HC Deb 01 December 1936 vol 318 cc1038-165

Order for Second Reading read.

4.5 p.m.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

In order to understand the object of this Bill and its necessity, I think it would be as well at the outset for me to draw attention to the statement made a week ago by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. As the House remembers, my right hon. Friend was discussing then our relation to the two sections in Spain who are engaged at the present time in a civil war. He said: The policy of His Majesty's Government is to take no part in the Spanish war and to give no assistance to either side in the struggle. In pursuance of this policy, His Majesty's Government have been considering further the importation of arms into Spain by sea and the problems arising therefrom. His Majesty's Government have not so far accorded belligerent rights at sea to either side in the Spanish struggle, and they have no present intention of according such rights. As a consequence, His Majesty's ships will, should it prove necessary, protect British merchant ships on the high seas against interference by the ships of either party engaged in the conflict in Spain outside the three-mile limit. My right hon. Friend continued: At the same time it is not the intention of His Majesty's Government that British shipping should carry war material from any foreign port to any port in Spain. In order to make this as effective as possible in the circumstances, the Government intend to introduce legislation immediately rendering the carriage of arms to Spain by British ships illegal, and I take this opportunity of warning all British shipping accordingly.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1936; col. 7, Vol. 318.] It is with the object of giving effect to that declaration of policy that it has become necessary to introduce this Bill. It is clear from the statements made from time to time from this Box since the beginning of August that our policy has been, in agreement with that of other European Powers, one of non-intervention. Exports from this country to Spain of arms and munitions of war have been entirely prohibited, and every impartial person is conscious of our neutrality in that civil war. These measures of nonintervention have been successful in confining the struggle to Spain and in keeping this country free from participating in any way. Arms are, however, being carried to Spain in spite of the nonintervention agreement. Who is supplying the arms and to which side is immaterial. What is important to us is that a few British ships have been engaged on this traffic and that this traffic is opposed to the policy of His Majesty's Government.

The insurgents have made it clear that they intend to prevent by force the arrival of arms by sea for the Spanish Government. We have at once, therefore, to consider the exercise of belligerent rights. Let me say a word with regard to belligerent rights. If they were granted we should have to allow British ships to be stopped, to be searched or captured on the high seas by the ships of an authority whose status has not been recognised by this country. To stop British ships would be an act of force; to search them would subject them to an indignity; to capture them might be an outrage. If belligerent rights were not granted we should have to give naval support to enable British ships to carry arms to Spain in contravention of our declared policy. On that His Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that a simple prohibition of consignments by British ships was the proper solution, and the reasons for holding that view are as follow:

(1) The internal controversies of Spain do not justify interference with British ships on the high seas.

(2) His Majesty's Navy must not be used to safeguard British ships which are acting in direct contradiction of the policy of His Majesty's Government.

It follows that His Majesty's Government have decided that British ships shall not be allowed to carry arms to Spain. I can best describe to the House the operation of this decision by reminding them what the position will be when the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. The legislation we are now proposing wilt enable His Majesty's ships to take measures for preventing United Kingdom vessels carrying arms to Spain. Under the Bill a United Kingdom ship carrying arms to Spain will be committing an offence against our own law and she can be brought in by any of His Majesty's ships for adjudication before a competent British court. In the circumstance of the Bill becoming law there can remain no possible excuse for any interference by Spanish warships with United Kingdom vessels, and such interference on the high seas would, of course, be resisted.

I have put as plainly and as briefly as I can the position in which His Majesty's Government and, let me add, the British Merchant Navy will stand, after the passage of this Bill into law. But we are not alone in taking action of this nature. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway have announced that, "Until further notice the use of Norwegian ships for the transport of arms and munitions and aircraft, or parts thereof, to Spain or countries which belong to Spain, is prohibited." That regulation came into force on 28th November. I understand that the French. Government also take the view that they do not wish their ships to carry arms from foreign ports to Spain, and they are contemplating certain action in the matter, though we have not yet been supplied with any details of what that action may be. Those are two very important decisions, and I attach importance to them because they are both Left-Wing Governments.

Now may I briefly explain the powers given in the Bill? The object of the Bill is to prevent the carriage of arms to Spain by ships which are entitled to the protection of the British Navy, and if hon. Members will look at the Bill and follow the various Clauses, they will see that Sub-section (1) of Clause 1 prohibits ships to which the Act applies from loading or carrying arms for discharge at Spanish ports or into another vessel at sea for the purpose of discharging at Spanish ports. The second Sub-section defines the articles prohibited to be carried, and they are the same as those which may not be exported to Spain under the Non-intervention Agreement. The list is to be found in full in the Order of 1931. Page 2 of that Order sets out a very wide range of arms and ammunition which come under that Order. The Arms Exports Prohibition Order, 1931, therefore provides us with the list which is necessary for the operation of this Bill.


Has that a number?


Yes. Statutory Rules and Orders, 1931, No. 413. Subsection (2) defines the articles prohibited to be carried, and this Sub-section is one of the most important in the Bill. There is no intention whatever of curtailing it, but there is power, of course, in the Subsection to vary the list if necessary. The third Sub-section of the first Clause defines the ships covered by the prohibition, and it covers all ships which are entitled to protection from His Majesty's ships, that is to say, ships registered in the United Kingdom, ships registered in any colony, protectorate, or mandated territory, and ships registered in India or Newfoundland, but it. does not include ships registered in the Dominions, in respect of which the United Kingdom does not and cannot legislate. Whether that makes any practical difference is a matter of speculation, but I would point out to the House four facts. First, the Dominions have been informed of our proposals, but we have not yet had any indication from them as to their attitude on them. It is entirely a matter for the Dominions themselves. Secondly, only the Irish Free State is a party to the Non-intervention Agreement. Thirdly, there are not many Dominion-registered ships of the type likely to be involved, for they are mainly liners and coasters. Fourthly, no Dominion-registered ship, as far as we can tell, is anywhere near Spain at the present time. Under those circumstances the limitation, that is to say, the exemption of Dominion ships is of very little practical value.


If a Dominion ship were engaged in this, would it be entitled to the protection of the British Navy?


