International Law and Diplomacy in the Spanish Civil Strife

By Norman J. Padelford; Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College. | Go to book overview
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CONCLUSIONS
Reviewing the events of 1936-1938, in connection with the conduct of diplomatic and consular relations between Spain and the foreign states, these conclusions are suggested:
1. The foreign Powers were legally warranted in removing their ambassadors and ministers from Spanish territory and in establishing temporary quarters, with French sanction, at Hendaye and St. Jean de Luz, when the course of hostilities in Spain became such as to endanger their lives and safety and when the Spanish Government became unable to provide them adequate protection and communication facilities. This withdrawal did not involve a rupture of friendly or diplomatic relations with Spain, the more so since the embassies and legations at Madrid were kept open regularly, and business transacted with the Spanish Government through responsible junior diplomatic officials.
2. The foreign Powers were entitled to commence and to carry on informal relations with the insurgents when the latter obtained possession of a large portion of the territory of Spain, established responsible government, and when the exigencies of warfare required representations to be made to them. The opening of liaison or consular offices in insurgent territory for these purposes implied no rupture of diplomatic relations with the established government, or recognition of the insurgent authorities as the de jure government of Spain.
3. No requirement of international law forbade the German, Italian, and other governments to terminate their official relations with the Spanish Government at Madrid, or to recognize the insurgent authorities as the de jure government of Spain, as they did in November, 1936, as noted in Chapter I. Such action was patently unfriendly to Madrid and the latter was entitled by international law to regard the act not only as unfriendly, but as hostile, if it chose to do so, in view of the premature nature of the recognition. Without question there was intervention in the internal affairs of Spain by German and Italian subjects and officials, in excess of the allowances of international law. Although such procedure was regarded by the Spanish Government as "aggression" and as acts of war, there is

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