Page 6, 23rd November 1962

23rd November 1962
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Page 6, 23rd November 1962 — SPAIN IN

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Evolution, not



What Is happening in Spain? What do the recent government changes mean? Will Spain get into the Common Market? What is Franco doing about the succession? Will the workers win the right to strike? What lays behind the Montini telegram? Are the winds of change now blowing, as the World Bank report suggests? Is free speech still a luxury? How many men are held in gaol For their political views? What of the Protestants? And what of the hungry masses of the south? In an endeavour to find the answers to these and other questions, HUGH KAY has just spent three weeks in Spain, talking to government, syndicate, university and workers' leaders, to the clergy, and to the "opposition". In this series of three special articles, he draws a balanced picture of a nation in the birthpangs of transition, and reveals facts hitherto unpublished in this country. There is much to criticise, much to praise. But one thing is sure: the new trends towards a more liberal economy are affecting the whole of the nation's thinking.

[HBy UGH KAY Most Britons like the Spaniard; few of them care for Spain. Nurtured in kindly. liberal air; his conscience forged in the democratic mould; grateful for his natural genius in committee and the art of synthesis, the Briton abhors a demagogue.

Scarred by memories of fasces and swastika, he sees modern Spain as the great fascist replica; a backward. feudal society, too stunted in growth to enter the new Europe.

Available evidence tells him that the regime's opponents are in prison; free speech is stifled; the wealthy few live at the expense of the many; the Church stays fat. In her profession of the Faith, Spain somehow seems to discredit it..

Hundreds of thousands of peasants live on incomes less than £100 a year. Just strikes are followed by waves of arrests. At its best, the state is only paternalistic. Exiles sound the call to break loose. If Spain is to come back to Europe, they say, Franco's regime must go.

The discerning visitor finds, however, that evolution, not revolution, is the mind of modern Spain. It is the mind of the universities, of the militant Catholic Workers, of the regime's defenders and most, though not all, of its critics. Above all, the evolutionary explosion. like the first stages of a booster rocket is occurring within the government itself.

The factual account which follows has three aims : 1. To trace the new "IiheralisIns" dialogues now developing between the various elements in General Franco's monolith — government, workers, the profession, the Syndicates. and the Church; 2. To present a balanced picture of what is actually happening — for better and For worse — In all sectors of modern Spanish life:

3. To examine the aspects rung distrbssing to British minds — restrictions on free speech rand the right to organise; dis abilities of religious minorities; political imprisonment; and the status of the under-privileged peasant.

No one is more voluble about Spain's defects than the Spaniard himself. But even "opposition" types are heard to complain that their country's image is distorted by the foreign press. convinced as it is that Spain has all the worst features of the pre-war fascist states, with none of their material advantages.

As a director of studies put it to me: "You are entitled to dislike our system, anc we do not regard it as exportable. But you are not entitled to misrepresent, even by omission, what is actually happening here. We have our very black spots. We are backward. There are conflicting views about the tempo of the wind of change. But we are not standing still."

An index of the truth of this Statement appears from the measures heing taken to redeem the harsh areas of poverty in the south; the extensive welfare and educational systems run by government. syndicates and the Church; the influence of the socially conscious elements in the hierarchy and younger clergy; and the growing exercise of responsibility at lower and local levels.

One can at least sympathise when journalists arriving in Spain for five day hops with their minds made up are regarded coolly, not because of what they may see, but because of what they will not see.

New class But the image has already been altered by the optimistic report of the World Bank, whose recommendations have virtually been accepted now as Spanish government policy. The more liberal economy now being fostered by the new men in the ministries must of itself lead Spain towards a more liberal political growth — especially in the context of the new Europe.

For most Spaniards today, the prime concern is that of "gelling on", personally and nationally. A "small car" type of middle class is rapidly emerging in the urban areas, often at work for 12 hours a day to improve the family's status by doing two jobs.

The new "colonies" are beginning to create a corresponding sector in the thirsty rural areas of the irrigation schemes. Young men's minds are fixed on the Common Market. Economic considerations tend to be paramount, and, for the majority, politics as such are not in fashion.