I cannot say definitely whether it would or would not under present circumstances, but I am sure of this, that if the prohibition were to be made effective, Dominion ships must refrain from this practice. What I have just said to the House makes it clear that there are in fact no Dominion ships anywhere near Spain, and, therefore, this urgent Measure need not necessarily apply to them.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer this simple point with regard to Dominion-registered vessels that resemble vessels belonging to the Canada Steamship Lines registered in Montreal or vessels belonging to the Adelaide Steamship Company registered in Adelaide If vessels belonging to either of these lines happen to be engaged in this traffic, will they receive the protection of the British Navy?


I can only say that, so far as this legislation is concerned, it cannot apply to Dominion vessels, for the simple reason that we have no control over them. If I am asked whether the British Navy would grant protection to those vessels, I think the British Navy would refrain from granting protection to vessels which were acting in contravention of a law applying to our merchant ships. I have been asked on the spur of the moment what is my interpretation of it, and I have given it.


This is very important. Has that information been conveyed to the Dominion Governments? Has that point, the absence of protection in certain circumstances, been conveyed to the Dominion Governments?


That has nothing whatever to do with this Bill. If, however, the Debate is taken on a broader basis, I have no doubt that that will be dealt with in the course of this sitting.


That interpretation has been put on it, and surely we ought to know now. The point has been raised, and it is one of very great consequence.


It has nothing to do with the Bill, in the first place, but if the right hon. Gentleman wishes to have the subject dealt with, in so far as it is within the Rules of Order, it will be dealt with in the course of the Debate.


On the Second Reading of a Bill we are discussing the policy of the Bill, and this is a matter of policy. Can we have a reply now, therefore?


The question put to me could equally well have been put before the Bill was introduced or suggested. It has no direct connection with this Bill.


May I ask this question? Under this Bill power is conferred to search British ships at sea to see whether they are conforming to the law as laid down in the Bill. Will that search extend to Dominion vessels or not?


No, of course it will not, and if my right hon. and gallant Friend had read the Bill, he would have seen that. If the point is a material one every effort will be made to satisfy the right hon. Gentleman on this one point, but I must point out that it does not come within this Bill and would not be consistent with the opening statement which I am now making. May I go on with the machinery of the Bill? Subsections (4) and (5) provide for penalties. Under Sub-section (4) an offence in contravention of the Act is a misdemeanour. The penalties under the Merchant Shipping Act for a misdemeanour are, on summary conviction, a fine not exceeding £100 or imprisonment up to six months, with or without hard labour, and, on indictment, an unlimited fine or imprisonment up to two years, with or without hard labour. These penalties can fall upon the owner, the charterer, or the master, if privy to the offence. Under Sub-section (5) proceedings may be taken for forfeiture of the goods carried in contravention of the law. Sub-sections (6) and (7) merely give the necessary powers for the enforcement of the previous Sub-sections. Sub-section (8) applies certain provisions of the Act, if passed, retrospectively from 23rd November. Clause 2 is mainly formal and self-explanatory, the only point of interest being Sub-section (5), which contains provisions for bringing the Act to an end when circumstances have altered.

The House is asked to pass this Bill through all its stages in one day. From the moment when it appeared that the insurgents intended to exercise search, the powers given by the Bill became necessary. By direction of the Government, the Navy for the past week have been ready to act as if the Bill were law. The Bill is designed to meet a certain difficult situation. As soon as that situation existed, it was imperative that the policy which the Bill outlines should be put into operation, and the House is therefore asked to pass the Bill as quickly as may be, in order that, first, the Navy will have legal force given to orders upon which it has been acting already; secondly, that British ships which are acting in contravention of the policy of His Majesty's Government may be brought to book; and thirdly, that British ships passing on the seas upon their lawful occasions may do so without interference and with the protection of His Majesty's Navy.

4.25 p.m.


I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."

The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has explained the purpose and the provisions of this Bill in a speech which, while delivered with his usual charm, has caused us, I confess, a certain amount of surprise and indeed dismay. He explained the motives which have inspired the Government to bring in the Bill, and he said that they are the same as those which have made them adopt the policy that they call non-intervention. I say at once that I entirely respect, and I believe all my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House entirely respect, the motives of the Government in this matter. There are critics who allege that the Government have been inspired by the desire that General Franco should win the war. I have heard some hon. Members on the other side of the House state publicly and in this House that they desire General Franco to win the war, and I think it is not impossible that some sections of the Government desire that General Franco should win the war, because the Government are not always unanimous, if we are to believe rumour, in their foreign policy.

But I am certain that the Foreign Secretary's purpose throughout has been to achieve the objects of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke and which I venture to restate as follows: He desires to shorten the war in Spain and to reduce the bloodshed which it might involve. He desires to avert the danger of international complications, to avoid all risk of a European conflagration which might follow as the result of a clash of rival ideologies. And he desires to do what he thinks, and what the Government think, the vast majority of the British people desire, namely, to be really neutral in the Spanish conflict, not to take sides and not, to take any action which would favour one side or the other. I entirely respect those motives; I accept fully the sincerity with which they are held; and I believe that the Government, in pursuing this policy, have believed that they are serving not only the interests of our country and the interests of Europe, but the interests of the Spanish people themselves. But when one is considering an important issue of foreign policy, it is not enough to approve the motives or the purposes by which that policy is inspired. One must examine the methods by which it is to be applied and the results to which it leads. And when we endeavour to examine this Bill in those regards, it does not inspire us with great confidence.

I believe I am right in saying—the Home Secretary will correct me if I am wrong—that in international law there is no precedent of any kind in British history for the action which this Bill proposes. The President of the Board of Trade has said that the Bill is needed because we have not recognised the belligerency of General Franco and do not intend to do so. I thank him for the plain statement he made upon that point, and I hope that the Government will stand firm in that position. But the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that if we refuse General Franco belligerent rights, it is prudent and just also to take away the reasons which might move him to belligerent action, to give him no excuse for submitting British vessels to arrest and search, to humiliation and trouble, and the more so since they would be, in fact, carrying arms in contravention of the policy which the Government have adopted. Yes, but this is not the first time that we have refused belligerent rights to insurgents. During the last century there have been many civil wars and revolutions in different quarters of the world, and His Majesty's Government have never recognised the belligerency of insurgents since 1823, when they recognised the belligerency of the Greeks.

