Last week the Catholic Herald exclusively published in this country General Franco's own full account of the Spanish conflict as told to M. Raymond Recouly in a special interview.
Major F. Yeats-Brown, the famous author of Bengal Lancer, has since been received by the General on behalf of the Observer. The two interviews cover much the same material though the Major was told some home-truths for Englishmen.
" We should have finished it long ago," stated General Franco, "I must tell you, if it had not been for the 36,0(X) foreigners in the International Brigade at Madrid. We have had a stern fight, and it is not over yet, but I know that nothing great can come to birth without a struggle. I wish your country were more wholeheartedly on our side. You English are kind to animals. It sometimes surprises me that your hearts do not go out more fully to our people in the agonies they have endured."
" What is the most useful thing I can write about your movement when I return to England?," asked Major Yeats-Brown.
He was told: "The facts. I understand that you have seen a large part of Spain. Try to make your countrymen see that our movement is not the intrigue of a military clique to gain power, but a spontaneous rising of all the sane elements in the country against an anarchy that was intolerable in a Christian civilisation. Now the anarchy is nearing its end. Our victory is certain, and it will be decisive and complete."
In the course of his enquiries in Spain, Major Yeats-Brown came to the following conclusions: Number of Germans and Italians " (a) No Germans are at the front, except possibly one or two airmen. The German volunteers — from 5,000 to 10,000 — are employed on communications. anti-aircraft work, and mechanised services in the rear. They are said to be under contract to serve only as technicians, and never go into the war zone.
"(b) Until the present battle for Madrid, no Italians had been fighting in the front line. True, some two thousand Italians were present at the capture of Malaga, but their services were not required, because the Reds, as usual, abandoned their positions when their communications were threatened. Malaga was taken by Spanish infantry and artillery operating in four columns from the mountains to the north of the town. There I saw some bridges which had been destroyed by tile Reds, and some houses which had been shelled by the Nationalists. The resistance had been quickly overcome, but there had been severe fighting at Antequerra and the difficult country to the west of it, where the Red positions had been turned by small mobile columns supported by tanks and armoured cars. (No doubt the same tactics are now being pursued, on a larger scale and with better weapons, in the battle for Madrid.) On the other hand, along the coast road to Malaga. where the Italians advanced. the Reds did not stand on the order of their going.
" (c) This week Italians have come into action on the Guadalajara front. Reports of their numbers vary from 5,000 to 15,000, but the latter figure is certainly an exaggeration. There are probably 35,000 Nationalists attacking the last road open to Valencia, and of these, three-quarters are Spaniards or Moors.
The Irish "(d) In addition to the above. there is one fine young Englishman in the Monarchist Irregular Cavalry; and between a thousand and two thousand Irishmen in a sector of the Madrid front which shall he nameless. It is very possible that we shall hear more of General O'Duffy and his men before the fall of the capital."
• With regard to employment of Germans in the fighting line, the Catholic. Herald is informed that General Mole has offered to deliver his own sword to anyone who can prove that any one German is being actually used in direct fighting with the enemy,