Page 1, 22nd January 1937

22nd January 1937
Page 1
Page 1, 22nd January 1937 — GENERAL FRANCO WARNS

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Locations: Madrid, Toledo, Malaga


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The first was a lengthy interview granted by General Franco to a special correspondent of the Havas Agency in the course of which the whole position was reviewed and the hopes and plans for the future outlined.

The second was a speech by Mr. Crossley, M.P., during Tuesday's debate on the International Situation. Mr. Crossley is a Catholic who has recently returned from a visit to Nationalist Spain.

General Franco warned France and Britain about the danger to them of Communist scheming : " I should not like to be a prophet of evil: let France and England look after their possessions well: they are in danger."

He denied that the Nationalists shot prisoners, and described the painful dilemma set him by the defence of Madrid—militarily an unimportant place. Either retire or destroy it. " We shall take the capital, but we shall not destroy it. This is the first time that an assailant has marked out a quarter to be reserved for the isolation of non-combatants."

Of the Spain of to--morrow, he said : " We shall be with the people against the evil rich. We shall impose equality and social justice. We have already taken measures about unemployment, just payment for work, housing, public hygiene

and health."

Mr. Crossley, in the House, described how he had promised General Franco that he would tell the truth. " Out of 136 priests in Toledo, six are now alive; five escaped, and one hid "—this was part of the testimony of one who holds that there was a ghastly massacre at Badajoz and who said. he had no doubt that General Franco killed a large proportion of prisoners—though, he significantly added, "1 have no evidence."

Commentary on these speeches, reported below, will be found in the first leader on page 8.

General Franco expressed his views on many important aspects of the -Spanish conflict in a long interview last week with the special correspondent of the Havas agency.

No Germans in Morocco

"There are no German soldiers in Spanish Morocco," he stated in reference to the events of last week. "I have already given a formal disclaimer concerning the pretended landing of German troops or volunteers in our North African

possessions. Actually, by a coincidence, there have never been fewer German civilians in these regions than there arc today.

"Note that whenever we have a victory, the campaign of false news and gross

lies is intensified. The present one was particularly well orchestrated. This is a fact that causes anxiety, because it proves how strung up are the nerves of Europe, when such a fable is blindly believed.

" No more today than yesterday is there any question for the Government of National Spain of ceding the smallest part of the territories belonging to the Nation.

"I am carefully following the propaganda with which the Reds, in different ways, are feeding all countries. I was warned of the campaign in regard to the German landings, just as I know that another hostile campaign against the National movement is now in preparation in the United States."

International Dangers

Asked about the dangers to Europe in general which the Spanish war was causing, the General said: "The international character of our war is not due to us. We have neither wished it nor desired it. We are only fighting. and we shall only fight to final victory in order to drive from our soil the evil forces of Communism "We wish to free, and we shall free, our country from the deadly grasp of an ideology which is in every point foreign to us. The friendship shown to us by certain nations has been acquired by our honest attitude . . . Germany and Italy, each one in its own way, have waged the same fight . . that is the whole secret of their sympathy for us.

"I insist: it is not we who have given to this civil war an international character. If it is true that our armies enjoy the help of a number of foreign technicians it is only Spaniards and Spanish subjects who fall on our battlefields. With the exception of a fistful of volunteers regularly engaged in our Legion, it is only Spaniards who die for their God and their country. With us those who fight have not been recruited abroad by means of heavy payments made with gold stolen from the national vaults.

Warning to Britain " Despite the cleverness of a certain diplomacy the world is beginning to see clear and to give us justice. Even in France and Great Britain where, I note, the Kornintern is most active the danger of Communist scheming is recognised. In my view this danger is even graver than it is thought or known to be in these two (..-ounii.;*.m...itdroVe all in their colonies is the danger more definite. I should not like to be a prophet of evil : let France and England, with whom we have always had friendly relations, look after their possessions well: they are in danger."

Bombardment of Madrid

"Has the evacuation of the Spanish population of Madrid changed your plans in regard to the taking of the capital?" he was then asked.

"Nothing has changed. Madrid will fall, as has been foreseen. After the victories of Illeseas, Navalcarnero, arid the arrival of our troops at Carabanachel, the Reds committed a folly. a crime, be it understood, in not evacuating the capital. Yes, I note, Madrid has a great political importance, but it is not in Madrid that the die of the war will be cast.

