of 174 /174
INFORMATION TO USERS This reproduction was made from a copy of a document sent to us for microfilming. While the most advanced technology has been used to photograph and reproduce til is document, the quality of the reproduction is heavily dependent upon the quality of the material submitted. The following explanation of techniques is provided to help clarify markings or notations which may appear on this reproduction. 1.The sign or “target” for pages apparently lacking from the document photographed is “Missing Page(s)”. If it was possible to obtain the missing page(s) or section, they are spliced into the film along with adjacent pages. This may have necessitated cutting througli an image and duplicating adjacent pages to assure complete continuity. 2. When an image on the film is obliterated with a round black mark, it is an indication of either blurred copy because of movement during exposure, duplicate copy, or copyriglited materials that should not have been filmed. For blurred pages, a good image of the page can be found in the adjacent frame. If copyrighted materials were deleted, a target note will appear listing the pages in the adjacent frame. 3. When a map, drawing or chart, etc., is part of the material being photographed, a definite method of “sectioning” the material has been followed. It is customary to begin filming at the upper left hand comer of a large sheet and to continue from left to right in equal sections with small overlaps. If necessary, sectioning is continued again—beginning below the first row and continuing on until complete. 4. For illustrations that cannot be satisfactorily reproduced by xerographic means, photographic prints can be purchased at additional cost and inserted into your xerographic copy. Tliese prints are available upon request from the Dissertations Customer Services Department. 5. Some pages in any document may have indistinct print. In all cases the best available copy has been filmed. Univers*/ MIcrorilnns Intemational 300 N.ZMb Road Ann ArbOf, Ml 48106

Univers*/ MIcrorilnns

  • Author
    others

  • View
    0

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Text of Univers*/ MIcrorilnns

00001.tifINFORMATION TO USERS
This reproduction was made from a copy o f a document sent to us for microfilming. While the most advanced technology has been used to photograph and reproduce til is document, the quality of the reproduction is heavily dependent upon the quality of the material submitted.
The following explanation o f techniques is provided to help clarify markings or notations which may appear on this reproduction.
1.The sign or “ target” for pages apparently lacking from the document photographed is “Missing Page(s)” . If it was possible to obtain the missing page(s) or section, they are spliced into the film along with adjacent pages. This may have necessitated cutting througli an image and duplicating adjacent pages to assure complete continuity.
2. When an image on the film is obliterated with a round black mark, it is an indication of either blurred copy because of movement during exposure, duplicate copy, or copyriglited materials that should not have been filmed. For blurred pages, a good image o f the page can be found in the adjacent frame. If copyrighted materials were deleted, a target note will appear listing the pages in the adjacent frame.
3. When a map, drawing or chart, etc., is part of the material being photographed, a definite method of “sectioning” the material has been followed. It is customary to begin filming at the upper left hand comer of a large sheet and to continue from left to right in equal sections with small overlaps. If necessary, sectioning is continued again—beginning below the first row and continuing on until complete.
4. For illustrations that cannot be satisfactorily reproduced by xerographic means, photographic prints can be purchased at additional cost and inserted into your xerographic copy. Tliese prints are available upon request from the Dissertations Customer Services Department.
5. Some pages in any document may have indistinct print. In all cases the best available copy has been filmed.
Univers*/ MIcrorilnns
8322783
L ev erty , Lynn H o llin g tw o rth
THE SPANISH QUESTION IN MEXICO: LAZARO CARDENAS AND THE SPANISH REPUBLICANS
The American Unfveralty PH.D, 1983
Universify Microfilms
Copyright 1983
AND THE SPANISH REPUBLICANS
by Lynn Hollingsworth Leverty
submitted to the
Faculty o f the College of Public and In te rna tiona l A ffa irs of the American University
in P a rt ia l F u lf illm en t of The Requirements of the Degree
of
Signatures of Committee:
THE AMERICAN UNIVERSI'PY LIBRARf
AND THE SPANISH REPUBLICANS
ABSTRACT
This d is s e r ta t io n describes Mexico's re la t io n sh ip with
the Second Spanish Republic and analyzes President LSzaro Cdrdenas'
Influence on th is po licy . C&rdenas In s t i tu t io n a l iz e d the foreign
policy of the Mexican Revolution during his s ix -y ear term (1934-
1940) and used th is policy to e s ta b l ish c lose p o l i t i c a l and personal
t i e s with the Republic. These t i e s f lourished u n t i l h is death In
1970. His successors continued to support the Republic with no
dev ia tion from the path charted by Cârdenas.
In 1931 Mexican President Pascual O rtiz Rubio warmly
heralded the b i r th o f the Second Spanish Republic. When the Spanish
Civil War began in 1936, President Cârdenas pledged Mexico's o f f i ­
c ia l support fo r the Republic. He Immediately shipped food and wea­
pons to Spain, and ordered Mexico's rep resen ta tives In the League of
Nations to defend the Republic aga inst the Nonintervention Pact of
the g rea t powers.
The Civil War ended in 1939. Cârdenas Immediately announced
th a t Spanish refugees would be welcomed In Mexico. The Mexican
11
government worked with other nations to a s s i s t the refugees who
poured In to France from Spain and helped many to emigrate to
Mexico. This Immigration continued throughout the 1940's and
brought many ta len ted new residents to Mexico.
Mexico allowed the exiles to se t up an organ ization which
f in a l ly evolved in to a government-1n-ex1le which was formed in
Mexico City In 1945, President Avila Camacho recognized the
government-in-ex11e as the true government of Spain, and h is
successors continued to maintain th is re la tio n sh ip un til 1 9 77 -
two years a f t e r Franco's death.
Mexico's refusal to recognize Francisco Franco was an
extraordinary episode In her diplomatic h is to ry , and can be traced ,
a t le a s t to a g rea t extent, to the continuing influence o f LSzaro
Cârdenas. Cârdenas believed strongly th a t the Republic was the
legally e lec ted government of Spain and th a t Franco had been imposed
with the ass is tance of foreign governments. For th i s reason, he
continued to support the Republic and to qu ie tly urge his successors
to continue to recognize the government-in-ex11e. For Cârdenas,
Mexico's policy toward Spain was an ideal example o f the foreign
policy o f the Revolution.
111
Early Relations between Mexico and the Spanish Republic ............................................................... 1
Birth o f the Spanish Republic ...................................... 5 Development o f the Republican Government
In S p a i n .................................................................................... 7 Reaction In Mexico ............................................................... 8 Reaction 1n M ex ico ..................................................................12 Cârdenas' Relations with Spain ...................................... 13 Events In Spain ..................................................................14 Mexico and the Popular Front Victory ......................... 15 The Popular Front Government .......................................... 16 In terna tional Responses to the Spanish
Civil W a r .............................................................................. 18
I I . THE CIVIL WAR .............................................................................. 22
Mexico's Early Support fo r the Republic ................. 22 In te rna tiona l Reaction to Mexico's Aid to
S p a i n ...................................................................................... 24 Reaction a t Home......................................................................28 Continued Support fo r the Republic ............................. 30 Mexico Welcomes Spanish Refugees .................................. 34 Diplomatic Support fo r the Republic ......................... 37 Continued Support o f the Republic ............................. 40 The Rebels as B e l l i g e r e n t s .................................................43 Controversy Over Diplomatic Asylum .............................. 44
1v
End o f the War .................................................................................46 Care o f the R e fu g e e s ........................................................................ 53 Emigration ......................................................................................... 54 Refugees to M ex ico .............................................................................57 Selec tion o f Refugees ............................................................... 59 C itizensh ip 1n Mexico ................................................... . . . 62 In te rn a tio n a l E ffo r ts ............................................................... 63 The End o f Mexico's R ela tions 1n France ......................... 66
IV. ACCEPTANCE OF THE REFUGEES IN MEXICO...........................................69
Early S e t t l e m e n t .................................................................................69 P o l i t ic a l A c t i v i t y ...................................... 76 Early Moves Toward a Government-1n-Exil e ......................... 79 San Francisco C o n fe re n c e .............................. * .............................82 Formation o f the Government-in-Exlle .................................. 85
V. MEXICAN-SPANISH RELATIONS AFTER WORLD WAR II ................... 88
Mexico and th e United N a t i o n s ...................................................89 Government-1n-ExIle ...................... ‘ ................................... 94 Events in M e x ic o ........................................................................... 96 Spain's R ela tions with Other N a t i o n s .................................... 100 Mexico and the Government-In-Exile . . . . ..................... 102 R ela tions between Mexico and Spain ...................................... 105 The Continuing Role o f LSzaro Cârdenas ............................. 108
VI. RESTORATION OF RELATIONS................................................................... I l l
P res iden t Luis Echeverrla ....................................................... I l l U noffic ia l T ies between Spain and Mexico ......................... 113 Republican Exiles ........................................................................ 113 Changing R ela tions between Mexico and Spain ................. 115 R esto ra tion of Diplomatic R ela tions ................................. 118 Renewal o f Diplomatic R ela tions . . . . . . . . . . . 122
VII. LAZARO CARDENAS AND THE SPANISH REPUBLIC ............................. 125
The Presidency o f LSzaro Cârdenas ..................................... 125 Cârdenas* Foreign Policy ...................................................... 128 Lâzaro Cârdenas and Spain ...................................................... 131 Spanish Refugees in Mexico ...................................................... 134 Cârdenas' P o lic ie s A fter R etir ing from the
Pres 1 dency ..................................................................................135 C o n c lu s io n ........................................................................................ 136
President Lâzaro Cârdenas, Inaugurated on Ju ly 1, 1934,
Inherited a troubled re la t io n sh ip with Republican Spain. After
the b i r th o f the Second Spanish Republic In April 1931, Mexico
rushed to be the f i r s t nation to recognize the new Spanish govern­
ment. By mutual agreement, the lega tions of both nations were
elevated to embassies and ambassadors were exchanged 1n la t e May.
However, by 1934 re la t io n s between the two nations had cooled,
p rim arily due to s h i f t s within the Spanish government. Cârdenas
continued to have c lose re la t io n s with a number o f Spanish o f f i ­
c i a l s , but diplomatic r e la t io n s between Mexico and Spain were not
cord ial again u n ti l j u s t before the outbreak o f the Spanish Civil
War. Once the Civil War began, Mexico pledged Immediate diplomatic
and material support to the Republican government.