Yet in all that time we have never once passed legislation of this kind and have never imposed these disabilities on British ships. Nor is it only in connection with revolutions that a control of the arms traffic has been envisaged. We have had arms traffic conventions, prohibiting the dispatch of arms to Africa, to the Persian Gulf and other destinations. We have had arms embargoes, but in none of these instruments have we had provisions such as those of this Bill. We are going beyond anything that has been clone in bilateral embargoes, even when the purpose was to bring to an end a covenant-breaking war. Now we are going so far beyond what was done on those occasions that in this Bill we are actually proposing to impose upon the masters of British vessels and upon others concerned with them, such as owners and charterers, penalties more severe than would be imposed by a belligerent who in war might capture a British vessel carrying arms to an enemy State. Under international law in a prize court, contraband might be seized, a cargo might be seized, and the vessel might be seized, but the crew and the master would go free. Under this Bill the master may be guilty of a "misdemeanour" which, I understand, means that he may be liable to go to prison for a period of years.

I repeat that this Bill is a new departure—a departure of importance because it touches a matter of principle which is continually arising and which increasingly affects the foreign policy we pursue. It will increasingly cause difficulties unless we have a clear policy that the world can understand. That question of principle is the supply of arms to foreigners who are engaged in warlike operations. The supply of arms is not only connected with collective security, it is absolutely fundamental to the whole policy of collective security, which the Government say it is their purpose to pursue. Yet this new departure has been made, as the right hon. Gentleman has told us, without any consultation with the Dominions. He says that they have been informed. The Secretary of State for the Dominions told us yesterday that there was hardly any Dominion shipping registered in the Dominions to which the Bill would apply. Perhaps not, but that is not the point.

This is a new step in foreign policy and the Governments of the Dominions were not consulted before it was taken. Not only that, but this Bill vitally affects the rights of the Dominions on the seas, because, as the right hon. Gentleman has told us, from now on Dominion ships which carry arms—legally, under the laws which they must obey—are not to receive the protection of the British Fleet. He made another statement which I failed to understand, when he said that, even before to-day, the British Navy would not have intervened on behalf of British ships, if they had been carrying arms to Spain. If that is so, why did a battle cruiser go at full speed from Gibraltar when a Spanish Government ship stopped a British ship which was believed to be carrying arms? We greatly regret that any step so absolutely vital to good understanding with the Dominions as the withdrawal of the protection of the British Fleet should have been taken without prior consultation. The right hon. Gentleman may say that it is in accordance with the letter of the Balfour Report of 1926. It is certainly not in accordance with the spirit of that agreement, and we on these benches greatly regret it.

The President of the Board of Trade said that Norway and France were to have similar Measures. Yes, but on their own initiative and following our example, but not after consultation. What is much more important, has there been consultations with the Governments of Italy, Germany and Portugal? [HON. MEMBERS: "What about Russia?"] Are any of the dictatorial powers bringing in Bills before whatever bodies legislate in their countries? Unless they are, this is not a Measure of non-intervention; it will not help to shorten the war, to avert international complications or to keep us neutral. It is, in fact, like the whole policy pursued by the Government, an unwilling intervention against the Government of Spain.

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will reply, "I do not care; at least it will keep the British ships and the British Navy out of trouble."I venture to suggest that that is the most dangerous of all the arguments that he could use. To tie our hands and to leave the Fascist Governments free to do what they like is only to encourage them to ever graver acts of aggression. How long will it be before they try to impose the blockade which they have threatened? The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of Norway; Norway is going to forbid the despatch of arms in her vessels. How is that going to help Norway, which, according to the Foreign Secretary's account the other day, had a ship forcibly taken by a rebel vessel to Vigo, where its cargo of potatoes was discharged. This Bill may not be the end, but the beginning of our troubles in this regard. As the rebels get desperate, as their military position gets worse, they may resort to desperate measures, and this Bill may be one more act—not an important one in itself—of running away, which makes the rebels believe that they can do anything, because we will accept anything at their hands. It is, therefore, a serious, indeed, a vital, objection to the policy which this Bill embodies that the Government have not even invited Italy, Germany and Portugal to pass similar legislation.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

What about Russia?


And Russia. But the case against this Bill under the heading of "impartiality" goes far beyond what I have already said. The Government have not only failed to secure parallel action by other Powers, some of which, as the Foreign Secretary said yesterday, are trying by international treaty to drive the world into a conflict of ideological doctrines; they have not even drawn the terms of the Bill so that it will operate equally between the two sides. I can put my point best by saying that the Bill forbids the transport of arms from Gdynia or Memel to Barcelona or Bilbao, but does not forbid it from Hamburg to Lisbon. The Foreign Secretary replied to this point yesterday by saying that Portugal was not specially guilty and that on military grounds it was unlikely that munitions would go through Portugal to the rebels. The Foreign Secretary does not put his case very high when he says that Portugal is not specially guilty, when we consider Italian action in the Balearic Islands.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

What about Russia?


I will give hon. Members full satisfaction about Russia in a few moments. The Foreign Secretary said yesterday that there had been infractions in various places, and he virtually admitted that Portugal was guilty of some of them, although, he implied, not on a great scale. He now says that there are no infractions by Portugal at all. With respect we find it very difficult to accept that view. He spoke of military grounds. Look at the military position. Where does General Franco put the centre of his Government? Where does he make his concentrations? Where do his big movements start? In the area along the Portuguese frontier. There have been many witnesses, some of them before the commission presided over by the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone), who have given impressive evidence, confirmed by journalists and many others, that the Portuguese Government have allowed a great many infractions of the policy of neutrality.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

And so has Russia.


