Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Just a reminder to a couple of the folk who post in the Comments section: I generally don't respond to trolls, though I make occasional exceptions. However, before you "challenge" me to write about a subject of your choice, I suggest you use the search function above, because I have most likely already written about it. It actually works. For example, if you type in "Truman", you'll find this piece I wrote way back in November 2002.

Saturday, November 30, 2002
Posted 16:00 by John
This was a good question from the Comments section, and I thought it deserved a good answer, so here it is.

Just a thought, but why didn't the victorious allies get rid of that cunt Franco at the end of the war?
Des | Email | 11.25.02 - 8:55 pm

During the war, Franco's personal sympathies were with the Axis. However, he managed to avoid openly committing himself to their side (in part he got lucky; he made major demands on Hitler in 1940 in exchange for joining the Axis, which Hitler refused. If Hitler had met those demands Franco would have entered the war and gone down for sure) and by '44 Churchill was openly flirting with Franco, knowing the war was won and not wanting to make it any longer by having to fight Spain, too. Using military force to overthrow Franco was never on the Allies' menu.

Anyway, on June 19, 1945, at the San Francisco Conference, the United Nations (which was the reincarnation of the Allied Powers) voted unanimously to exclude Franco's Spain. Then, at the Potsdam Conference later that summer, Stalin proposed that everyone break all relations with Spain, a worldwide total boycott, and that the Allies should aid the "democratic opposition" within Spain; Truman was in favor, though he feared another civil war, but Churchill wasn't. (This might be the last time the Americans and Soviets ever agreed on anything.)

Churchill pointed out, first, that Britain had strong trade links with Spain and the last thing anybody needed in Britain in 1945 was more people out of work due to a trade cutoff. He also said that "interference in the internal affairs of other states was contrary to the United Nations Charter." (Paul Preston, Franco, p.540; Chapter XXI in general). So Churchill made the same argument against getting rid of Franco that the anti-war people are making against getting rid of Saddam, who, to use your terminology, is an even bigger cunt than Franco was. Now, I'm not saying Franco wasn't a right cunt in many ways, but Saddam manages to out-cunt him, in my opinion. In the middle of Potsdam, Churchill lost a general election to Clement Attlee, who became Prime Minister; Attlee and Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin did not change British policy toward Spain. Anyway, the decision made at Potsdam was to definitely exclude Spain from the UN, but not to use economic and other diplomatic sanctions to try to force Franco out. Britain won out over the Soviets and Americans.

Bevin washed Britain's hands when he said to the Commons on 20 August 1945, "The question of the regime in Spain is one for the Spanish people to decide." Charles de Gaulle, president of the French Council of Ministers, "sent a secret message to Franco to the effect that he would resist left-wing pressure and would maintain diplomatic relations with him" sometime in summer 1945; French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault was also against action against Franco.

In January 1946, Dean Acheson, American Undersecretary of State, "suggested a joint declaration from France, the United States, and Britain that for Spain to be accepted into the international community, the Spanish people would have to remove Franco and set up a caretaker government to organize elections." But by then Washington was coming around to London's position, and Lord Halifax, the British Ambassador in Washington, pointed out the danger of a Communist takeover in Spain to Acheson. "American pressure diminished...British policy in fact aimed at restraining the French and the Americans from taking precipitate action against Franco." (p.552)

On 26 February, a month after De Gaulle's resignation, the French government closed the frontier with Spain and broke off economic relations after Franco executed ten left-wing guerrillas. France wanted to bring the question of a total economic blockade of Spain to the UN Security Council, but both London and Washington did not want to give the Soviets a chance to influence anything. On 4 March Paris, Washington, and London released the Tripartite Declaration, in which they called Franco a right cunt but said "There is no intention of interfering in the internal afairs of Spain." Franco privately accused Truman of being a Mason, which, of all things, he really was. It was no secret; it's in his autobiography.

Then on 5 March Churchill made the "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri, and it was all over.

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