Villalobar, Rodrigo de Saavedra y Vincent, Marquis de
- (1864-1926)Rodrigo Villalobar was born in Madrid on 4 January 1864 and entered the Spanish diplomatic service in 1887. He served at posts in Washington, D.C., Paris, London, and Lisbon before arriving in Brussels as minister plenipotentiary on 10 March 1913. Following the outbreak of World War I and the occupation of the city in August 1914, he used the good relations that he enjoyed with the German authorities to intervene on behalf of the occupied population in seeking to soften harsh measures. Villalobar served as an intermediary to deter worker deportations, prevent the execution of Edith Cavell, which was unsuccessful, and, in 1918, protect industrial sites from destruction. His use of the diplomatic courier to transmit documents to the Allies via the neutral Netherlands led to rising suspicions and a diminution of his credit with German officials as the war progressed. Following the cessation of hostilities, he was fêted with awards, including the grant of an honorary citizenship given by city officials. In January 1921, Villalobar was promoted to the rank of ambassador, and he died at his post in Brussels on 9 July 1926.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.