United Nations

United Nations
   Spain was excluded from membership of the United Nations in 1945 because of Franco's support for the Axis powers during WWII. It was not long, however, before the attitude of the UN towards Spain was absorbed into the international diplomatic chess-game of the Cold War. Though Britain, the US and France wished to see Franco removed, they shrank from any action which might provoke another Civil War, especially since this could benefit Stalin, whom the western Allies suspected of plotting to destabilize Spain so as to draw it into the communist ambit. Though the French government decided to close the frontier with Spain in February 1946 in response to the executions of opponents of the Franco regime, Britain and the US would not agree to a proposal from France that the Spanish issue be discussed at the Security Council. Furthermore, a declaration issued by all three governments emphasized that there was no question of intervening in the internal affairs of Spain, and that the eventual removal of Franco would be a matter for the Spanish people. Thereafter the western Allies gradually withdrew support from the Republican opposition in exile.
   When the Security Council passed the question of Spain to the General Assembly, the UN was effectively signalling the end of any serious attempt to take effective action against Franco. The resolution agreed by the Assembly in December 1946 did not even call for economic sanctions. Though the resolution excluded Spain from all UN dependent organizations, and advocated that governments break off diplomatic relations, the main effect was to hand Franco an easy propaganda victory by enabling him to appear as the beleaguered victim of a Soviet-led international conspiracy, a stance which united large sections of the populace behind him. Simultaneously, however, the view was growing in US and British government circles that Franco, despite his rhetorical posturing, did indeed provide a useful bulwark against Soviet intentions in western Europe. In December 1947, the US chargé d'affaires in Madrid was instructed to adopt a more friendly attitude towards Spain. Three months later, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed interest in establishing military bases in Spain, and it was decided to include Spain in the Marshall Plan. In October 1950, the Special Ad Hoc Political Committee of the UN voted to rescind the resolution of December 1946, which cleared the way for the resumption of full diplomatic relations by member states. Two years later, Spain was admitted to UNESCO, and in 1953 the American bases agreement was concluded. Membership of the United Nations followed in 1955.
   Thereafter relations with the UN eased, to the extent that in 1966 resolutions sympathetic to the Spanish claim to Gibraltar were passed. The organization, however, was highly critical of the increased repression which marked the last years of the regime, and in 1975 heard a proposal from the President of Mexico, Luis Echevarría, that Spain should be expelled. With the advent of democracy, the situation was once more normalized, and by 1989 Spain was contributing troops to UN peace-keeping missions. By 1992, Spain had more officers serving under the UN flag than any other country in the world.
   See also: foreign policy
   Further reading
   - Preston, P. (1993) Franco, London: Harper Collins (a comprehensive index makes it easy to trace references to the United Nations through this very substantial volume).
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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