ABSTRACT

On 25 July 1937, Pablo Churruca y Dotres, Marque´s de Aycinena, Charge´

d’Affaires at the Vatican, successor to the unsuccessful Magaz, announced

by telegram that on the 26th the Archbishop Monsignor Ildebrando Anto-

niutti would be leaving Rome for Spain. The Pope had nominated him as

his delegate entrusted with the mission to assist in the repatriation of the

Basque children who had had to flee abroad, ‘although he undoubtedly

possesses faculties for examining other aspects situation’. Churruca ended

by suggesting that it would be advisable to warn the frontier authorities and the Civil Governor of San Sebastia´n. In a letter to his friend Toma´s Muniz

Pablos, the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, Cardinal Goma´ attrib-

uted a little of the success of this development to himself, observing, ‘He

has two missions: one, which is official, is the repatriation of the Basque

children; the other – which is unofficial, secret for the present and accords

with the instructions that I receive directly from the Secretary of State – will

probably end in the not too distant future with the legal recognition of the

National Government. It seems that the soothing poultices that I have sent there recently have had some effect’.1 In his memoirs, Antoniutti explains

the mission assigned to him by Monsignor Pizzardo on 23 July as follows:

‘In the Basque territory I should have to concentrate on the questions of the

prisoners of war and of the children sent abroad as a result of the conflict

raging in that region’.2