"The Red command has given us 'terrible problems to answer: either to take the city by destroying it and killing innumerable innocent inhabitants, or to wage the war elsewhere. We have solved this problem differently. We shall take the capital, but we shall not destroy it . . . In passing please note that in the history of the world this is the first time that an assailant has marked out a quarter to be reserved for the isolation of non combatants. If women and children have been killed. then their assassins are before us for no bomb has ever fallen in that quarter . . .


"Every day it is announced that we make no prisoners and that we shoot those who give themselves up. I repeat that with the exception of the leaders, little or big. who have led Spain within a finger's breadth of her ruin, and except for proven murderers who have committed atrocities, all those who have been made prisoners and all deserters are alive and have been, with prudence, integrated into the new state.

"Me shall win the war in the military sense. I do not say that it will be won in a week or in six months: I do say that it will be completely won, and over the whole territory."

The New Spain " What will the new Spain be like?" he was then asked.

" First of all it will be one and free. Abroad they are still wrong in regard to motives. We are described as champions of a class war. We are suspected of neglecting the social question. We are treated as enemies of the people. It is false. We shall put an end to this class struggle. We shall give back to work its' dignity.

"We shall be with the people as against the evil rich. We shall impose equality and social justice. We have already taken a series of measures in regard to unemployment; just payment for work, housing, public hygiene and health. We have prepared a syndical or

(Continued at foot of next column) Mr. Crossley began by explaining that he had expressed to General Franco himself that he would report to England the exact truth about what he had seen and heard in the part of the country ruled by

r an co. No Democracy Explaining again the character of the Spanish Government and its behaviour since the elections (themselves largely cooked : " forty nuns in Malaga went to a polling station, and not a single vote for the Right issued out of that polling booth "), he said: " Today that Government is a mockery. It is not a Government any longer, and nobody on its own side pretends that it is . . . They do not pretend to be a democracy any longer at all. They pride themselves on being a Govertznzent of Communists and anarchists . As for the people who are most powerful on the Government side, undoubtedly the two most powerful individuals are the Russian Ambassador, Rosenberg, and the General at present in command of the Madrid defences, also, I believe, a Russian, though possibly a German Russian, called General K leber."

Mr. Crossley then described the destruction of churches in parts whence the Reds have retreated, and made the statement about the Toledo priests, quoted above. In answer to the objection that there was no fundamental anti-God feeling in Spain. he said that there were a sufficient number of people in Spain quite determined to present the Deity as a stumbling block to Communism, to progress and civilisation, to render the Catholic Church in Spain impossible of action either as an established or tolerated dis-established Church.

Badajoz Mr. Crossley accepted the accusation that there had been a ghastly massacre at Badajoz (denied by Captain McCullagh.)

"All the independent evidence I got was that the great preponderance of cruelty and bestial cruelty was with the Government. I will compare what has happened in Badajoz with what is hap

pening in Madrid. This is, I believe, the true story of Badajoz and it was confirmed for me by The Times correspondent in that area. To Badajoz the army of General Franco advanced some 30 miles. It captured a number of villages and in every village found 20 or 100 or 150 bodies of people who were supposed to have sympathised with the Right. The perpetrators of those massacres were caught in Badajoz itself, and another ghastly massacre followed. In Madrid, on the other hand, night after night people are brought—it may be 50

or 100 out of the prisons by Anarchists and shot in cold blood."

About prisoners he said: "I have no evidence, but I have no doubt, that the forces of General Franco kill a large proportion of their prisoners."

Two Sides Compared Mr. Crossley then contrasted the number of foreigners (" very large numbers of Frenchmen") on the Red Madrid front with the absence of Germans or Italians on the Nationalist front.

Describing the Nationalist troops, he said: " Is the country behind General Franco and is he employing Spanish troops? He has a few Moors left, not very many. He has his foreign legion, probably about 40,000 strong. of whom up to 90 per cent. are Spanish troops. It is open for any foreigners who care to enlist, but as regards 90 per cent. they are Spanish long-service troops. He has something like 150,000 Requete troops, sometimes called wrongly Carlists—extremely good material. He could multiply that number, I believe, at any time by three if he could arm them and train them.

" To do him justice—and I want the House to do him justice—he does try to carry on life behind the lines in a

perfectly normal civil way. Factories are working, agriculture is going on and there is no curfew. It is all -perfectly peaceful, orderly and quiet behind his lines."

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