TOP secret military documents from the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship of Francisco Franco are a step closer to being made public.
The files, of which there are thousands, contain details of war operations, repression in concentration and labour camps, and post-war activity, such as the fortification of the Pyrenees and Morocco.
There are also bulletins from the central intelligence agency.
And the Commission for the Classification of Defence Documents has approved a report that recommends the Defence Minister Margarita Robles authorises general access to the pre-1968 reports, regarded as ‘confidential’ and kept in the General Military Archive in Avila.
The information dates from the coup d’etat in 1936 to 1968, when the current Official Secrets Act was passed.
According to the report from the commission, the army has already confirmed that releasing these documents will in no way compromise state security.
It’s not known exactly how many will be released into the public domain, but in 2011, the defence minister at the time, Carme Chacon, said that 10,000 files might be declassified. But experts believe the real figure could be three times that amount.
Chacon all but completed the release of the documents, but was interrupted by early elections.
His successor Pedro Morenes, of the Popular Party, put a stop to the operation claiming ‘misrepresented information’ from another era might stir up trouble with political partners.
But unlike Chacon, Robles is not expecting to actually declassify any document, because while forming part of the current legislation, it has been concluded that the Franco-era Official Secrets Act is not retroactive.
Therefore, no file prior to April 1968, which is when the law came into force, is legally classified as secret, and no declassification is deemed necessary.