It is true that a good many shipments are made to the rebels through Ferrol and Vigo, which are in their hands. But the Government may retake those ports, and Lisbon may then become virtually the only port on which the rebels can depend. If that happens, this Bill would still be in force and it would have, as we submit, unequal guarantees. Even at this moment we think that the shipments to Portugal are fairly heavy. On Sunday last, the "Sunday Times," which is not a paper favourable to the Government of Madrid, contained a message from a correspondent writing from Hendaye, a place where he was not likely to hear things against the rebels, but where he was likely to be well informed about their movements. He wrote to say that the Government attack on Talavera was very serious for General Franco, because Talavera was on his main line of communication with Portugal through which he obtains large supplies. Now the Government propose to stop all shipments to Spanish ports, that is, to the Government of Madrid, which is the legitimate constitutional government of the country, and to set up guarantees of 100 per cent. efficiency for that prohibition. We say that they ought also at least to say that there should be guarantees concerning cargoes that go through Lisbon or, if they like, other neighbouring countries. They should guarantee that this Bill will not operate, as the rest of their policy has operated, against the Government of Madrid, that is to say, as another intervention by us.

That point affects the fundamental principle of which I have spoken and with which this Bill is concerned, namely, the supply of arms to foreigners engaged in warlike operations. How ought we to act in that regard? To whom ought we to send arms? The policy of our country has varied a good deal in recent times. Before the War we obeyed the rules of what was called the international law of neutrality, that is to say, private manufacturers of arms were allowed to sell, and private ships were allowed to carry arms to any destination, Even to belligerents at war. They did so at their own risk, but under the protection of the rules of international law; and if in the course of that work they were arrested, well, they took their chance; but if they were sunk, if the rules of international law were not observed, our Navy was there to uphold them and would, if necessary, go to fight on their behalf. After the War we changed our policy. We made the Covenant of the League. We introduced collective security, virtually abolishing neutrality—I am not going into technicalities—agreeing that the members of the League should stand together against an aggressor and support those against whom the aggression was aimed. Article XVI may have loopholes—I do riot discuss them—but if it means anything at all it means that we agreed with other members of the League to refuse arms to the aggressor but to supply arms to the victim of the aggression.

Our party hoped and believed—some of ray right hon. Friends on this side taking a very strong view about it—that once we had accepted the principle of collective security the supply of arms would be controlled by the League. We hold that there ought not to be private trading in arms, but that it ought to be subject to League decision, so that arms would only reach those who are the victims of aggression and not aggressors. In the meantime the least we can hope is that members of the League will apply this principle and will supply the victims of aggression and not aggressors. Unfortunately, in recent years that principle has not been applied with great exactitude.

In 1931 Japan attacked China; in 1932 Bolivia and Paraguay made a Covenant-breaking war; and we allowed Vickers-Armstrong to supply £1,000,000 worth of arms to those countries to violate the Covenant of the League, and the President of the Board of Trade, who introduces this Bill, granted 69 separate licences to Vickers-Armstrong to supply arms to States which were fighting Covenant-breaking wars, I think a good case could be made for saying that each one of those licences was in itself a viola- tion of the Covenant. In 1934 our policy was changed, and the Foreign Secretary —and more honour to him—secured a bilateral embargo, which ultimately became a unilateral embargo, on the Powers fighting the Chaco War; and I believe that embargo brought the war to an end. In 1935 he put an embargo on Italy to stop her attacking Abyssinia and an embargo on Abyssinia to stop her attacking Italy, and that embargo in the end also became unilateral against the aggressor. In other words, we are making definite progress towards the true conception of using an embargo to uphold the victim of aggression and to stop aggressors.

But how does this experience apply to the case of Spain? The Spanish question has two aspects. It is a civil war and it involves the danger of international complications. What is the law with regard to civil war? There has been a long history of revolution, and in modern times a great deal of practice, not in Europe, but in Latin America. This problem of supplying arms to a Government which has a rebel movement against is has thus arisen for the United States to settle many, many times. In 1930 the United States had to decide whether they would supply arms to the rebels or to the Government in a Brazilian revolution, and they made a decision which is stated in some words which I am going to read. I ask the House to listen to them with care, because they bear on the all-important Russian question. The United States Secretary of State said: There is nothing unprecedented in the principle which we now apply, which we have applied many times before. It is very important that people should not misunderstand it as a new principle. It is important for the reason that the revolutionists, who may be hurt by our action in placing an embargo, may assert that we are taking sides for some ulterior reason with one or other of the combatants. Instead of that we are acting according to general principles of international law. Those principles declare that where we are in friendly relations through diplomatic channels with a Government which has been recognised as the legitimate Government of a country that Government is entitled to the ordinary rights of any Government to buy arms in this country, while the people who are opposing and trying to overthrow that Government and are not yet recognised as belligerents are not entitled to that right. It is not a matter of choice on our part, but is a practice of mankind known as inter- national law. We have no personal bias, and are doing nothing but attempting to carry out the law of mankind. In other words, other things being equal—a point which I emphasise—we ought to have furnished the Spanish Government with arms, refused arms to the rebels and called on other Powers to do the same. The point is very important, and it bears on the Russian matter, because if Russia is supplying arms to the legitimate Government of Madrid it is in a very different position from dictator Powers which are supplying the rebels.


Would the hon. Member apply that principle to the Nazis if there was a rebellion against the Nazi Government in Germany?


I will reply at once to the hon. Member with the utmost candour. I believe in the mutual respect of differing regimes, in favour of which the Foreign Secretary pronounced in answer to a question the other day. That is embodied in Article X of the Covenant. Unless we stand on international law I believe there is no hope for world peace. I was about to say that if hon. Members put Russia on the same footing as Powers which are supplying the rebels they are very much in the position of those who would say that we were all equally guilty of violating Belgian territory in 1914, because while Germany occupied the greater part of the country we occupied the salient at Ypres.

Vice-Admiral TAYLOR

Has not Russia signed the non-aggression Pact?

Brigadier-General SPEARS

According to the argument of the hon. Member our Government, the French Government and others were entitled to supply the Tsarist Government against the Bolshevik revolution, and were justified in so doing.


