REPORT ON POSITION IN SOUTH by G. T. Garratt.
What follows refers only to conditions south of Castellon. I have not been to Catalonia for some time and know nothing of comparative conditions north and south of Franco's cut to the sea.
In the southern area the most noticeable change is the new devastated area covering all the ports and the whole town of Alicante. Nearly all the inhabitants of what was a very crowded town have left and are mostly in the neighbouring villages. The Children's Hospital has been moved out to Pelop, about 20 miles away.
Generally speaking, the conditions south of Valencia suggest two points -
Firstly; the refugees have mostly been absorbed. There are no longer very many in Murcia itself. In surrounding villages it is almost impossible to separate refugees from the village children. I gathered that at Crevillente, where they have an excellent Gota de Leche functioning, they have found it difficult to confine this distribution to 700 children only to refugees, and that any attempt to separate the two classes only adds to a certain feeling of dissatisfaction against refugees.
Secondly; this part is only relatively short of vegetables and cereals; the great lacks are milk and soap. There were obvious signs of diseases — skin and eye troubles — obviously due to dirt. In this respect conditions were far worse than in Madrid.
It does not seem advisable to start a milk distribution at Alicante itself, but to get them going at all the villages round Alicante. I thought the Crevillente distribution, which is almost entirely in Spanish hands, was extremely efficient.
MADRID. I have the impression that the effect of Franco's push was to leave Madrid rather neglected, and this applies especially to the part of the population which has no connection with the Army or Munition work. Otherwise conditions are peaceful, and people are returning to Madrid; many are asking for their children back.