Courtesy Reuters

Spain as an African Power

ON MARCH 4 of this year the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and France issued a declaration in which they expressed the hope "that leading patriotic and liberal-minded Spaniards may soon find means to bring about a peaceful withdrawal of Franco, the abolition of the Falange and the establishment of an interim or caretaker government under which the Spanish people may have an opportunity freely to determine the type of government they wish to have and to choose their leaders." At the same time the State Department released the texts of fifteen captured documents -- German, Italian and Spanish -- which demonstrate beyond the shadow of any doubt that in the summer and fall of 1940 Franco was thoroughly committed to entering the war on the side of the Axis. That Spain in the end did not go to war was justified by Franco as the inevitable result of her dire shortage of foodstuffs, oil products, transport facilities, munitions -- in short, of practically everything needed to wage modern war. The Caudillo also complained (in his conversation of December 7, 1940, with Admiral Canaris, then chief of Hitler's foreign espionage organization) that a Spanish attack on Gibraltar would immediately result in an Allied occupation of the Canary Islands and of Spain's possessions in the Gulf of Guinea, thanks to Britain's continued control of the seas.[i] In other words, he cited Spain's overseas possessions as a source of weakness in her strategic situation.

We are not permitted, however, to deduce from this fact that the Franco régime was anti-expansionist. Quite the contrary, as we see from Document No. 1, a memorandum of the German Ambassador in Madrid, dated August 8, 1940. In it he stated that among the conditions which Franco had set for Spain's entry into the war was the fulfillment of certain territorial demands: the acquisition of Gibraltar, French Morocco and the Oran region in western Algeria, as well as the enlargement of Rio de Oro and the colonies in the Gulf of

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