Florentino Rodao

I  would   like  to  acknowledge  with  thanks   the  generous   financial   support  from  the  Toyota Foundation towards the research  on which  this article  is based,  as well as the Research  project award  CCG06-UCM/HUM-1048 from the Spanish government  (2006).  Some of the documentation  derives  from  unpublished chapters  of my PhD  dissertation, ‘Relations  between  Spain  and Japan,  1937–1945’ (Madrid, Universidad  Complutense, 1993).  Fukasawa Yasuhiro’s  comments and  help in obtaining bibliography have been instrumental to this work,  as have the comments from  anonymous  reviewers.  Responsibility   for  any  possible  mistakes,   however,   remains   the author’s.



After just one year of the Spanish Civil War,  the Marco  Polo Bridge Incident led to the Sino-Japanese  War, both  conflicts remaining  for two years as daily reminders of the world conflicts of the time. This article attempts to emphasize the importance of the coincidence in time of those conflicts in delimiting  each bloc,  especially  through  a  decision  that   was  particularly  divisive  for  the Japanese government, such as recognition of Franco’s rebel government  after the outbreak of the war in China.  Efforts by Japanese Foreign Minister  Hirota KÄki to avoid  a decision  that  would  further  Japan’s  pro-Axis  drift  show  the lines of division in the government. His maneuvers  progressively failed, includ- ing the November  1937 proposal for negotiations to include the recognition of Manchukuo, accepted  first by Franco’s Spain, later by Italy and finally by the Germans.  The  article  emphasizes  the  role  of  Italy  in  Asia,  the  reasons  for Spanish actions, and the aims of other key persons in this period, such as Prime Minister  Konoe,  the  postwar leader  Yoshida  Shigeru,  or  Ishihara  Kanji,  the officer who masterminded the 1931 invasion of Manchuria.



Japan’s invasion of China in 1937, like the invasion of Ethiopia two years earlier and the ongoing civil war in Spain, quickly provoked a response from the major powers.  It also created  special problems  for the principal  European dictators. Germany and Italy had taken a clear position on behalf of intervention in Spain, but initially continued good relations  with the governments of both China and Japan,  whereas  the Soviet Union,  which was intervening  on the opposite  side in Spain, was also an East Asian power  and faced the question  of equivalent intervention in  China   against  the  Japanese   invasion.   When  Franco’s  new Spanish Nationalist regime later requested recognition from Japan, its initiative both pointed  up the potential contradictions in the East Asian policies of Berlin and  Rome  and  posed  a  new  quandary for  Tokyo.  For  the  latter,  this  also involved  the  lingering  problem   of  the  international  recognition of  Japan’s puppet  state of Manchukuo, so far recognized only by El Salvador, the Vatican and Japan itself. The way in which these dilemmas were resolved would play a role in the eventual alignment of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

The twin issues of the recognition of Manchukuo and the mutual interaction of  the  contemporary struggles  in  China  and  Spain  have  largely  been  over- looked  by historians, who  tend  to  focus  on  the  direct  relations  of the  great powers.  Italian policy in East Asia has been generally ignored,  and along with it the limited impact  of the Spanish war in that region, together  with Franco’s request for recognition by Japan and Germany’s eventual abandonment of the Chinese Nationalist regime.-1

The  Japanese   government   followed   the  war  in  Spain  with  some  interest, though  it was a very secondary  issue. Relations  with the Spanish Republic had generally  been poor,  since the  latter’s  representative in Geneva,  Salvador  de Madariaga, had led the struggle for sanctions  by the League in condemnation of the Japanese  invasion of Manchuria, to the extent  of earning  the nickname ‘Don Quijote  of Manchuria’. Subsequently,  the victories  of the new Popular Fronts in Spain and France had raised the specter of a possible popular front in China,  as well, which would unite major forces against the Japanese.  In 1936, the military insurrection in Spain took place in the immediate  aftermath of the abortive Japanese military coup of February 1936, raising a certain note of apprehension in Tokyo. Japan at first simply tried to gather information about the situation in the Iberian  peninsula.  An American  diplomat judged the atti- tude  of the  Japanese  press  to  the  Spanish  conflict  as ‘studiously  neutral  in tone’. When the magazine  KaizÄ (‘Reconstruction’) organized  a debate  about the issue, most participants analyzed  the limited data  available  and tended  to focus on Great  Britain’s concern  to maintain control  of Gibraltar, which was frequently  the only name to appear  on Japanese  maps of Europe  covering the Iberian peninsula.  The only participant to offer a personal  opinion  sided with the Republican government, on the grounds  of its legitimacy,  and speculated about  the difficulties for the British empire if the ‘revolutionaries’ (in this case referring  not  to  the  leftist  revolutionaries but  to  the  counter-revolutionary rebels) won.-2

The  increasing   internationalization  of  the  Spanish  war   was  helpful  to Japanese  policy  in  several  ways:  it  focused  attention on  Western  Europe, diverted  potential arms  exports  from  China,  and  diverted  British  attention from Asia. Similarly, Soviet involvement  in Spain, combined  with the effort to come to terms  with  France,  also diverted  Soviet attention from  Asia. Within the Japanese government, however, various ministries revealed somewhat divergent interests.-3

For the Japanese  foreign  ministry,  the Spanish  war  long remained  remote, the only pressing  problem  at first being the fact that  the head of the Spanish legation in Tokyo, Santiago Méndez de Vigo, swore allegiance to the insurgent cause,  raising  problems  of protocol. ‘What  should  be done  with  Méndez  de Vigo if a garden-party is organized?’ mused a French diplomat in Tokyo.  The possibility of Japanese recognition of Franco was raised, however, by Tokyo’s signature  of Hitler’s  Anti-Comintern Pact  in November  1936.  At that  time Foreign  Minister  Arita  HachirÄ  (following  Japanese  usage,  the  family  name comes first) informed  the Privy Council  that the Spanish war provided  further evidence  of  the  Soviet  Union’s  efforts  to  subvert  other  countries,   but  the Japanese  government   nonetheless  did  not  seriously  consider  recognition of Franco, and the foreign ministry limited its response to canvassing other governments about  their own views. –4

The interest  of Japanese  army  leaders in Spain was more  noteworthy. The semi-autonomous Kwantung Army in Manchukuo, facing the  Soviet Union, was concerned to collect information, especially after the extent of Soviet inter- vention  became  clear.  The  embassy  in  Paris  dispatched   Captain  Nishiura Susumu, ostensibly to learn about  German  tactics, but in fact he concentrated on studying Soviet and anti-Soviet weapons,  visiting several fronts with a par- ticular  interest  in gathering  data  on the T-26  tank,  the basic Red Army tank (some of which were also being sent to China), and also of the improvised  anti- tank  device created  by the  Spanish  Nationalists, which,  several  years  later, after  the Finnish  war,  would  become  internationally known  as the ‘Molotov cocktail’. A second mission by two Japanese officers assigned to the embassy in Rome also visited Spain and focused on Soviet weapons,  but went well beyond their  mission  by expressing  their  support for the Nationalists and  their  hope that Japan would soon recognize the Franco  government. -5

