Meanwhile, secret peace talks which were being held in England between Dr. Juan Negrin
and the Duke of Alba
, Franco's ambassador, broke up on September 9 with no result as Franco insisted on an unconditional surrender.
On September 16, fifteen German planes bombed the port of Barcelona, damaging two British ships that were in the port.One bomb fell in a market place killing a number of civilians.31 people were killed and 120 were wounded during this air-raid.
On September 21, Dr. Juan Negrin
announced in his
speech to the League of Nations
, that the withdrawal of the International Brigades from the combat zones would shortly begin. (On October 28, the first farewell parade of the International Brigades in Barcelona was attended by tens of thousands of grateful civilians.) In withdrawing these troops Negrin hoped that the international community would pressurise Germany and Italy to withdraw their supplies of men and arms to Franco.
...On December 31, the city centre of Barcelona was bombed by the Nationalist air-force and, in desperation, Dr. Juan Negrin, the Spanish Prime Minister begged the United States to intervene, but without success, for the threat of a possible major war in Europe proved to be too much of a distraction and the threat of the Republic, if winning, becoming a Communist controlled state was an unsavory thought to the western democratic powers. (Republican politics had seen an marked increase in Communist influence since the outbreak of war, a direct result of the foreign intervention by the USSR.)
...On February 6, the Spanish Prime Minister, Juan Negrin, the Spanish President, Azana, and the Catalonian President crossed over into France, by this time Gerona had been occupied by Nationalist troops (Feb 4)and by February 10, the whole of the French border had come under Nationalist control, on that day Juan Negrin, flew back into Spain, his aircraft landing at Alicante.