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Fascists, Colonial Despots
in New Imperialist Line-Up

(28 March 1949)

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 13, 28 March 1949, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Among the fascist dictatorships and colonial despotisms that American imperialism is lining up or has already lined up in its military alliance for the “defense of democracy” in a third world war, are Spain, Portugal and Holland.

Fascist Spain, where daily executions of opponents of Franco’s regime continue ten years after the Civil War, has not yet been formally invited to join the “democracies” in preparing war against the Soviet Union. But it won’t be long.

Secretary of State Dean Acheson, in his press conference on the Atlantic Pact, gave a strong intimation that the United States will seek to include Spain in the alliance. In reply to a question on Spain, he emphasized that the present parties to the pact “may invite any country with certain qualifications,” and that the section of the pact describing the “democratic” qualifications for membership “wasn’t a bar.”

Policy Shift

More explicitly, Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk on March 12 indicated to a meeting of the American Association for the United Nations that the State Department is moving for a major shift in policy toward Spain. “He strongly implied that the United States will give vigorous support to a move at the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly to repeal the anti-Franco resolution, of 1946.” (Christian Science Monitor, March 16.) Rusk “made it clear, that many of his official associates frowned on any continuation of the world organization’s anti-Franco policy as an unrealistic program ... that officials in Washington believed that Madrid’s Nationalist regime no longer Constituted a threat to the peace of the world.” (N.Y. Times, March 13.)

It is obvious that as soon as the U.S. State Department can effect a UN whitewash of Franco, he will be the honored recipient of an invitation to accept money and arms from the United States to bolster his shaky regime and provide another military base for the planned assault on the Soviet Union.

Meanwhile, Wall Street has already anticipated Washington’s approval and support of Franco through the private loan of $25 million recently extended him by the Chase National Bank, with other loans under negotiation. This is a risk no American bank would take without the certainty of Washington’s backing for the bankrupt Franco regime.

Another fascist dictatorship that has been every bit as bestial as Franco’s and, in fact, provided him with a model, has already been invited to join Washington’s war alliance. That is the clerical fascist regime of Dictator Salazar of Portugal.

Since 1926, when Salazar’s coup abolished the democratic parliamentary system, the Portuguese people have lived under the iron heel. The U.S. capitalist press has given little publicity to Salazar’s crimes – and Salazar has not gone in for the spectacle of public executions, as in Spain. As Del Vayo wrote in the March 12 Nation, “Portuguese rebels disappear more discreetly – doomed to a slow death on islands of which people outside of Portugal have never heard.”

Early this year, Salazar decided to put up enough of a show of “democracy” to give Washington a basis for justifying Portugal’s membership in the United .Nations and inclusion in the forthcoming Atlantic Pact. He permitted opposition to himself in an election for the first time in 23 years. The enormous response to the liberal opposition candidate, 82-year old General Norton de Mattos, so frightened Salazar that he “persuaded” Mattos to withdraw the day before the election. Del Vayo states that Salazar was so scared at first, he was preparing to retire, but was advised against this by the American embassy in Lisbon. “His friends in the embassy are said to have convinced him that this was no time for democratic experiments in a country of such great strategic importance to the Western powers,” reports Del Vayo.

Imperialist Holland, butcher of the Indonesian Republic, is an original member of the Atlantic Pact. Dutch officials have expressed their satisfaction with the pact, particularly that section which provides for U.S. aid to the signatory governments against internal revolutionary activity “inspired from outside.” A spokesman for Foreign Minister D.U. Stikker revealed that “Wide latitude purposely was given in the wording of this article ‘because you never know where danger will crop up’.” (N.Y. Times, March 19.)

The Dutch monarchy has already received or had earmarked for it more than $900 million in U.S. funds and arms under the ERP. Even the American capitalist press was forced to criticize the use of these funds for the bloody assault on Indonesia, particularly after the Dutch government renewed its war against the Indonesians fighting for national independence. Now the Dutch imperialists are the beneficiaries of a pact that assures them a great increase in American arms and the promise of direct military aid in the event of “attack” both from the outside and “internal revolution ... inspired from the outside.”

The inclusion of Holland in the pact, the invitation to Portugal, and the preparations to invite Spain are three clear tokens of the true aims of this new military alliance – an alliance not to bring peace and democracy to the world, but to crush it under capitalist dictatorship.

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