These divergent  attitudes reflected  differences  within  the Japanese  govern- ment and underlined  the weak position  of the foreign ministry. The ‘Shidehara policy’, which emphasized  cooperation with western  powers  and conciliation with  China,  was increasingly  challenged  by the military.  The perennial  criti- cism  of  the  foreign  ministry  as  representative of  the  ‘old  politics’  became stronger  after  the  Japanese  military  successes in Manchuria after  September 1931. Diplomats were accused of undermining Japan’s true interests;  of being reluctant to  cooperate with  other  institutions; of returning from  long  stays abroad as  semi-foreigners;  and,  finally,  of  not  focusing  on  China,  the  key strategic zone. Criticism mounted further  after the ministry’s chief spokesman, Shiratori Toshio, spoke publicly in favor of military attacks in Manchuria, opposing  the official stance of his ministry.  As a result, the government  began to give some international tasks to other  ministries,  while independent offices outside  the foreign ministry  were set up in China  and elsewhere.  By the time the war broke out in Spain, military initiatives had begun to infringe more and more  on Japanese  diplomacy,  leading  amongst  other  things  to the signing of Hitler’s Anti-Comintern Pact, as well as to the independent military  missions to Spain. Such interests also promoted the visit to Germany  in September 1936 of Prince Chichibu,  younger brother of Emperor  Hirohito.-6

During  1937,   however,  a  new  government   headed  by  General  Hayashi SenjõrÄ seemed to pull back from closer relations  with Germany  and steered policy toward the Spanish war firmly into line with the objectives of the Non- Intervention Committee of the League of Nations. Moreover, in March  1937 a sometime   language   instructor  in  Osaka,  José  Luis  Alvarez  Taladriz,   was appointed by the Spanish Republican government  as a new Chargé  d’Affaires there. This nonetheless failed to solve the issue of protocol in the Spanish lega- tion, because those Spanish diplomats who supported Franco — with the assistance  of the Italian  embassy  — managed  to keep Alvarez Taladriz  from entering the premises, and the Japanese police refused to interfere. The Spanish Nationalist representatives concentrated their  work  on  the  Tokyo  legation, closing  the  consulate  general  in  Kobe  (it  would  not  be  reopened  until  the 1990s),  keeping their doors  locked and removing external  signs of identity  on their building  while patrolling its garden  with guard  dogs. After two months, however,  the  Francoist  diplomats began  to  run  out  of funding  and  sought to  negotiate,  demanding payment  of 94,000 Yen in accumulated salaries,  a guaranteed Japanese government  loan and return  tickets to Spain.-7

When  the  fighting  flared  in  north   China   in  July,  the  militant   Chinese response  surprised  the Japanese.  The Chinese  government’s  abandonment of its long-standing slogan,  ‘First internal  pacification, then external  resistance’, to concentrate on national resistance rendered  obsolete the initial Japanese intention of limiting the zone of conflict to north  of the Yellow River.

To Francisco  José del Castillo,  the only Francoist  representative remaining in Tokyo, war in China was a blessing. His relations  improved  with the forma- tion of the new government  led by Konoye Fumimaro  and its foreign minister Hirota KÄki, who had signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. The conflict in China would soon lead the new government  to re-examine its policy toward Spain, its major concern being the reaction  of the western powers to the new war in East Asia. The initial responses  were not overly hostile to Japan,  but Soviet signa- ture  of  a  Non-Aggression Pact  with  China  on  21  August  1937  raised  the specter of Soviet intervention. This also evoked for the Japanese government  a parallel  with the war in Spain, since it blamed  both  conflicts on the influence of communism. For the first time, the Spanish war began to take on some importance for Tokyo,  as Shiozaki Hiroaki asserts.-8

The situation in Tokyo improved  rapidly for Del Castillo,  who was successful in obtaining a loan from the Augustinian  order in China.  He soon received assistance from Eduardo Herrera de la Rosa, a former Spanish military attaché who  had  remained   in  Tokyo  and  who  enjoyed  numerous contacts.   These informed him of the ‘renewed interest in the Spanish conflict from the Japanese Army and Navy’, as well as among  ‘young personnel’  in the foreign ministry. Herrera was therefore  able to help Del Castillo  establish  links with high offi- cials, as well as to avoid disapproval of Del Castillo’s public declaration that the earlier proposal to negotiate  with Spanish Republicans  had been no more than  a delaying tactic.  When  the Republican chargé Alvarez Taladriz  offered him the previously requested  amount to hand over the legation compound, Del Castillo  refused,  while the foreign ministry  declared  that  it would  not require him to do so.-9

Meanwhile, Franco’s  representative in  Rome,  Pedro  García  Conde,  discussed the issue of Japan’s  recognition of his government  with  the Japanese ambassador there.  When  the latter  told him that  a majority  of Japanese  now favored  this, García  Conde  asserted inaccurately  that  he had received instruc- tions to press the matter,  a conversation which, combined  with the recent agreement between Nanjing and Moscow  and the insistence of Giacinto  Auriti, the Italian ambassador in Tokyo, had some effect on the Japanese government. Soon afterward, it indicated  that  the Spanish Nationalists would  officially be granted  belligerent  status,  giving them  virtual  equality  with  the  Republican regime; but Franco’s representatives then began to press for full recognition.-10

This was a bold move, for the chances of gaining such favor from the Japanese government  were hard  to gauge. The demand  was supported by most  of the small number  of Spaniards  resident  in Japan,  most  of them  members  of the Catholic  missionary  community, many of these being Jesuits in Japan’s Pacific islands.  In Tokyo,  Franco’s request  would  be certain  to receive support from the leaders of the army and navy (especially the latter) and from younger diplomats such as Yosano Shigeru, who had been assigned to deal with Del Castillo. Yosano  was the son of the fiery poet Yosano  Akiko, who decades earlier had written  a controversial poem protesting the conscription of her brother for the war with Russia (1904–5).  There were also important elements opposing  the Spanish  demand,  such  as  José  Muñoz  Peñalver,  long-standing professor  of Spanish literature at the Tokyo University for Foreign Studies, whose students had  formed  an alumni  association. Del Castillo  also identified  as opponents several key figures in the emperor’s  entourage and referred  to the fear among some officials that Japan was going too far in aligning itself with Germany  and Italy.-11

