9 MARCH

FOREIGN OFFICE OFFICIAL ADVISES BBC TO ‘GET PRO FRANCO IN OUR NEWS.’

One of numerous mass graves of Republicans executed by Franco’s forces. Mario Modesto Mata – CC License – via Wikimedia.

[ 9 March 1937 ]

Robert Vansittart, who served as Permanent Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1930 to 1938, has often been lauded for being a solitary voice within the establishment in opposition to Nazi Germany. However, he showed no unwillingness to support fascism wherever he thought it better suited British interests. John Reith, director general of the BBC, later recalled that, during a meeting on 9 March 1937, Vansittart explained that ‘he would like us to get pro-Franco in our news and even stop using the word insurgents.’1 Vansittart obviously didn’t think the word conferred significant dignity to Franco’s rebel forces who, only one month earlier, had massacred thousands of refugees fleeing the city of Malaga.

FOOTNOTES

  1. Peter Day, Franco’s Friends: How British Intelligence Helped Bring Franco to Power in Spain, Biteback Publishing 2012, London, p121.

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