The Berlin-Madrid-Buenos Aires Axis

Walter Winchell

St. Petersburg Times/March 4, 1944


Franco, the Fascist, expressed his opinion of the Four Freedoms very neatly one year after they were announced by Churchill and Roosevelt . . .  He simply wired Hitler: “The fate of the smaller European states, their freedom and their independence, does indeed depend upon a German victory.” When it became obvious after the Russian reverses that Hitler was not going to win, he decided to string along anyway—he had to! . . . From February to June, 1943, the Spanish gov’t was the principal advocate of a negotiated peace—at the direct bidding of Mussolini and Hitler.

This is why Franco has to “go along.” As early as December, 1939, 80,000 German tourists were in Spain. Since then the number has considerably increased . . . The German embassy alone has 200 employees . . . There are more German news correspondents in Madrid than all other countries combined. Of course they are not newspapermen, they are part of the German garrison, in civilian clothes . . . At the German embassy sits Hans Lazar, who has direct control of the Spanish press. He issues orders daily to the Franco regime, and they pass it on to the Spanish newspapers. On one occasion, before America entered the war, a Spanish paper indicated that the United States was a powerful factor. The editor was called to the German embassy, handed an article contradicting his previous statement, and ordered to run it  . . . Some countries take their complaints about the Spanish press direct to the German ambassador!

Franco, the Fascist, always bestows upon the German ambassador, at all public ceremonies, the place of honor. But there is another ambassador there who deserves it. That is the notorious appeaser, Sir Samuel Hoare, ambassador to Madrid from His Majesty’s government . . . How a fighter like Winston Churchill can brook such a tarnished appeaser anywhere near his government is one of the mysteries of the war. Hoare’s record as an enemy of democracy and friend of the Fascists goes back to 1935, when he sold out Ethiopia to Mussolini with that other shining light of honor—Pierre Laval. He underestimated his country’s conscience, however, and he had to step down from the office of foreign minister . . . Hoare is regarded as an enemy of every democratic force in Spain. It was Hoare who urged the United States to supply Franco with gasoline, wheat, meat, rubber and other products as far back as 1940! At a time when Britain’s crack regiments were up to their armpits in the waters of Dunkerque!

The British and American embassies in Madrid may have a right to adopt whatever attitude they wish toward the Fascist murderers; but they have absolutely no right to bargain with the welfare of American or British citizens . . . In the fall of 1941 the wife of a prominent American resident in Madrid was imprisoned for the “crime” of trying to leave the country with a sample of the sawdust bread Franco was feeding his people in lieu of the wheat he was sending to Hitler . . . The wife of an American bank official in Madrid was arrested because when a movie of Hitler was shown, the secret police thought they heard her hiss. Actually, she was only whispering to her children in an effort to keep them quiet during the show.

This unofficial antagonism is fully matched by the contemptuous official insults. In the spring of 1941 a gang of Falangists stoned the British embassy in Madrid, breaking a number of windows but not breaking Sir Samuel Hoare’s appeaser smile . . . A woman employee of the British embassy in Madrid, who should have been immune from arrest, was thrown into Franco’s dungeons for three days on unspecified charges. She was released on direct representation of the British foreign office . . . In the fall of 1940 the then American ambassador in Madrid, Alexander W. Weddell, was attacked by a gang of Falangist youths, who grabbed his arm and tried to force him to give the Fascist salute. When he escaped they threw stones at him and at the embassy, striking the emblem of the United States with stones and bottles. The American ambassador had previously informed Franco that the attack was coming. Franco did absolutely nothing about guards. Since that time he has received millions of dollars in all kinds of supplies—believe it or not—a part of our country’s war effort!

Hitler not only has a secret espionage and political army in Spain; he has an open industrial army . . . In one week Spain, which with Italy has almost a monopoly of the world’s mercury, shipped 150 tons to Germany. In one week Hitler has gotten 250 tons of cork. In one week shipments of lead from Franco to Hitler have run as high as 60 tons. Iron pyrites are crossing the Spanish border to Germany at the rate of 30 carloads per week. Olive oil has been particularly important to Hitler. German planes lubricated with olive oil have been shot down in Russia. . . .  Franco has sent Hitler more than 20 carloads of olive oil and 400 carloads of wheat in a single week. Franco has certainly opened a 2nd front!

The Axis spearhead in the Americas is run by Nazis Wilhelm von Faupel for Franco on direct German instructions . . . In the recent pro-Nazi revolution in Bolivia, Francisco Jose del Castillo, the Spanish Charge d’Affaires, and Jose Luis Aranguren, head of the Spanish Falange in Bolivia, acted with German agents in the country to promote and finance the revolution . . . Manuel Onos de Plandolit, present Spanish Charge d’Affaires in Panama, has been in close co-operation with the Germans since before America entered the war. Onos de Plandolit intervened successfully in having more than 30 Axis nationals released when Panama interned them. He is now boasting that his underground Falangist organization is directly responsible for political unrest in the Republic of Colombia.

When the last Spanish minister to Panama, the Duke de Bailen, was expelled for attacking democracy and the United States gov’t, a search of his baggage revealed a Nazi uniform! At present, this specimen is still in the western hemisphere as minister to El Salvador, where he continues his subversive activities . . . The former Spanish minister to Venezuela, J. A. Sangroniz de Castro, was a leading diamond smuggler for Hitler until he was kicked out of the country last year. When he left he carried diamonds worth $50,000.

It is time that these outrages were stopped. The American and British ambassadors would not feel so complacent about the supplies going to Franco if they had to take the place of the common soldiers, whose duty it is to take them away from Hitler . . . It may be legal and high diplomacy in an ambassador, but it’s just trading with the enemy in the eyes of the common man . . . And the common people of America and Great Britain would sooner see 20 ambassadors lose face than one fighting man his life.