They were justified in supplying arms, that is to say allowing their private manufacturers to sell arms, to the Tsarist Government, but to send their own troops and arms along to support it is very different. That was definite intervention in the internal affairs of another country. I pass on to the international aspect of this Spanish case. The right hon. Gentleman has always said this situation involved a danger to European war and therefore was a matter of international importance. On the international side the law of the matter was, in my view, quite as clear as it was on the civil war side. We knew in the very early days of August that Signor Mussolini had sent three squadrons of Capronis from his air force, squadrons Nos. 56, 57 and 58. We know that without those squadrons General Franco could not have got his Moors to Spain, and that without the Moors he would have been very quickly overcome. We know that that action of Signor Mussolini was a plain infringement of the Covenant, was plain aggression.

I believe that if our Government had then invoked the League and had endeavoured to establish a really effective system for preventing such infractions by Signor Mussolini and others, a really effective system of non-intervention, that they would have rendered a great service to Europe. But, unfortunately, they did not. They preferred a diplomatic arrangement, and a diplomatic arrangement which they have not even tried to work, or, if they have tried, which they have not succeeded in making work fairly for both sides. They have thereby entirely failed to achieve, through that agreement, their purposes of shortening the war, avoiding international complications and remaining neutral. If the embargo had been applied all round it would have deprived the Spanish Government of their legal rights, but it might have solved the general problem. But, unfortunately, we applied it at once, and we allowed the Fascists five weeks in which to pour in arms in quantities which they thought were sufficient to win the war.


How could we have stopped them?


We could at least have supplied the Government of Madrid while they were sending them in. I am not trying to be provocative, but to explain my point, which is that the Government of Madrid had a legal right to purchase arms, and that if we had supplied them it would have been able to defend itself against General Franco, even with his Moors and Italian support, but that as the Government of Madrid was deprived of arms we, in effect, intervened against it. I do not want to go over the evidence, because that would take too long. There was an article in the "Times" the other day from a "Times" correspondent in Salamanca who said: At Salamanca there are a great number of German and Italian advisers, chiefly interested in aviation. No attempt is made to conceal the help which is received from Germany, Italy, and Portugal. Public speeches are made in honour of the allies. We have the evidence of Mr. Gerald Grosvenor, who gave a great number of circumstantial details which cannot have been invented, and he would not have deceived a man of the standing of Sir Walter Layton. He said that everybody in Majorca knew that "all the Balearic Islands would now be in the hands of the Spanish Government if the Italians had not intervened." The Foreign Secretary yesterday spoke of the volunteers in the Balearic Islands. I think there are real volunteers on both sides. I do not believe, for example, that the Prime Minister has sent the nephew of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) to Majorca, and I do not think that that young gentleman took any tanks or aircraft with him. And I do not think Mr. de Valera sent General O'Duffy to the other side. But I do believe that Signor Mussolini sent the Italians who are in Majorca. The Foreign Secretary's statement yesterday was, to my mind, most alarming, because a Government which is capable of believing in a totalitarian volunteer is capable of believing anything in its desire to evade the truth. Moreover, Italy and Germany have really avowed their intervention by recognising General Franco's regime as the Government of Spain. I venture to say that, while it may not be, as the Foreign Secretary said, a violation of the non-intervention pact to give that recognition, yet it is a violation of international law. There is no precedent of any kind for the action which the German, Italian and Portuguese Governments have taken. It is, in fact, an intervention.

Now this one-sided application of the non-intervention pact has had this result, that the Government of Madrid, which has the vast majority of the Spanish people behind it, has been opposed by such a wealth of modern armaments that it has not been able quickly to end the war. I am not going to argue this point at any length, but I ask our Government to consider what has happened to the Spanish Army. This is supposed to be a revolt of the Spanish Army against its Government. The Spanish Army used to have 48 regiments of infantry, 26 regiments of artillery, and six regiments of engineers. Who has heard of one of those regiments ever being mentioned in the communiqués of General Franco?

But in almost every communiqué issued by General Franco, we have heard of the Moors, and of the Foreign Legion. Yesterday, I think for the first time, there was one which spoke of unidentified Spanish cavalry. It was remarkable because they were called "Spanish." But we have a wealth of evidence to show that the insurgents could not get the Army, or the manpower of those parts of Spain which they control, to fight on their side. A message from the "Times" correspondent in Valencia said on 26th August that a great part of the soldiers on the insurgents side would desert if they could. I have another message from the "Times" correspondent in Valencia, on 19th September, in which he says that the officers have to take out the middle-aged civilians, one officer to every five, and force them to fight, and shoot them if they will not. He says that the soldiers and the young men are being kept inside the city because General Franco cannot trust them. I will read one more quotation from a report given, if I remember rightly, in the "News Chronicle" by a prominent Protestant leader. He said that even among the Catholic population of Spain, two-thirds were fighting on the Government side.

My case is this: That if we had had real non-intervention and a real embargo effectively applied to both sides, the Spanish Government would have won very quickly. But the policy which has actually been adopted has prolonged the war; has thereby increased the dangers of international complication, which have never been so serious as they are to-day; and has in fact, against our will, made us intervene in Spanish affairs from which we desired to stay out. We cannot support the Bill because it is part and parcel of that general policy of arms supply—a policy which it is impossible to reconcile with British ideas of justice, British traditions and British interests. We ask the Foreign Secretary when he goes to Geneva next week to try to secure an effective non-intervention system, with independent and impartial agents and full publicity, which will stop this dispatch of arms to either side. If he will do that, we will accept that policy, we will accept a Bill like this. If he does that, we believe that the Spanish Government will very soon end the war by a complete victory over Franco and his foreign invaders.

The fundamental reality of the present situation is that Signor Mussolini and Herr Hitler are re-living the experience of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Foreign Secretary said, in a very eloquent speech on Friday last: The nations must choose. If they determine to return to the arbitrament of the sword, it will be found that the terrible weapons that science has forged can be wielded with no mean courage by peoples who love their freedom, both individual and national, and intend to preserve it. And he added: But the cost must be heavy indeed. We say that the Spanish people are now proving that his words are true. Let it not be said in times to come that the British people did anything to make the cost of their victory heavier than it would otherwise have been.

