WHEN General Franco decreed the establishment of a grand Council of Hispanidad on November 2, 1940, he took a major step forward in the Falangist program for unifying the Hispanic world under Spanish leadership. According to the decree, the Council was to work to unify the "culture, economic interests and power" of the Hispanic nations. On January 7, 1941, the organization began to take actual form with the appointment of 74 Spaniards as its initial members. They included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as President; the holders of various governmental positions in Spain and of certain major diplomatic posts in Latin America; important officials of the Falange; a few military officers; and a number of prominent intellectuals and representatives of the Catholic Church. Further orders issued in the course of 1941 provided in detail for the Council's organization and functions.
One of the first moves made by the Council was to invite to Spain last year about twenty Spanish Americans who had shown most interest in the concept of Hispanidad as promoted by the Franco régime since the end of the Spanish Civil War. These Americans were asked to visit Spain so that they might help draw up in definite form the bases for the doctrine. They were mostly young men of the extreme Right who were not, on the whole, particularly outstanding figures in their native countries, although one or two were of considerable reputation, such as José de la Riva Agüero, of Peru.[i]
While the idea of Hispanidad promoted by the Franco régime has been actively supported in South America by certain limited groups, it has of course met with opposition and ridicule in anti-Fascist circles. To some persons unfriendly to the Franco régime both in South America and in the United States, it seems that Spain is nourishing fantastic imperialist dreams. Since the Franco régime and its Falangist supporters have had so much to say not only about Hispanidad but also about reviving the "Spanish Empire" and creating an "
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