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9 d’ag. 2017


This is the text addressed by the Catalan National Council, in exile, to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco, April 1945. We still await a suitable reply, over 70 years later.

*** Click below on "Més informació" to open the rest of the post ***


Transcript beneath.

See also: http://estudiscatalans.blogspot.com/2015/10/un.html


To the USA, UK, USSR, and the Republic of China, sponsors of the UN Conference on International Organization at San Francisco.

   Inasmuch as Catalonia (in spite of her present subjugation under Spain) is a well-defined nation as proven by her history, her ethnological characteristics, her particular language, her own literature and culture, her specific laws, her customs and traditions and, above all, her permanent and manifested will and her desire to regain national sovereignty;

   Inasmuch as Catalonia (because of her unrecognized status of nation) cannot adhere to the UN Declaration nor declare war on any Axis power and so gain admission to the San Francisco Conference;

   Inasmuch as Catalonia, being occupied by the Fascist armies of General Franco, cannot proclaim her the facto state of belligerency against the Axis nor gain official recognition for her many sons fighting now in the UN Armies;

   Inasmuch as Catalonia cannot, in justice, be classified as a neutral nor legally as an Ally, although she is a friendly nation still occupied by Nazi Fascism;

   Inasmuch as, on the other hand, the legal institutions representative of Catalonia no longer exist (her President Lluis Companys having been executed by Franco and her democratic Government disbanded and nullified):

   We, therefore, in our own name, as members of the Catalan National Council (US Delegation), in the name of 75,000 organized Catalans residing on the American Hemisphere and in the name of the people of Catalonia whose voice is now suppressed

REQUEST from the Sponsors of the San Francisco Conference: 

   That, in view of these special circumstance and the unique position of Catalonia; in view that Catalonia is one of the few remaining nations in Europe whose national rights have not yet been recognized, CATALONIA BE CONSIDERED A SPECIAL CASE and since she cannot be legally represented nor actually participate in the proceeding of the Conference, BE ALLOWED TO PRESENT AND FILE THE FOLLOWING APPEAL TO THE UN before their representatives at San Francisco.

(New York, 14 April 1945, signed by J. Carner Ribalta, J. M. Fontanals, J. Ventura Sureda, members of the US Delegation of the Catalan National Council in London, registered with the State Department, 28 March 1942)


