Freda Kirchwey to Eleanor Roosevelt

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Freda Kirchwey to Eleanor Roosevelt

11 December 1946 [New York City]

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt:

Thank you very much for your letter of December 4. I regret that this has been my first opportunity to answer it in any detail because of preoccupation with many matters, not the least of which has been the Spanish situation.

I am glad that you agree that to call on the Spanish people to hold a free election—ignoring completely the facts of their virtual imprisonment—is a "futile gesture." In fact it is an ironical and even brutal gesture.

I am glad to see in today's papers that the American delegation has finally agreed to support the resolution which passed the Political and Security Committee, which calls for withdrawal of Ambassadors from Madrid and keeping the case within the purview of the United Nations.10 While this does not meet the situation in its entirety, at least it is an advance.

I may tell you that the most distressing aspect of the whole development has been not simply the American resolution, feeble in itself, but the attitude of Senator Connally, which has been most unworthy of that of the spokesman for a great democracy.11 And it has been distressing too to hear deputies for the American delegation express their approval in subcommittee of the proposals of the Colombian and Cuban delegations for a negotiated settlement with Franco, the Falange and the Spanish Republicans as co-partners.12 As one of the delegates put it: "Would Norway have agreed to negotiate with Quisling;13 or France with Petain;14 or The Netherlands with De Mussert;15 or Belgium with Degrelle?"16

Since the United States delegation has constantly stated in the present deliberations its belief that Franco is the creature of the Axis, it is totally incomprehensible to me why the same procedures which have been applied to other puppet regimes could not be equally applied to Franco. Surely you agree that if all the United Nations jointly would tell Franco that he must go, there would be no question of his disappearance, without implying at any point—as Senator Connally has—that to oust him would mean the employment by the United Nations of armed force.

I am still afraid that there are those in our State Department who, recognizing that Franco must go, are thinking in terms of replacing him with a regime which differs little in its general purposes from its predecessor. And I am hopeful that you will be on the watchout to prevent such action.

What you say concerning Senator Vandenberg's position is very interesting. I have tried to see him on several occasions, but unfortunately without success. Nor have my letters to Secretary Byrnes been even acknowledged thus far.

With kind regards,

                                    Cordially yours,

                                    Freda Kirchwey

TLS AERP, FDRL

ER responded by dictating the following note to her secretary and instructing her to forward a copy of the fourth paragraph of Kirchwey's December 11 letter to Secretary Byrnes and Durward Sandifer.