The opinion  of Foreign Minister  Hirota is the hardest  to evaluate.  After the Japanese  defeat  in 1945,  the International Military  Tribunal would  sentence him to death  for actions taken  in 1937–8,  charging him with ‘overall conspir- acy’, ‘failure to prevent  atrocities  in China’, and with having been ‘derelict in his duty in not insisting before the Cabinet  that  immediate  action  be taken  to end  the  atrocities’.  Hirota is known  to  have  had  close links  with  the  Black Ocean  Society, a pioneer  ultra-nationalist association, and  to  have  believed strongly in Japan’s need for a ‘special position’ in China. He had earlier headed the foreign ministry  from  1933  to 1935,  when  western  nations  were warned not to interfere with Japanese policy in China, a declaration considered an East Asian parallel  to the Monroe Doctrine.  After the abortive  military coup of 26 February  1936,  Hirota had become prime minister for a year, and during  this period  had  signed  the  Anti-Comintern Pact,  returning to  government  once more in Konoye’s cabinet. When he became foreign minister once more, his spokesman gained  international attention by  declaring  that  the  world  was divided between ‘have and have-not  nations’.  Following Konoye’s recommen- dation  to reform the foreign ministry, he announced that he favored assigning to  it  new  personnel  from  other  ministries.  However,  Hirota was  also  concerned to fend off new discussions in the Diet about creating a new China department outside  the  foreign  ministry.  His  main  concern  was  to  retain  as much influence as possible over affairs in China  and he opposed  further  links with Berlin and Rome which might interfere with this objective.-12

Though  Konoye  personally  favored  recognition of Franco  and  enjoyed  a long friendship  with Herrera de la Rosa,  even to the extent  of providing  him with  special  items  to  improve  his health  during  the  Pacific  war,  the  prime minister’s contribution to the recognition process was only marginal. He altogether failed to live up to hopes that  he would  control  the military,  spending his  first  weeks  in  office  in  futile  internal   disputes,  most  of  which  he  lost. Military  leaders soon ignored  him, providing  no information about  their own plans and boycotting  his efforts to mediate with China. Konoye soon acknowl- edged that  ‘I have very little control  over things,’ and contributed little to the debate over policy regarding  Spain, about  which Del Castillo was able to learn a certain  amount through Herrera, who  gained  information indirectly  from Konoye’s wife and from his secretary.-13

Britain  and  France  retained   some  influence  in  Japan’s  decision-making. Distrust  was reciprocal;  the British ambassador, Robert  Craigie,  reported an atmosphere of ‘mutual  antipathy’ between  London  and  Tokyo,  and  the new Japanese  ambassador to Paris, for example,  reported in November  1937  that ‘Britain,  while  posing  as a  neutral, was  aiding  Chinese  resistance.’  But the Japanese government  was concerned to avoid anything that might worsen relations with the western powers,  and in spite of the lack of contacts  — Craigie’s first information concerning  possible recognition of Franco  amounted merely to a press clipping — Hirota wished to do nothing  to provoke  either London or Paris, and opposed  recognizing Franco  before the latter did so.-14

On the Spanish issue, the Konoye government  valued the opinion  of Berlin most of all, while the latter sought to maintain an equilibrium between its interests in China  and Japan.  At the time when the war  began,  Germany  was the main supplier of arms and military advisers to China, and had minor economic interests  in Manchukuo. Hitler’s government  proclaimed strict neutrality and imposed similar terms on its press, while downplaying Japanese claims of Soviet responsibility for the new conflict. The possibility of hostilities between Tokyo and Moscow  placed an entirely new construction on the Anti-Comintern Pact, as German  diplomats noted,  one of them later writing,  ‘The effect of exerting pressure on Russia, which was certainly welcome with Hitler, was reduced to insignificance by this adventure.’-15

German  policy  was  also  subject  to  internal  conflict,  since the  role  of the foreign  ministry  was  increasingly  challenged  in  various  ways  by  the  Nazi Party’s Aussenpolitisches Amt  (Foreign Affairs Office) and its Auslandsorganisation, the party organization abroad. For example, the leading nazi diplomat and  German  ambassador to London, the strongly  pro-Japanese Joachim  von Ribbentrop, had  played  a major  role in negotiating the Anti-Comintern Pact but  remained  the bête noire of professional  diplomats. Policy lines were not clearly  defined,  but  even Nazi  Party  leaders  concerned  with  foreign  affairs were uncertain about  the level of the communist threat  to China and the long- term consequences  of the Japanese  military  initiative.  Given this uncertainty, Berlin initially  refused the request  of Franco’s representatives that  it assist in obtaining formal  recognition from  Tokyo,  though  there  was some sentiment for providing  encouragement. There was certainly no interest in promoting Japanese   influence  in  Spain,  which  might   reduce   that   of  Germany.   The German  embassy in Tokyo did nothing  to expedite Franco’s request for recog- nition,  leading Del Castillo  to complain  that  it ‘lost too much time in consul- tations  and exchanging  opinions,  and refrained  from participating at the most appropriate moments’.  The only exception  was the German  military  attaché Eugen Ott,  who supported the Spanish petition;  for Del Castillo,  this reportedly stemmed  ‘purely from  personal  friendship’,  but  probably it was decided out of political reasoning.-16

The Italian regime had less influence in Tokyo, but did not suffer from internal differences, since it had changed its Asian policy earlier than  Germany.  In 1931 Mussolini had joined other European spokesmen in denouncing the invasion  of Manchuria and,  even after  his own  war  in Ethiopia,  wrote  that  the Japanese  were a great menace to civilization and the white race. Nonetheless, his policy had begun to change as early as 1934, when relations  improved  with the exchange of new ambassadors, Giacinto  Auriti to Tokyo and Sugimura Yõtarõ  to  Rome.  They  both  worked  to  convince  their  governments of  the benefits  of mutual  rapprochement and  the benefit  to Italy of a pro-Japanese policy in Asia. Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia  resulted in censure by the League of Nations equivalent  to  that  earlier experienced  by Japan,  while  both  powers were  increasingly  at  odds  with  the  British  empire.  Concern  for  greater  cooperation increased  in both  Rome  and  Tokyo,  and  in November  1936  the latter  proposed that  Italy reopen  its consulate  in Mukden, while Japan  would downgrade its legation in Addis Ababa to consular  status, in recognition of the Italian conquest. Later, in a discussion with Foreign Minister  Galeazzo Ciano, Ambassador Sugimura  praised  Italian  intervention in Spain. Soon afterward, when the ‘Sian incident’ resulted  in doubt  about  the further  determination of the Chinese premier Jiang Jieshi to fight the communists, both Tokyo and Rome reacted with alarm. Finally, a minor clash between Japanese and Russian troops along the Amur River in June 1937,  only weeks before the Marco  Polo Bridge incident,  led Ciano to observe to Sugimura that this reminded  him of the anti- communist struggle in Spain and was not likely to be speedily resolved.-17