    The special situation of Catalonia as a nation prevents her from having legal representatives and from being present at this Conference to participate with the United Nations in the charting of an international organization for peace and security. But it is precisely in view of Catalonia's unique situation that we have decided to present her case to your attention so that the national rights of 3,000,000 Catalans may be known to all the United Nations and may be justly considered in the charter for a new world. We are not presenting a problem of frontiers or political reconstruction, economical recovery or any such matters which are not to be attended to until after the security situation has been set up. We present a case for national liberty which requires solution or at least consideration precisely while the security negotiations are taking place.
   Catalonia existed as a free nation until 1714, when she was finally incorporated into the Spanish State and is one of the few remaining nations in Europe whose national rights have not yet been recognized. This makes the case of Catalonia almost an obsolete problem, mainly because most of the problems of the European nationalities were supposedly solved at Versailles. But Catalonia was not, her liberties were not restored at the end of World War I like those of the other nationalities. It is for this reason that we present here her problem as a special case and as a matter which demands consideration and solution so that the Charter which is to be written for the new Europe does not become once more an injustice against Catalonia.
   In a way, Catalonia's over-prolonged captivity and retarded liberation is due, more than to several military defeats, to repeated diplomatic misfortunes suffered by Catalonia. ln 1713, by the Treaty of Utrecht, after a long war against her Spanish oppressor, Catalonia's rights were disowned by her own allies and sacrificed to power politics and matters of expediency. In 1919, at Versailles, in spite of the 18,000 volunteers Catalonia contributed to the Allied armies, the rights of the rights of that unfortunate nation were once more overlooked. In 1924, at Geneva, due to the defective clauses of the League's Covenant, and to the presence of Spain in the League of Nations, which made impossible the required vote of unanimity on such matters, the League of Nations could not even consider Catalonia's demands for liberty. In 1937, at the Nyon Conference, Catalonia's rights were disregarded but, on the other hand, the claim of Italy about “the right to intervene in Spain to prevent the setting up of an independent Catalan Republic” was considered valid.
   This traditional diplomatic indifference towards Catalonia's claims should not lead anyone to believe that the Catalan case has no bearing in the maintenance of permanent peace and security in Europe. The “Catalan Question” has been at the bottom of much of the unrest and political turmoil in the Iberian Peninsula during the last three centuries, and there has never been any aggressive power or force in Europe which has not tried, at some moment, to speculate on the Catalan discontent to enhance or secure success of their plans. As an example, we will mention that during the period of the French Revolution, Robespierre in person, with the aim of persuading Catalonia to join his cause, visited Barcelona with the written «Constitution of Catalonia» in his briefcase. Scarcely a quarter of a century later, Napoleon Bonaparte, in order to gain a foothold on the Peninsula, actually created a “Catalan State” and tried to establish a Catalan government separate from that of the kingdom of Spain. In recent times, in the geopolitics of Germany for the Mediterranean area, Greater Catalonia (that is to say the old Catalan Kingdom or the present territories of Catalan language - Catalonia, València, French Catalonia, and the Balearic Islands - ) was scheduled to play a big role against France and her African empire, although Catalonia did not accept the “New Order” or Nazism. As a final proof of the importance of Catalonia in the stability of Europe, any well-informed and clear-sighted statesman will admit that lest the national problem of Catalonia is satisfactorily solved, there will never be real peace and order in the Iberian Peninsula.
   Now that a charter of the nations of the world is going to be definitively written for a durable peace, Catalonia cannot let this opportunity pass without appealing to the justice of the United Nations for her due recognition, lest new and irreparable mistakes are committed at the moment of the charting, and her national freedom be postponed indefinitely.
    In appealing to you for justice, Catalonia wants to state her full aspirations and the full scope of her rights. We earnestly request that this Conference not commit the same mistake of the Peace Conference at Versailles, which dismissed Catalonia's demands on the erroneous argument that it was a mere case of home rule, to be granted by Spain, and as such an internal problem, a "family conflict," to be solved within the Spanish State. Neither could we allow the United Nations to judge Catalonia's rights on the same basis of the League of Nations that classified them as a simple problem of a minority inside Spain. Catalonia is a nation and must he recognized as such before any regional organization can be established in Spain, in the Iberian Peninsula, the continent of Europe, or the liberated world.
