5P~flIqn5 newsL-c iR
SPANISH MOTION PICTURE STARS, Aurora Bautista and
Josh Suirez, received top honors from Spain's Actors Union
for outstanding performances during the past year.
CASA DEL HIDALGO STARTED
St. Augustine's restoration program and Quadricenten-
nial Celebration have taken an important stride with the
recent start on construction of the Spanish government's
exhibition and cultural center.
The Spanish Center-the Casa del Hidalgo-will be
completed in mid-summer, in time for the city's 400th
anniversary in September, costing about $200,000, in-
cluding land acquisition, construction and furnishings. It
is located at the corner of St. George and Hypolita
streets of the old Spanish City, founded in 1565 by Pedro
Men6ndez de Avil6s.
The main building will be a two-story structure, featur-
ing decorative arts, furnishings, tapestries and paintings.
It will be built of coquina, a limestone mortar mixed with
sea shells. It was designed by Javier Barroso.
In addition to the main building, there will be a typical
Spanish kitchen and two smaller exhibition buildings, all
connected by an arcade.
One of the smaller exhibition buildings will show Span-
ish craftsmanship, including pottery, leather works and
iron works. The second smaller building will serve for
general exhibits and house the information wing.
A LETTER TO THE TIMES
The New York Times, of April 13, publishes a remarkable
letter from Benjamin Welles, formerly Times correspondent in
Madrid, written in reply to an editorial comment on Spain. This
letter, which speaks for itself, is as follows:
"Your April 5 editorial 'Franco Celebrates Again' reflects an
undeviating dislike of the Spanish Government which is one thing,
but it also reflects several errors of fact, which is quite another.
"It is simply not true to say that the American military pact
with Spain, plus our military and economic aid to that country,
are 'responsible' for Spain's striking economic improvement.
"What is responsible has been Spain's drastic economic reform
of 1959; its current four-year development plan, already exceeding
virtually all targets after its first year, plus the brains and energy
of Spain's businessmen as Franco gradually lifts controls. Last
year, for instance, Spain welcomed thirteen million tourists, and
that had nothing to do with American aid.
"Economically the United States furnished Spain between 1952
and 1962 about $1.2 billion divided in three ways: 31.8 per cent
in foodstuffs to feed a semi-starved nation; 32.8 in raw materials
-mainly in agricultural surpluses we were delighted to fob off-
and 35.4 per cent in machinery to get Spain's rusting, war-crippled
factories turning. Even in the peak year, however-1955-when
this aid reached about $200 million, it did not even total 2 per
centof Spain's own gross national product.
"Militarily we have spent about $500 million to build air and
naval bases in Spain, and have, in addition, furnished the Spanish
armed forces with about $600 million in tanks, planes, ships and
guns, etc. But at least 70 per cent of the base-building materials
came from the United States, so what benefit this vast military
program has been to the average Spaniard's purchasing power is
hard to see.
"It is, moreover, nonsense to assert that 'most Spaniards live
just above the poverty line.' Visit Madrid, Barcelona, Seville,
Malaga, Alicante-or stroll any summer evening in the little
aldeas of the countryside-and you will see healthy, well-fed,
well-clad, well-shod people.
"Spain has improved beyond recognition in recent years. From
1955 to 1961 meat consumption rose 27 per cent, beer consump-
tion 130 per cent. From 1961 to 1963 the output of refrigerators
soared from 30,000 to 100,000. In 1958 Spain built only 33,000
cars, last year 77,000, and production is growing rapidly. Last
year Spain built 250,000 television sets and 140,000 motor scoot-
ers. Industrial production increased by _1 percent.
"Every seven years the demand for electric power in Spain
doubles. In mid-1959 Spain was bankrupt. Today her gold and
dollar reserves total $1.5 billion. These are not the economic
indicators of a country gasping for breath.
"True, as you say, there is too great a gap between the rich
and poor in Spain. No one knows it better than the Spaniards,
who discuss it in the pulpits, the press, in official speeches, cafes
and homes from one end of Spain to the other. They know it
and they are tackling it, perhaps too slowly.
"But when we pause in our high moral condescension and con-
sider that one-fifth of our own breadwinners earn less than $3,500
yearly, or hear the President of the United States affirm that 54
million adult Americans have not even finished high school, it
may be that we are tackling our own problems too slowly, too."
1965 by The New York Times Printing Company.
Reprinted by permission.
View of the Casa del Hidalgo, at St. Augustine
This month the city of St. Augustine, Florida, bril-
liantly commemorated the 400th anniversary of its found-
ing by the Spaniard Pedro Men6ndez de Avil6s.
A Spanish delegation, headed by Spain's Minister of
the Interior, Camilo Alonso Vega, participated in the
celebrations with the inauguration and opening to the
public of the $200,000 "House of an Hidalgo", a faith-
ful replica of the home of a 16th century nobleman.
Complete with armor, furniture and kitchen utensils, it
was erected by the Spanish Ministry of Information and
Tourism, with the cooperation of the Institute of Hispanic
Culture and the Spanish Handicraft Organization.
The "House of an Hidalgo" also contains an annex
which will serve as permanent exhibition center of Span-
ish crafts and an Information Bureau. The building is
one of the most attractive and stately edifices in St. Augus-
tine's restored old city and is currently being visited by
numerous tourists as one of the most interesting and edu-
cational attractions of the town.