After  the  outbreak of  the  Sino-Japanese   War,  Italian   policy  eventually moved nearer  that  of Japan.  The initial stance was neutrality, because of sig- nificant  Italian  commercial  interests  and missionary  activity in China,  as well as the existence of good relations  with Nanjing  and the role of Italian air force instructors with  Chinese  forces. To draw  Rome  closer, the Japanese  government publicly proposed that Italy sign the Anti-Comintern Pact, privately sug- gesting a secret addendum which  would  combine  Italian  neutrality in China with  greater  bilateral  military  cooperation with  Japan.  The  Italian  response grew increasingly positive, and on 23 August Ciano noted in his diary that new planes  requested   by  China  would  not  be  provided. There  was  increasing awareness  that  Soviet  concern  over  China  might  lead  to  its disengagement from Spain, as the ambassador in Moscow,  Augusto Rosso, reported. Though Ciano  continued to maintain talks  with  the Chinese,  Mussolini’s  policy was changing,  as he made the calculation that  the Japanese  would  become one of the four  races dominant in the world,  the others  being the Germans,  Italians and  Russians.  In  an  article  which  he  published  in  Il  Popolo  d’Italia  on  6 October, Mussolini  declared that ‘Japan is not formally fascist, but she is anti-Bolshevist, and the trend  of her policy and her people brings her into the fold of the  fascist  states.’  Further  gestures  on  behalf  of Japan  followed,  and  the Italian government  lodged no protest  when an Italian photographer was killed by Japanese planes in the Panay incident of December 1937,  Ciano dismissing it in a conversation with  the  Japanese  ambassador as ‘normal  in the  frame- work  of a full-scale  war’,  though  he noted  in his diary  that  the  latter  ‘was surprised  and touched’ by such nonchalance.-18

Meanwhile, Del Castillo,  supported by zealous Italian policy, by the spread of the  war,  and  the  signing  of the  new  Sino-Soviet  Pact,  presented  his first request  for official recognition to the Japanese  foreign ministry  near the close of August 1937.  It referred  specifically to the legal difficulties encountered by Spanish residents, most of them aligned with the Nationalists, in Japan. When Del Castillo   obtained an  interview  with  Hirota on  31  August,  the  latter mentioned  the possibility  of consular  agreements,  but  also expressed  fear of possible reprisals against Japanese ships in Spanish Republican waters. Though the cabinet  eventually  decided in favor of Franco’s request,  Hirota continued to fear reprisals and postponed any action.-19

Del Castillo then turned to the General Staff, which favored full recognition, while Herrera de la Rosa pressed the issue in an interview  with Konoye on 8 September.  These moves brought a change in attitude in the foreign ministry, which then became ‘outspokenly favorable’ to recognition, according  to a later report  by Del Castillo.  This, however, proved an exaggeration, as Del Castillo soon  changed  his description to one of merely a ‘favorable  reception’  by the foreign ministry  and  consequently urged  his superiors  to gain the backing  of Berlin. The reason for the change was apparently motivated by disputes within  Tokyo.  In  the  weeks  that  followed,  the  Spanish  representative and  the former  military attaché  referred  to conflict in Tokyo between the military and younger diplomats on one side and the senior politicians  and diplomats on the other,  the latter fearing international complications.-20

The Italian ambassador tried to assist by requesting his two military attachés to take  a hand  with  the Japanese  military,  but  Berlin was much  less helpful. More  influential  was the effect of the ‘Knatchbull–Hugessen incident’,  stem- ming from a Japanese assault on the car of the British ambassador to China on 26 August, which seriously wounded him even though  his car had been clearly marked.   Tokyo  initially  sought  to  deny  responsibility, but  after  a  strongly worded  British protest,  on 6 September the Japanese government  expressed its ‘profound regrets’. It was two weeks later, when the foreign ministry  issued a note   partially   admitting  responsibility,  that   tension   started   to   diminish, although on the 28 September the army leaders set up their own puppet government   in  Inner  Mongolia in  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  Japanese  war ministry contemplated a negotiated end to the conflict.-21

Developments elsewhere favored Franco’s suit. In Tokyo, the Republican diplomat  Alvarez  Taladriz   failed  completely  in  his  efforts  to  occupy  the grounds  of the Spanish  embassy,  while in Geneva,  at the League of Nations, the  Spanish  Republican foreign  minister,  Julio  Alvarez  del Vayo,  expressed strong  support for China.  At that  point  Franco’s forces completed  their  conquest  of the northern Republican zone in Spain,  encouraging  the perception that  they were likely to gain a complete  victory in the civil war.  The highest- ranking Japanese official to appear in Spain, the veteran bureaucrat Usami Uzuhiko,   then   visited  Franco’s   headquarters  in  Salamanca   and   declared support for the struggle against communism  and for the recognition of the nationalist  regime.  After  receiving  Usami’s  report,   the  Japanese   military attaché   in  Berlin,  Ishima  Hiroshi,   telegraphed Tokyo  urging  recognition.

Ishima  himself  had  been  briefed  by  the  nationalists, and  was  soon  to  be named  ambassador in Berlin. The  Supreme  Imperial  Council  then  approved recognition in a communication to the Japanese cabinet.-22

The Japanese government’s  international position  then grew even more adversarial vis-à-vis the western powers in November, when it decided to boycott the Brussels conference convened by the League of Nations at the petition of China  to investigate  Japanese  aggression  and  to seek means  of ending  it. Tokyo  had already  withdrawn from the League in 1933  and now severed all remaining  links with it.

The Japanese government  declared that it would only agree to direct negotiations with China, brokered either by Berlin or by Rome, which would lead to a ‘New  Order’  in East Asia but  with  a different  focus  in the  region.  At the recent nazi rally in Munich  Hitler  had stressed the importance of the Spanish conflict as a function  of the Anti-Comintern Pact for the defense of world culture,  but  failed to refer to the war in China.  Italy signed the Anti-Comintern Pact on 5 November, an action  which,  because of the tension  between  Rome and London, had the effect of turning  it in an anti-British  direction. The Italian goal was now to maintain areas of tension in both the Mediterranean and East Asia  which   even  the  Royal  Navy   could   not   possibly   cover.-23    The  most immediate  goal for Japan  was expressed  by Hirota at the ensuing banquet in Tokyo. He spoke with the German  and Italian ambassadors about  recognizing Franco, declaring that ‘in his view’ this should also involve recognition of Manchukuo by the Axis.-24

The diplomatic  recognition of the Japanese  puppet  state was totally  new. It could be received favorably  in Franco’s Spain, since the Manchurian issue was perceived  as part  of the  communist vs. anti-communist confrontation. Since 1931,  Spanish  Republicans  had  been aware  of its damage  to  the  League of Nations, as  the  role  played  by  Salvador  de  Madariaga in  Geneva  showed, while a small booklet  on it by the most prominent Trotskyite leader,  Andrés Nin,  points  to  its  importance in  the  formulation of  communist opinion  in Spain.  The  reaction  against  this  predominant negative  perception   of  Japan explains  partly  the opposite  pro-Japanese view in the pro-Francoist side, and the Falange newspaper  ¡Arriba! portrayed Japanese actions in China as actions against communism  even before the outbreak of the Spanish War. The Japanese government, which  had  opened  a new legation  in Lisbon,  promoted the alternative  view through intense  propaganda efforts,  such as publications or invitations  to journalists, and,  amidst  the radicalized  political  atmosphere of the war, the pro-Japanese perception  was predominant.-25

In international society,  however,  Manchukuo remained  a pariah, since it was created by Japanese conquest and had previously been acknowledged only by Japan,  the  Vatican,  and  El Salvador,  whose  extreme-right ruler,  General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, took this step in order to bargain for recognition  from Washington, after violently suppressing  a peasant  rebellion.  Since 1934,  its government  of Changchun (Hsinking)  had received no further  recognition  from foreign powers.  Germany  had merely signed a commercial  agree- ment in April 1936, while Italy had opened a consulate rather than a formal legation. Then, although Francoists were disposed to contemplate the Japanese adventure in China  in a more  favorable  way, Hirota was proposing a major quid  pro  quo,  which  hardly  facilitated  immediate  recognition of the Spanish Nationalists.

