Spain and the Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1945–57: by Fernando Guirao (auth.)

By Fernando Guirao (auth.)

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Extra info for Spain and the Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1945–57: Challenge and Response

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The estimates of the Economic Commission for Europe ofthe United Nations (ECE) for 23 countries accounting for 90 per cent of the total net value of agricultural production of Europe before the war, showed that in the crop year 1945/46 output was only 63 per cent of the prewar level, while the 1938level of industrial output was already restored by the last quarter of 1946. 14 In the United Kingdom, agricultural production received special attention in the later stages of war owing to increasing anxiety over the viability of overseas supplies and the ability to finance imports in the transitional period.

The decision would not offer a solution to the Spanish question but it would avoid a crisis in the French government. Public and parliamentary opinion had blocked every other course of action. 16 THE BRITISH LABOUR GOVERNMENT In the United Kingdom a different policy toward Spain was followed in which decisive economic factors were not mixed with politics. After the war, the British government was anxious to expand trade relations with Spain. Winston Churchill had stated at Potsdam the arguments that were to be used on many future occasions by his political opponents, the Labour government: the British were not ready to use force but only diplomatic means to speed the departure of Franco; they would do nothing that could risk starting another civil war on Spanish soil; they were against interfering in the internal affairs of any country and they did not want to risk trading losses.

14 Trade versus Political Discrimination Any significant program of imports imposed a burden on the balance of payments toward the dollar area, which contained the only large surpluses available for world trade. The decline of intra-European trade (Eastern flow toward Western Europe and among West European countries) in foodstuffs and raw materials aggravated dependence on overseas supplies, grains and coal in particular. To reduce the huge deficit in their overseas balances, Europeans had to increase their exports and constrict their imports, especially with the United States.

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