GROWING INDIGNATION AGAINST FRANCE Uselessness of Threat to Open Frontiers
From Our Own Correspondent Buacees.
The victory of Franco's armies is, to all who are not adopting the attitude of the proverbial ostrich, a certainty, but almost at the same rhythm is growing the feeling of hostility towards unfriendly countries, and especially towards France.
During my wanderings and experiences as war correspondent in Spain since the beginning of the war I have been able to follow this evolution of feeling in widely varied spheres.
For a long time the strongest hostility was to be found among the uneducated classes. I remember, for instance, an occasion when a French film was to be shown in a cinema of Salamanca. At the first titles the audience started shouting and whistling. The uproar became such that the organisers were obliged to suspend the entertainment, and, in default of another film, to refund the entrance fees. Another detail, which is significant, is the fact that numerous establishments bearing French names have had, rather than lose their clients, to change their names : Hotel Francia has become Hotel Franco, Café de Paris is now Cafe de Roma and Bar des Francais is simply called Bar.
In the first few months of the war the intellectual classes understood perfectly, and accepted with patience and sympathy, the difficult situation of the French "national" parties — prisoners of the Popular Front.
But the lamentable spectacle of division among themselves offered by the parties of the " Right," their apathy in face of the shady activities of the Government in favour of the Frente Popular makes it more and more difficult for the Spanish Nationalists to believe that there is a real France whose generous heart is filled with sympathy and appreciation for the cause of Franco, and that the asiatic leer of the Popular Front is only a mask temporarily hiding her serene and noble countenance.
In consequence, the Spanish attitude towards France is one of growing indignation.
Spanish diplomats residing at San Juan de Luz have been notified by the French authorities—as announced in the Catholic Herald of the week before last—that they must leave French territory or else transfer their residence to the north of the Loire. and this for having taken an active part in the humane work of repatriating refugees.
On the other hand the Reds, in flight
from Santander and the Asturias, are received with open arms at Bayonne (and we would say nothing if these refugees were only women and children, if a large number of them were not militia-men) and transported to the Catalonian frontier. But the French authorities continue to assure the rest of the world of their loyal adhesion to the pact of Non-Intervention!
What is behind all this? is the French Government obliged to continue a policy that has every chance of provoking an international conflict that could only be disastrous for France? Even the open intervention in favour of Valencia clamoured for by the French extremists could not now assure the victory of the Spanish Reds. It would inevitably be answered by an immediate move of the same nature on the part of Germany and Italy in favour of Franca, and France would find herself alone in a catastrophic whirlpool, with the more than problematic aid of friend-Russia, to pull her out.
The Right Side In view of the victory, in the near future, of the armies of Nationalist Spain, would it not be more prudent to put an end to the series of useless vexations and provocations that has existed up till now? And if open sympathy towards Franco is too much to ask of the "Front Populaire," at least enough self-control for the establishment of real neutrality would be a wiser, less shortsighted attitude to adopt.
Before it is too late the French Government would do well to bear in mind that, it is sometimes a good thing to be on the right side.