Page 12, 3rd September 1937

3rd September 1937
Page 12
Page 12, 3rd September 1937 — " HOW WE MADE BRITAIN SUPPORT US" Full Text Of Basque Propaganda Report

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" HOW WE MADE BRITAIN SUPPORT US" Full Text Of Basque Propaganda Report

The folios% ing is the full report sent to the self-appointed Basque Government by expert propagandists who have N1 orked night and day in London to compel people in Britain to believe that the Basque Cause" has been a just one.

The " Document Salvage Service " referre4 to below is a department of the Nationalist Secret Service.

The Bilbao Document Selvage Service forwards the following information • on the Euzkadi Government's campaign in Great Britain.

This interesting document runs as follows: " Report of Propaganda Activities from April 27 to May 26, 1937.

To H.E. the President of the Government of Euxkudi and the Propaganda Departineut and Foreign Affairs Office.

We are pleased to report the achievement of some important aims as a result of our first mouth 's propaganda in favour of the Basque Government.

Organisation of the Campaign Both your represrntative iii London. Sr. Lizaso (representative of the Basque Govern ment) tool on understood from the start that efficient work midst only he I lone by close co-operation which has al all times been put into praet ire.

The campaign VC/Illq! ved , organised and controlled I IY a small group coesisting of Sr. Lieaso (i, Iii -whom we have' been in constant communication) and th NI or our momexperienced political and social propagandists.

Our ideas and suggestions have been combined with those of Sr. Lizaso, he treating them from the point of view of Brit ish psychological reactions and the limits of propaganda. We have thus obviated the constant danger of over emphasis and here maintained a sound moderation.

The real work of the campaign is carried on by eight of our propagandists who are expert writers, each within his own experience and study, and a seven-day service has been kept up. The combination of Sr. Lizaso's and our propaganda experience into ono concerted movement has been highly efficacious, as will be seen further on.

Therefore, when we use the word " us " in this report, this should be widen:amid to include the work and suggestions of Sr. Lizaso. who has taken active part in all the plans which have beau put Late practice.

Description of Results A certuin number of books ;Ind newspaper cuttings have already been sent to the Government. When reading them, do not forget they represent. but a small proportion of the publicity results obtained.

In Great Britain there are : L-1,967 dailies and

II.-3,720 periodicals, reviews and monthly illustrated magazines.

As all the papers in Group I have received and published material from different sources through our agency. and as at least 50% of those in Group 1i have also received and published the ;Aerial, reaeons of cast alone prevented us'finn collecting the news in all those papers, wh eh cost several thousand pesetas a week. So we decided to confine ourselvea to getting the news from fifty-six of the most influential papers in the country, thus getting an average public opinion.

This group includes: (a) British morning and evening papers. (b) Sunday papers.

(c) Important provincial dailies.

(d) Select on of chief religious and political rev lows.

Thus it will be seen that the cuttings Bent, whilid, fullsrepresentative of the British point of view, only show 10% of the results aet tia I ly ol La inert.

Political and Journalistic Dividing Line

We need not comment on any detail as to the British political position in such a way as might affect Basque interests.

ernment, a ;considerable sector of the British knowledge cif the position, will appreciate that whilst most' of the Britieh public sympathises with the Basque people and the Valencia Gov The Basque Government, from its own Government is openly for Franco. As a matter of fact, our Conservative Party which controls the National Government is deeply and dangerously divided on the Spanish question, and this is clearly reflected in the Government's conduct.

WhereaS certain sectors accuse the Government offlying in the Spanish question, the truth is that its failure to act is the result of ks deliberate policy. As regards the Press; when we announced

our campaign it was generally believed or asserted that the Basques were " Reds." The wrong ideas of the papers, with some notable exceptions such as the Manchester Guardian, the Daily Rerald, the News-Chronicle, the Star, Reynolds, the Daily Worker and the Starmer previncial group of papers were de cidedly praanranco. By the cuttings from the papers you may see a great change of s)pIrtoitaugdaen.(nia'h.ich is the result of our educative llowevell, we are not $o optimistic as to believe the education of the Press on the Basque question is complete, as the papers frequently return to their former habit of calling the Basques "Reds" and of generally despiaing the legal position of President Aguirre's 'Government when comparing it with the insurgents' dominion; but, notwithstanding, satisfactory progress has been made in this direction.

We would add that a most powerful factor for the Basque cause has been the attractive and imposing personality of Sr. Lizaso, who is liked by all journalists and others who know him and who has the gift of saying the right thing at the right time. But for these special gifts of his much of our effort would have boon unavailing.

We give this brief summary of the situation so that the obstacles and difficulties we have had to meet may be better appreciated.