The visionary minorities — and 1 use the term in its positive sense — are increasingly adventurous and dynamic. Their criticism is constructive, and they differ from one another — at least in the presence of foreigners — with a deference that is almost English. Not for nothing is football ousting the hull fight!

Among them is a fraction unable to see the future save in terms of total demolition of the regime. These views. like those of the better known exiles, are unrepresentative. As the "Times" correspondent showed in the summer, their following and that of most opposition leaders, can only be numbered in hundreds.

Critics of the Franco monolith with the greatest influence in the country share a certain realism with the "new dealers" appointed to key ministries this year by the Caudillo himeelf, whose power in Spain today. it has been argued, is rather less in effect than the power of De Gaulle in France.

The young A new political philosophy, aiming at a stage somewhere between an authoritarian system and a democracy, is beginning to emerge. The result could have far-reaching implications, not only for Spain, but also as a model for the divided nations of Africa and Latin America The trend is born of a finely balanced tension between the stability and continuity represented by the monolith. and the rising determination of the young elites to play their role in shaping the country's future.

It is partly the tension between the middle-aged who remember the fragmented Spain of the 'thirties and the fratricide of the Civil War, and those too young to have known it. For these, the sceptical head-shakes of their elders, faced with the challenge of liberal thought, are exasperating. This lively unrest is healthy and robust, and remains, ao to speak. within the family.

Though in some respects the young are very young, many have the maturity to believe, or at least tolerate, the notion that progress can grow from traditional roots, rather than in spite of them.

Whether you talk to professors or taxi-drivers, to senior civil servants or clerical sociologists, to men of affairs or to small shopkeepers, the keynote is a striving for liberal development within the existing structure, rather than deracination and a clean sweep.

The young are impatient of the monolith, but, for the most part, seek to broaden its base, to establish a kind of dialectic within it, not to dynamite the whole framework. On all levels. the new Thought quivers in the confusion inseparable from the embryonic stage. Hopes are stated in blanket terminology, and precise definition eludes the protagonists of change. But one thing is clear.

What they are reaching for is a reconciliation between the closed circuit of a Christian corporate, integrated, vocational order of society, and freedom for profes. sional, trade, regional and religious groups to work for their separate interests independently and in parallel.

One finds onself back in the e:assroom, fighting the old battles over Quadragesimo Anno, trying to distinguish the corporate from the corporative, the integration imposed from the top as opposed to that which grows from below.

The eternal perplexities of balancing personal rights with social demands, and authority with liberty, become particularly acute in Spain. where the various blends of light and shade are as foreign to the national temperament as they are to the physical landscape.

Hut opportunities are opening for greater self-expression, and the common man, seeking to play his part in shaping national policy, is catching a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. The workers are claiming a clearer system of representation for their separate interests, and, as we shall shortly see, some concessions are certain.

The dignity of the summer strikes, and the restraint shown for the most part on bath sides, are indications that the Spaniard's propensity for internecine politics has been smoothed down by the better effects of the technological age.

The Spaniard of today, like the modern Irishman. wants to "get on with the job" of building a new nation in a new Europe. to forget the past, and not to waste his time in feuding. The dangers of materialistic trends—one shies a little from the Amercan "invasion" of Madrid may be countered to some extent by a strong admixture of serial principle with economic planning.

This, at least, can be said for the novel amalgam of the apostolic and the economic mind in the Opus Dei meta now holding major posts n the central administration.

Franco Four years ago, a Scottish colleague with little love of General Franco went on a hitchhiking tour of Spain. He told me of his surprise to find that the ordinary people of the countryside were showing considerably more regard for the Generalissimo than they had done five years before.

A couple of weeks ago I put the question to a foreign diplomat residing in Madrid. He told me: "Ninety per cent. of the people respect Franco. Fifty per cent. like him, perhaps even a little more. Few would say that they love him. If you stood up in public and offered to lead a party to El Prado to cut off his head. doubt if anyone would go. But say you were going to demand changes in the system, and half Spain would follow you'. It is certainly true that Franco's residence is singularly open and unguarded. and it is quite easy to get to see him on his weekly audience day.

