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SPAIN: The gold of Spain

Christopher Jones says: "The investigations into the vanished gold reserves and Juan Negrín's role in their disappearance have been dominated by three historians: Angel Viñas (who now is working in Brussels), Pablo Martín Aceña and Francisco Olaya Morales. Pablo Martín Aceña's book disputes the claim by Hugh Thomas that the receipts for the gold were bequeathed to General Franco at Negrín's death. According to Martín Aceña, the receipts were found in a safety deposit box in a Paris bank, (if I am not mistaken.) It seems that the bullion was shipped from Spain as payment for Soviet military and humanitarian aid -- which is almost ludicrous, given the appalling conditions republican refugees had to endure when they crossed into France in 1939. But I find Luis Araquistaín's comment that Negrín's government was the most cynical and despotic in the history of Spain far more damning. Araquistaín was the republic's ambassador to France! From 1938 Negrín took over the defence ministry and appointed Communist Party members to positions all over the military apparatus, in particular Marcelino Fernández to head the Carabineros. In the same year Azaña tried to oust Negrín and was paid back when Negrín would not consent to allow Azaña's friend Cherif onto the plane which was to take them from France when the Nazis defeated French forces in 1940. The modern Socialist Party (PSOE) has been at times very cool toward the memory of Negrín. I recommend two books by the ex POUMista Francisco Olaya Morales: El Oro de Negrín and La Gran Estafa".

Ronald Hilton - 8/5/03