of success, their support might be forthcoming. It is not so much their loyalty to the present regime which would cause them to hesitate as their fear of the unknown. The present C.I.C. policy of not keeping the Army informed allows that uncertainty to continue. The present coalition, although representing either directly or indirectly the several strongest forces of the Opposition, has, like its predecessors, now reached the point of tacitly recognizing its need of support from an outside force and is, as the others have done before it, attempting to arrange for the United States to furnish that support and make the initial move.
Second Secretary of Embassy