Early Relations between Mexico and the Second Spanish Republic
In 1931, when Mexico entered a c lose re la t io n sh ip with
the Second Spanish Republic th a t would l a s t more than 40 y ears ,
the social and economic conditions In the two coun tr ies were
s im ila r In many aspec ts . Both suffered from a lack of national
unity and b i t t e r c o n f l ic ts between a n t i c l e r ic a l s and C atho lics ,
were economically underdeveloped, and had a huge ru ra l landless
1
c la s s who were generally I l l i t e r a t e and dominated by local leaders.
Mexico, however, was on the way—often slowly and v io len tly —toward
solving these problems, while Spain was Just beginning the struggle
to move In to the twentieth century.
Mexico stood a t a crossroads In 1931—the long v io lent
years of the Revolution were over and the government, although
s t i l l dominated by a strongman,^ was beginning to s ta b i l i z e .
Mexican c i t iz e n s were looking to the government to see whether
the reforms which had been promised in the 1917 Constitution
would ac tu a lly be carried out. Some refonns had been In i t ia te d
during the turbulen t 1920's while ex-Revolut1onary generals
jock led fo r p o l i t ic a l leadership. Over 1,000 ru ra l schools were
b u i l t , acres o f land d istribu ted to the landless, and. In a clumsy,
o f ten v ind icative way, the separation of the church and s ta te
continued. In 1928 a national p o l i t ica l party, e l Partldo Naclonal
Revoluclonarlo (PNR), had been founded to In s t i tu t io n a l iz e the
Revolution, to ensure I t s control by the leaders of the Revolution,
and to guarantee th a t the reforms promised In the Constitution
would be carr ied out by subsequent governments. However,
Ex-president Ellas Plutarco Calles, although o f f ic ia l ly r e t i r e d In 1928, continued to Intervene as he f e l t necessary In the a f f a i r s o f the Mexican government. Known as the " jefe maximo" of the Revolution, h is successors, Emilio Portes G il , Pascual Ortiz Rubio, and Abelardo Rodriguez, served only as long as they did not oppose the wishes of Calles. In f a c t , Ortiz Rubio was helped to res ign by Calles when he t r ied to remove a number o f C a ll ls tas from o f f ic e . Calles was f in a l ly sent Into exile In April 1936 by Rodriguez' successor. President Lâzaro CSrdenas and did not return to Mexico for a decade, Henry Bamford Parkes, A History of Mexico (Boston: Houghton, M ifflin, and Company, 1970), pp. 381-4Ûli JesQs Silva Herzog, Una Vida en la Vida de México, 2nd ed.(México: S iglo velntiuno ed ito res , s . a . , 19^5), p. 159.
3
thousands o f peons s t i l l remained landless and w ithout schools or
health care ; transporta tion remained inadequate; and, few persons
d i r e c t ly p a r t ic ip a te d in the government.
In foreign a f f a i r s , Mexico was beginning to emerge from
her long withdrawal and develop a fo reign policy r e f l e c t in g her
Revolutionary goals. Although not a member of the League of 2
Nations u n t i l November 1931, Mexican diplomats had begun to play
a ro le In a number of in te rna tiona l conferences and were working
with the United S ta tes and o th er a ffec ted nations to s e t t l e
d isputes a r is in g from the Revolution. In 1930, Mexico's Foreign
M inister , Genaro Estrada, announced what has become known as the
"Estrada Doctrine"^ building on Mexico's long and b i t t e r experience
with foreign intervention. In th is d o c tr in e , Mexico renounced the
use of diplomatic recognition as a tool f o r governments to use In
expressing approval or disapproval o f o th er governments and
Thomas Powell quotes an a r t i c l e In the B u l le t in of the Foreign M inistry (Mexico) which s ta te s t h a t Spain played an Instrumental ro le In helping Mexico to jo in the League o f Nations, Thomas G. Powell, Mexico and the Spanish Civil War (Albuquerque: University o f New Mexico Press , 1981), p. 38.
^The Estrada doctrine s ta te s th a t Mexico w il l not withhold recognition o f ex is tin g governments on p o l i t i c a l grounds. According to the d o c tr in e , Mexico maintains diplomatic r e l a t io n s w ith a l l nations without regard to t h e i r In ternal p o l i t i c s (as long, obviously, as th a t nation maintains r e la t io n s with Mexico). The purpose o f the doctrine was to stop nations from using diplom atic recognition as a tool to force policy changes w ith in another government—a problem Mexico had encountered many tim es, César Sepûlveda, La teo r ia y la p réc tica del reconoclmlento de qobiernos (México: Universidad Naclonal Autonoma de México, Facultaoad de Derecho, 1974), pp. 75-80; E.M. Bouchard and Phoebe Morrison, "Recognition and Nonrecognition," American Journal o f In te rn a tio n a l Law 36 (January 1942):108-111.
4
In s is te d th a t ex is tin g governments should be recognized by o ther
na tions. Mexico a lso began to see h e rs e lf as a revolutionary
example th a t o ther nations should follow. The number o f Mexican
embassies and lega tions Increased around the world, and most o f
the fu tu re leaders o f Mexico represented th e i r country abroad
a t one time or another.
O ff ic ia l t i e s with Spain had reached a low point In early
1931—prim arily due to the Spanish claims a r is in g from the Revolu­
t io n . Many Spaniards had accumulated g rea t wealth and property
during the 19th century . Including vast amounts o f rea l e s ta te
In Mexico C ity , la rge haciendas, and businesses. Much o f th is
property had been damaged or destroyed during the years of the
c o n f l i c t ,4 and the two governments had been unable to s a t i s f a c ­
to r i l y resolve the re su l t in g claims. The Spanish colony In
Mexico generally was not supportive of the Revolution and con­
tinued to support openly opponents of the Mexican government.^
Despite o f f i c i a l coolness, t i e s between many Mexican
and Spanish In te l le c tu a ls were c lose in the 1920's. Liberal
Spanish w r i te r s , such as RamÔn Valle InclSn, v i s i te d Mexico to
examine f i r s t -h a n d the r e s u l t s of the Revolution.® Mexican
scholars often trave led to Spain, where many formed re la tio n sh ip s
*Ed1th O'Shaughnessy, A Diplomat's Wife in Mexico (New York: Harper and Brothers Pub lishers , iSTeT, pp. 6 , 12, 93-4, 176-7.
®J. H. Plenn, Mexico Marches ( Ind ianapo lis : Bobbs, M e rr i l l , 1939), pp. 68-9.
®Robert Nunez y Dominguez, Como v1 la repQblica espahola (México: n. p . , 1933), pp. 58-9.
with Spanish p o l i t i c ia n s and In te l le c tu a ls who were l a t e r to lead
the Second Spanish Republic. JesQs Silva Herzog, a leading Mexican
economist and w r i te r who supported the Republic, became a fr ien d
of the fu tu re Spanish ambassador to Mexico, Ju l io Alvarez del Vayo,
during a v i s i t to Spain during th is period ,^ These re la t io n sh ip s
were Invaluable In helping Mexico and Spain re s to re f r ie n d ly d ip lo ­
matic re la t io n s in 1931,
B irth of the Spanish Republic
The abdication of the king and the b ir th o f the Second
Spanish Republic were met with immediate o f f ic ia l support In Mexico.
President Pascual O rtiz Rubio quickly dispatched his M in ister to
Madrid, Enrique Gonzalez Martinez, to pay a v i s i t to th e new
Spanish P residen t, Niceto AlcalS Zamora. Gonzalez Martinez o ffered g
Mexico's best wishes and o f f ic ia l support to the Republic.
The new Spanish government was recognized formally by
Mexico on May 14. By mutual agreement, the legations o f both na tions
were elevated to embassies, and ambassadors were exchanged In l a t e
May. Both ambassadors were persons of respec t in t h e i r home
coun tries . Mexican Ambassador Alberto J . Pani was a former
Secretary of Foreign Relations under President Obregôn, and
^Jullo Alvarez del Vayo, Give He Combat: The Memoirs of Ju l io Alvarez del Vayo, tran s . Donald D. Walsh (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown and Company, 1973), pp. 204-6.
®"Poder Ejecutivo: Secre tarla de Relaclones E x te r lo res ," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de México, é d . , Hëxico y La Repûbllcana Espaflola: Antologla de Documentos. 1931-1977 (México; Centro Republicano EspaRol de México, 1978), p. 19.
6
Spanish Ambassador Ju l io Alvarez del Vayo was a prominent morber
o f the S o c ia l i s t party and a j o u r n a l i s t . Rani's statement upon
presenting h is c re d en tia ls to the Spanish government summarized
the Mexican government's des ire fo r a c lose re la t io n sh ip . He
saluted Spain "with sympathy Inspired by the present s im ila r i ty
of p o l i t i c a l and social a sp ira t io n s and enthusiasm on the p o s s ib i l i ty
of e ffe c t iv e cooperation between the new democracy of the peninsula n
and the young nations o f America."
Alvarez del Vayo was welcomed warmly by Mexican o f f i c i a l s
in Vera Cruz in l a t e May. A fter a slow journey to Mexico City
during which he v is i te d many c i t i e s and towns, the Spanish ambas­
sador quickly became a popular f ig u re in Mexico. The Embassy of
Spain became a gathering place fo r many Mexican le a d e rs . Including
diplomats Genaro Estrada and Daniel Coslo V illegas , economist and
h is to r ia n JesQs S ilva Herzog, and labor leader Vicente Lombardo
Toledano. Alvarez del Vayo a lso became the f r ien d of the M inister
of War and fu tu re p res id en t , Lâzaro Cârdenas, and o f ex-presiden t
Plutarco Ellas C alles . He did not l im i t h is fr iendsh ips to the
national leaders o f Mexico; he a lso trave led frequently through
the country, ta lk in g to municipal leaders and peasants. In an
attempt to gain f i r s th a n d knowledge of the Mexican Revolution
which could be useful to Spain.*®
®"D1scurso del Sr. Ing. Alberto J . Pani," quoted In Centro Republicano EspaPiol de México, é d . , México y la RepQblica Espahola, pp. 19-20.