An Outline of Our Activities


'The openitig of the campaign almost exactly coincided with the bombardment of Guernica. On this point we had a conference with Sr. Lizaso and decided that our first effort would be to impress the British public with the enormity of this crime so as to arouse sympathetic indignation and get help for the Basques.

To this end wea sent three communiques to as many important agencies and to all the papers in the country. These were:

(1) A translation of Sr. Aguirre's declaration which was widely reproduced in the Press and parts of which were broadcast from all British radio stations.

(2) Brief official description of the bombing in which we emphasised (a) that the raid took place on a market-day when the streets were full of women and children, and (h) that non-combatants were machinegunned as they fled.

As a result these two points were particularly stressed in the papers.

(3) Personal interview with Sr. Lizaso, who furnished valuable information showing the bombing of Guerniea could fulfil no military objective. The Press gave this point much publicity.

Our dispatches, backed and completed by others, served to arouse British indignation in a manner unequalled in the case of bombing of other open cities in Spain.

Forcing the Government to Act

Our next field of activity was about the evacuation of the 4,000 children from Bilbao to England.

A meet ing of M.P.'s in the House of Commons was arranged, where Sr. Lizaso, who knew them already, spoke on the Basque question and moire especially on the evacuation of the Bascple children from Bilbao. As it would be impossible for diplomatic and other reasons to give R report on Sr. Lizaso's speech, which was private and impressed all present and in other circumstances would have furnished excellrit. propaganda material, we advised our Diplomatic Correspondent in the House of Commons to attend the meeting. When it wasaiver we prepared a report supplied by Mr. Wilfred Roberts--a declaration which had been well studied for the Press. It was so edited that the following day all the. newspapers took it for certain that the British Navy had been officially permitted to (IN operate in evacuating the women and children.

The real poSition was that the Foreign Office had approved„ in general terms, the idea that the women arid children should be evacuated, but. witliont saying anything about Britain's participation ;in the matter. With Mr. Wilfred ROber1.14'1 permission, however, we added to our report that from this approval it must he deduced that the British Navy would en

operate. publicity given to our report seri

ously disc:one rted the Foreign Office; as a matter of faci, 'Mr. Eden afterwards stated in the House th t the report about naval aid WAS " premature.' But public support was so great. us wel FUR that of the Press. that it was difficult o go hack from our suggestion.

The impor nee of this propagandist dodge. which was s arranged that Sr. Lizaeo, and therefore th. Basque Government. did not appear in it, requires no emphasising. It is sufficient to ay, however, that before this stratagem thre was riot the faintest indication of the 1ritiah Government wanting to


interfere in sry way. The result of the new policy of theovernment which was imposed by our campaign has been commented and attacked in the German Press and also by the TtP1)P19.

In view of this favourable co-operation with the National 'United Committee of Aid for Spain, which favoured the evaenation of the children of Bilbao to this country, ii woe decided at a conference that it was greatly to the interest of the Basque Government to maintain the closest poseible relations with the said Committee, and this for two reasons: 1. That we would establish a service to facilitate the execution of the Committee's humanitarian plans (remember this body is composed of a number of well-meaning persons who seem nevertheless of sufficient 2. That by preparing and publishing the matter about the activities of the Committee as regards the evacuation of Basque children, we really controlled on excellent programme, though extraofficial, for the Basque cause in general.

ln oilier words the campaign proceeded along two lines of action. To make ourselves clearer we shall treat them independently as follows.

Indirect Propaganda

Our first activitiee in this sense were of an essentially practical kind. Vies edited and published in no fewer than six hundred listed newspapers and reviews a letter of appeal for the Basque children. This letter, f}ignerl by the Duchess of Atholl and others, described the horrors of the war against. the Basques. As a result the United National Committee received not only financial aid on a large scale, but also over four hundred °Herm front private persons who wanted to adopt Basque children (clear proof of the friendly and sympathetic relationship produced through our work) and many promises from various organisations to

shelter the children when they arrived. A few printings of the letter will be found in the cuttings we have sent you.

TR this regard, it is interesting to note that the Basque Government's allocution, which was proposed, prepared and published by us on Sunday, May 2, and broadcast by all British stations the same night, was used as a spearhead in the United Committee's appeal. We attach a pamphlet published by the said Committee indicating how the message was used.

Fresh pressure on the Government: It was evident that at that time the British Government wished to keep well away from all possible responsibility regarding the evacuation of the children from Bilbao. Another meeting of M.P.'s was held in the House of Commons on May 5. Our Parliamentary Correspondent, with the advantage of access to all parts of the House, was present, and that night we sent the Press an important message which was widely published. The message pointed out:

(a) Mr. Baldwin, and therefore the Cabinet, regarded the evacuation plans of the United National Committee with a probable view to co-operation; and (b) the French Government had given enthusiastic co-operetimi to similar projects in France; our aim being to shame the British Government into co-operating in such an urgently needed action.