Del Castillo  was immediately  informed  of Hirota’s  ploy, and  sent word  to his superiors by telegram. José Antonio de Sangróniz, the head of Franco’s diplomatic  cabinet,  replied  in the  affirmative  on  the  following  day,  so that when the foreign ministry first gave Del Castillo official word of the Hirota proposal on 8 November, the Spanish diplomat was able not only to accept in principle but to present an aide-mémoire  that granted  him authority to negoti- ate an agreement. Such an immediate and categorical response perplexed the Japanese, to the extent that their foreign ministry asked Del Castillo to provide official confirmation of such powers.-26

Meanwhile, the  foreign  ministry  took  soundings  concerning  the  possible effect on Japanese  interests  in southern Europe  and  the western  hemisphere. Hirota  also  suggested on 10 November that the  recognition  should   be announced in Berlin, to which a nationalist representative was properly accredited. On  12 November  the Japanese  cabinet  approved recognition for the third time, and this time announced it publicly. Franco’s government  confirmed the validity of Del Castillo’s powers,  further  reinforced  by a statement from Rome by Ciano, as well. Berlin, however, rejected the idea of a joint recognition of the Franco  regime and of Manchukuo government  that  would take place in Berlin, as the German  foreign ministry sought to avoid complica- tions with Britain and to pursue peace negotiations in China.-27

The Japanese  foreign ministry  then presented  two further  complications to Del Castillo.  One was a report  by its legal department, which concluded  that recognition of Franco’s regime would  be contrary to international law, since that regime did not occupy all Spanish territory. The second raised once more the issue of Manchukuo, linking it to negotiations with Rome and Berlin. On 12  November  Hirota took  up  the  latter  issue with  Auriti,  following  which there was a discussion between Ciano and the Japanese ambassador in Rome, and a second talk between Hirota and Auriti. The Japanese also tested German opinion,  since in a speech in Munich on 9 November, Hitler had indicated will- ingness to recognize Manchukuo.-28

Then  the  issue  of  Manchukuo once  more  receded  and  Minister   Hirota expressed  this in a telegram  as: ‘After we recognize the said [Franco]  government,  we will immediately  negotiate  for Manchukuo to do the same.’ On 19 November, Del Castillo  and  the  vice-premier  discussed  new  issues,  such  as whether  the recognition should  be associated  with previously  existing treaties between  the two states, a procedure that  would  gain the emperor’s  approval, while other  ministries  were informed  of the government’s  decision,  and news of  the  diplomatic   process  appeared  in  the  Spanish  nationalist  press.  Del Castillo  reported that  negotiations regarding  Manchukuo should  begin as a matter  of  reciprocity  once  the  Spanish  regime  had  been  recognized.  Berlin remained  opposed  to the idea of joint recognition and still expressed hope for a  negotiated  peace  in  China   that   might  bring  its  accession  to  the  Anti- Comintern Pact, together  with a Japanese pledge to respect foreign interests in China,  while demonstrating skepticism  to the Italians.  Hitler  expressed  to the Italian ambassador a willingness to recognize Manchukuo, but did nothing  to expedite the issue, while Italian policy preferred  to wait for Germany.-29

Finally, toward the end of November, Rome decided to recognize Manchukuo. Encouraged by its success in defending  Japan’s affairs at the Brussels conference,  which  concluded  leaving  China  isolated  and  the  western  democracies voicing weak responses, the Italian government  showed more interest in acting on its own.  Foreign  Minister  Ciano’s  Diary  shows  how  this accomplishment had   an  impact in  self-perception.  While  on   15   November   the   minister expressed to the Chinese representative, as a hypothesis,  that Japan was to overwhelm  China,  only 12  days  later  he went  one step further  and  thought how  decisive the  presumed  Japanese  victory  was  to  be, wondering  whether ‘China will soon cease to exist’. The first plan by Spaniards,  to make the recog- nition coincide with the anniversary of the Anti-Comintern Pact, was set aside, acknowledging the German  preference  not to mix ceremonies,  but Ciano  pri- vately congratulated himself on the wisdom and effectiveness of Italian policy. Writing  in  his  Diary  on  27  November, Ciano  went  as  far  as  considering Mussolini’s ‘policy of realism’ not only as ‘always right’ but even as leading to the end of the Sino-Japanese war, where the Japanese triumph was to be bene- ficial also to the Chinese: ‘They are in such distress that  they won’t be able to react’. The next day, when he reported the recognition to the Japanese ambassador, instead of analyzing his reaction,  Ciano envisioned an increase of Italian  influence  in East  Asia: ‘We are  gaining  ground  . . . Our  conduct  at Brussels won the day with Japan.’-30

The ensuing acts of recognition proceeded  at great speed. The ceremony  in Rome to recognize Manchukuo was held on Monday 29 November, followed on successive days first by the ceremony in Tokyo and the official Japanese recognition of the Franco regime on 1 December, and then by the mutual recognition between  Manchukuo and the Franco  regime on 2 December.  The acceleration  of negotiations during  those  final  days  provoked skepticism  in Tokyo,  whereas  The Times  speculated  that  Mussolini’s  decisiveness was hastened by his signature  of the Anti-Comintern Pact and the continuing  Japanese military advance in China.-31

Events at the ceremony  in Tokyo  for the recognition of the Franco  regime proved  more  problematic than  anticipated, for the text  read  by Hirota on 1 December  sought  to avoid  a clear-cut  position  on the Spanish  war,  referring instead   to  the  common   struggle   against   communism, collaboration  with Germany and Italy, and the long friendship between Spain and Japan. Since his discourse  permitted Japan  to limit recognition to mere rights  of belligerence, and  even  possibly  to  maintain relations   with  the  Republican regime,  Del Castillo  refused to sign the agreement.  The Spanish chargé countered with an imaginative  solution,  which consisted of adding  his own language  to the text, affirming  that  Franco’s  was  the  ‘sole and  legitimate  government  of Spain’. Since he read  this statement to  the  press after  Hirota had  already  given the latter a copy of his own declaration, Del Castillo assumed that the recognition already held full legal authority, and this was undoubtedly so.-32

The ceremony  took  place in the Spainish legation,  and included  a Catholic mass, the raising of the Falangist banner  (while approximately simultaneously a Japanese flag was being raised in Salamanca),  and speeches by Auriti and Del Castillo,  Hirota staying  silent.  The  Falangist  Party  still had  no  members  in Japan (though Herrera de la Rosa was soon to be appointed its leader), but the act was attended by members of the Italian Fascist Party and the Hitler Jugend, as well as by the press. Franco’s recognition of Manchukuo was effected in a Japanese  government  office, not in the embassy of Manchukuo, as the Japan- ese had  proposed. The foreign ministry  appointed the diplomat Takaoka Teichirõ, long resident  in Spain, as the new representative to Salamanca.