During the celebration, the original sword of Men6ndez
de Avil6s, brought from the Naval Museum in Madrid,
was on display at the "Casa del Hidalgo". A replica was
presented by Minister Alonso Vega to be kept at the
famous old Spanish fortress, the Castillo de San Marcos,
a national monument which dominates St. Augustine's
Quadricentennial ceremonies were attended by the
Mayor of Avil6s, Spain's sister city of St. Augustine and
birthplace of the founder of this oldest city in the United
States; and by Count of Revillagigedo, heir to the title of
Governor of Florida and direct descendant of Pedro Me-
n6ndez de Avil6s. During the celebrations the Spanish
heritage of the United States was stressed and Spain justly
credited for having contributed so much to the history and
spiritual values of the American nations.
Spain's Minister of the Interior, in one of his speeches
said: "St. Augustine is the birth certificate of the United
States, and it was a Spaniard, Pedro Men6ndez de Avil6s,
who wrote it. We believe that it was the will of God that
a Spaniard brought with him the touch of western culture,
which the United States continues today to carry forward."
Speaking in a similar vein, U.S. Secretary of the In-
terior, Stewart L. Udall, stated that "too often we in
the United States think only of the English-speaking side
of our New World family tree. . We are grateful that
the Spanish people, who have given the New World such
a great and lasting cultural legacy, have now provided
this center of history here in St. Augustine, Florida."
Florida Senator George Smathers commented that, "as
Old St. Augustine is restored and developed, historical
links between the United States and Europe become more
clearly and firmly drawn. From Spain to Florida came
the first bond 400 years ago. . Forty two years later,
the English settled in Jamestown, Virginia. Fifty six
years after the Spanish settlement, the Pilgrims reached
Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Th us, tied to the
distinct cultures of Spain and England, we have gained new
knowledge, new strength and new peoples."
Speaking in Congress of the St. Augustine celebration,
Florida Senator Spessard Holland declared: "This is a
great day for my State, for several other great States of
our Nation, for most of Latin America, and for Spain,
which truly is the mother country of so much of our
nation and of this Western Hemisphere. I hope that
this unforgettable celebration may serve to renew and
strengthen our memories of the great debt which our nation
owes to Spain; that it will strengthen and make more per-
Secretary General Mora of the Organization of American States,
at left, is presented by the Marchioness of Merry del Val, wife
of Spain's Ambassador, to Spain's Minister of the Interior, Camilo
Alonso Vega, during an Embassy reception in Washington.
AMERICA'S I" 1 S T
LADY, Mrs. Lyndon B.
Johnson, was recently
serenaded at the White
House by eleven
Spanish student "troub-
adours", from the Uni-
versity of Barcelona.
The young singers and
in handsome 16th cen-
tury costumes, came to
for the occasion from
the Spanish Pavilion, at
the New York World's
Fair, where they are
The concert, which
lasted an hour, was
held in the East Room
of the White House.
manent the friendly relations between our country and
Spain, as well as with the Spanish American Republics
which have the common heritage, with us, of original settle-
ment by Spanish explorers, soldiers and priests."
Archbishop Joseph Hurley declared during a sermon:
"It is a pity that the pioneer efforts of the Spanish in
Florida and the South are so little known, especially to
the youth of America. . I think it is the duty of all of
us to fill the great void in American history which stretches
from 1513 when Ponce de Le6n discovered this peninsula
to 1606 when the English settled Virginia and 1620 when
they landed at Provincetown and Plymouth. This is the
lost century of American history. We devoutly pray that
this marvelous century be rediscovered."
Near the "Casa del Hidalgo", a statue of Queen Isabel
the Catholic, donated by its sculptress Anne Hyatt Hunt-
ington, was unveiled, in homage to the Spanish sovereign
whose faith made possible Spain's opening of the New
World of the Americas to Western civilization and Christi-
anity. She firmly believed it was possible, because, as
Spain's Minister of the Interior recalled at St. Augustine,
"nothing in this world that is beautiful, is impossible."
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS SURPLUS
Spain's balance of payments shows a surplus of
$18.5 million dollars for the first six months of 1965,
recently stated Faustino Garcia Monc6, Minister of Com-
merce, in a report to the cabinet meeting held under
the presidency of Chief of State Franco.
The Second Congress of Evangelical Churches to be
held in Madrid, from October 6 to 8, will be attended by
about 150 ministers representing the larger Spanish
Protestant groups and various independent congregations.
NEW PRESS LAW
The Government has approved a bill that would abolish
all press censorship in Spain.
The bill, which will be taken up by the Cortes, or Par-
liament, is expected to become law by the end of the year.
The approval of this measure was announced by the
Minister of Information and Tourism, Manuel Fraga. The
announcement followed a day long Cabinet meeting at
which Chief of State Franco presided.
Sr. Fraga, who has championed the abolition of censor-
ship since he was appointed, said the bill would mark a
"significant new step" in Spain's life. He explained that un-
der its provisions all forms of direct censorship on Spain's
newspapers, magazines and books would be "prohibited".
Press censorship had been gradually disappearing and
only newspapers in Madrid and Barcelona have been sub-
ject to it. Editors will be fully responsible for the contents
of the press. Censorship was exerted through the press law
of 1938, now considered obsolete, but which since that
date put an end to the arbitrary measures adopted during
the time of the Spanish Republic since 1931.