Fostering of Religious Help

Up to then, little help had come from British religious bodies, and this need had weighed seriously against the evacuation of Lire children to this country. We therefore dared to try the Archbishop of Westniinster (whom Sr. Lizaso had previously visited) and he gave us a full declaration of his sympathy and of that active co-operation he was disposed to afford. This message, which was destined to win the support of all the Catholics of this country, was distributed to the religious and secular Press and followed next day by a declaration proposed by us, signed by the Archbishop of York and Dr. Scott Lidgett, representing the Church of England and the Free Churches respectively. Thus all the religious bodies of Great Britain appeared as sympathising with the Basque mimes a stimulus. of a most powerful kind to create a general public opinion.

[Note by Editor, Catholic Herald: The Archbishop of Westminster protested throughout against the proposal to bring children from Bilbao to England. It was only after the decision of the Government to permit their landing in England, and after the Govermnent had entrusted the National Joint Committee for Spanish Relief with the care of the children that the Archbishop of Westminster entered

into relations with this Committee with a view to making, as he was bound to do, spiritual provision for these Catholic children who were brought from their home country against his will.] Monster Meeting in London

We next organised publicity in the Press by a great meeting in the Queen's Hall, Loudon, when the Duchess of Atholl and Mr. Wilfred Roberts defended the cause of the Basque children and, indirectly, that of the Basque people. As a result of our work, the assembly was widely disseminated and a large collection was made to provide for the children.

Interview With France

To convince the British public of the attractive character of the Basque children and their similarity to our own children, we obtained is telephone interview with Miss Pye, of the Aid Association run by the Quakers at La Rochelle, who told us of' the arrival of the first batch of children.

This interview was included in the messages sent to agencies and parts of it were broadcast by British radios, emphasising the spiritedness. attractiveness and affectionate nature of elni children-a useful feature for our ends.

News Service Regarding Evacuation Plans

From May 1 to 22, we have run a daily service of information on the schemes in preparation for receiving the Basque children in I.his country, publiehing no fewer than fortytwo separate articles on the subject.

Whilst ten of these were sent exclusively to certain newspapers, all the other thirty-two were distributed among 157 daily lied evening papers on our list, which sometimes extended to 300 or more othersSunday papers, political and religious reviews, etc.

For brevity's sake we will not. quote every article (but if you wish we can send details) cut out, which we have itlready sent you. You will see how the Bastille children affair has been dealt with, and therefore -the future of the Basque people. during this period, as a result of our labours.

To show the efficacy of our work we would say that the Basque children question was one of the few subjects. discussed in the Press oil King .George VI's Coronation Day.

In this matter it is interesting to note a letter by Millicent. Duchoes of Sutherland, in the Mnrning Post of May 27.

She said: " Much is being said•in the Press about the arrival of 4,15/0 unhappy children in England. It is true they are being looked after. tenderly cared for . . . het as I brave lived on the Spanish frontier since last June, I think il. is just an say that t he French have distributed hundreds of thousands of women and children throughout Francee. ..eanitlioi nsldioen

to this hospitality has only been m in brief paragraphs in the French Press."

Of course, the Duchess did not know how the British, Press had been inundated with matter on this subject.

Fresh Pressure on the Government To re-turn to our work regarding the evacuation of the children, one or two points de serve our speeial attention. Remember that up to May 14 tho British Government raised objections to the entry of the children in this country. In feet, it was not then sure that the various difficulties would be overcome. After eareful consultation we again took steps to get into touch with the GovernmenL We arranged for a slumber of journalists of big agencies to interview Mr. Wilfred Roberta the day he said as a practical certainty that the Government did not lend this matter suffinient support. 'This interview received ample notice in Die Press and was widely distributed in warm defence of the Basque people. As may be surmised, this letter had considerable weight in those quarters where until then opinion had been in favour of Franco.

Arrival of the Children At one of our regular conferences with Sr. Lizaso, we decided that, as the Spanish Ambassador was to be at Southampton to receive the children, it would be advisable for our propagandists to keep away. Another plan occurred to Ins which turned out must successful. We drew up a message of thanks in the name of the Basque Government, to be delivered by Sr. Lizaso if the occasion arose, and we got into touch with a great many newspapers telling them what sort of report would be most suitable from the Basque point of view.

The consequence was that in the radio news on the arrival of the children the only person individually named, and who also spoke, was Mrs. Manning, who had been in Bilbao, and Sr. Lizaso as representative of the Basque Government thus assisting a fresh official recognition of Basque independence by the B.B.C., which is State controlled.