As the military strengthened their hold in Tokyo  and continued to advance in China,  it became  progressively  more  difficult  for Germany  to  maintain a policy of equidistance. Hitler’s  own  strategy  became  increasingly  aggressive, with  his government  changes  of February  1938,  as he expanded his control over the military and appointed the pro-Japanese Ribbentrop foreign minister. Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag on 20 February  surprised  observers because of the attention devoted to East Asia and its strongly pro-Japanese tone. The resulting  reorientation of  German   policy  withdrew military  advisers  from China and canceled further  arms shipments, leading to the recognition of Manchukuo on  12  May  1938  and  the  breaking  of relations  with  China  the following month.-33

The coincidence of wars in China and Spain hastened a new international alignment.  As Italy pursued  its policy of betting completely on Japan’s victory, its  position  was  later  largely  adopted by  Germany.   Japan’s  recognition of Franco  followed  the same logic, reflecting the growing dominance of the military, with the consolidation of its position  by the international recognition of Manchukuo. These  interests  then  developed  an  interlocking   momentum of their own, and the army’s decision to conquer  Nanjing  itself came only a day after Italy’s recognition of Manchukuo. By late 1937  a series of radical developments  in Spain, Italy, Germany,  and Japan had converged to reinforce the  Japanese  military  versus  the  foreign  ministry,  strengthen somewhat the position  of the Franco  regime, and decisively alter Italian  and German  policy in support of Japan.

The real significance of the events narrated in this article can be better understood by tracing the relations between Manchukuo and the Francoists. Bilateral recognition led to closer relations,  both regimes announcing the mutual  setting up of permanent representation. In October 1938,  less than a year later, a Manchukuo Friendship  Mission visited Spain, and a Treaty of Friendship  and Trade  was announced; the next year both  regimes joined the Anti-Comintern Pact, and in 1940 a Spanish Economic Mission visited Manchukuo. In addition, new books  praising  the Japanese  puppet  state appeared in Spain, written  not only by Gaspar  Tato  Cumming  but by another author, Juan Oller Piñol, who visited Manchukuo after having served as deputy of the interior  ministry.-34

Yet,  aside  from  propaganda and  formal  declarations, relations   between Spain and Manchukuo remained  devoid of substance.  There were no Catholic missionaries  or other  Spaniards  resident  in the area,  trade  was non-existent, and the initial plan of a permanent delegation  was implemented only by Manchukuo, mainly for purposes  of military intelligence. The ultimate  course of relations  was  determined by factors  beyond  the  reach  of Changchun or Salamanca,  or sometimes, for that matter,  of Rome and Tokyo, as Adolf Hitler demonstrated three  months   after  Spaniards   and  Chinese  joined  the  Anti- Comintern Pact,  when  he rendered  it useless by a signing a Non-Aggression Pact  with  the  Soviet Union.  Relations  between  Manchukuo and  nationalist Spain were largely based on wishful thinking.


1    As for neglecting  the dynamics  of the coincidence  of the two  wars,  see Ernst  L. Presseisen, Germany  and Japan: A Study  in Totalitarian  Diplomacy (The Hague  1958),  esp. 184–5.  Herbert Bix, in his Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New York 2000) mentions only the Spanish- American  War  of 1898.  On  Spain, see Paul Preston,  Franco. A Biography  (London  1993);  and, specifically on the foreign policy during  the Spanish War,  Angel Viñas’ latest,  detailed  books  La soledad de la República  (Barcelona  2006);  and El escudo de la República  (Barcelona  2007);  and Enrique  Moradiellos, El reñidero de Europa.  Las dimensiones  internacionales  de la Guerra Civil Española (Barcelona 2001). Opening  the idea of an independent fascist policy to Germany,  at least until 1939, is Valdo Ferretti, ll Giappone e la politica estera italiana, 1935–1945 (Milano 1983).

2    ‘Quijote’:  Francisco  Quintana, España  en Europa,  1931–1936 (Oviedo  1993),  58–77;  Ian Nish,  Japan’s struggle with  Internationalism. Japan, China  and the League  of Nations, 1931–3 (London  and New York 1993),  189–93.  On the possibility  of a Popular  Front  in China,  see Jose E. Borao,  España  y China,  1927–1967 (Taipei  1994),  62–4;  and  Ferretti,  Il Giappone, op. cit., ‘Neutral’: Dickover to Hull, Tokyo, 16 September 1936, Confidential US Diplomatic Records [hereafter  ‘CUSDR’] 3, B (1836–1941). Reel 2. Microfilm.  KaizÄ discussion, held on 4 September, ‘Supein kakumei  o megurite’, 11 (October 1936),  74–97,  esp. 78–9.

3    Fukasawa Yasuhiro:  ‘Supein naisen  to nitchõ  sensÄ. Nissei-gaimusho monjo  wo chushin  ni’ [The Spanish Civil War and the Sino-Japanese War. Focused on the documents of the Japanese and Spanish Foreign Ministry  Archives], in Rekishi  HyÄron  [Historical  Review], Monographic  issue: 50th anniversary of the Sino-Japanese  War, 44(7) (July 1987),  42–3.

4    ‘Garden-party’: Albert  Kammerer  to  Foreign  Affairs  Minister,   Tokyo,  4  September  1936: Japon 122. Asia 1930–40. Archive du Ministère  Français des Affairs Étrangères;  also, Dickover to Hull, Tokyo, 16 September 1936: CUSDR, Reel 2. The consultations with the Foreign Office, part of them  between  Ambassador Yoshida  Shigeru and  sub-secretary of British  Foreign  Office; see Robert  Vansittart, Report  by G. Mounsey  (Western  Dept.),  London, 18 September  1936;  Public Record Office, Foreign Office, group 371, W16470/62/41.

5    Nishiura himself wrote about his experience, although briefly: Nishiura Susumu, ShÄwasensôshi no shÄgen. [Oral  evidence of the ShÄwa Era Wars] (Tokyo  1980),  64–6. See also Yano to Arita, Saint Jean de Luz, 26/I/1937, and  Lisbon,  21 January  1937,  GaimushÄ-gaikÄshirgÄkan. Nairan Kankei. Archives of the Foreign Ministry.  Relative to internal  conflicts. Tokyo.  On the visit from Rome,  Ibid:  Manuscript Note  n.d.,  n.p.  García  Conde  to  Sangróniz,  head  of  the  Diplomatic Cabinet, Rome, 9 December 1936. Archives of the Spanish Ministry  of Foreign Affairs, Renovated Section [hereafter  ‘AMAE-R’] Legajo 1466, expediente  14 [hereafter  1466–14]. Aims as expressed to the representative in Rome,  Conde  to Sangróniz  (Francoist  Secretary  for Foreign  Relations), Rome,  30  December  1936.  For  both  visits, interview  with  Harushige Kaneda,  then  a Japanese student  in Salamanca,  at the headquarters of the rebel army, Tokyo, 22 December 1991.

