No. 318 NAI DFA 19/93

Extracts from a confidential report from Leopold H. Kerney to
Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Madrid, 4 February 1936

With reference to your minute 19/93 of 28th January regarding Spain's external policy,1 pending the issue of the forthcoming general election the Spanish Government is not likely to modify in any way the present policy of:

1. Fidelity to the League of Nations.

2. Neutrality.

Any conflict between these two guiding principles will no doubt be left over to be solved by a post-election Government, if time permits.

It is not probable that any change will be made meanwhile in the representation of Spain at Geneva.

[matter omitted]

If Gil Robles2 and the Right parties form the next Government, their policy will be

1. A stronger army and a stronger navy.

2. A firmer attitude in all international questions where Spanish prestige may be at stake.

So much is certain. There would probably be a tendency, however, to take a less prominent part in the League of Nations, and Se?de Madariaga might either be instructed accordingly, or replaced. Their policy of prestige would require that Spain should arm herself so as to defend her neutrality, and an attempt would be made to make the Balearic Isles less vulnerable than at present.

If Azana3 and the Left parties are to form the next Government, the tendency will be to cooperate closely with the League of Nations, but still to remain neutral if possible. If the necessity arose, England would probably have no difficulty, with or without Spain's consent, in making use of the Balearic Isles, if she so wished. Spain would not embark on a policy of prestige and would concern herself more with internal problems.

The elections take place on 16th February and 1st March. They may very conceivably create a position of confusion and strife, akin to civil war, in which case Spain would have no effective voice in international affairs.

[signed] L.H. Kerney
Aire Lán-Chómhachtach

1 Not located

2 José Maria Gil Robles (1898-1980), co-founder of Spanish political party, CEDA, Spanish Minister of War, supported National Army in Spanish Civil War, went into exile after Spanish Civil War, returned to Spanish politics during the 1960s.

3 Manuel Azaña (1880-1940), Spanish Minister of War in first government of the second Republic, Prime Minister (1931-33), President of Spain (1936-39).

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