9-10 Agosto Merriman’s Leadership of the Mac-Paps is short-lived

August 9-10

Robert Merriman’s diary for 9 and 10 August 1937

Merriman is still in Madrid and talks to Ed Rolfe about trouble in the 5th Regiment du Tren, when the repatriation policy is overstated.   Luigi Gallo was not in Madrid at the time and Merriman says “Galli” helped them find food.  That is possibly Humberto Galliani.   Marion Greenspan and Merriman leave for Ambite where the Brigade is based and they still missed Gallo who was moving fast.  He was with a Brigadista named “Franz” (unknown).   Merriman says that Klaus explained his actions against Marcovics and threatened anyone who told Marcovics what he said with court martial.   This must have been a very awkward position for Merriman to be in, knowing that Marcovics and he were not close, but that Nelson and other Americans must have told him Marcovics’ side of the story.

Merriman stops in Tarancon and meets with Al Stone (Albert Gottlieb) and “Rose” (probably Solomon Rose, who would have been in hospital from injuries at Brunete).  Apparently there was a woman from San Francisco there representing what looks like “Cadres” (but is frankly indecipherable) and he mentions the name “Fay” (also unknown).   He tears back to Tarazona for a meeting and the next day reveals the reason.

Robert Merriman’s diary is unique in unraveling the machinations of the leadership adjustments in August 1937.  While Merriman was talking about an American going to the Staff level of the Brigade in his August 7-8 diary pages, that adjustment took exactly two days.  In a flurry of activity that involved the rotation out of a number of British and Americans who had been in Spain from the beginning, Vladimir Copic returned to the Brigade and shook things up.  On the 10th of August, Merriman is told he is to be the Chief of Staff to Copic.   The French were not pleased with the Americanisation of the Brigades and one recalls that Lucien Vidal was recently removed from Albacete base command.

Merriman speaks with Copic about recommendations for comrades who fought in Brunete.  He includes Marcovics in that list.  Merriman has clearly sided with the American view that Colonel Klaus was unreasonable in his orders and that Marcovics was correct in resisting them.   Merriman says that he has permission to “clean Albacete”.  In another unreadable word, he has a session with a comrade and solidifies Lou Secundy’s placement in Transports.  Secundy did a good job in getting the Battalion to Albares on previous days.

Nelson spoke at Pozo Rubio and Tom Wintringham was viewed as weak.  The training at the school is noted as “slow”.   Another new name “Seegar” appears and he will go to Madrigueras from Pozo Rubio.   Merriman speaks with the men at Pozo Rubio and explains what happened with Vincent Usera and Mirko Markovics at the front.  Merriman’s sympathy for their actions is apparent and quite unjudgmental.