Page 12, 22nd January 1937

22nd January 1937
Page 12
Page 12, 22nd January 1937 — 1 ACCUSE THE FRENCH POPULAR FRONT

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We have just seen how the Air France Line allowed one of its machines to be taken and used by the Civil Governor of Alicante. There is more in this incident, however. That same day on its arrival at Alicante there alighted the Chief Secretary of the C.G.T., M. Leon Jouhaux, and M. Scrre, director of the company. It was the latter who personally gave the order to the French pilots to carry out the instructions of the Spanish authorities. Le Jour, commenting on this incident on August 17, said.

" Such complicity could never have existed without the formal orders of M. Pierre Cot." .

Throughout the struggle Air France has protected the interests of Frente Popular Espanol as far as possible. It is a well-known fact that in the company's workships at Toulouse-Montaudran there are as many Spanish machines as French machines undergoing repair. The landing ground has become an air base for aeroplanes destined for the Marxists. The company has kept up a regular service between Madrid and Alicante. The 'planes are constantly carrying enormous cases for the Governments of Barcelona and Valencia. At the beginning of October, for example, one carried 14 large cases which the French papers stated contained the parts of guns.

To sum up. the Air France Line ever since the beginning of the war has acted on the side of the Spanish anarchists and communists. And this is no secret to the French Air Minister, M. Pierre Cot.


These words are used by an important Paris newspaper in qualifying the unpardonable behaviour of the Government of the Flout Populaire with regard to correspondence confided to France and addressed to residents in Nationalist Spain.

It is difficult to imagine that any government could descend to such depths, that any civilised state should have recourse to such treachery. Here are simple honest folk who trustingly hand over their correspondence to the French postal authorities. The letters are addressed to Pamplona. Burgos, Salamanca, Seville, etc. But the postal authorities despatch them to some town in the power of the Marxist Government. It is easy to guess the tragic consequences of this treachery.

The letters are opened by the anarchist censorship, at Barcelona. But we shall let the Echo de Paris of November 12, speak: "Very often these letters contain indications which make it easy for these assassins, decorated with the name of Gouvernementaux, to carry out atrociou.s reprisals."

Thus, trusting people, writing from France, have involuntarily handed over beloved relatives and friends to the tender mercies of the Popular Front.

That is bad enough; but there is worse to come. Some letters sent from French frontier towns to other towns also in French territory go strangely astray and are known to reach Spanish territory where they are opened by the Marxist censor. These facts have been publicly denounced by the member for Haute Loire, M. Augustin Michel.

The Front Populaire Government had gone too far this time and had to order its minions to put a stop to the treacherous co-operation with the Spanish Popular Front.


The French Government has also violated the non-intervention pact in allowing French workmen in French factories, at the express orders of the C.G.T. to work without wages in order to supply the Red militia with aeroplanes and war material. Candide, a French weekly, in its number. November 5, definitely accuses the Air Minister, M. Pierre Cot, of allowing this violation of the pact.

One could cite the names of many factories in the provinces where they are working for Red Spain, but it will be enough to mention the really important companies.

Bloch factory. The employees of this company have been working overtime in the building of aeroplanes. At the end of August there were day and night shifts in order to hurry up the 2 Bloch 200. The man arranging the matter was M. Moulin, one of the Air Minister's trusted assistants.

Etablissments Brandt. Following in the footsteps of the Bloch factory, the Executive Committee of the Brandt Syndicate Section adopted this resolution at its meeting of August 29: " 7-he Executive Committee have decided to work intensely in order to give efficient help to our Spanish comrades who are fighting the rebels for the defence of the Republic, and of peace. Following the example of our comrades of the factories Bloch, Nieuport, Gnome and Rhone, we agree to start working hard on the turning out of ten 81 m.m. guns and 50.000 shells."

Factory Liore Oliver. The workmen's delegates asked the managers for permission to imitate their comrades of the factories already mentioned and to make for the Spanish Popular Front an aeroplane type Leo 257 Bis. The managers answered: " If the Minister (of Air) gives his consent we do not see any objection."

And there is no news to the effect that at this time, or any other, the French Minister made any difficulty.


The French Government has, with evident pleasure, allowed the platforms of the various parties and organisations which give it their support, to be used by members of the Spanish Popular Front for their propaganda, and also to insult the National Government of Burgos. On September 3, 1936, there was a large meeting in the Winter Velodrome in which took part two Spanish ex-ministers of the Frente Popular, Marcelino Domingo and Antonio Lara, and the Communist member known commonly as "La Pasionaria." From the platform they were allowed to heap insults on the Junta of Burgos and to cry out with pathetic voices: " Help us! You alone can save us."

