Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Resolution of the League of Nations Council on Spain, 12 December 1936

In summer 1936 a civil war began in Spain, when fascist army officers led by Colonel Francisco Franco launched a Nationalist rebellion against the newly elected leftist Republican government. Franco and his supporters, who appealed to national pride and honor, were determined to thwart the left and impose a fascist government on Spain. They soon received recognition, together with encouragement and support in men and weaponry, from the sympathetic fascist governments of Germany and Italy. At the end of the year the indignant Spanish government appealed to the League of Nations to force those regimes to cease their assistance to the Nationalist rebels. In response, the League of Nations Council passed a resolution urging all nations to refrain from intervention in the civil conflict in that state and establishing a Non-Intervention Committee. All sides in the conflict ignored this resolution, together with several more to the same effect that the League promulgated over the next three years. With their own government's backing, Russian Communists likewise soon began to flock to the Republican cause, as did idealistic leftists from Europe and the United States. In 1939 the war, fought with great brutality by all parties, finally ended in a victory for Franco's forces.

The Council . . .

I

Noting that it has been requested to examine a situation which, in the terms of Article 11 of the Covenant (No. 206), is such as to affect international relations and to threaten to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends;

Considering that good understanding ought to be maintained irrespective of the internal régimes of States;

Bearing in mind that it is the duty of every State to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of other States, a duty which, for Members of the League of Nations, has been recognized by the Covenant:

Affirms that every State is under an obligation to refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of another State;

II

Considering that the setting-up of a Committee of Non-Intervention and the undertakings entered into in that connection arise out of the principles stated above;

Having been informed that new attempts are made in the Committee to make its action more effective, in particular by instituting measures of supervision, the necessity for which is becoming increasingly urgent:

Recommends the Members of the League represented on the London Committee to spare no pains to render the non-intervention undertakings as stringent as possible, and to take appropriate measures to ensure forthwith that the fulfillment of the said undertakings is effectively supervised; . . .

IV

Notes that there are problems of a humanitarian character in connexion with the present situation, in regard to which co-ordinated action of an international and humanitarian character is desirable as soon as possible;

Recognizes, further, that, for the reconstruction which Spain may have to undertake, international assistance may also be desirable;

And authorizes the Secretary-General to make available the assistance of the technical services of the League of Nations should a suitable opportunity occur.


Further Reading
G. A. Kertesz, Documents in the Political History of the European Continent 1815–1939 (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1968), 486–487. .
 

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