By David J. Dunthorn
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Additional resources for Britain and the Spanish Anti-Franco Opposition, 1940–1950
39 Clearly, British interest in the military conspiracies of those years reﬂected more a preoccupation with Britain’s wartime vulnerability than any genuine commitment to the monarchist cause. The fact that the generals involved were monarchist was, to a large extent, coincidental. Nor was Britain ever called upon to honour the pledges given in the autumn of 1942. Foreign Ofﬁce caution over supporting the Spanish monarchists was one of the few issues which led to differences between it and Britain’s Ambassador to Spain.
42 In fact, the furthest the monarchist generals were prepared to go in the autumn of 1943 was to send a collective letter to Franco on 15 September. This, though, amounted to no more than a mildly worded petition which respectfully asked him to consider whether the time had not yet come to grant Spain a monarchy. 43 In fact, the letter was the last serious monarchist challenge to Franco from his generals. As Germany’s military defeat came closer, apprehension over Franco’s proAxis sympathies was replaced by uncertainty over the Allies’ plans for Spain and the alarming possibility of a republican restoration.
23 For much of the war period there was no discernible change in the British government’s relations with Negrín and the London based émigré opposition. Yet, in late 1944, as policy towards Franco Spain was reappraised, its attitude softened. In August Negrín had requested an exit permit to visit Mexico and the USA and this was granted. Then in October Negrín asked for permission to travel to Paris before his voyage to the USA. Eden now objected on the grounds that Negrín’s presence in France would probably have a ‘disturbing effect’ on the Spanish element there, which in turn was likely to cause alarm in Spain and so strengthen Franco’s position.