Few things reveal the truth about a nation more swiftly than the current political jokes. Some of those going round Madrid were of the following variety:

Two men meet outside a cafe. One says to the other: "Franco's packing up today". The other says: "Good show, let's have a drink on it". Over the drinks they die cuss possible successors' and alternative systems of government. Their faces grow longer and longer. In the end, the first man says: "Mind you, it's only a rumour; he's probably not going at all". The other one breathes a

sigh of relief and calls for another drink.

I never managed much more than a polite grin when these stories were told me. but they highly delight the Spaniards. The truth is that. for all the monotony of "integrated' government, the people of Spain are sick to death of the contentious politics that wasted away their tremendous national dynamism for 150 years in inverted political contention.

His thought

After all, as a Syndicate leader put it to me:

"Since the days of the Napoleonic Wars. we've had three civil wars. a constitutional and an absolute monarchy. the House of Bourbon and the House of Savoy, a federal and a non-federal republic, a military dictatorship and an autocracy, four presidents in under two years. six governments in five years. 33 parties knotking hell out of each other in the pre-Civil War days, and a generous peppering of coups and pronunciamentos unparalleled in European history.

"This sort of thing is endemic in our character. it has been said that every Spaniard is at once a king and an anarchist. We carry our history with us. We know our weaknesses. and we've had enough of it."

a can bear out the anarchist part of the statement by a simple reference to the driving habits of the natives, having lived through weeks of sheer reign of terror, heavily laden with acts of resignation to the will of God!) And those who remember the Civil War are not, after all, very old. They include the 38-year-old secretary of the Ministry of Information, who served II months in a Communist prison at the age of 13, because he bore the name of his grandfather, a distinguished and controversial general.

A balanced view came from one of the regime's most scholarly critics, a former Minister who left the government in protest against the slow tempo of the liberalising process.

"I can never forget," he told me, "that General Franco saved this country from Communism, kept us out of the second world war, and gave us integrity." The need for further evolution could not obliterate these truths. The memory of Franco's shrewd, rough handling of Hitler and the saving of Spain from an external war remains uppermost in many minds.

Asking the man in the street about Franco is rather like asking a small boy about his headmaster. He starts off, maybe, with a roll of the eyes and a twisted smile. But you come to perceive an underlying, if grudging, regard—especially for the Caudillo's personal austerity, his family life, the truth that he has never tampered with women nor striven to build a personal fortune. This is mentioned again and again. It is the kind of, record for which former rulers of Spain have not been conspicuous. One cannot help being conscious of the irksome effects of state paternalism. But it has been, all along. a curiously pragmatic approach. It is hard to think of Franca as a close reader of political philosophy, enthused by the "transcendent. indivisible synthesis" of Jose Antonio as a theoretical inspiration.

Franco is 4 man of Galicia, a Celt and a cold one at that, with a facility for striking the kind of equilibrium generated at the centre of opposing forces. A shrewd manoeuverer with infinite patience, he is, above all else, the soldier and the tactician, meeting each situation as it arises, prepared to let many a question answer itself. and to leave the insoluble strictly alone.

It is this aspect of his character, whose virtue has enabled him to carry on for 25 years unshaken by world hostility. which has irked so many who have tried to work with him.

. His sceptical mind may, however, have respondeu to the younger Primo de Rivera's search for a revolutionary elite to dominate a Spain "incapable of generating a natural middle class elite on the liberal French or English model".

In his lifetime. Josd Antonio was rebuked by his colleagues for an over-liberal tendency. tempering his view of the integrated state. It is little recognised mitside Spain that he flatly refused to join the consortium of international Fascism, and that, for him. Falangism was something essentially different.

For one thing, he was too concerned with the rights of the person, and unconcerned with exclusive nationalists and racial theories. The same quality appears in the present endeavours of state planning in Spain to blend social with economic considerations, and the

growing desire for involvement in Europe. It is certain that, in modern Spain, the Falange means nothing.

