PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL. 2.
FOR THE MEETING OF THE IFTU EXECUTIVE ON THE 17TH AND 18TH NOVEMBER, 1937
The Situation in the Spanish Trade Union Movement:
Threat of a Split
In order to find the origin of the conflict which is now proceeding within the Spanish National Trade Union Centre (UGT), it Is necessary to go back to the Government crisis of May last. At that time, Largo Caballero, feeling that Communist elements were exercising an increasing and an excessive influence in Spanish affairs and trying to establish their hegemony, took steps which led first of all to the resignation of the Communist Ministers, and then to the fall of the Cabinet. Caballero was supported in this action by the Executive Committee of the UGT.
At that time the majority of the Socialist Party was already in favour of unity with the Communists at any cost, and this resulted in a relaxation of the traditional collaboration between the Party and the UGT.
When negotiations for the constitution of the new Government were proceeding, Pascual Tomas, Acting Secretary of the UGT, issued a statement, on behalf of the Executive Committee, that the UGT would not give its support to the new Government unless Caballero were again at its head and were at the same time Minister of War. The Communists rejected this condition and the Socialists associated themselves with the Communists' attitude.
The new Government was therefore constituted without Caballero. The National Council of the UGT, meeting in June, disapproved of the action of the Executive Committee (the Executive resigned, but its resignation was not accepted). It is to this time that the conflict dates, and this conflict has become more and more virulent until it has reached its present stage. It should be emphasised that the National Council had expressed its confidence in the Government and had thus implicitly instructed the Executive Committee to support it. Caballero's opponents assert that he and his colleagues did not do anything to carry out this decision.
The conflict then became open between the two groups, led by Caballero and Araquistain on the one hand, and by Negrin, Prieto and Peña on the other.
Another factor in the situation is the pact of non-aggression concluded between the UGT and the CNT, which was violently attacked by the Negrin - Prieto groups, perhaps on account of the links created by this group between the Socialist and Communist Parties.
Thirteen Unions, whose leaders belonged to the Peña tendency, demanded that a meeting of the National Council be called so that the Executive Committee could