5.5 p.m.


I thought, when the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) was beginning his speech, that an alternative title to his Amendment should have been put before this House, and that it should have been called "The gun-runners' lament." I cannot see the objection which he put forward to the Bill having any validity whatever. Apparently there is a distinction in the hon. Member's mind between the supply of arms to General Franco on the part of Italy and Germany, and the supply of arms to what is alleged to be the legitimate Spanish Government, on the part of Russia and, some people say, France. I cannot see that it is possible to describe either side in Spain to-day as the legitimate government. It is true that General Franco and his friends are an insurgent party, and that they are certainly not the Government in Spain, but the existing Madrid Government also bears no resemblance to the legally elected Government. The changes in the constitution of that Government have been so drastically and unconstitutionally carried out as to make it obvious that if non-intervention is to be a reality people must be discouraged from supplying arms to either side.

That is, after all, not the purpose of the Bill. The purpose is not to secure an adequate enforcement of the Nonintervention Pact; that is a diplomatic matter of persuading the signatories to the pact to honour their signatures. All of them except ourselves, seem somewhat unwilling to do so. The idea of the Bill is to avoid unpleasant incidents which may occur with British shipping, and to avoid putting this country in the position of having to use our naval forces to enforce our right to carry on ordinary trade with the Spanish ports during the civil war. Possibly the Bill does not go far enough, but I am certain that any person who seriously desires to avoid trouble will welcome this step in the right direction.

The first of the dangers which, I suggest, still exist, are that it seems impossible wholly to control the use made of ships flying the British flag, but under a foreign charter. It is possible that illegitimate use may be made of them, in which case the onus is thrown on our Fleet to exercise the right of search, to police the Mediterranean and almost to enforce a blockade of Spanish ports, instead of leaving that to the belligerent parties in Spain. There is also the grave danger that ships belonging to foreign nations, if they think that safety is to be obtained under the British flag, will display the Red Ensign while they are running arms. I should have thought that this object—a desirable object indeed—would have been better attained if we could have introduced some system of licences. I do not conceive it impossible to say that licences to trade with Spanish ports should be issued to people who, we know, have no arms cargoes on board, and that we should supply to both belligerent parties a daily list of those ships that carry our guarantee. Those ships should be protected by the full force of the Naval power of Britain, but for ships not carrying the guarantee we should assume no guarantee whatever. That, I believe, would solve the difficulty raised by the hon. Member for Derby upon the question of Dominion ships. We could easily accept a licence signed by a Dominion 'Government that their ship was not carrying arms. It would, I think, solve a real difficulty at the moment.


That might solve the technical difficulty, but it would not solve the political difficulty. It would be rather a serious step to take without consultation with the Dominions.


That is not a point which affects the Bill, but one which is appropriate to a discussion upon the Statute of Westminster or some even more appropriate occasion such as a Debate upon general inter-Imperial relations. It is with the greatest joy that I welcome this enthusiasm for imperial unity—rather new born enthusiasm—on the other side of the House.


Surely the hon. Member is entirely misrepresenting the position of hon. Members here. We understand by the Statute of Westminster that the Dominions and ourselves have equal rights in the Empire, but we are now deciding, by unilateral action of our own, to withdraw the protection of the British Navy from Dominion ships.


I do not understand that that is the case. So far as I understood my right hon. Friend, it was that we should not protect Dominion ships if they were gunrunners.


Because of our Act.


Nor do we protect our own ships if they are gunrunners.


Can they search Dominion ships?


I imagine that His Majesty's ships can exercise the right of search on anything that flies the Red Ensign, and on no other.




Can the belligerents in Spain search Dominion ships?


If they had reasonable grounds to assume that there were arms cargoes on board, they could. No one wishes to encourage the Dominions to take part in a European war, and there is the tendency to discourage even this country from taking part in European wars—a tendency on this side of the House and not on that.

May I take up one or two more points raised by the hon. Member for Derby A great deal of his speech ran upon the idea that we have never done this sort of thing before. Surely the party of progress should not object to innovations, even in international affairs. To take one example of civil wars, the American Civil War: if we had had the sense to pass legislation of this kind we should have been saved a great deal of expense when the war was over. The fact that it was not done then, and that other revolutions have been allowed to take place without our making an effort to establish complete neutrality, is not a reasonable argument for our failing to do it now. The international situation, among other things, is far more delicate than it has been in the past. It has been a task of extreme difficulty in the last few months to prevent an explosion in various parts of Europe. If we are to persist in the right of private arms manufacturers to export arms to the belligerent parties in Spain, the sort of speech which the hon. Member for Derby made might have been made more effectively by the sales manager of Messrs. Vickers, demanding the sacred right to supply weapons, irrespective of the dangers involved, to the countries of the world.

The fact that Germany and Italy are supplying arms to one side and that Russia is supplying arms to the other, and indeed doing more, doing what the hon. Member himself most strongly deprecated even when he was maintaining the right of the private arms manufacturer to sell arms at all costs—even then be says it would be most improper for countries to use their troops to assist any belligerent force in other countries. But what else is happening in Spain to-day? Even the Spanish Government's accounts of their own fighting are clear enough, and from what they report nearly all the actual fighting is being done by an international force which is composed of a mixture of all nations; but mostly they are Frenchmen and Russians and a certain number, I believe, of German refugees. But the fact that all these parties are violating a non-intervention agreement, and breaking International law, is surely no reason why we should involve ourselves in danger merely to satisfy some desire that the Spanish Government shall be fully equipped with munitions.