    It is unnecessary to tire your attention by derailing the historical, ethnical, linguistic, and cultural reasons which prove the national characteristics of Catalonia; nor need we present any list of all the persecutions and oppressions of which she is and has been a victim. Neither do we believe it necessary to adduce proof of her determination and ever- increasing will to live again as a free nation. We do not even need to point out that her struggle for freedom has continued through the centuries. In 1640, in the first attempt against her freedom, Catalonia fought against Spain (War of Succession) and proclaimed the Catalan Republic; in 1714, after international rights were all disregarded at Utrecht, Catalonia continued to fight against Spain and France even after having been abandoned by her allies (England, Austria, Portugal, and Holland); in 1931, Catalonia led in the Peninsula the democratic and civil revolt against the Bourbon Monarchy, proclaimed a Catalan Republic and made possible the Spanish Republic; in 1931, Catalonia organized a national plebiscite in which 98 percent of the population proclaimed Catalonia's will of self-government; in 1934, after the Spanish Republic had fallen into the hands of the fascists and reactionary forces, Catalonia struck for democracy and national freedom and proclaimed the Catalan Stare as part of the Confederacy of Iberian Nations; in 1936, upon the Nazi-fascist coup of Franco and the Falange, Catalonia became the bulwark of antifascism and fought at the same time for her national freedom.
   There is, however, a matter which should be set forth here very clearly to end all possible misconceptions. We refer to the permanent and inalterable nature of the Catalan problem. In other words, the basic terms of the Catalan aspirations do not change with the existence of a more or less liberal regime in Spain, nor with a greater or lesser degree of persecution or oppression. For instance, Catalonia's aspirations are independent of the existence or non-existence of Franco in Spain. Catalonia has been an oppressed nationality under the Monarchy, under the Spanish Republic, and under Franco. The removal of Franco alone will not solve the Catalan national problem, as it was not solved by the overthrowing alone of the Bourbon Monarchy. Catalonia fights Franco and it's trying to overthrow his Fascist régime and in the same spirit she is fighting for the destruction of Hitler and Hirohito. Franco is Catalonia's present tyrant, but in the dual function of representative of Nazifascism and representative of the Spanish Unitarian State. The replacement of Franco will free Catalonia from Nazifasclsm but it will not make Catalonia free from Spanish oppression.
   This takes us to the real danger of any Catalan "solution" carried out under the light of routine misconception. For this reason we appeal herewith to thc United Nations before any decision be taken and any commitment be made with regard to Spain. For many people erroneously believe that the Catalan case is merely a Spanish problem. It is not SO. There is a tendency to classify the Catalan question among the internal problems of Spain. The conflict between Catalonia and Spain, as any problem a between any oppressed nationality and her oppressor as always been of an international nature. Catalonia is not a Spanish conflict but a European problem. In these terms the problem of other European nationalities were solved at the peace table at Versailles.
    To class the Catalan question among the internal problems of the Spanish state is to appoint Catalonia's oppressor to be sole judge in a conflict in which it is itself a contending part. Catalonia, or any other oppressed nation, cannot expect justice from her own oppressor.
    As history shows, not even a liberal and democratic Spain, of the type of the Spanish Republic, is capable of solving the Catalan national problem, Most of the leaders and the statesmen of the former Spanish Republic live in the erroneous notion that thc principles and the clauses of the Atlantic Charter apply to the Spanish State but do not apply to Catalonia and the other nationalities incorporated by force into the Spanish State.
   Hence Catalonia cannot accept the premise that her national liberty is to be identified and confused with the problems of restoring democracy and restoring the republican regime in Spain. At its due time the United Nations will have to confront the Spanish problem, and Catalonia will help with all her strength to solve it, but its denomination and solution has no direct relationship with Calalonia's problem of national liberty.
   Let no one misinterpret this statement. Catalonia is vitally interested in democratic Spain. 150,000 Calanan youths died in the Spanish Civil War to eradicate Fascism from Spain and to secure the subsistence of democracy in the Iberian Peninsula, but it is as Catalans that the people of Catalonia wamy to participate in the welfare of the Iberian block of peoples. They want their rights as a nation to be recognized so that Catalonia through self-determination can be free to join in the political reorganization of the Peninsula, once free and duly recognized as a nation Catalonia will be in a position to consider for instance, a Confederacy of Iberian States, on the basis of equal rights and voluntary association, in which Catalans, Basques, Galicians, Spaniards and Portuguese could participate.
   On the other hand Catalonia being absolutely identified with the cause of thc United Nations - in whose armies so many of her sons are fighting on all the fronts - declares her willingness to accept lhe sacrifices (the reorgamzatton of Europe may demand of her, no matter how jealous she maybe of her sovereignty and freedom as a nation
   Summing up, Catalonia REQUESTS from the United Nations:

   a) — THAT her delayed case of national liberation be, from this moment, scheduled as one needing immediate solution.
    b) — THAT her case for self-government be filed for immediate solution under the principles and the clauses of the Atlantic Charter, independently of any regional solution contemplated for Spain.
   c) — THAT her position in the political organization of Spain be decided by herself, through plebiscite of the Catalan nationals, after recognition of her status as a nation.
   d) — THAT any further disagreement or dispute between Catalonia and Spain be submitted for hearing before the United Nations Council or the International Court of Justice on its behalf.

In submitting her claim for national liberation before this Conference and before the international public opinion, Catalonia expects justice from the United Nations. (New York, April 14,1945)

    To this declaration I wish to add the footnote that the address given on the document presented to the U.N. is: Consell Nacional Català, 239 West 14th Street, New York, NY. This is now the address of La Nationale, a Spanish Nationalist organization!

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