All the books of the old Spanish hands are, in a sense, apologias. According to the authors none of them ever made a mistake, and that is true of Hayes as well as the others. It is also true of this deponent, of course. Carlton J. H. Hayes, as most of us know, was one of America's most widely read historians. I had studied his Political and Social History of Modern Europe in college and I expected him to be a doddering old man when he came to Spain, but in fact he turned a young sixty the day he and his family arrived in Madrid.
Hayes knew a great deal about Spain's history, but he had never visited the country and he did not speak Spanish. He was completely surprised when Sumner Welles invited him to Washington in the spring of 1942 and told him that president Roosevelt wanted to name him ambassador to Spain. At first he pleaded inadequacy, but Welles, and later the President himself, reassured him on that score and he agreed to accept the post. It was difficult to turn down the president's urgent request at such a critical time in the life of our nation.