Many of us on this side of the House, although we desire to preserve the most complete neutrality, and not to assist either side would naturally think it less embarrassing if General Franco should win the war than if the Communist Government did—[VOICE: "There is no Communist Government there"]—not because we particularly desire to see another Fascist State on the Mediterranean, which indeed we do not. But the international complications of the Governments victory are likely to be far worse than the international complications of a Fascist victory; and as our interests are to remain at peace we naturally prefer to see the less embarrassing side successful. There is only one more point I would make, and that is to emphasise what I was trying to say earlier on of the importance of taking this view a step further. I hope it will be possible The dangers which are still left in these provisions are sufficiently patent to make it worth consideration. I believe that the Bill itself is a very definite step in the right direction, and I think with this Bill in force that would be almost a sufficient guarantee that ships flying the British flag would not be carrying arms to Spain. Therefore I do not think that either party is likely to exercise the right of search, or to endeavour to exercise the right of search, or attack, on British ships, at least for the present. But sooner or later I believe that the rumour will get around that foreign ships are using the British flag as a cover to get into Spanish ports, and before that time occurs I should like to see some effort at this system of licences, and the notifications to both belligerents of the ships which we guarantee that are within reach of their ports.

As to the extension of the Bill that the hon. Member for Derby wanted, so as to cover Portugal as well, if we say, "Let us do it to Portugal because she is small and inoffensive," we have to be logical and go to other ports which may be a source of supply to the Government. We may have to forbid the export of arms to France, because it is quite possible that arms may go from France into Spain. Indeed it has been established that a certain amount of arms has gone from France into Spain. It is quite impossible at the moment to stop the shipping of arms to France. For one thing, the defen- sive interests of France and ourselves are very much interlocked, and it may be. vital to the French system of defence that they shall be able to get arms from us. I do not believe it is logical or fair to prohibit the exports to Portugal unless you make it an all-round business. Indeed you will have to go further and prohibit the export of arms to Italy, because they might be shipped from Italy.

But we cannot enforce a world blockade at the moment, or enforce a world blockade anyhow unless we are prepared to fight for it, and surely those hon. Members opposite do not want to start a naval war against the Powers of the world just yet. I always thought they were less bellicose now than three months ago, because three months ago I thought they wanted to start a war on anybody, but of late there has been a slightly less. desire to involve their fellow-countrymen in a holocaust. Did I hear some hon. Member say "No," that he did wish to involve his fellow-countrymen in a war? If they really believe it is the interest of this country to keep out of quarrels, and not for any particular theory to incur the risk of fighting over an issue which after all is not one of vital importance to the British Empire—[A "It is"]—if they do wish to avoid that conflict the only thing that hon. Members can do is to support this Bill, and help it on its progress, because without it the fat may be in the fire, as far as we are concerned, at any moment. With it the difficult task at the moment being carried out by the Foreign Secretary, of steering the most difficult course that has been steered for a long time, will be able to continue with one snag at least cleared out of the way.

5.22 p.m.


The hon. Member who has just sat down exclaimed towards the end of his speech that we must be logical in this matter, but I cannot help believing that when he reads his speech to-morrow morning he will find that he has himself fallen below the standard of logic which he enjoined on hon. Members of this side of the House. I found myself as much difficulty in trying to follow the argument of his speech as he found in trying to follow that of the hon. Gentleman who spoke before him from the 'front' Opposition benches. He said that speech might have been made by the sales manager of Vickers. It is not for me to defend the hon. Member, with a great deal of whose speech I disagree, as I shall make quite clear to the House presently, and besides he is well able to look after himself. But I must say in the name of logic, to which the hon. Member himself appealed, that the whole stand that the hon. Member has taken on the question of the manufacture and the trade in arms defends him against such an accusation; and the hon. Member obviously missed the very important part of the speech on which I shall have something to say towards the end of my remarks about the necessity of having—in which I thoroughly agree—the necessity which the whole of this episode emphasises of having a clear, logical and permanent policy for the control of the trade in arms instead of an extemporised Bill. I was also surprised to hear the lion. Member, when defending the right of stopping and searching ships at sea, seem to say that he would not disagree if the British Navy stopped and searched a ship without any warrant at all. But it would be just as shocking for one of His Majesty's ships to do that without the warrant given in this Bill as it would be for a private constable to enter a house and search it without warrant, and I hope that the Government will most stoutly defend the freedom and rights of British shipping enterprise.

Now I want to make it quite clear with great frankness to all parts of the House that I find myself differing from both the hon. Members who preceded me—a little more from the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, than from the speech of the hon. Member who spoke from the front Opposition bench. I have from the first defended the policy of nonintervention. Before it was discussed in the House I defended it, and I defended it in the House on our last Debate on 29th October. We applaud the refusal of the Government to enter into a competitive rivalry in the supply of fuel for the flames in Spain. We attach the utmost important to close co-operation with the French Government in the dangers, by which freedom and democracy are faced in the present international situation, and we think the Government are right to give their loyal support to the policy which the French Government initiated and to which they are still firmly committed. Above all we believe that war in Europe is not inevitable. We refuse to regard war as something which is inevitable. We believe that, whatever its results, it would be an immeasurable catastrophe for our own country and for civilisation. Therefore the French and British Governments are right to do all they can to prevent the flames of war from spreading from Spain and, by a policy of non-intervention, to cut off the supply of war material which feeds them.

The hon. Member who spoke from the front Opposition bench is perfectly entitled to take a different view of this problem, and to say that even in spite of all those considerations to which he with his usual fairness paid full tribute in the opening passage of his speech—we ought to put our respect for the right of the Constitutional Government of Spain to buy arms above those considerations. He thought they did not justify us in cutting off the supply of arms to Spain. He has argued that most eloquently in the country before we met last month, and in the House of Commons in the Debate at the end of last month he made by far the most persuasive speech from that point of view. But when he criticised the Government for the action they have taken, and which I approve, I do not think his hon. Friends on those benches were entitled to applaud him, because certainly at the time of which he spoke, when the Franco forces were advancing and the Government was weakening, they approved of and supported the policy of non-intervention which the Government was pursuing, as we did then and as we do still.

Unfortunately, however, this policy has not been carried out by all the States who are pledged to observe it. Large supplies of arms have reached Spain from Germany, from Italy and from Russia. The Government have said that Russia is the worst offender of the three. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has said that there were other countries that were worse offenders than Germany and Italy; he has also declared that Portugal is not one of the worst offenders; and, therefore, I think it is not unfair to say that by clear implication the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has in fact said that Russia is the worst offender. We on these benches dispute the validity of that charge against Russia, and I want to make that point clear.

