As part of the 7th cycle of Spanish Women to be Discovered, the Instituto Cervantes in Madrid (Calle Alcalá, 49) is presenting a conference tomorrow, Wednesday, on Margarita Salaverría Galárraga (1911-Madrid, 7 December 2000), Spain’s first female diplomat. The lecture will be given by Santiago de Mora y Figueroa, Marquis of Tamarón, diplomat, writer and director of the Instituto Cervantes from 1996 to 1999.
When she was 22 years old, Margarita Salaverría Galárraga passed the apositions for the Diplomatic Corps, becoming the first woman to do so during the Republic, in 1933, and that same year she went on to work in the Ministry of State.
As soon as the Civil War broke out, the rebel side created a Diplomatic Cabinet, whose purpose was to inform the National Defence Board on matters within its competence, and of which Margarita was a member. This speed in the appointment of the cabinet may be indicative of the confidence of the rebel regime in the people chosen, who could be considered loyal to the rebel cause. She married fellow diplomat (and fellow student) Jaime Argüelles Armada, with whom she had six children. During the Second World War she was in London, where her husband was commercial advisor to the Duke of Alba’s staff, and she worked as an embassy secretary. She was an exceptional case of a woman diplomat even in the early days of Franco’s regime.
In 1961 she was promoted to Minister Plenipotentiary third class, Counsellor to the Embassy. In the 1970s, together with her family, she moved to the United States, where her husband was ambassador. In 1981 she was awarded the Sash of Dame of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. She died in Madrid on 7 December 2000.