It was autumn of 1975. I was in DC. I ran into my friend Dave who’s uncle worked in the State Department.
“Tony, If I tell you something, will you promise to keep it a secret?”
“Yeah, sure. What’s up?”
“Dave, how can that be any sort of a secret? If Franco’s dead it’s gonna be all over the news.”
“You don’t understand. The Prince is out of the country. They got to get him back to Spain. The word’s got to go out that Franco’s in the hospital, so that people won’t be wondering why he’s not around. And the government’s got to come up with some excuse to round up all the Communists and the rest of the troublemakers. Then, everyone can find out that Franco’s dead.”
“I don’t know Dave. This all sounds sorta fishy to me.”
That night the news mentioned that Franco had entered the hospital for a scheduled examination. The next day there was a report that — just to attend some affair — the Prince was headed back to Spain. There also was an item about the doctors discovering that Franco was afflicted with some minor condition that required surgery. The announcer went on to add that it was considered routine. A day or so later, a demonstration in Spain turned violent, resulting in many arrests. Authorities took many more into custody in the subsequent crackdown. Franco came out of surgery, but his condition was guarded. The Prince arrived in Spain. Franco took a turn for the worse. The following day the world learned that Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain is dead.