From Our Diplomatic
Correspondent Minor scoop value has been given in sections of the press to a letter front Gil Robles on
Spanish monarchy, which has been described as having been smuggled out of Spain after being secretly photographed.
The letter, stated to have been addressed to General Asensio, was in fact addressed to the much more suitable monarchist, General Varela. For weeks now it has been the subject of Madrid cafe gossip, where everybody has heard of it. So much for the scooping.
Naturally. it has here been interpreted as another subtle move in the plan to maintain Spanish Fascism with such minor outward altegitions as will deceive the Anglo-Saxon Powers. In fact it is a very strong condemnation of Franco and Falangism, and art attempt to save Spain from one extremist leadership without causing her to fall into the hands of the opposite type of extremists.
Its significance lies in the fact that Gil Robles is not a monarchist at all. When in power before the Civil War this Catholic leader, who modelled his policy on the Papal Encyclicals and was a steadfast opponent of the big landowners and the capitalists, always refused to have anything to do with monarchist intrigues. and his conduct in this respect made hhn unpopular with the monarchists.
The letter warns Franco that the Allied Powers will certainly not tolerate the maintenance of totalitarianism in Spain, and points out the large number
of tragic mistakes made by the Falangists. These will provide the Allies with all the excuses they need to dictate their terms to Spain.
He offers the interesting suggestion tit the text publicised here is correct) that our present relations with Portugal have the following aim : " Protection, chiefly aerial. for a landing of friendly forces on the Portuguese coast and covering of the frontier with Spain in anticipation of an attack from that q ua rter."
Rightly he points out how unpopular Spain has become in South America, and the reason, of course, was the stupidity of Serrano Suner, whose exaggerated propaganda incensed the independent-minded South Americans, who hate foreign interference whether from North America or Europe. Serrano Suner's mistakes were to some extent rectified after his fall.
LEGITIMATE REGIME Robles believes that a genuine restoration of a constitutional monarchy, supported by the army and free from any compromise with Franco, alone offers any hope of saving " the essence of the National Movement." The monarchy, he argues, is the legitimate regime, while Franco only rules on a transitory basis.
Unfortunately. Gil Robles is no longer a Spanish figure of the first importance owing to his failure in the past to grasp the opportunities that might have saved Spain from civil war. However, his letter, as far as it goes, certainly meets with widespread approval among Spanish people. It is commonsense and should provoke sympathy in this country rather than the ill-informed captious criticism with which it has met. Typical of the arguments against it is the objection that it is " Fascist " because it does not allow for an appeal to the people. Does this country at war find an appeal to the people feasible? Yet Spain's disorder is far greater, and any general election would be a mere farce. The time for that will come later. Real public opinion can he otherwise gauged.