*®Alvarez del Vayo, Give He Combat, pp. 204-6.
Development o f the Republican Government In Spain
The loose c o a l i t io n , which announced the formation of a
new government In Spain on April 14, 1931, was made up primarily
o f members of the republican p a r t ie s and moderate s o c ia l i s t s .
Many o f these men had signed the Pact o f San SebastUn In August
1930. The Pact ca lled fo r a republic along the l ines o f the
European model In which p o l i t ic a l and re l ig io u s l ib e r ty would be
guaranteed. According to the Pact, a Constituent Cortes, or
parliam ent, would be e lec ted to w rite a new co n s t i tu t io n for a
democratic Spain.**
The e lec tio n s fo r the Constituent Cortes were held on
June 28, 1931, and re su lted in a parliament which was f a i r ly
rep re sen ta tiv e of the p o l i t i c a l spectrum In Spain. The l e f t i s t
p a r t i e s , including the S o c ia l is ts and the Left Republicans, held
about 250 s e a ts . The c e n t r i s t Radical Party , led by long-time
republican Alejandro Lerroux, held about 100 s e a ts , and the con­
se rv a t iv e p a r t ie s about 80. Included In the conservative wing
were the ag ra r ian s , conservative republicans, and Catholic
Basques.*^
The d ra f t in g of the co n s t i tu t io n was en trusted to a
committee o f the Cortes led by two men: one a moderate s o c ia l i s t
and the o ther a former M inister o f Public Works under King Alfonso
G a b r i e l Jackson, The Spanish Republic and the Civil War 1931-1939 (Princeton; Princeton University P ress , 1965), p. 26; Antonio Ramos-Ollveira, H is to ria de Espaha. 6 vols. (México: Companis General de Ediclones, S.A., 1952), 3:10,
*^ Jack son , The S p an ish R ep u b lic and C i v i l War, p. 41.
8
XIII. After the d r a f t was completed in early August, the e n t i re
Cortes worked on th e final version u n t i l I t was completed In
early December. The f in ished c o n s t i tu t io n provided for a govern­
ment based on the European unicameral parliam ent, with an Indepen­
dent ju d ic ia ry and a p res iden t e lec ted fo r a s ix -year term. The
president was given the au tho ri ty to appoint and remove the prime
m in ister , veto l e g i s la t io n , and d isso lve the Cortes twice during
his term. The c o n s t i tu t io n a lso Included provisions authorizing
leg is la t io n to separa te the s ta te from the Catholic church,
in i t i a t in g a secu la r education system, e s tab lish ing lim ited
regional autonomy, and providing fo r land reform.
Reaction In Mexico
The s im i la r i ty of th e Mexican and Spanish con stitu t ion s
helped to cement re la t io n s between th e two co un tr ies . Mexican
leaders believed th a t Spain, fo r the f i r s t time since Mexican
Independence, was In te re s ted in Mexico, and the Mexican government
sent de ta iled Information to Spain on her experience In carrying
out reforms embodied In the 1917 c o n s t i tu t io n . I n te l le c tu a ls ,
such as Coslo V illegas , went to Madrid to teach In the un ivers ity
and to advise the Spanish government. Unfortunately, many of the
Mexicans, including Coslo V illegas , returned to Mexico saying 13th a t “the Spanish a re b e t te r i n te l le c tu a l s than rev o lu tion a ries ."
TTCoslo V illegas , Memories, p . 145.
Despite en thus ias tic government support, not a l l res iden ts
o f Mexico were delighted with the Spanish Republic. Conservatives
and members of the Spanish colony opposed the po lic ies of the new
Spanish government. Mexican conservatives preferred the Catholic
and r ig id ly h ierarch ica l s tru c tu re of royal Spain and hoped to see
th is p o l i t ic a l and social regime restored In Mexico. Many members
of the Spanish colony In Mexico also feared th a t the Republic
would not a s s i s t them In pressing for resolution of th e i r claims
against the Mexican government.**
Mexico watched Spain closely and worried th a t the Republic
would not achieve I t s goals. Unlike Mexico, where the p o l i t ic s
o f personality had stunted the development of p a r t ie s , the
Republican government had been formed by representatives of a
broad spectrum of p o l i t ic a l p a r t ie s . Support fo r the Individual
programs of the Republic was tenuous, even among members of the
government, and the p o l i t ic a l held divergent views on the best
way to Implement those po lic ies held In common. There a lso was
widespread opposition to the Republic in rural areas and among
wealthy conservatives. Mexicans who were fam ilia r with Spain
feared th a t the Republican government would f a l l prey to the
opposition. Remembering the fa te of Madero and o ther leaders of
the Mexican Revolution, Silva Herzog to ld Ambassador Alvarez del
Vayo th a t governments which "are so decent, so humanitarian, and
**Powell, Mexico and the Spanish Civil War, pp. 49-52; El Naclonal. 15 ApfTl Ï93T:
10
legal" do not l a s t long and are "quickly taken over by more
ru th le s s opponents."
Although Mexican fears la te r proved to be va lid , the
Spanish government made s ign if ican t progress toward achieving
the goals s e t out In the Constitution during 1932 and early 1933.
By e a r ly 1933, about ten thousand new primary schools had been
b u i l t In a cooperative e f fo r t between the national government and
municipal a u th o r i t ie s . Separation of church and s ta te was a more
complicated question, but a divorce law was enacted and the
cernet a r i e s were secularized. The government also managed to reduce
th e number o f m ili ta ry o ff ice rs and c iv i l servants who had long
cu t down on governmental efficiency and had Increased the national
budget. A s ta tu te fo r autonomy of Catalonia was enacted, and the
Cortes passed an agrarian reform law which authorized the expropria­
t io n o f m ill io n s of acres of land and provided fo r both Individual
and c o l le c t iv e use of the expropriated land.
As Silva Herzog and others predicted , the p o l i t ic a l and
economic problems of the Republic Increased over time. The generally
moderate p o l ic ie s of the government often pleased no one. The
long-awaited agrarian reform law, when enacted, proved to be an
e x ce llen t example of th is widespread d is s a t is fa c t io n . Due to the
In t r ic a c ie s of the law, only about 10,000 fam ilies actually
received land , leaving many families no b e t te r o f f than they had
*^s"lTva H erzog, Una v id a en la v id a de M êxico . p . 166 .
11
been before 1931. A number of la rge e s ta te s , as well as sm aller
holdings which were supposed to be exempt from exprop ria tion ,
were sold a t auction for a f rac tio n of t h e i r va lue , thus i r r i t a t i n g
wealthy farmers and impoverishing small farmers. In some a reas ,
anarchists active ly worked against the government's land reform
program In the b e lie f th a t such reforms would rob peasants of
th e i r revolutionary fervor.*®
As a r e s u l t of the constant a g ita t io n by the more rad ical
conservatives and lib e ra l groups and the violence which often
accompanied th is a g ita t io n , the country became more conservative.
In the Constituent Cortes, the co a l i t io n between the moderate
Radical party members and the s o c ia l i s t and republican p a r t ie s
broke down In the face of increasing conservative opposition to
the government, and the Radical party moved into ac t iv e opposition
to the government. President Azaha was forced to c a l l e lec tio ns
fo r a Constituent Cortes fo r November 1933.
The polic ies of the Cortes became more conservative
as a re su l t of the November e lec tio ns , A small group of conser­
vative parties won the la rg es t number of s e a t s , followed c lose ly
by the Radical party , which reta ined about 100 s e a ts . Several
of the l e f t i s t Republican parties lo s t almost a l l of th e i r s e a ts ,
and s o c ia l i s t representation was halved.*^
^Jackson, The Spanish Republic and Civil War, p. 85; Ramos-Ollveira, H istoria de Èspaha, 3:43-51^
*^Jackson, The Spanish R ep u b lic and C i v i l War, p. 119 .
12
Alejandro Lerroux, leader of the Radical Party , became the
new prime m in is te r and formed a cab inet composed only of fellow
Radicals. Under t h e i r d irec tio n many of the laws o f the Republic
were suspended. Including the agrarian reform a c t , church schools
were allowed to operate openly, and expansion o f the government
education program slowed to a crawl.
Reaction In Mexico
The c iv i l s t r i f e In Spain and the re su l t in g s h i f t toward
conservatism caused re la t io n s between Mexico and Spain to cool by
1934. I ro n ic a l ly , as Spain began to reverse the programs o f the
Republic, Mexico e lec ted President Lâzaro Cârdenas, who planned
to carry out many of the reforms o f the Mexican Revolution which
had ex is ted la rg e ly on paper fo r more than a decade. As th e i r
p o l ic ie s diverged, the two governments became suspicious o f each
o ther and began to c r i t i c i z e each o th e r 's p o l ic ie s .
Cârdenas was Inaugurated In Ju ly 1934. He se lec ted as
members o f h is cabinet some o f the most rad ica l Mexican p o l i t i ­
c ian s , Including the former governor o f Tabasco, Tomâs Garrldo
Cânabal, and Narclso Bassols, a s o c i a l i s t . These men and
th e i r colleagues took the 1917 C onstitu tion se r iou s ly and
under Cârdenas leadersh ip began to a cce le ra te the d is t r ib u t io n
o f land and the construction of schools, c l i n i c s , roads, and
c ap ita l development p ro jec ts such as I r r ig a t io n dams. Peasants
were encouraged to organize unions, and a new a g r ic u l tu ra l bank
was e s tab lished to give them c re d i t fo r equipment. I r r ig a t io n ,
13
and s im ila r improvements. Trade unions a lso were organized on a
more ex tensive scale under the leadership o f Vicente Lombardo
Toledano, a f r ien d of the President.
