VOL. 173 No. 5150

LONDON, JANUARY 21st, 1939



The Background to the Present Persecution THE NEEDS OF THE REFUGEES

An Account of the ways in which Catholics can help


Reflections on a Recent Publication


A Second Article by Our Burgos Correspondent

Full List o f Contents on page 68.


The Advance into Catalonia

The chief exchange of views between the heads of the British and Italian Governments concerned the immediate future in Spain. Signor Mussolini could learn that Britain will do nothing to prevent the victory o f the Nationalist movement, and Mr. Chamberlain that Signor Mussolini will withdraw his troops either now, if belligerent rights are granted to obvious belligerents and the foreigners on the other side really leave Spain, or, alternatively, at the end o f the war. Those who think, like the Manchester Guardian, that if he leaves Spain, Mussolini will have got nothing for Italy, and th a t therefore he is unlikely to leave, ignore two main facts ; that he will have a friendly instead of a violently hostile neighbour, and that the surest way to estrange a Spain on whose friendship he has established such a claim, would be to do anything which reflected on the Spaniard’s jealous sense o f national sovereignty. The great characteristic of the civil war has been that each side has made its slogan the freeing o f the country from foreign control. From the beginning this was the mainspring of the Nationalist movement, and their enemies, who began, indeed, with their slogans of the international revolution and class war cries, have found it has answered much better to move on to a patriotic basis, and to steal their opponents’ thunder and to talk all the time about a foreign invasion.

We do not think that British policy towards General Franco has been far-sighted, and it is easy to understand his answer when he declines to allow a British air line to fly across Spain, saying he cannot afford those courtesies to people who deny him full diplomatic privileges and recognition. By asking for the concession we recognize the real fact, that he is the ruler of Spain. We are moving too slowly towards proper recognition. But our influence has undoubtedly counted with the French, and the Spanish Nationalists appreciate this. We believe that Mr. Chamberlain will find his position stronger as General F ran co ’s right to speak for Spain becomes more and more incontestable. It will be seen that Spain is an independent country and that the British Government’s policy has, very fortunately, not prejudiced the future relations.

The victories in Catalonia and the capture o f the port and city o f Tarragona have added to the strength o f the Nationalists great and fertile territories, many forms o f wealth, and an ever-growing number, already announced as 38,000 prisoners o f war, available for labour. Nationalist Spain becomes more completely self-sufficient with every advance.

There has also been taken the important town of Reus, a centre o f the textile industry and the second manufacturing town of Catalonia, some ten miles inland from Tarragona on the Gandesa road. There is taken also the source o f 12 per cent o f Spain’s olive oil, while some forty thousand tons o f rice are grown annually in the country between Tortosa and Tarragona. More than a hundred arms factories have changed hands.

General Franco broadcast to the population still under Republican command, calling on them to recognize that the Civil War can have but one end and that they should seek to make their peace, knowing that only those individuals have anything to fear who have committed those crimes o f violence, principally murder, which were unhappily so numerous and which cannot, if the future o f Spain is to be built on a basis o f agreement and a fraternal spirit, be condoned. I t is not vengeance but statesmanship which excepts proved murderers from pardon.

He said, “ By saying that there is a foreign invasion they are lying in order to exploit your patriotism and once again you are made the victims o f falsehood and infamy. Nothing endangers our territorial patrimony, and our crusaders would fight even more fiercely if anyone attempted to take away our territory or sovereignty. It is among your leaders th a t the independence and sovereignty o f Spain is jeopardized, and they are working for a weak and dismembered Spain.” The Mass Again

The scenes in Tarragona last Sunday culminated in the first public celebration o f Mass, when people who had been deprived o f the central rite o f their lives for two and a half years again gathered for the collective