It is for the historians of the future to assess what Franco has done with his victory. Today's observer can only watch his first, cautious moves as he gradually loosens his grip that change may develop and not erupt. Continuity is a cherished word on the modern Spaniard's lips.

New ministers Wherever you go in government departments today, you are astonished at the youth of the top brass. Energetic and dedicated men in their thirties and early forties, working 14 hours a day and more, dominate the "creative" ministries. I hardly seem to have talked to a man over 50.

What might he called the ministries of national security, like those controlling the armed forces. remain in the hands of the older guard. It is in the departments of economics and finance that the explosion has come.

What happened in the summer was that the Caudillo sacked the xenophobes and the obscurantist information chief (who copes also with censorship). Out went

Planell, Solis and Salgado. In came 39-year-old Lopez Bravo to take over industry, and to work alongside Ullastres (Commerce) area Rubio (finance), both Opus Dei men. Ullastres negotiated Spain's association with OEEC.

With them, too, is Lopez-Rod° (planning commission), also a member of Opus Dei and in charge of 20 teams of experts now thrashing out future policy on the lines of the World Bank recommendations. Perhaps most interesting of all is the new Minister of Information Manuel -Frage. who, in his first few months, has already opened the way to demolish the censorship system.

Economics, education and foreign affairs are now in the hands of Catholic intellectuals standing to the left of centre.

It is in the economic field that the first big drive in the liberalising process is taking place, and it is interesting that this should be led by members of Opus Dei, which usually lends to be associated in the public mind with the more traditionalist elements in the Church. To these men, fascism means less than nothing.

One of their first concerns is the dismantling of the vast system of controls clogging the Spanish economy—restrictions on internal investment. allocation of industrial materials. price controls. import and export controls, state subsidies concessionary prices between state enterprises, and concessionary interest ra es.

Their biggest headache may be to balance against the World Bank's insistence on planning the national economy as a whole the urgent needs of the most underdeveloped regions. Social principle demands that the imbalance between prosperous urban areas and poverty-stricken agricultural regions should be corrected as quickly as possible. Mater et Magistra, the encyclical now on everyone's lips in Spain, specifically calls for this in a strongly elaborated passage.

The World Bank formula does, however. allow a certain margin for this to be done. and long-term industrial planning does overlap to a certain extent with development schemes for the backward south.


Opposition leaders in Spain are surprisingly easy to meet. Government officials will tell you they are their personal friends, and offer to give you an introduction. A senior civil servant spoke to me with marked respect of Dionisio Ridrucjo, now in exile in America. A Minister prefaced his criticism of Gil Robles, now in exile in Paris, with words of esteem and affection, patently sincere.

If 1 had any ideas about sinister meetings in the back rows of cinemas or under marked trees in the park. I would have been disappointed. There is simply no need for it.

The only people of any significance whom I did not meet were the Communists. Their organisation, though undoubtedly efficient and linked to the world beyond Spain, is small and of far less significance than the absurd exaggerations of Senor Fraga's predecessors would have led one to believe.

This excessive tendency to blame the Communists for everything that went wrong only endowed them with a greater importance than they deserved. Still, they exist, and they matter.

The effective and truly representative elements under the broad heading of " opposition " are thoroughly Catholic. Some, like Dr. Martin Artajo, the former foreign minister and now head of the publishing firm that produces the Catholic daily paper, Yee stand in a centre, or Christian Democrat, position.

Others, like Dr. Ruiz Gimenez, professor of the philosophy of law in Madrid University, stand somewhat to the left of him. Here there are many shades and varieties of thought. crystallising, perhaps, round a position comparable to that of the European Social Democrats.

Some like Professor Jose Louis Arsuiguren, who holds the chair of Ethics in Madrid University, are sharply critical of the government. But it is no part of their position to want to demolish the regime. What they want is a substantial broadening of the monolith, and the development of more representative elements within the councils of state.