CSrdenas* Relations with Spain
Presiden t CSrdenas took a personal In te r e s t In the Spanish
Republic, although he did not overlook the growing d if fe ren c e s In
policy between the governments o f Mexico and Spain. He had
s trong ly supported the Republic during i t s early years and had
e s tab lished a personal re la t io n sh ip with Ambassador Alvarez del
Vayo. When Alvarez del Vayo returned to Spain a f t e r the 1933
e le c t io n s . Cârdenas continued to correspond with the former ambas­
sador. Alvarez del Vayo la t e r c red ited P res iden t Cârdenas with
saving him from a r re s t In 1934; he believed th a t the telegram which
Cârdenas sen t to his fr ien d Inv iting him to the Inauguration In
Mexico City convinced the Spanish a u th o r i t ie s t h a t an a r r e s t could 18have In te rn a t io n a l repercussions. Throughout h is a d m in is tra t io n ,
Cârdenas and Alvarez del Vayo continued to correspond on m atters
o f I n t e r e s t to both, especially ru ra l development.
The Mexican President was not impressed w ith Alvarez del
Vayo's successor, Emillano Ig le s ia s , who was le s s committed to the
o r ig in a l p o l ic ie s of the Spanish Republic than h is predecessor.
Ig le s ia s was t re a te d o f f ic ia l ly as any o ther member o f the
*®Alvarez del Vayo, Give Me Combat, p. 209.
14
diplomatic corps, but he was unable to form close fr iendsh ips
with members o f the Mexican government. Rather, he made fr iends
with some conservatives and members o f the Spanish colony, which I Qdid not endear him to the President.
Events In Spain
While Cârdenas was In s t i tu t io n a l iz in g the programs of the
Mexican Revolution, Spain was experiencing p o l i t ic a l and social
unres t. The Spanish government faced an a rch is t u p r is in g s , general
s t r i k e s , and Increased pressure from conservatives to re s to re peace
and t r a n q u i l i ty . This pressure caused frequent changes In the
cabinet as the government t r i e d to balance these co n fl ic t in g
demands. By 1935 governmental policy was becoming increasing ly
reactionary ; land reform and expansion o f the public educational
system were ha lted e n t i r e ly , Church p roperties were re tu rned , and
increasing concessions were made to the opponents of the Republic.
When the government f in a l ly found i t s e l f unable to form any
policy consensus, e lec t io n s were ca lled fo r February 1936.
The general turmoil and the d i f f i c u l t i e s of the Spanish
government f a c i l i t a t e d c o a l i t io n build ing among the p a r t ie s o f
the l e f t . Despite the ex ile o f a number of lead e rs , including
s o c i a l i s t Indalecio P r ie to , and the j a i l in g of o thers such as
Francisco Largo Caballero, a s o c i a l i s t trade union lead er , the
*® P ow ell , M exico and t h e S p an ish C i v i l War, p . 5 3 .
15
l e f t began building a new c o a l i t io n In 1935. The growth of fascism
and the support o f the Spanish Ccunmunlst Party helped leaders of
the republican and s o c i a l i s t p a r t ie s to form quickly the Popular
Front C oalition following the model o f the French. The Popular
Front Pact was signed In January 1936 by members o f the republican,
s o c i a l i s t , Catalan, and Communist p a r t ie s . Despite wide variations
in philosophy and goals , the Popular Front was able to agree on
a program which was based on a re tu rn to the polic ies of the f i r s t
two years o f the Republic, Including land reform, and amnesty for
a l l p o l i t i c a l p r isoners .
The February e le c t io n re su l ted In a c lear victory for the
Popular Front, which benefited not only from th e i r own success
In c o a l i t io n bu ild ing , but a lso from the lack of consensus among
the p a r t ie s on the r ig h t . The p a r t ie s o f the Popular Front won
a m ajority o f sea ts In the Cortes, and Manuel Azaha became prime
m in is te r fo r the second time.
Mexico and the Popular Front Victory
The new Spanish government moved quickly to restore friendly
re la t io n s with Mexico, and the Mexican government responded warmly
to th i s overtu re . When the new Spanish ambassador, Félix Gordôn
Ordâs, a rr ived In Mexico In June 1936, he was happily received by
President CSrdenas, who s ta te d :
I share your Excellency's ideas about the mutual his­ to r ic a l destiny th a t unites Mexico and Spain . . . the p a ra l le l extends to a common social task th a t should be Immediately and e ffec t iv e ly accomplished . . . p lease t e l l your government.
16
Mr. Ambassador, t h a t Mexico understands and appreciates i t s demonstrations o f in te rn a t io n a l c o rd ia l i ty , and th a t we w ill now and in the fu tu re work to achieve in both coun tr ies a unity of ob jec tives and action th a t will serve our two peoples, who have joined together permanently to seek the same so lu t io n to our social p r o b le m s .20
CSrdenas did not send a new ambassador to Spain a f t e r the Popular
Front v ic to ry . The Mexican ambassador in Madrid, General Manuel
Pérez Trevifio, had been se n t to Spain in 1935 and remained there
u n t i l he was replaced in 1937.
The Popular Front Government
The Popular Front government moved quickly to reverse the
trends o f the past several y ea rs . P o l i t ic a l prisoners were given
amnesty, i n t i t l a l steps were taken toward renewed land reform, and
the autonomy o f Catalonia was re s to re d . However, the government
again became the victim o f the c o n f l i c t between r is in g expectations
of the peasants and fears o f the conservatives. Civil disturbances
increased as followers o f the s o c i a l i s t s and anarch is ts paraded
and marched on churches and prisons. Some members of the fa r
r ig h t r e t a l i a te d by forming squads th a t drove through working
c la ss neighborhoods f i r in g randomly a t re s id en ts .
Despite government e f f o r t s to f u l f i l l campaign promises
and un ite Spain, widespread soc ia l unres t continued throughout
the spring of 1936. The most conservative groups, bolstered by
events in Europe such as the r i s e of H i t le r and Mussolini, t r ie d
^ " ib id . , p. 55.
17
to undermine the government through fe a r . In addition to the
death squads which drove through poor neighborhoods, e d i to r ia l s
and le a f le t s were d is tr ib u ted which prophesized the economic and
social collapse of Spain. Manbers of the radical l e f t , including
the Communists and a number of s o c ia l i s t s , also backed away from
supporting the Popular Front government and planned to use the
increasing demands from workers and peasants to so l id i fy support
fo r a re tu rn to the most radical goals of the Republic.
In March, three generals, led by Emilio Mola Vidal, the
l a s t Director o f Security under the monarchy, began to p lo t a
coup d 'é t a t . By the end of June the plans fo r the coup were well
organized, and commanding generals had been appointed for each
d i s t r i c t , including Morrocco. Several c iv i l ia n s , such as José
Calvo Sotelo, former Minister of Finance during the monarchy, and
José Antonio Primo de Rivera, son o f the d ic ta to r of Spain
from 1923 to 1930, also partic ipa ted in planning the uprising
which was scheduled fo r la te Ju ly .
Spurred by the July 12 murder of Calvo Sotelo, the leaders
of the uprising n o tif ied th e i r followers to f in ish preparations,
and the coup began on the afternoon of Ju ly 17. Although the
leaders of the Popular Front government received a number of
warnings from the m ili ta ry and members o f the government who were
close to the leaders of the re v o l t , the timing o f the coup took
them by su rp rise . Nevertheless, the Republic managed to hold
major portions o f Spain, including Madrid, Catalonia, much of
18
the southern Basque region, A s tu rias , and most of the eastern
p a r t of the nation. The Insurgents c o n tro l led Morocco, C&diz,
and G alic ia , as well as most o f the m il i ta ry supplies and manu­
fac tu ring s i t e s . Civil war followed, as the government and the 21insurgents fought fo r control o f the nation .
In te rna tiona l Response to the Spanish Civil War
The in i t i a l in te rna tiona l response to the c iv i l war in
Spain was mixed. Germany quickly contacted the insurgents and
promised them diplomatic and m aterial support. In England and
France, government reaction was mixed, although French S o c ia l is t
Prime M inister Leon Blum responded favorably to the Republic's
appeal fo r a ss is tance . However, w ithin two weeks o f the upris ing ,
Blum proposed th a t France, B rita in , Russia, P ortuga l, Germany,
and I ta ly sign an agreement not to in tervene in any way in the
Spanish c iv i l war. The French prime m in is te r rea l ized th a t H it le r
was moving into the Rhineland and th a t in te rn a t io n a l p a r t ic ip a tio n
in th e Spanish war could p re c ip i ta te a major European war. Accord­
ing to the French government, the b e s t so lu tion to the d i f f i c u l t
problem was an in te rnational pact which obligated the European
powers to stay out of the war in Spain.
As Blum planned, on September 9 each of the nations signed
th e agreement, which became known as the Nonintervention Pact. All
the s ig n a to r ie s , except Portugal which had not named a representative,
agreed not to award any a id , m il i ta ry supp lies , or diplomatic
------------- 71------------------- J a c k so n , The Span ish R e p u b lic and C i v i l War, p . 223.
19
22support to e i th e r s ide . However, a t l e a s t two o f the s igna to ry
nations did not honor t h e i r agreement. During August and e a r ly
September, Germany and I ta ly provided the insurgen ts w ith a i rp la n e s ,
guns, ammunition, two submarines, armored c a r s , a r t i l l e r y , a n t i ­
a i r c r a f t guns, and personnel. This a id continued a f t e r the 23September agreement and throughout th e war.
On October 7, the Russian government declared i t s in te n t io n
to break the agreement because o th er nations were not adhering to
the Pact. Soon a f t e r , Soviet t ru c k s , a i rp la n e s , tan k s , and advisory
personnel began arr iv ing in Spain,
In the Americas, only Mexico promised strong support fo r the
Republican government. Although not a member o f the Nonintervention
Pact, the United S tates decided to adhere to th e s p i r i t o f the
agreement and remain n e u tra l . A number o f o th e r n a t io n s , including
Argentina and Chile, sympathized with the in su rg e n ts , although they
did not provide them with a id . Mexico stood alone in supplying
aid and diplomatic support f o r the l o y a l i s t Republican government.
President Cfirdenas explained th a t "the government o f
Mexico is obligated to the Republican government o f Spain, le g a l ly
constitu ted and presided over by Manuel Azaha . . . our re spon si­
b i l i t y is to serve Spain . . . moreover, the Republican government
Z^Ibid ., p. 314.
