No. 72 NAI DFA 219/2

Confidential report from Leopold H. Kerney to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Madrid, 16 November 1939

Reception by Franco's Wife

Further to my report of 13th November,1 the reception on 15th November was attended by the wives of the German and Belgian Ambassadors and by those of 7 Ministers. Tea was served at three tables – Sra. de Franco with Germany, Belgium and Holland at one, a Spanish lady (Marquesa de Clenzia) with Ireland, Hungary and Norway at a second, and another Spanish lady with Uruguay, Paraguay and Cuba at the third. There were two empty seats, the wife of the Greek Minister having fallen ill at the last moment, and the American Ambassadress being absent for some unknown reason.

The Italian Ambassadress and the wives of the Egyptian, Turkish, Roumanian and Yugoslavian Ministers are not in Madrid at present. You will notice that only neutral States were represented as well as Germany; the Norwegian Ministress ascertained from the Protocol that there was to be a second similar reception to which the British and French Ambassadresses &c. would be invited.

At Mrs. Kerney's table, the Norwegian spoke her opinions openly, said that she had no longer any sympathy for the Germans and laid much blame on Germany, who she said had turned everyone against her. The Hungarian (wife of a General) said Hungary was very uneasy, but hoped her neutrality would be respected by Germany to whom she supplied much food. The Marquise de Clenzia's sympathies seemed to be similar, but she was more reserved. The Uruguayan was also critical of Germany.

The reception lasted from 5 p.m. till 6.30 p.m.

The Norwegian Ministress, who has lived for many years in Spain and has many friends here, told Mrs. Kerney on the way home (they were in the same car) that she was much disillusioned and 'désabusée' by the present state of affairs here, where, she said, they were copying German methods in their treatment of prisoners and suspects as well as in other ways; she thought the Diplomatic Corps were badly treated and objected to no special arrangements being made for providing them with foodstuffs, coal etc. This lady used to be ardently pro-Franco and her husband did his very best to induce his Government to recognise latter at an early stage.

1 Not printed.

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