The following letters exchanged between General Francisco Franco and Benito Mussolini in August 1940.
Letter from Francisco Franco on 15 August 1940
MADRID, August 15, 1940
Chief of State and Generalissimo of the Spanish Army
Since the beginning of the present conflict, it has been our intention to make the greatest efforts in our preparations, in order to enter the foreign war at a favorable opportunity in proportion to the means at our disposal, since the lack of the most vital provisions and the interruption of communications with Italy and Germany hindered every operation at the moment.
The rapid and devastating victories in Flanders altered the situation; the defeat of France liberated our frontiers, lessening the grave tension which we along with our Moroccans have been bearing since our Civil War.
From this moment, our horizon became brighter, our operation became possible and could become very effective, once the difficulties of provisioning have been removed.
In this manner, upon the entry of your Nation into the war, we had to take a clearer stand, one of alertness, changing to one of non-belligerency, which, in the field of foreign affairs, could not fail to have great repercussions. This awakened jealousy and opposition, and unleashed an Anglo-American offensive against our provisioning, aggravated in these days by the new measures taken by the United States against our exports, and by the English blockade measures, causing grave tension in our relations with those countries.
The consequences, which the conquest of France is to have for the reorganization of the North African territories have made it advisable for me, now that the time has come, to charge my Ambassador in Rome with transmitting to Your Excellency the Spanish aspirations and claims traditionally maintained throughout our history in the foreign policy of Spain, today more alive than ever in our consciousness; to territories, whose present administration is a consequence of that Franco-English policy of domination and exploitation, of which Italy also bears so many scars. To the legitimate Spanish aspirations are added in this case the requirements for security necessitating the elimination of a weak and thinly protected frontier, and the assuring of our communications with the Canary Island group.
In this manner, Spain in addition to the contribution which she made to the establishment of the New Order, through our years of hard struggle, offers another in preparing herself to take her place in the struggle against the common enemies.
In this sense, we have requested from Germany the necessities for action, while we push forward the preparations and make every effort to better the provisioning situation as far as possible.
For all these reasons, you will understand the urgency in writing you, to ask your solidarity in these aspirations for the achievement of our security and greatness, while I at the same time assure you of our unconditional support for your expansion and your future.
With my greatest admiration for the brave Italian comrades who are fighting so gloriously, I send you my most cordial regards.
To His Excellency
Senor BENITO MUSSOLINI
Head of the Italian Government Italy.
Letter from Benito Mussolini on 25 August 1940
The Chief of Government and Duce of Fascism
ROME, August 25, 1940
To the Head of the Spanish Government
Generalissimo Don FRANCISCO FRANCO BAHAMONDE
I thank you for the letter which you have sent me, and in which you sketch the position of Spain in the present stage of the war.
I should like to make it clear to you at once, that your letter has not surprised me.
Ever since the outbreak of the war I have been constantly of the opinion that “your” Spain, the Spain of the Falange Revolution, could not remain neutral until the end of the war, but at the right moment would change to non-belligerency and finally to intervention.
Should that not happen, Spain would alienate herself from European history, especially the history of the future, which the two victorious Axis powers will determine.
Furthermore, she would have no moral justification for the solution of her African questions, and, let me say to you, a victorious revolution must set itself extreme goals of an international type, such goals, therefore, as can, at a given moment, require the complete attention and the total effort of a people.
It is clear to me that Spain, after three years of civil war, needed a long period of recuperation, but events will not permit it, and your domestic economic condition will not get worse when you change from non-belligerency to intervention.
I should like to say to you, dear Franco, that I, with these my practical considerations, do not wish to hasten you in the least in the decision that you have to make, for I am sure that in your decisions you will proceed on the basis of the protection of the vital interests of your people and am just as certain that you will not let this opportunity go by of giving Spain her African Lebensraum.
There is no doubt that after France, Great Britain will be defeated; the British regime exists only on one single element: the lie.
I certainly do not need to tell you that you, in your aspirations, can count on the full solidarity of Fascist Italy.
I beg you, dear Franco, to accept my most cordial and comradely greetings.
Article Courtesy: Avalon Project