Z^Ibid ., pp. 262-75.
20
of Spain is sympathetic to the revolu tionary government o f Mexico.
President Azaha represen ts the desire fo r moral and economic f r e e ­
dom of the Spanish people. Today Spain i s embroiled in a d i f f i c u l t 25and bloody f ig h t , caused by the priv ileged c la s s ."
The Mexican p res iden t announced on August 18 th a t Mexico
would supply as many arms as possib le and, what was perhaps more
s ig n i f ic a n t , would support the Spanish Republic in the League o f 26Nations and o ther In te rna tiona l forums. Mexican diplomats in
Europe prepared to work together to promote in te rn a tiona l support
fo r Republican Spain.
Cdrdenas planned to base Mexico's support fo r Spain In
the League o f Nations on the s im ila r support given Ethiopia a f t e r
the I t a l ia n Invasion. In 1935, he worked to use the League
machinery to punish I ta ly . When the League did impose sanctions
aga inst I t a ly , Mexico p a r t ic ip a te d in the Committee o f Coordination,
which prohib ited sending munitions and war material to I ta ly .
The sanctions then imposed by the League were generally in e f fe c t iv e
because many members continued normal trad ing re la t io n s with I ta ly .
Even Mexico eventually terminated her san c tions , although Mexico
did continue to refuse to recognize Victor Emmanuel II as the
emperor o f Ethiopia and fought to keep Ethiopia from being
^^"Apunte de Lâzaro CSrdenas," quoted In Centro Republicano Espahol de México, é d . , México y la Repûblica EspaFiola, p. 24.
^^"Carta a LSzaro CSrdenas a Félix GordÔn OrdSs," quoted in Centro Republicano EspaRol de México, é d . , México y la Repûblica Espaflola, p. 24.
21
27 expelled by the League. The Mexican government hoped t h a t more
effec tivesanctlons now could be imposed aga in s t the insurgents in
Spain and the nations which supported them.
CSrdenas also feared th a t i f the League f a i l e d to a c t
decisively in the case o f Spain, the Spanish C iv il War would lead
to a war that could engulf most o f the world. He believed th a t
I f Germany and I ta ly continued to be able to invade sm aller nations
a t w i l l , with l i t t l e o r no response from the major powers, i t would 28be impossible to stop them a t a la te r da te .
Sociedad Mexicana de Geograffa y E s ta d is t ic a , Accidn y pensamiento de LSzaro CSrdenas (México: Sociedad Mexicana de Geografla y E stad istica , 19^3), p. 80.
^^Elena VSzquez Gfimez, e d . , E p is to la rio de LSzaro CSrdenas 2 vols. (México: sig lo veintiuno e d ito re s , 1974), 1:290-308.
CHAPTER II THE CIVIL WAR
Mexico's immediate support fo r the Republican government
in Spain was followed fay material and e sp ec ia l ly diplomatic
a ss is ta n c e . Throughout the long years o f the Civil War, President
CSrdenas continued to t ry to improve the Spanish government's
po s ition in the League o f Nations and with the nations o f the
Americas. Mexico was unable to send large shipments o f weapons,
but some arms were se n t , as well as food and o ther sup p lies .
Spanish refugees were inv ited to Mexico. Despite frequent changes
in the Republican government, r e la t io n s between the two countries
remained f r ie n d ly fo r the duration of the war.
Mexico's Early Support fo r the Republic
Mexico a c tu a l ly responded to Spain 's request fo r a ss is tan ce
before the Civil War began. In June 1936, r e a l iz in g th a t an
uprising ag a in s t the Republic was possib le before the end of the
y e a r , the leaders o f the government sen t appeals to th e i r a l l i e s
fo r pledges of arms and o ther supp lies . The Mexican government
responded favorably on June 29, but could not promise to de liv er
th e arms quickly or in su b s ta n t ia l numbers. Mexico was not an
arms producer, but President CSrdenas planned to buy weapons on
22
23
the In te rn a tio n a l market to supplement what could be supplied
from domestic s to c k s .^
A month a f t e r the up ris ing occurred, CSrdenas announced
th a t 20,000 r i f l e s and 20 m ill ion rounds of ammunition were being
se n t to Vera Cruz where they would be loaded on a waiting Spanish 2
sh ip , the Magallanes. CSrdenas a lso s ta ted th a t he had authorize
the Mexican ambassador in France, Colonel Adalberto Tejada, to 3
purchase arms and supp lies in France fo r the Spanish Republic.
Because o f the policy o f th e European powers to avoid selling
arms to e i th e r s id e in the Spanish war. Colonel Tejada was able
to purchase only small amounts o f m il i ta ry equipment. However,
o f f i c i a l s o f th e Mexican government s ta ted th a t "the government
o f Mexico i s morally and p o l i t i c a l l y ob ligated to aid the Republi­
can government o f Spain which is le g a l ly constitu ted and led by
P res iden t Manuel Azaha" and continued to ac tive ly pursue arms
purchases wherever p o ss ib le .*
Although Mexico was unable to provide the Republican
government with the war m ateria l t h a t i t needed, Mexico's support
provided a needed psychological boost since most nations refused
Mexico, Archivo H is to r ico de la Secretaria de Relaciones E x te r io re s , "La S e c re ta r ia de Relaciones Exteriores a Manuel Azafia," 30 June 1936 (h e re a f te r c i te d as Archivo].
^Archive, "Convend6n e n tre la Secretaria de Hacienda y C redito PQblica y Espaha," n .d .
^"Apunte de LSzaro CSrdenas," quoted in Centro Republicano Espahol de México, é d . , México y la Repûblica Espafiola, p. 24.
* Ib id . , p. 24.
24
to s e l l weapons to th e Republicans. In f a c t , Mexico was the f i r s t
nation to s e l l arms d i r e c t ly to Azalia's governmenti the Soviet
Union jo ined her two months l a t e r . However, while the Soviet
Union required Spain to pay f o r the arms in gold, a t the exchange
r a te s e t by the Russians, Mexico accepted payment in Spanish
currency a t the p rev a iling in te rn a t io n a l exchange rate.®
In terna tiona l Reaction to Mexico's Aid to Spain
The Mexican government was c r i t ic iz e d in te rn a t io n a l ly fo r
her ro le in supplying weapons to the Spanish Republic. On November
7, 1936,Daniel Cosfo V illegas , Mexican consular o f f i c i a l in
Portugal, informed the Mexican Foreign Ministry th a t re la t io n s
between Mexico and Portugal "while never e n th u s ia s t ic , are now,
because of in to le ran ce in Europe, very de lica te ."® Cosio V illegas
s ta te d th a t the newspapers frequently published a r t i c l e s c r i t i c a l
of Mexico, and th a t t h i s c r i t ic i s m , coupled with public opinion,
made Mexico's p o s i t io n in Portugal very weak. In February 1937,
CosTo V illegas again wrote to inform the Foreign M inistry th a t the
s i tu a t io n had not improved, and suggested tha t i t would be best
to ask the English o r French embassies to arrange for the evacu­
a tion of Spanish refugees in Portugal and to p ro tec t than when
®Lois E. Smith, Mexico and the Spanish Republicans {Berkeley: U niversity of C alifo rn ia P ress , 195&), p. 190.
®Archivo, "Daniel CosTo Villegas a Eduardo Hay," I I I 516 (46-0) 9731 No. 10. 7 November 1936.
25
necessary. He believed th a t t h e i r a sso c ia tio n with the Mexican
consulate might fu r th e r complicate t h e i r tenuous s i tu a t io n in
PortugalJ The government of Chile was equally d isturbed by the arms
s a le , and Mexican Ambassador Ramôn P. de Negri, who was l a t e r to
serve as ambassador to Spain, wrote th a t the Chilean government
saw the sa le o f arms to the Azaha government as a "serv ice to the
Soviets,"® De Negri warned th a t a rupture in diplomatic re la t io n s
between Mexico and Chile was possib le due to the strong fee lings
provoked by the Spanish c r i s i s . In response, the Mexican Foreign
M in is te r , Eduardo Hay, advised the ambassador to remain calm and
avoid doing anything rash th a t would force o vert f r i c t io n between q
the two na tions. Although re la t io n s were decidedly cool through­
out the duration of the war in Spain, diplom atic t i e s were never
severed.
Ambassador Narciso Bassols in London was more philosophical
about the English government's concerned reaction to the arms s a le .
He reported th a t , while the government was continuing i t s course
o f o f f i c i a l n e u t r a l i ty , there was widespread sympathy in England
fo r the Republicans and th a t England had no in ten tion o f public ly
^Archive, "Daniel CosTo Villegas a Eduardo Hay," I I I 1510 (46) "37/1", 10 February 1937.
®Archivo, "de Negri a la Secre tar ia de Relaciones E x te rio res ," I I 1/146 (46) 9624, 2 September 1936.
^Archivo, "Eduardo Hay a Amb. de Negri 8829, 25 September 1936 .
26
c r i t ic iz in g Mexico fo r her support fo r them. However, he did
request that the Mexican government c la r i f y two aspects of Mexico's
policy toward the c iv i l war; nonintervention and aid to the
Republican government. Bassols commented th a t the English govern­
ment saw these two policies as being mutually exclusive and
diplomatically confusing,*® In response to th i s request and sim ilar
accusations of incongruence in policy, in la te 1936 the Mexican
Foreign Ministry prepared a speech on the Mexican position, which
was presented by Ambassador Bassols in the League of Nations.
In the speech, Bassols s ta ted th a t Mexico was following
the in te res ts of c iv i l iz a t io n and maintaining the in teg rity of
the League by ass is t in g a member o f the League against aggression.
He stressed the interdependence among na tions , and the need for
legitim ate governments to help each o ther . The Mexican govern­
ment, Bassols said , was simply adhering to in ternational law and
the Pact of the League by providing m aterial a id to the Republican
government of Spain.**
Reaction in the United States a lso was subdued. The U.S.
Secretary of State s ta ted th a t the United States government was
not going to pro test the sa le of arms to Spain by Mexico.