On September 28, in the great hall of the Mutaulite (C.G.T.), M. Leon Jouhaux, Chief Secretary of the Union, declared that Republican Spain (Red Spain, Marxist Spain) had to be assisted by word and by deed; and Tomas Pascual, Secretary to the Spanish U.G.T., speaking in Spanish, asked for the direct help of France and begged M. Blum'e Government to give to the Frente Popular Government all the aid to which it had a right to ask.

M. Blum and M. Yvon Delbos had solemnly declared on August 15 that France would refrain from any intervention, direct or indirect, in Spanish affairs. Is it not, then, intervention to allow Ministers and propagandists of the Spanish Popular Front to take part in public demonstrations organised by the government followers, there to insult the Burgos Government, and to appeal publicly for definite help in the form of guns and 'planes? What would the French Press have to say, what would the public opinion of Europe say if Germany or Italy were to organise spectacular meetings at which Spanish Nationalists insulted the Marxist Government of Largo Caballero, and appealed for arms and munitions?


The propaganda organised by the French Popular Front in favour of the Marxist Government has been open and shameless. Here are some of the slogans used: Des arms pour In Republique espagnole I (arms for the Spanish Republic!), Des Canons! (guns!), Des avions porn l'espagne! (aeroplanes for Spain!), Blum. des canons! (we want guns, Blum!). Blum, des avions! (aeroplanes, -Blum!) At mass meetings at Wagram, St. Cloud, Buffalo, and at demonstrations and meetings of all kinds of the parties constituting the Popular Front.


On July 25, the Spanish Communists began a robbery on the largest scale ever known. The Communists and anarchists have been gradually and methodically taking the gold from the vaults of the Bank of Spain and sending it abroad. Now, actually this gold does not belong to the State, or to any government but to the actual company called the Bank of Spain. There is no law, past or present, authorising any person or body or the .government to dispose of this gold. The National Junta of Burgos and the Board of Administration of the Bank have published a protest to the various European governments and, of course, to France, giving a detailed account of the robbery.

All the gold which has left Spain has been accepted by the Banque de France in Toulouse or in Paris. The thousands of shareholders, the legitimate owners of the said gold, have a perfect right to claim it, whatever it may be. In no civilised country is a thief allowed to dispose of the : fruits of his crime with impunity. Is France, is her national bank, with its credit stainless up to the present, to allow this criminal coup, " cette eseroquerie gigantesque," as the French Press calls it, to be carried off successfully. In spite of everything, I cannot believe it.

My accusation is near its end. But first I want to copy a signed letter which 1 have had in my hands, and is now in safe custody. It was written and signed by the Socialist ex-minister Fernando de Los Rios, at present Ambassador to the U.S.A. for the Red Government of Spain. It is addressed to Jose Giral, then Prime Minister of the Popular Front Government, and is

dated July 25. The letter shows, mote forcibly than I could describe the doubledealing and hypocrisy with which the Ministers were prepared to act.

Here it is; To His Excellency Don Jose Giral, President Of the Council of Ministers.

Paris, July 25, 1936.

Dear friend,--I refrain from entering into details because the advanced hour at which I start to write this letter, after a last conversation with the Government, or rather, with some of its most prominent members, would make it impossible that it should leave by the Douglas airplane which is to carry it to Madrid so that it may be delivered personally to you. The fight that the Paris press, with the. sole exception, perhaps, of three newspapers, had started against a possible delivery of armaments, from the moment in which, owing to infidelities, it had knowledge of the coded telegram you sent to the Government last Monday to Tuesday night, became more acute when the aviators arrived, was stirred up by news of my own presence here and as soon as the papers learnt, with details so minute as to reveal the existence of widespread treachery, all and every one of the points embraced by our requests. Last night, on my return from London, I was urgently summoned by the Leader of the Government to his house, where I found the four Ministers who, as far as we are concerned possess more influence within the •Cabinet, owing to the nature of the Departments they direct. The conversation was essentially political, and at their request I made a few considerations upon the character of the Spanish struggle, which cannot be looked upon as being strictly national owing to a series of reasons which we analysed; military frontier in the Pyrenees, Balearic Isles, Straits of Gibraltar, Canaries, and breakage of the political unity of Western Europe.

