Letter From General Franco to Hitler.
EL PARDO, 26 February 1941
Your letter of the 6th makes me wish to send you my reply promptly, since I consider it necessary to make certain clarifications and confirmation of my loyalty.
I consider as you yourself do that the destiny of history has united you with myself and with the Duce in an indissoluble way. I have never needed to be convinced of this and as I have told you more than once, our Civil War since its very inception and during its entire course is more than proof. I also share your opinion that the fact that Spain is situated on both shores of the Strait forces her to the utmost enmity toward England, who aspires to maintain control of it.
We stand today where we have always stood, in a resolute manner and with the firmest conviction. You must have no doubt about my absolute loyalty to this political concept and to the realization of the union of our national destinies with those of Germany and Italy. With the same loyalty, I have made clear to you since the beginning of these negotiations the conditions of our economic situation, the only reasons why it has not been possible up to now to determine the date of Spain's participation.
Having in mind our own post-war difficulties, you will recall that I have never fixed too short a period for our entry into the war. Permit me, Fuehrer, to say that the time elapsed until this moment has not been completely lost, since we have been obtaining not certainly great enough quantities of grain to permit us to build stocks, but certainly for some of the bread necessary for daily sustenance of the people who otherwise would have perished of starvation in considerable numbers.
Furthermore, it must be acknowledged that in this question of the supply of foodstuffs, Germany has not fulfilled her offers of effective support until very recently. We are now beginning to move in the realm of concrete facts and within this field there is nothing I desire more than to hasten the negotiations as much as possible. With this end in view several days ago I sent to you information on our needs as to foodstuffs and in general economic and military fields. These data are open to new examination, clarification, verification, and discussion in order to reach quickly the solution which interests us both equally. However, you will understand that at a time when the Spanish people is suffering the greatest starvation and enduring all sorts of privations and sacrifices, it is not certainly propitious for me to ask further sacrifices of them if my appeal is not preceded by an alleviation of this situation, which at the same time may permit us to carry out beforehand an intelligent propaganda on the constant friendship and effective support of the German people, which will reawaken in the Spaniard the sentiments of sincere friendship and admiration which he has always had for your Nation.
My remarks about our climate were simply an answer to your suggestions, and were not in any way a pretext to postpone indefinitely that which at the right moment it will be our duty to do.
During the recent Bordighera conference I gave proof to the world of the nature of my resolute attitude; this conference also served as a call to the Spanish people marking the direction in which lie their national obligations and the preservation of their existence as a free nation.
One observation I must repeat to your Excellency; the closing of the Strait of Gibraltar is not only a prerequisite for the immediate amelioration of the situation of Italy but also perhaps for the end of the war. However, in order that the closing of Gibraltar may have a decisive value it is also necessary that the Suez Canal be closed at the same time. If this last circumstance should not take place, we who are making the actual contribution of our military effort have the duty sincerely to say that the situation of Spain in the event of an inordinately prolonged war would then become extremely difficult.
You speak of our demands and you compare them with yours and those of Italy. I do not believe that one could describe the Spanish demands as excessive, still less, when one considers the tremendous sacrifice of the Spanish people in a battle which was a worthy forerunner of the present one. Concerning this point the necessary preciseness does not exist in our agreement as well. The protocol of Hendaye-permit me to express it-is in this respect extremely vague and Your Excellency remembers the conditions (today so changed) of this vagueness and lack of preciseness. The facts in their logical development have today left far behind the circumstances which in the month of October had to be taken into consideration with respect to the prevailing situation, and the protocol then existing must at the present be considered outmoded.
These are my answers, dear Fuehrer, to your observations. I want to dispel with them all shadow of doubt and declare that I stand ready at your side, entirely and decidedly at your disposal, united in a common historical destiny, desertion from which would mean my suicide and that of the Cause which I have led and represent in Spain. I need no confirmation of my faith in the triumph of your Cause and I repeat that I shall always be a loyal follower of it.
Believe me your sincere friend, with my cordial greetings,F. FRANCO
His Excellency ADOLF HITLER
Fuehrer of the German People
Source: THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT AND THE AXIS : Documents - DEPARTMENT OF STATE Publication 2483 - EUROPEAN SERIES 8 - Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1946. Published online by The Avalon Project at Yale Law School
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