*®Archivo, "Narciso Bassols a la Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores," III/146 (46) 9624, no. 16, 8 September 1936.
**"01scurso pronunciado por el C. delgado de México en Ginebra," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de México, éd ., México y la RepÛblicana EspaMola, pp. 25-26.
27
However, a few weeks l a t e r the two nations agreed th a t Mexico would
not buy weapons In the United S ta tes to be sold in S p a i n . A n
o f f ic ia l in the Mexican Foreign M inistry , Ernesto Hidalgo, reported
to President CSrdenas th a t the United S ta tes press had been
generally favorable to Mexico's support o f the Republican
government.*3
The government o f Uruguay took a d i f f e r e n t stand on the
issue and sent a telegram to Eduardo Hay suggesting mediation by
the American s ta te s to end the war in Spain. The suggestion was
re jected by President CSrdenas on the grounds th a t mediation
could constitu te in terven tion in to the in te rn a l a f f a i r s of Spain
and give defacto recognition to the rebe ls .**
The Spanish rebels sent a formal p ro te s t to the Mexican
government in August 1936 concerning the sa le o f weapons to the
Republic. Miguel Caballanes, leader o f the insurgent Junta de
Defense Nacional, s ta ted th a t the government o f Mexico was
v io la ting the doctrine of nonintervention by aid ing the
"communists" and announced th a t h is government would not recognize
any agreement made between Mexico and the Spanish Republic.*®
— ---------------------
Archivo, "Luis Q uin tan illa a la Sec re ta r ia de Relaciones Exteriores," 29 December 1936.
*^Archivo, "Ernesto Hidalgo a Luis Rodriguez," 4 January 1937,
**"Carta de LSzaro CSrdenas a Is id ro Fabela," quoted in Centro Republicano EspaMol de México, é d . , Mëxico y la Repûblica Espafiola. pp. 26-27.
*®Archivo, "La Junta de Defensa Nacional a la Sec re ta r ia de Relaciones Exteriores," 29 July 1936.
28
Although the contents of the telegram were not unexpected and
Mexico did not bother to rep ly , the means o f transm itting the
p ro te s t caused consternation in the Spanish Embassy in Mexico City.
The l e t t e r which accompanied the telegram was w ritten on embassy
paper and signed by a minor o f f i c i a l , Ramôn Marla Pujades.*®
On September 3, Spanish Ambassador Félix GordÔn OrdSs announced
th a t Pujades was working without au tho riza tion and requested th a t
he be deported fo r usurping the functions o f the Embassy of
S p a i n . A f t e r a sh o rt in v e s t ig a t io n , the Mexican governmer
complied and deported Pujades on December 30, 1936.
Reaction a t Home
The Mexican people were generally ap a th e t ic about the
Spanish Civil War. Few were in te re s te d in foreign a f f a i r s ,
e sp ec ia l ly in events th a t had l i t t l e or no e f f e c t on th e i r d a ily
l iv e s . Some members o f the government, leaders of the labor unions,
and many in te l le c tu a l s supported Cfirdenas' p o s i t io n , however, and
understood the re la t io n sh ip he had drawn between events In Spain
and possib le in te rn a tio n a l repercussions. Yet, many Mexican
c i t iz e n s who were in te re s te d in Spain sided with the insurgen ts .
This group included most businessmen, leaders o f the Catholic
*®Archivo, "La Junta de Defensa Nacional a Eduardo Hay," 22 August 1936.
*^Arch1vo, "Félix Gordôn OrdSs a Eduardo Hay," 2 September 1936 .
29
church, and p o l i t ic a l moderates and conservatives who opposed
CSrdenas' " so c ia l is t" p o l ic ie s and s t i l l p re fe rred the t r a d i t io n a l
church and business-oriented prerevolu tionary government o f
Porfirio Dfaz.
The most ac tive supporters of the government's policy
toward Spain were members o f the government and leaders o f the
trade unions. Members of the PNR supported th is policy in
e d ito r ia ls and in lec tu re s a t u n iv e rs i t ie s and soc ia l gatherings.
The trade unions, led by Vicente Lombardo Toledano and his newly-
formed Confederacifin Trabajadores Mexicanos (CTM), organized
r a l l i e s and raised money from members and o ther c o n tr ib u to rs .
They also c ircu la ted propaganda through the labor p re s s , rad io ,
and special education programs. Most o f the p r iv a te funds for 18Spain raised in Mexico were c o llec ted by the CTM.
The Spanish Ambassador in Mexico, Fé lix Gordôn Ordaz, was
invited to give lec tu res and p resen ta tions on the Spanish Civil
War; he traveled throughout Mexico pleading fo r support. V is it ing
Spanish Republicans also were invited by the government to
publicly present the case fo r Spain.
The Catholic church in Mexico supported Franco, as did the
Catholic church throughout th e world. However, the Church leaders
in Mexico did not follow the lead o f the Pope who supported the
------------ TB-----Archivo, "Sindicato de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de la Nacional Puerlo rt, S.A. a Félix Gordôn Ordaz ( s i c ) , " 6 January 1937.
30
armed rebe llion as means to stop "the destruction of c iv ilization ."*®
Mexican bishops did in s t ru c t th e i r p r ies ts to o ffe r prayers for
peace and l ib e r ty in Spain, and sent a message of sympathy and
support fo r the Spanish clergy in 1937.
Continued Support fo r the Republic
Despite in te rnational c r i t ic ism and tenuous support a t
home, the Mexican government continued to support the Republic.
In February 1937, the Republicans asked fo r food and gasoline ,
which were to be exchanged for crude o il th a t the Spanish govern­
ment purchased before the war and was no longer able to re fine
because the re f in e r ie s were in the hands of the insurgents.
Mexico immediately sent 15,000 sacks of chick peas and lim ited
amounts of o ther food, including sugar and f lo u r . Although Mexico
agreed in p rincip le to exchange the crude o i l fo r gasoline, th is
exchange was impossible because the B ritish re f ine ry in Tampico
refused to supply the Loyalists on the grounds of the Nonlnter- ?ovention Pact.
In March, the Mexican government sent a large shipment of
arms worth $1,791,166 to the Republican government. Part of the
shipment orig inated in Mexico and part was bought in Czechoslovakia
*®Powell, Mexico and the Spanish Civil War, p. 111.
^®Archivo, "La Secre taria de Relaciones Exteriores a de Negri," I I I 1510 (46) 37/1, 16 February 1937; "Valencia a la Secre­ ta r ia de Relaciones E xteriores," I I I 1510 (46) 37 /lb , 5 February 1937.
31
with Republican funds through Mexican contacts. The arms included
r i f l e s , ammunition, grenades, machine guns, and a few large
a r t i l l e r y p ieces . Several hundred thousand kilos of Mexican 21sugar accompanied the weapons.
On September 1, 1937, President CSrdenas told the Mexican
Congress th a t Mexico had sold more than eight million pesos worth 22o f arms to Spain in the p ast year. He noted that Mexico had
c le a r ly defined h e r pos it ion in the League of Nations and r e i t e r ­
a ted her b e l i e f t h a t a id ing the legitim ate, elected government of
Spain conformed to c u rre n t in te rnational law and the tenets of
the Pact o f th e League. Reaction to the speech was generally
favorab le . Deputy José CantQ Estrada stated that Mexico's
po licy toward Spain was " insp ired by a lofty sense o f humanity"
and o th e r deputies a lso spoke in favor of the President's
a c t io n s .
CSrdenas* agreement not to s e l l arms purchased in the
United S ta te s to Spain e l i c i t e d a negative response in a t le a s t
21 Archivo, "de Negri a la Secretaria de Relaciones
E x te r io re s ." I l l 1510 (46) 37/1, 7 March 1937.
^^Smith, Mexico and the Spanish Republicans, p. 190; "Tercer informe de gobierno de L&zaro Cfirdenas," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de México, éd ., Mëxico y la Repûblica Espahola, pp. 39-40.
^^"Contestaciôn de diputado José Cantû Estrada al te rce r informe de gobierno de Lâzaro Cârdenas," quoted in Centro Repübli- cano Espafiol de México, é d . , Mëxico y la Repûblica Espafiola, p. 40,
32
one Instance. Soon a f t e r the agreement was announced the head
of the Mexican Air Force, General Roberto F ierra V illa lobos ,
reported ly resigned when CSrdenas refused to ship a load o f
previously-purchased United S tates planes to the Republican 24government.
A fter 1937 Mexican arms shipments to Spain slowed because
o f th e Mexican agreement with the United S ta tes and the embargo
imposed by the nations of western Europe. This embargo closed
many arms markets to the Mexican government and forced o f f i c i a l s
to obtain weapons in eas te rn Europe and elsewhere in Latin America,
but when the Republican government bought arms in Bolivia they
were shipped to Spain through Vera Cruz. Mexico a lso acted as an
intermediary in several small shipments which o rig ina ted in 25easte rn Europe, e sp ec ia lly Czechoslovakia.
Although the CSrdenas government put no impediments in
the way of Mexican c i t iz e n s who wished to volunteer fo r se rv ice
in Spain, no more than 200 Mexicans ac tu a lly served in the
Republican Amy during the war. Most of these men became o f f ic e rs
in the In terna tional Brigades: units composed of in te rn a tio n a l
volunteers from Europe and the Americas th a t played a decisive
^*New York Times. 4 June 1937, p. 11, co l. 4; Smith, Mexico and the Spanish Republicans, p. 195.
^®"Carta de Lâzaro Cfirdenas a Is id ro Fabela," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de Mëxico, é d . , Mëxico y la Repûblica Espafiola. pp. 50-51.
33
ro le in several major b a t t l e s , including the defense o f Madrid.^®
Some Mexicans who wished to volunteer to a id the Republican army
were discouraged by the cost o f t ran sp o r ta t io n to Spain. In
August 1936 a group of Mexican c i t iz e n s organized under the name
"legiôn Mexicana" applied to the Spanish Embassy fo r t ra n sp o r t .
When the Spanish government asked Mexico fo r i t s consent the
response was cool and the embassy re lu c ta n t ly withdrew Spanish
support fo r the p ro je c t . The men were forced to make th e i r own
is 28
27way to Spain. There I s a lso evidence th a t a fiew Mexicans served
with the rebel fo rces .
