Alexander Weddell was our first ambassador to Nationalist Spain. Although the United States was officially neutral during nearly all the period of his mission, the danger that Spain, by joining the Axis in its war against Britain, would add immeasurably to the peril in which the free world found itself was never so great. Weddell worked persistently and with some effect to reduce that peril. Even a five-month period during which he was denied contact with Franco, and had no contact with Foreign Minister Serrano, proved to be the prelude to a rapidly improving relationship between Spain and the United States. It might even be said that Weddell won, in part, by losing, not an unprecedented phenomenon in diplomacy, where many things (and some persons) are far from being what they appear to be.
Weddell had been a career Foreign Service officer but he was not a career ambassador. He had retired after reaching consul general rank and had later been named ambassador following generous contributions to the Democratic party. A Virginian, son of an Episcopal clergyman, Weddell had mar-