…the eventually, all dictators eventually lose the plot, today’s Telegraph is reporting Franco’s plans to invade Portugal after its peaceful revolution against the repression of Salazar’s Estado Novo.
Carlos Arias Navarro, the last Spanish prime minister to serve under Gen Franco, met with US officials to garner support for such a move, according to documents held in the American National Archive and made public on Monday.
The declassified documents, released to Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, revealed that Gen Franco’s government was “deeply concerned” by events across the border following the Carnation Revolution of April, 1974.
The event, a bloodless coup by the Left which effectively put an end to Portugal’s authoritarian regime and set the nation on the path to democracy, sparked fears that Gen Franco’s own regime could go the same way.
Mr Arias privately assured the Americans that “adequate precautions” were being taken to prevent “the events in Portugal from spilling over the Spanish border,” a report from the time claims.
Six months before Gen Franco’s death in November 1975 his prime minister met with the US deputy Secretary of State to express Spanish concerns and win backing for military intervention.
“Portugal posed a serious threat to Spain, not only because of the way the situation there was developing, but because of the foreign support it might ultimately receive, which could be hostile to Spain,” wrote diplomat Robert Ingersoll to the then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, in a report on the March 1975 meeting.
“Spain would fight the anti-communist battle alone if necessary,” he summarised. “But it hoped that it would have the cooperation and understanding of its friends, not only in the Spanish interest but in the interest of all who thought the same.”