Duty, therefore, and direct interest on the part of France to help us. How? We examined our demands and, from the attitude of the Ministers, I gathered that there existed a divergency of opinions. A new queetion arose; that Spanish aviators

should come to Paris to fetch the machines; I pointed out the semi-impossibility of this owing to our scarcity of personnel and to our intention of retaining the French pilots. 1 was told, by one in a -position to say this, that the whole consignment of airplanes and bombs was ready and could leave in the morning of today. . . I retired to sleep and one hour later I was urgently aroused; the Air Minister, P. Cot, wished to visit me; he had inquired for me at the Embassy, and not finding me there, I was advised by mutual friends that in order not to awaken more suspicion, I should go to his house; -I went there, and he told me it was impossible to convince the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the legality of French pilots in taking aeroplanes to Spain; the formula was to take them to Perpignan, etc.; this is what I communicated last night, the 24th.

When I went this morning to the Air Ministry everything was going well; when I arrived at the Potez firm the difficulties seemed unsurmountable. The Press campaign and the publication of the documents in which the Counsellor (of the Spanish Embassy) resigns loom so big, that when Blum went this morning to see the President of the Republic he found him perturbed and in such a state of mind that he said : " What is being planned, this delivery of armaments to Spain may mean war or revolution in France," and he asked that an extraordinary Cabinet meeting should be summoned at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

The position of the President Of the Republic is shared by several Ministers; the Cabinet was divided in its views and the President of the Chamber, Herriot, has seen Blum and begged him to reflect, for he considers that this has never been done before, and that it may justify a de facto recognition by Germany and Italy of any semblance of government set up in a Spanish city and provide it with arms and ammunition in greater quantities than those France can supply. From half-past two until a quarter to four I have been with the Prime Minister and another Minister at the house of a third party; "my soul is torn," said Blum, who is as convinced as we ourselves are of the European significance of the struggle that is being fought in Spain. Never have I seen him so profoundly moved; " I shall maintain my position at all costs and in spite of all risks," he said; we must help the Spain that is friendly to us. How? We shall see?

At 3.30 I again met some of them; the fight has been stern, and a great role has been played in the discussion by a secret clause which fate revealed to me; in the Commercial Treaty or Commercial Agreement signed in December, 1935, by Martinez de Velasco, there exists under the form of a confidential note ati Undertaking on the part of Spain to purchase from France armaments and munitions to the value or twenty million francs. The Minister of War had inquired last night about this, and asked if I knew something with reference to this clause, to which I answered " yes," replying thus because, speaking in Embassy circles to Senor Castillo (the Counsellor) he had said something to me in half words which made me not a little suspicious; I asked for the dossier of the Treaty and found the confidential note in question, a note which none of the present French Ministers was aware of, which our Constitution forbids and which has not been submitted to our Foreign Affairs Committee.

The resolution of the Cabinet has been to avoid delivery from Government to Government, but to grant us the necessary permits so that private industry may deliver to us and circulate such material as we may purchase. The method of executing this and facilitating it will be decided by a Committee of Ministers, on which we have some of our most faithful friends; tomorrow they will hold their most important and decisive meeting, and they anticipate that it is almost absolutely certain that we shall be able to take the aeroplanes out of the country after the 25th on Monday or Tuesday, and we shall organise, or rather I shall organise, aided by Cruz Mann and some other Spanish as well as some excellent French friends, the safe passage of the bombs, a difficult matter, especially for one who, like myself, is not an astute fox, but we shall see what necessity makes one capable of. The Potez 54 machines will be constructed, and we shall endeavour to shorten the terms. As regards all the armaments I think we can only deal with Hochtkis.

Our conversations are overheard and everything that you say is published with slight alterations; for the good of Spain and the efficiency of the negotiations, it is advisable to speak with the utmost reserve, and to resort to pre-arranged words and make only occasional references to the necessity of employing such or such means for the struggle.

When you use words such as indispensable, urgent, essential, etc., you pave the way, given the secret organisation which exists, for the sabotage of things that matter.

I want to tell you that tonight, acting on a request made to me by the Prefect of Police, I have taken up residence at a room at the Embassy; I regret it, but I do not think you will consider this indiscreet. I think it indispensable that the Ambassador should arrive quickly and assume the direction of this with full personality and responsibility.

To all the Cabinet my greetings and my best words of encouragement and faith in our Spain; for you besides the sincere embrace of your old friend, Yours,

(signed) FERNANDO DE LOS Rios.

After that I cannot but feel that it is not France, it is not the gallant French nation whose destiny has fallen into the unworthy hands of the Popular Front Government that I accuse. I ought to accuse and I do accuse the Government of the French Popular Front.

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