(Students, for the. most part, are more concerned with getting their degrees than with politics—a far cry from the old IIJ E, the socialist-liberal student association of pre-Civil War days. Crowds of them frankly surprised the government a few weeks ago by staging a march through Madrid to pro• test, in front of the Italian Embassy, at the current Italian wave of anti-Spanish propaganda.) Violent few

Then there is a section of the population, put by some at 10 per cent., which represents an influence located somewhere between the violent traditions of the old Spanish Socialist, Anarchist and Communist parties, and the modern epidemic of Castroitis.

This grouping includes the fomenters of trouble, the bombthrowers, the hotheads of the Front of National Liberation, and .the Friends of the Miners of Asturias. In many cases, their language is frankly that of Moscow, and they are not interested in peaceful means of change. They are very active in the unions and among the working classes.

Students are also involved in this — university teachers testify that many of their students, whilst on holiday abroad, have been approached by subversive elements --and they have been involved in a number of recent bomb outrages.

Among these was the Barcelona incident, over which Cardinal Montini of Milan burnt his fingers rather badly by asking for 'three students' lives to be spared. He made somewhat acid comments about the way in which a Catholic country might be expected to resolve its political problems -and received a gentle rocket in reply.

In the first place, no one was condemned to death. And in the second place. the young man who received 30 years imprisonment — of which he will serve no more than 10 at the most–was one of those who laid a bomb in a public place. It is pointed out that IRA terrorists in Britain received not dissimilar treatment.

A bomb was also planted by another group in the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, Although. in the several incidents in question, only one life was lost, it was no fault of the conspirators that it worked out that way. In one case at least there was a providential mistiming.

Too many Spaniards rememhei the internecine fury of the old Communist UGT and the Anarch. ist CNT of pre-Civil War days tc take these incidents calmly. Foi those who remember the havoc wrought in the unions and the multiple parties of those tragic days. Communism. Anarchism and traditional Spanish Socialise have one common meaning anc that an essentially violent one. Ir Spain. traditional Socialism hear no resemblance to the Britist Labour Party.

Among the overall 10 per cent however, there are probably die. meats of a Marxist. yet nom

violent, variety. understand. fog instance, that there is a smal minority element of Socialisnamong assistant lecturers anc students in the universities. Amore these. one would expect to discert a more contemplative type.

There is. as yet. no intellectua crisis of faith in the country. an' probably a degree, in certain inlet lectual quarters. of interior doub and agnosticism. Though frac tional, the tendency may burst int( flame at the new rash of contact with humanist thought certain ti follow from Spain's associatioi with the Market, if this is achieved

University teachers are giviri more and more thought to meetini this threat by dialogue am example. seeking to reveal th.

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Continued from page 6.

ter path as opposed to a simple ,shing of tormented minds. When you ask an intellectual igressive, or a member of the tholic Workers, what it is that wants. he immediately says: re liberty. Beyond that, it is not y for him to go. His ideas are 1 in the melting pot.

doubt if anyone in Spain Ily believes in the idea of a liamentary democracy on tish lines. They respect our inutions and admire them, but t experience convinces most of m that multi-party democracy an impossible context for the finish temperament. A reference it evinces a wistful smile, and, en one considers the multiple ergences within the present yal opposition", one can underid the reservation, ntellectuals and workers alike thinking more in terms of ssure groups 'than of parties. :y envisage an "Open Constion", in which those members the Cortes and the Syndicates rged with serving the interests the rank-and-file would be more y representative of the professal and working groupings than y are.

Vith this would come a widenof regional and municipal resisibility. and further encourageit of the co-operative vernent.


he concept is that the unions, professional and trade guilds. Is Dei and Catholic Action, many other associations uld all have an effective share the shaping of policy, through structive criticism and the pre:ation of their own schemes and Mons.

here is a genuine desire to hold to the better aspects of the corate state—the principle of a e fragmented nation now worktogether "in council", the content parts seeking balanced !bans by convergence rather confrontation{ to borrow an n enical phrase).