Now that the children are here we are forming close relations with several institutions such as the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army, who have undertaken to shelter and look after them.

The c.hildren's presence gives many chances for a kind of propaganda calculated to create strong bonds of sympathy and understanding between the Basques and the English. We shall deal with these plans more fully in our next report.

Something in this way has been dove in the paper we meetion. For instance, we worked 'an official and Press reception for the children, represented by 400 of them that arrived at the Salvation Army's London centre, at which Sr. Lizaso was present in his official capacity.

We also wrote a message of thanks for President Aguirre and sent it to Bilbao, whence it was broadcast. Part of it was broedcast in England and has received a wide publicity.

The foregoing only gives a general idea of the work done in this direction, not mentioning many ideas and plane that have been proposed, tried and abandoned for one reason or another. A good example of the constructive plans which were never put into practice is uur suggestion to Radio Bilbao to give a nonpolitical programme every afternoon for Basque children in Britain, so that they could keep in contact with their country and relations. The scheme was kindly backed by a radio company but, as the Bilbao waves were weak, it was seen that it would not be a success, so it was abandoned.

Propaganda by Other Means

Among other important spheres we have worked in are:

1. Direct communiques issued by Sr. Lizaso as London Delegate of the Basque Government, and the offer of ideas for messages on the action the Bilbao authorities should take.

2. The communiques have a double value: they supply information of an official kind that needs every guarantee; and they establish in the Press and the public mind the fact that a Basque Republic exists and that it is a separate entitaS Naturally, all this work lies been done with great care and taking into account possible difficulties through the Spanish_ Ambassador's being officially recognised in this country as Representative of the Basques.

2. Letters to the Prese signed by wellknown persons and ordinary members of the public; general articles, etc.

Letters to the I'ress has-e played an important part in this work, as the authorities can sec by the correspondence in the Press within public reach. All our letters were published ITS emanating from impartial sources.

The following notes will briefly explain the chief facts in this connection,

Direct Communiques, Etc.

The first communiques (that dealt with the bombing of Gnernica) were mentioned at the beginning of this Report. We shall continue then from May 2 onwards.

That day, besides preparing and publishing the President's message, we issued a translation of tbe story of Sr. Onaindia, eyewitness of the bombing of Guernica. It was not. only broadcast in part by all the British radios that same night, but quoted in most of the great British newspapers-The Times reproduced it in extenso and in consequence, as you will recall, this great organ of British opinion was severely criticised in Germany and by the Rebels. Indeed, the publication of this message and the eye-witness's description given by The 'limos' Correspondent caused the deepest impression about that savage deed.

The same night we published a series of photos of the ruins of Guernica sent to Sr. bizaso from Bayonne, which were not only circulated to the British Press and obtained wide publicity (which would have been much greater if they had been received earlier), but were received and distributed by our United States Agencies.

Our next etep was to inform the Press that Sr. Onaindia had gone to Rome to tell the Pope the facts. We persuaded two of the most important. agencies to instruct their Rome representatives to get an interview with Sr. Onaindia. This interview has only just appeared, which is easily understood as the kind of message Sr. Oniumlia could give would not please the Fascist Press in Rome. Nevertheless, it. meet be added that there is not the blast doubt in this country that Guernica was mercilessly destroyed by German airmen in Franco's service.

The President's greet log to the King and Queen was also puniished on their Coronation Day and the official cemmunique about the bombarding of the French mail aeroplane between Bilbao tied Bayonne. This latter was not only broadcast laall British stations, but published in the principal evening papers with further information obtained. later in, all the morning papers.

It will lie observed that sometimes we have sent to Bilbao suggestions about declarations or acts that ought to take place there. So far they have been few, but we propose to continue this system.

Perhaps the most important suggestions refer to the two vitally important cables, from a propaganda point of view, on the pardoning of the Oermen airmen. We noticed with great grief that shortly afterwards Franco offered a pardon to all foreign prisoners, but before the Basque Government had arrivesl at any decisitin. This move of Franco's, as our second cable said. meant that he Mel made some goodwill publicity in his favour even iii the anti-Fascist Press of this could ry.

Be tried. however, to blot out the impres sion he had produced by a series of letters of various kinds to the Press. The shall deal more fully with this in our next Report.


useful message sent from Bilbao Another through our suggestion was the President's message of thanks concerning the children who arrived at Southampton. Part of the message was broadcast by the British stations and large extraele published in the Press.

Propaganda was elso made in a long list of papers denying that Don Ramon de in Seta's yacht had been used to transport gold and Securities belonging to the Government end to certain banks in England. and that the Homo Secretary was on board.

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