Experts d i f f e r on the un its in which Mexican volunteers served. Verle B. Johnston, Legions o f Babel : the In te rna tiona l Brigades In the Spanish Civil War [U niversity Park. Pennsylvania: S ta te University T r e s s , 1965), pp. 28-32, s ta te s th a t most sources in d ic a te th a t the Mexican so ld ie rs served in the In te rna tio na l Brigades. Thomas Powell, Mexico and the Spanish Civil War, pp. 103- 109, be lieves th a t most published information is inaccura te ( inc lud­ ing the memoirs o f Spanish Ambassador Fëlix Gordôn Ordfis) and th a t most Mexicans served in the regu lar Spanish u n i ts . An a r t i c l e pub­ lished in Excelsior on 3 August 1937 s ta te s th a t several Mexican cadets who d eser ted th e i r un its and t r i e d to go to Spain to f ig h t with the Republicans were court m artia led and dishonorably d i s ­ charged fo r deserting . Several o f the cadets did f ig h t in Spain, but a t t h e i r own expense.
^^Archivo, "La embajador de Mëxico a Eduardo Hay," I I 1/764 / I , 13 August 1936.
^®In a l e t t e r w rit ten on 13 August 1936, de Pujades w rites as a rep re sen ta t iv e of La Junta de Defensa Nacional housed in the Spanish Embassy. He warned Eduardo Hay th a t the insurgents would consider any serv ice by Mexican c i t iz e n s on behalf o f the Republi­ can government to be a "d isgrace". He a lso warned th a t the Junta "would find i t d i f f i c u l t " not to "contain the eagerness" o f Mexicans who want to serve with the in su rgen ts ' fo rces . Archivo, de Pujades a Eduardo Hay," 13 August 1936; E xce ls io r , 29 Ju ly 1936.
34
Mexico Welcomes Spanish Refugees
In addition to m il i ta ry a id , Mexico accepted two groups
o f Spanish refugees during the war. The rebels con tro lled major
areas of Spain by 1937, Including Cfidiz, S e v il le , Toledo, and
Bajadoz. In the Republican-held areas supp lies were o ften short ,
and c iv i l ia n s were pressed in to se rv ice as s o ld ie r s , nurses, or
support personnel. Because o f the constant th re a t of danger, the
Spanish government decided to evacuate severa l thousand orphans
and children whose parents were involved in the war to fr iend ly
nations such as Russia and Mexico. Of th e s e , about 450 were
taken to Mexico. They were housed in a converted monastery in 2Q
Morelia fo r the duration of the war.
The response of the Mexican people to th is f i r s t group of
refugees was supportive, but there were major d ifferences of
opinion concerning the way in which the ch ild ren should be reared
during th e i r stay in Mexico. Many members o f the old Spanish
colony in Mexico, who otherwise did not support th e Republic,
wanted to adopt the children and rear them according to th e i r
national heritage. Mexican supporters o f the Republic a lso wanted
to take the children in to th e i r homes so th a t they could be
reared in a family sympathetic to the Idea ls fo r which th e i r
parents were figh ting or had d ied. However, fo r a number of
New York Times. 31 October 1939; "Los nifios espafiol e s ," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de México, é d . , Mëxico y la Repûblica Espafiola, pp. 32-34.
35
reasons, Including the f a c t th a t I t was impossible to determine
whether or not some of th e children were a c tu a l ly orphans and
the d i f f ic u l ty in determining which homes would be b es t fo r the
children, the Mexican government decided to keep the ch ildren in
a group. They were housed in Morelia in a home s ta f fe d by
Mexican teachers and counselors. According to P a t r ic ia Fagen,
they were "educated in the ideals fo r which th e i r parents were 3Dfighting and in a completely Mexican environment." By 1943,
most of the children had e i th e r graduated from the school, or
were reunited with th e i r fam ilie s , and the home was c losed.
In July 1938 President Cfirdenas signed the decree 31establishing La Casa de Espafia. This decree allowed Spanish
in te l le c tu a ls , who were no longer able to work in t h e i r own country
due to the disruptions o f the war, to emigrate to Mexico. La
Casa de Espafia was funded e n t i r e ly by the Mexican government and
designed to be a temporary home f o r eminent Spanish scholars who
supported the Republic and had already been moved from the war
zone to Valencia by the Spanish government fo r p ro tec tion .
In a mutually advantageous plan, Daniel Cosio Villegas
and Wenceslao Roces, the Subsecretary of Education in the
Republican government, arranged fo r these scholars to come to
30 cans in
Patr ic ia W. Fagen, Exiles and C itizens : Spanish Republi- Mexico (Austin: University o f Texas Press, 1973), p. 27.
®*Cos1o Villegas, Memories, pp. 178-79.
36
Mexico as "cu ltu ra l ambassadors" o f Spain. Unlike the treatm ent
accorded most ambassadors, Mexico agreed to pay fo r t h e i r t r a n s ­
po rta t ion and upkeep. The Mexico government re ta ined the r ig h t to
determine how long the "ambassadors" would remain in Mexico. In
re tu rn fo r a place to work, the scholars were obliged to teach a t
Mexican u n iv e rs i t ie s and to give specia l lec tu res and c lasses a t
La Casa de Espafia, which was e s tab lish ed in Mexico C ity . In a l l ,
approximately 35 Spaniards came to Mexico under th is arrangement
during the Civil War.^^
In 1940, when i t became evident th a t the new head of the
Spanish government. General Francisco Franco, would not be e a s i ly
unseated, the c h a r te r o f La Casa de Espafia was rev ised . Renamed
El Colegio de Mëxico, i t was removed from governmental co n tro l .
A s tru c tu red teaching s t a f f o f Mexican and Spanish scholars was
hired to provide regu la r c la sses and a degree program. The co llege
was able to r e c r u i t outstanding in te l le c tu a l s from Mexico, Spain,
and Hispanic America; i t has since become one of the most
respected u n iv e rs i t ie s in Hispanic America.
When the Republican government disbanded the In terna tional
Brigades in l a t e 1938, Cfirdenas again agreed to accept a group of
refugees from the war. In an o f f i c i a l statement published in
E xce ls io r , a government spokesman s ta te d th a t Mexico would accept
those In te rna tiona l Brigade members no longer welcome in th e i r
S ^ Ib id ., pp. 169-178.
37
homelands "in accordance with the v i ta l i n t e r e s t s of the Spanish
people and to demonstrate before the League and the world Mexico's 33support fo r the Republic." Domestic p ressure , however, forced
the government to consider the former Brigade members on a case-by-
case b a s is , and a number o f app lican ts were denied admission to
Mexico.®*
President Cfirdenas was known fo r h is open po licy toward
p o l i t i c a l refugees. According to the Mexican p re s id e n t , p o l i t i ­
cal asylum was a basic human r ig h t th a t must be re sp ec ted , d e sp ite
c o n f l ic t in g ideologies. His in s is ten ce on the r ig h t o f p o l i t i ­
cal asylum, and the subsequent admittance o f the Spanish refugees
and Leon Trotsky, caused a number o f c o n f l ic t s w ith in the govern­
ment, even among Cfirdenas* supporte rs . Narciso Bassols refused
the ambassadorship to Spain as a r e s u l t o f Cfirdenas welcoming
Trotsky.®®
Mexico ac tive ly supported the Spanish Republic in the
League of Nations. She had only joined the League in 1931, but
her ambassadors quickly became known as outspoken proponents o f
the organization and i t s goals . For th i s reason, Cfirdenas
expected the League to support the Spanish Republic. For th i s
®®Excelsior, 17 January 1939.
®*Excelsior. 31 January 1939.
®®Powell, Mexico and the Spanish C iv il War, p. 162.
38
purpose, two o f Mexico's most ab le and respected diplomats, Is id ro
Fabela and Narciso Bassols, were sent to Geneva as ambassadors to
the League during the Spanish War.®®
In one of the early debates on the Spanish war in the
General Assembly, Bassols denounced the rebe llion of the Spanish
generals, the armed intervention of I ta ly and Germany, and the
"legal monstrosity" of the Nonintervention Pact. He ca lled on the
League to uphold Spain 's r ig h t to buy and import arms to save her- 37s e l f from in ternational agression. He s ta ted th a t Mexico's
position was based on the b e l ie f th a t the Spanish Republican govern­
ment was the legal representation of the Spanish people as expressed
in the e lec tions o f 1936. For th is reason, Mexico re jected the
nonintervention policy o f the Great Powers as being a denial of
leg itim ate means o f defense to a leg a lly constitu ted government
confronted with a m il i ta ry upris ing . Bassols argued th a t , according
to prevailing law and custom, Spain should be ab le to buy weapons
Narciso Bassols, former Secretary of the Treasury fo r CSrdenas, served as Ambassador to Great B rita in from 1935-1937, and as delegate to the League o f Nations in 1937, His re la tionsh ip with Cfirdenas was tenuous—he had been removed from the cabinet and sent to Europe because of his close re la tio nsh ip with North American lawyers who represented in te re s ts contrary to Mexico's, but he was well known and respected in Mexico. Bassols was a s o c ia l i s t with close t ie s to the s o c ia l i s t s and communists in Republican Spain. Isidro Fabela was Mexico's delegate to the International Court of Labor and the League of Nations from 1937- 1940, and gradually took over the post o f defending Spain in the League.
®^"Discurso pronunciado por el C. delegado de Mëxico en Ginebra," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de Mëxico, é d . , Mëxico y la Repûblica Espafiola, pp. 25-26.
39
and su p p lies needed to d e fea t the In su rgen ts . I f , fo r some reason,
i t was necessary to a c t a g a in s t In te rn a tio n a l custom, the action
should be th a t o f the League r a th e r than of a group o f nations *18ac tin g independently.
Such a c t iv e support o f the Spanish Republic caused several
na tions to accuse Mexico of in te rv e n t io n in Spanish a f f a i r s .