ut, as a leader of the Catholic rkers (HOAC) put it to me: e Church can tolerate our cut system provided. and only vided. that the workers are

n genuine and effective repreation in some form." was the HOAC and the .10C ung Christian Workers) who

w the weight of the social ;cheats behind the strikers in industrial north this summer. y insist that they are an stolic organisation, not politibut their application of Maier Magistra served to highlight

new clarity the essential 3Iem of an "integrated" system. I Spain, independent trade ms are illegal, and there is no t to strike. This is, of course, -eaction against the mutually lie political unions of the ties, when strikes could wipe one-third of a working year, sometimes end in bloodbaths.

theological justification -cd is that the right to strike is absolute, and may have to I to the greater good,


)(lay, negotiations take place ugh the Syndicates, to which loyers and workers both ng, and in which the governI also has its stake. British stir Party members, like Mr. Edwards, have testified to the jive educational and welfare fits produced by the system, its power for liberalising the nish system.

it if government or employers fly overshadow the workers. aggrieved masses have no rate remedy.

is. of course. pointed out that 400,000 elected offices in the licates offer the workers more ice of playing their part in final policy than many higher al levels enjoy. And there is truth in this.

oreover, an amalgam of colwe bargaining with negotiation try by factory has yielded y victories for the workers, those in the booming induslike the SEAT assembly t at Barcelona or the Ensidesa works at Aviles — fear that trade union bargaining might ce their wages to the level of what the poorer firms can afford.

Hilt the overall average wage is almost the lowest in Europe, and, in the main, the employers are as doggedly resistant to the social demands of the masses as they dare be.

Many workers argue. too, that, on the middle and upper levels of the Syndicate, government influence 14 too strongly marked, in practice if not in theory; to meet this. a bill to legalise the industrial (as opposed to the political) strike had been roughed out before the summer strikes. When it does come into force. as it almost certainly will. it will have to allow for the formation of strike committees with something of the character of independent unions.

This is an example of what is meant by preserving the existing structure, and at the same time allowing within it an expansion of personal and group responsibility.

The Catholic Workers, about 30,000 strong, form a small but significant minority in a working force of 9.000,000.

Some of them accept the present system. others stand for evolution within the Syndicate framework, and a third group, supported by the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions, calls for outright severance of the workers' bargaining power from the monolith, in favour of independent unions.

The Syndicate leaders take the Catholic Workers seriously, ent:r into formal discussion with them, and respect their apostolic purpose. They argue, however, that there are three elements in 1-10AC — the disciples of Cardijn and the encyclicals: the well-meaning who nevertheless feel impelled to adapt themselves to prevailing winds of secular thought; and those who, without apostolic intent, sec the HOAC as the only convenient pressure group open to them.

There appear to be corresponding divisions among the young clergy who support them. Many are in the vanguard of the great social awakening now taking place within the Spanish Church, while others seem to get their motives slightly tangled up with political considerations. This is particularly marked among those strong minority elements in the northern clergy who favour the Basque separatist movement.


Early this year. the first national congress of the Syndicates took place, and was a great success. Workers openly and powerfully voiced their criticisms. and British M.P.s who attended were deeply impressed (as Mr. Ness Edwards told me in a subsequent interview).

This was followed by the exemplary behaviour of most of the summer strikers. and the moderate reaction of the government to what was technically an illegal strike. This prompts the hope that the Spanish people are giving the lie to their own temperamental defect, and are moving to the point where the interaction of independent groups, if not of political parties, will be possible in a quasidemocratic framework.

The hope is that the various forces will arrange themselves on the basis of social function rather than political dialectic. and thus build a horizontal infra-structurc into the so-called vertical system of today. University men continue to work on a formulation of the new ideas, and the government attitude, if a little sceptical, is at least benign.

Much complicated surgery has to be done. and the situation demands the continuity and stability of a Crown which, like our own, is independent ° of the monarch's personality. This is quite clear to General Franco, who at present combines in himself the offices of Head of State and Premier. His proclamation of the monarchy. and his preparations for putting a king on the throne again, are the first moves towards a separation of the two.

IN THE NEXT TWO ARTICLES : Facts and figures; political prisoners and censorship; a new economy and war on poverty; welfare and education; the Church; status of Protestants; syn. dicates, clergy and social action.

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