6    On  problems   inside  the  Japanese  Foreign  Ministry,   Barbara   J.  Brooks,  Japan’s  Imperial Diplomacy. Consuls,  Treaty  Ports  and  War  in  China  1895–1938 (Honolulu 2000),  175.  On Prince Chichibu’s  visit, John P. Fox, Germany  and the Far Eastern Crisis 1931–1938: A Study  in Diplomacy and Ideology  (Oxford 1982),  248, 384n.

7    In the Japanese press, e.g. ‘Tokyo ni “Supein nairan” boppatsu’ [Outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in Tokyo], Asahi Shimbun, 14 April 1937.  Gómez de Molina  to Asís Serrat, Tokyo,  30 April 1937: Archivo General de la Administración [AGA] — Asuntos Exteriores  [AE], Box 5177.

8    Shiozaki Hiroaki, ‘Furanko  seiken no Nichi-Doku-I bÄkyÄ kyÄtei’ [The Franco  Government and the German-Japanese-Italian Anti-Communist Pact], in SaitÄ Takashi  (ed.), Supein Nairan no Kenkyõ [Studies on the Spanish Civil War] (Tokyo 1979),  263.

9    ‘Renewed’: a letter written  by Herrera to his brother Juan and sister Esperanza  is a very help- ful document in tracing  the  whereabouts of the  recognition:  Yokohama, 25  November  1937, AMAE-P  [Personnel  Section],  José del Castillo.  On  the  offer  for  funds:  Castillo  to  Sangróniz, Tokyo,  13 August 1937:  AMAE-P, José del Castillo;  Castillo  to Méndez de Vigo, Tokio,  31 July 1937,  AGA-AE, 5177.

10    Conde to Sangróniz, Rome, 21, 25 August 1937: AMAE-R, 1466–14. Castillo note copied in Conde  to Secretario  General  Jefe Estado,  Rome,  25 August 1937,  and Conde  to Castillo,  Rome, 26  August  1937:  AMAE-R,  1466–14. Telegrams  and  correspondence between  the  Francoist General Headquarters and its representatives in Tokyo during the Spanish Civil War were always through Rome, and copies of that correspondence are found in the files relating to the Embassy in Rome and the representation in Japan,  now located in different archives, AMAE-R and AGA-AE. This article refers to the receiver of the messages and to the most useful copy, since Conde in Rome occasionally  modified or added text.

11    Castillo  a  Sangróniz,  Tokyo,  2  November   1937:  AGA-AE,  5176;  Herrera to  Juan  and Esperanza, Yokohama, 25 November  1937: AMAE-P, José del Castillo. On Muñoz Peñalver, tele- phone interview with Alvarez Taladriz,  29 October 1990: Ferretti, Il Giappone, op. cit., 170.

12    On Konoye’s and Hirota’s  reform ideas, see Brooks, Imperial Diplomacy, op. cit., 169, 181, 196 On Hirota’s links, see Usui Katsumi, ‘The Role of the Foreign Ministry’, in Dorothy Borg and Shumpei Okamoto (eds), Pearl Harbor as History. Japanese-American Relations 1931–1941 (New York 1973),  132.  On  Hirota’s  condemnation, see B.V.A. Röling  and  C.F.  Ruter,  The  Tokyo Judgement:  The  International Military  Tribunal  for  the  Far East  (IMTFE),  29  April  1946–12 November 1948  (Amsterdam  1977),  vol. I, 446–8,  cited in John W. Dower,  Embracing  Defeat. Japan in the Wake  of World  War II (New York 1999),  459, 628n.

13    On Konoye and the military,  see Yagami Kazuo, Konoe  Fumimaro  and the Failure of Peace in Japan 1937–1941 (Jefferson, NC, and London  2006), 48–9; Oka Yoshitake, Konoe Fumimaro. A Political Biography  (Tokyo  1983),  64–5; ‘little control’:  ibid., 70. Bradford  A. Lee defends his political skill: Britain and the Sino-Japanese War, 1937–1939: A Study in the Dilemmas of British Decline (Stanford,  CA, 1973),  99.

14    ‘Antipathy’:  Antony  Best, Britain,  Japan  and  Pearl Harbor:  Avoiding War  in  East  Asia, 1936–41 (London  and  New  York  1995),  37.  ‘Resistance’:  SIS-RM#673,  Sugimura  Yõtarõ  to Hirota, Paris,  10  November   1937,   NARA-RG   [Hereafter  ‘NARA-RG’]-457, NSA  [National Security Agency].

15    Ambassador von Dirksen,  28 August 1937,  in Fox, Germany, op. cit., 229. On the German response,  see Presseisen, Germany  and Japan, op. cit., 128; Fox, Germany, op. cit., 236, 238–41; Tajima Nobuo, ‘The Berlin–Tokyo  Axis Reconsidered. From the Anti-Comintern Pact to the Plot to Assassinate Stalin’, in Christian W. Spang and Rolf-Harad Wipich (eds), Japanese-German Relations  1895–1945. War, Diplomacy and Public Opinion (London  and New York 2006),  168.

16    ‘Friendship’: Castillo  to Sangróniz,  Tokyo,  21 September  1937,  AGA-AE, 5177;  Castillo  to Sangróniz,  Tokyo,  15  August  1937,  AMAE-P,  José del Castillo.  ‘Lost’: Castillo  to  Sangróniz, Tokyo, 5 October 1937,  AGA-AE, 5176.  Del Castillo tended to highlight his role: for instance,  he reported to his superiors  that  he managed  an interview between Herrera and Konoye, which was false. Castillo to Sangróniz, Tokyo, 8 September 1937, and Herrera to Castillo, Katase, 25 August 1937,  AGA-AE, 5176.

17    Ferretti,  Il Giappone, op. cit., 41, 121. For the anti-Japanese comments,  see D. Mack Smith, Mussolini’s Roman Empire (New York 1976), 98; for the British fears, Lee, Britain, op. cit., 81–2. Conversation with Sugimura,  18 November  1936,  in Malcolm  Muggeridge,  (ed.), Ciano’s Diplo- matic Papers (London  1948),   68–9. ‘Amur’: Fox, Germany, op. cit., 381n.

18    ‘Nearer’, V. Ferretti, ‘Italia y el reconocimiento diplomático del gobierno Nacional español por parte  de Japón’, Revista  Española del Pacífico 5 (1995),  227; G. Ciano,  Ciano’s Diary 1937–38, trans. Andreas  Mayor,  introduction by Malcolm  Muggeridge  (London  1952),  entries in the year 1937:  23  August,  3; 30  August,  6; 6 September,  9–10;  15  November, 33.  Il Popolo  (not  with Mussolini’s name) quoted in Presseisen, Germany and Japan, op. cit., 179–80. ‘Popularity’: Ferretti, Il Giappone, op. cit., 144. ‘Normal [. . .] surprised’: Ciano`s Diary 1937–38, 16 December 1937, 44.