However, Cfirdenas defended Mexico's support of the Republic in the
League in a l e t t e r to Fabela in e a r ly 1937. The Mexican president
wrote t h a t Mexican a id to the Republic d id not con trad ic t the
p r in c ip le o f non in te rven tion , because to deny a id was, in fac t ,
i n d i r e c t a id to the re b e ls . Mexico's support o f the Republic was
" the lo g ica l r e s u l t o f the c o r r e c t In te rp re ta t io n of the doctrine
o f nonintervention."®®
In e a r ly March, Cfirdenas se n t a personal note to the
S ecre ta ry General o f the League s t r e s s in g Mexico's support for the
League and in te rn a t io n a l peace. The note strong ly denounced the
non in te rven tion po licy taken by several n a tio n s , e spec ia lly in the
face o f documented German and I t a l i a n a id to the Insurgents.
Cfirdenas s ta te d th a t the lack o f cooperation with the legally
c o n s t i tu te d a u th o r i t i e s in Spain was c ru e l ly prolonging the war
and increas ing the p o s s ib i l i ty o f a la rg e r in te rn a tio n a l co n fl ic t .
®*Ibid., pp. 25-26.
39"Carta de LSzaro Cfirdenas a Is id ro Fabela," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de Mëxico, é d . , Mëxico y la RepQfalica Espafiola, pp. 27-28.
40
He reminded the Secretary General th a t A r t ic le X of the Pact o f
the League made a c le a r de lin ea tio n between a cons titu t iona l
government t h a t was le g a l ly e n t i t l e d to receive a id and arms
and agressors who were due nothing.*®
When the League refused to a c t , Bassols ca lled fo r an
overhaul o f the organization o f the League to re s to re i t s in teg ­
r i t y and Independence. He s ta te d in a speech to the General
Assembly th a t
the powerlessness of the League of Nations to perform i t s primary and most dec is ive ta sk —which is of su s ta in ­ ing the in te g r i ty and enjoyment of t h e i r independence by the S ta te s composing i t , has led a l l o f us to recognize the need of rev is in g e x is t in g machinery; fo r whatever the causes o f f a i lu r e may have been, i t would be absurd to expect th a t i f we keep the same fac to r in play, r e s u l t s would tomorrow or the day a f t e r , in the face of a new c o n f l i c t , be any d i f f e r e n t to what they were b e fo re ,41
The request to overhaul the League was p o l i t e ly ignored by the
o ther member nations o f the League.
Continued Support of the Republic
Despite unen thusiastic in te rn a tio n a l response, Mexico
continued her uns tin tin g support of Spain in the League of Nations.
*®"Nota d ir ig id a a la Sociedad de la s Naciones con motivo del caso de Espafia," quoted in Centro Republicano Espafiol de Mëxico, é d . , Mëxico y Repûblica Espafiola. pp. 28-29.
**Mêxico, S ec re ta r ia de Relaciones E x te r io res , The Mexican Government in the Presence o f Social and Economic Problems (Mëxico: La S ec re ta r ia de Relaciones E x te r io re s , 1936], p. 20.
41
In response to a B ritish In i t i a t iv e to extend the Nonintervention
Pact to non-European s ta te s . CSrdenas sent a l e t t e r to the Secre­
ta ry of the League asking for cooperation with the legal au thori­
t i e s In Spain. He wrote
Mexico cannot admit tha t while she is being asked to lend her ass is tance In solving world problems, an attempt should be made to reduce the scope of her peacemaking action and to circumscribe European problems by a method which. I f successfu l, would undermine what Is l e f t of the foundations on which the League Is b u i l t , *2
On March 30. Mexico sen t a note to a l l the countries with
which she had re la t io n s , urging the termination of the Noninter­
vention Pact and requesting in ternational support fo r the Spanish
Republican government. Few nations responded favorably; only
Cuba and Guatemala agreed to send what aid they could. The
remaining nations were In d iffe ren t or h os ti le to Mexico's
request.
On the same day, Isid ro Fabela delivered a diplomatic
note to the Secretary General of the League which s ta ted th a t
"the government o f Mexico considers I t a duty, th a t I t may not
sh irk , to contribute by a l l means In i t s power to world peace,
and espec ia lly to work for the termination of the armed c o n f l ic t
4^Norman J . Padelford, International Law and Diplomacy In the Spanish Civil S t r i f e (New York: Yhe MacMillan Co., 1939), pp. 625-^6 .
^ V c h iv o , "The Mexican Note." I l l 1510 (46) "36'74050. 30 March 1937.
4 2
t h a t has fo r th e l a s t eight months a ffected the Spanish
Republic . .
On September 20, 1937, Ambassador Fabela addressed the
General Assembly on behalf of the Republic. He again s t re s se d the
leg a l re s p o n s ib i l i ty o f the League to a s s i s t Republican Spain
and decried th e policy of nonintervention which he s ta te d was
a id in g th e insurgents because the s ig na to r ies who signed the
Pact refused to acknowledge the fac t th a t Germany and I t a ly (who
had a lso signed the Pact) were ac tive ly a s s is t in g the Insurgen ts .
Fabela s ta ted th a t , according to the governments of Spain and
Mexico, the "only e ffec tiv e nonintervention In th i s case Is 4Bth e nonintervention o f the League of Nations."
In October Fabela went to Prague as the Mexican represen ta­
t i v e to the Council o f the In terna tional Labor Organization. While
In Prague, he met with the delegate from Czechoslovakia In an
a ttem pt to change the Czech government's recent decision not to
s e l l arms to the Spanish Republic. The rep resen ta tiv e from France
a ls o a ttended the meeting between Mexico and Czechoslovakia.
Although the diplomats were unable to make a commitment on behalf
o f t h e i r governments, the French delegate agreed to con tac t
^^Archlvo, " Is id ro Fabela a la Socledad de la Naclones," I I I 1510 (46) "36"/4050, no. 262, n .d .
^®"D1scurso pronunclado por el Lie. Is id ro Fabela en la se s lo n p lenaria de la XVIII asamblea de la Liga celebrado en Ginebra del 20 de septlembre de 1937," quoted In Centro Republlcano Espahol de México, é d . , Hëxico y la RepOblIca Espaflola. pp. 42-44.
43
French Prime Minister Leon Blum to suggest th a t France 's policy
toward Spain be revised and to urge cooperation with the government
of Czechoslovakia. The Czech represen ta tive a lso agreed to ask
his government to modify I ts policy and to send weapons to
Republican Spain.
By la te 1937, I t was obvious th a t Mexico was unsuccessful
In her attempts to terminate the Nonintervention Pact and convince
members o f the League o f Nations to support the Spanish Republic.
As the war progressed, the Republican government became Increas­
ingly Iso la ted . In l a t e 1937, France closed her Spanish border
fo r the fina l time to arms shipments to the Republic. In terna­
tional pressure on Spain became so strong by e a r ly 1938 th a t the
Loyalist government f in a l ly decided to dismantle the In terna tional
Brigades and send the volunteers home, so th a t the government
could not be accused o f promoting foreign In terven tion . However,
ne ither of these actions terminated the massive shipments of
personnel, weapons, and supplies from Germany and I ta ly th a t
continued to pour Into Spain to help the rebe ls .
The Rebels as Belligerents
General Franco and o ther rebel leaders wrote the Secretary
General o f the League and a number of nations requesting the
"Carta de Fabela a Cârdenas," quoted In Centro Republlcano EspaRol de México, éd., Mëxico y la RepOblIca EspaRola, pp. 46-48,
44
s ta tu s of b e l l ig e re n t In November 1936. Mexico Immediately opposed
the granting o f such s t a tu s , which would have given the Insurgent
forces c e r ta in r ig h ts under In te rna tiona l law. Including the
r ig h t to buy arms. In Ju ly 1937 the Nonintervention Committee
approved a proposal under which be lligerency would have been
recognized by a l l p a r t ie s o f the Nonintervention Pact. This pro­
posal e l i c i t e d vehement denunciations from Ambassador Fabela.*^
I t was never accepted by the League because I t required the
approval o f both p a r t ie s Involved In the Spanish war.
At the Eighth Conference of American S ta te s In 1938, Cuba
proposed th a t the conference o f f e r I t s e l f as a mediator in the
Spanish c o n f l ic t . Mexico had e a r l i e r re jec ted a s im ila r . I f less
formal proposal, made by Uruguay. However, the Mexican represen­
ta t iv e voted a ff irm a tiv e ly a t the conference on the Cuban propo­
s a l , adding a rese rva tio n th a t I f the proposal was approved I t
would not s ig n ify th a t Mexico recognized the b e l l ig e re n t s ta tu s
of the rebels.^® Although the reso lu tio n was adopted, the confer­
ence was not ab le to a c t as a mediator In the war because of
the Spanish government's re luc tance to accept mediation.
Controversy over Diplomatic Asylum
Despite the generally exce llen t re la t io n s between Mexico
Is id ro Fabela, Cartas a1 President CSrdenas (Mexico: n .p . , 1937), p. 42.
*®Padelford, In te rna tiona l Law and Diplomacy, pp. 116-117.
45
and Spain during the war, a disagreement over diplomatic asylum
caused a s t r a in In the re la tions between the two cou n tr ies . In
accordance with In ternational custom and the 1928 Pan American
Treaty, Mexico and fourteen other countries gave asylum to hun­
dreds of Spaniards in t h e i r embassies in Spain. Most of these
asylees were conservatives who had not supported the Republic
and feared th a t they would be Imprisoned by the Republican govern­
ment for th e i r views. A fter the f i r s t months of the war, the
number of asylees grew so large tha t several nations rented addi­
tional buildings to house those persons who requested asylum.
The Spanish government Insisted th a t , in the case of
a m ili ta ry uprising , the r ight o f asylum did not apply and
requested th a t a l l the asylees be turned over to Spanish a u th o r i­ ng
t i e s . Because Spain was not a signatory to a t re a ty guarantee­
ing diplomatic asylum, she refused to recognize the righ t o f
foreign nations to p ro tec t opponents of the government. In addi­
t io n , many of the nations that provided asylum supported the
Insurgents. Alvarez del Vayo s ta te s th a t some of these nations
may have abused the p rinc ip le of asylum by allo