19    Conde to Sangróniz, Rome, 6 and 7 September 1937,  AMAE-R, 1466–14. Castillo telegram previous to the meeting copied in Conde to Sangróniz, Rome, 1 September 1939.

20    ‘Outspokenly’: telegram before the meeting. Castillo note copied in Conde to Sangróniz, Rome, 6 September 1937, AMAE-R. ‘Favorable’, Castillo to Sangróniz, Tokyo,  5 October 1937, AGA-AE, 5176;  Conde  to  Sangróniz,  Rome,  21  September  1937,  AMAE-R,  1466–14. In  this  message Castillo elaborates about  those differences, while Herrera simply refers to ‘young personnel’ as his supporters. Herrera to Juan and Esperanza, Yokohama, 25 November 1937, AMAE-P, Del Castillo.

21    On assistance. Del Castillo to Sangróniz, Tokyo, 21 September 1937, AGA-AE, 5177; Conde to Castillo,  Rome, 4 October 1937,  AMAE-R, 1466–14. About the Incident,  see Lee, Britain, op. cit., 40–3; Shiroyama  SaburÄ, War Criminal: The Life and Death  of Hirota  Koki  (Tokyo  1974), 185–7;  Peter Lowe, Great Britain and the Origins  of the Pacific War. A Study  of British Foreign Policy in East Asia, 1937–1941 (Oxford 1977),  21–2.

22    On Alvarez-Taladriz in Japan, see also Ishikawa  ShÄji and Nakamura Hisaki, Supein shimin- sensÄ to Asia. Harukanaru jiyõ to risÄ no tame ni [The Spanish Civil War and Asia: International Volunteers  for  Freedom  and  Ideas]  (Fukuoka 2006),  137–49.  ‘Geneva’: Castillo  to  Sangróniz, Tokyo,  5 October 1937, AGA-AE, 5176.  On Usami, a small biography in Nihon GaikÄshi  Jiten (Tokyo  1993),  78; its file in the Francoist  Army Archives with  a note  indicating  ‘the original  is burnt’. Archivo Histórico Militar. Cuartel  General del Generalísimo, 13–74. |shima and Wilhelm Canaris,  foremost nazi secret agent with Franco, had many contacts,  but there is no documentation to prove common action in Spain. On proceedings, Herrera to Juan and Esperanza, Yokohama, 25 November  1937,  AMAE-P, Del Castillo.

23    Presseissen, Germany  and Japan, op. cit., 132.  ‘Conversation with the Duce and Herr  Von Ribbentrop’, Muggeridge  (ed.), 1948,  143.

24    AGA-AE, 5177,  Castillo to Sangróniz, Tokyo,  23 December 1937.

25    A book  by a Japanese  liberal  internationalist turned  pan-Asianist, Zumoto Motosada, The Origin and History  of the Anti-Japanese Movement in China, was translated, with some additions (thereby appearing as collaborator), by José Muñoz  Peñalver as Contiendas Chino-japonesas: Historia de las operaciones militares en Manchuria  y Shanghai en 1931 y 1932,  y del movimiento niponófobo chino  (Tokyo  1932).  In  1936,  Gaspar  Tato  Cummings,   a  pro-Falange   journalist working  in Faro, a small news agency, was invited to travel to Japan,  China and Manchukuo.

26    Conde  to  Sangróniz,  Rome,  6  November   1937:  AMAE-R,  1466–14; Conde  to  Castillo, Rome, 7 October 1937: AMAE-R, 1466–14. Conde to Sangróniz, Rome,  10, 12 November  1937: AMAE-R, 1466–14.

27    ‘Soundings’:  SIS-RM#2558, Hirota to  Washington Embassy,  Tokyo,  10  November  1937, NARA-RG-457, NSA. The Spanish diplomatic  records  indicate  Del Castillo  was not informed  of the attempt at recognition in Berlin, which he learnt later through Italy. Also, Feretti has not found confirmation in the Italian  archives of Auriti’s advices to Del Castillo,  pointing  to the idea of the ambassador’s personal  iniative:  Ferretti,  ‘Italia’,  op.  cit.,  228n,  229.  On  Ciano’s  instructions: Conde to Sangróniz, Rome, 14 November  1937,  AMAE-R-1466-14.

28    Note of conversation Castillo–Yosano, 15 November  1937: AGA-AE, 5176; Ferretti, ‘Italia’, op.  cit.,  229.  Auriti  to  Ciano,  telegram  November  1937:  ASMAE SP 1-Manchukuo 1934–38, quoted  by Ferretti.  Interview  in Ciano’s Diary 1937–38, 14 November  1937,  32. On Germany’s position:  Frank W. Ikle, ‘Japan’s policies toward Germany’, in James W. Morley,  Japan’s Foreign Policy, 1868–1945: A Research Guide (New York and London  1974), 313; Auriti’s declaration in Ferretti, ‘Italia’, op. cit., 229–30.

29    ‘Receded’:  SIS-RM#1152, Hirota  to  Consul   in  Shanghai,   Tokyo,   17  November   1937, NARA-RG-457, NSA. News reports  in ABC (Seville) and Diario de Burgos, 21 and 23 September 1937 ‘An Outline of the conversation with  H.E.  Mr.  Horinouchi’, Tokyo,  17 November  1937: AGA-AE, 5176.  Ciano’s Diary 1937–38, 14 November  1937,  32; Fox, Germany, op. cit., 268–9.

30    On  the Italian  success at the Brussels Conference,  Lee, Britain,  op.  cit., 77,  78; Ferretti,  Il Giappone, op. cit., 204. Ciano’s Diary 1937–38, 15, 27–8 November  1937,  33, 38.

31    Ferretti,  ‘Italia’, 230;  ‘Japan’s  recognition of Franco:  Anti-Comintern Policy’, The  Times, London, 2 December 1937.

32    ‘Sole’, text  in Castillo  to Sangróniz,  Tokyo,  3 December  1937,  with the  French  translation attached: AGA-AE, 5177.

33    Speech to an audience  of colonels  and  generals  on 24 January  1938,  Berlin, cited in Fox, Germany, op. cit., 253. See also ibid., 303–4,  316–17.  Also Tajima Nobuo, Nachizumu gaikÄ to ‘Manshõkoku’ [Nazi Diplomacy  and ‘Manchukuo’] (Tokyo 1992).

34    Gaspar  Tato Cumming,  China, Japón y el conflicto  chino-japonés  (San Sebastián 1939); and El Imperio  del Manchukuo (Madrid-Burgos 1941); Juan Oller Piñol, Manchukuo antiguo y mod- erno (Madrid 1943);  Japón antiguo  y moderno (Madrid 1943).  See also F. Rodao,  Franco y el imperio japonés. Imágenes y propaganda  en tiempos  de guerra (Barcelona 2002),  165–6.


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