It seems to us that the reluctance which is evinced, not only in one quarter of this House and not only in this country, but in many quarters of the House and in many countries, to consider Russian policy dispassionately and objectively and with a genuine desire to find a basis of understanding and co-operation with that country, is a mood which involves dangers to the peace of the world. Let me say frankly that I find this lack of objectivity on the question of Russia just as much in certain circles of the Left in politics as I find it in circles of the Right. There can be no doubt that the intervention of Italy and Germany in Spain began, not in July, but some time before. Russian intervention, on the other hand, started long before that, and the early difficulties of the Frente Popular Government were created by the intrigues and outrages organised by Russian propagandists and by Spanish extremists trained and equipped for the purpose in Russia by the Communist International. But it is also equally true that there are two main groups of forces in Russia.

This intervention in the affairs of Spain was fomented by those formidable forces in Russia which are inspired and energised by the Communist International; but the principal forces in the Russian Government at the present time are making a determined effort to restrain those forces; they are making a determined effort to co-operate with Europe and with the peace-loving democracies of the world against the Fascist threats on their eastern and western flanks. They want peace and freedom to work out their great social and economic experiments in Russia. Two things, therefore, seem to me to be necessary if peace is to be maintained and lawless aggression curbed—first, that we on our part should show real willingness to work with Russia for our common aims in maintaining the peace of the world and resisting aggression; and, secondly, that the Russians should restrain those activities of propagandists which serve to disturb the internal peace and order of other countries. Once the civil war broke out, the dominant party in Russia—

Captain RAMSAY

I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but the point I want to put to him is a very important one. If it is necessary that we should co-operate with Russia on this question, ought we not to have an assurance that our co-operation with Russia will be antedated by their ceasing to work for revolution in this country


There is a certain amount of co-operation now; our Government are in fact co-operating with Russia. They have negotiated a trade agreement with Russia, they have given credits to Russia, they are co-operating closely with Russia in the League of Nations in a great many activities. I want to see that co-operation grow, and I believe that the more it grows, the more Russia is brought into the circle of the nations, the greater will be the encouragement that is given to those forces in Russia which are trying to restrain the revolutionary activities of their extremists and trying to play their part in the comity of nations.

Once the civil war broke out—and this is a point to which I particularly want to draw the attention of the House—the dominant party in Russia did in fact impose a policy of non-intervention on the Russian Government. There is no evidence to show that any substantial quantities of war material reached Spain from Russia before October. Our Government, though they have not made that statement, have never contradicted it, but M. Blum made it specifically in the French Chamber. But was this restraint applauded in this country by Conservative speakers and writers 7 On the contrary, the extraordinary thing is that the result of it was that the Russian Government were taunted with being afraid to help their friends in Spain, and those who in this country—as I think mistakenly—agitated for freedom of trade in arms with Spain, were jibed at and mocked at for being more fervid in support of the Spanish Government than the Bolshevik Government in Russia. Then came the Non-intervention Agreement. There is clear proof that during the currency of that agreement arms and recruits were pouring into Spain from Italy and Germany. Few, if any, went from Russia until the 15th October, the date on which Russia said: "These arms and men have been pouring in from other countries, and we must reconsider our position." Until then, little went from Russia. The fact that these arms, munitions and recruits were coming from other countries may not have been established by the Non-intervention Committee, but testimony to their coming is given by newspaper correspondents of unimpeachable authority and integrity with the forces on both sides. Therefore, if Russia is guilty of breaking the Non-intervention Agreement since the 15th October, she has only done so after the Italians and the Germans had already done so on a scale which very nearly decided the issue of the conflict in Spain. Moreover, if Russia is guilty of breaking the Nonintervention Agreement, Germany and Italy are guilty of breaking both the Nonintervention Agreement and also the law of nations by supplying arms to forces in rebellion against a lawful and constitutional government. I hope the House understands that that is why we on these benches, and, I believe, a growing force of public opinion outside, resent the statement of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that Russia is more to blame than Germany or Italy. It seems to us to be in clear contradiction of the facts. I want to say this also, because I understand that either the Secretary of State or the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs will be replying to this Debate, and I want them to have a chance of denying the charge which I am going to make. It seems to us, when the answers of the Secretary of State in this House take on a tone of that kind, to indicate that His Majesty's Government are no longer so much concerned to stop German and Italian supplies going to General Franco as to stop Russian supplies going to the Spanish Government. I hope the Government will contradict that statement flatly and emphatically, and I am making it in order to give them that opportunity.

Let the Government patch up this Nonintervention Agreement if they can. I want it patched up, and I believe the British people desperately want it patched up as a shield against war; but to put all the patches on the holes through which the constitutional government of Spain is getting supplies, and to leave open all the holes through which the rebels are drawing supplies, would insure the defeat of the Spanish Government. Unlike the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise) I believe that the defeat of the Spanish Government would be a disaster to the peace of the world and a serious threat to the interests of this country and of the Empire. The hon. Member talked about a Communist Government. When I see two dangers, I have more respect for the one which is solid and apparent and substantial than I have for a bogy like a Communist Government, which may come into being, but which does not in fact exist at the present time, and which may never come into being.


I am sure the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to misrepresent me. The danger is that Italy might feel bound to intervene openly, and, therefore, a Communist Government in Spain is far more likely to lead to a European explosion than a Government formed by General Franco.


The hon. Member is apparently so submissively prepared to allow the destinies of Europe to be decided by Fascist dictators that he is horrified at the prospect that the legitimate Government in Spain might win, because in that case the Germans and Italians would put them in their place, and we, I suppose, would stand by and watch the Germans and Italians doing what they like first in Spain and thereafter in Czechoslovakia, or in any other country of Europe. I cannot conceive of a more dangerous policy than that. Indeed, if, as I have said, all the holes through which the Spanish Government are drawing supplies to Spain are to be patched up and all the holes through which the rebels are drawing supplies are to be left open, it would ensure another triumph for Italian Fascism, would still further weaken our prestige and our naval position in the Mediterranean, and would be rightly resented by public opinion in this country.

Therefore, if this Bill is to be regarded as part of the patching up process, we ask whether it will apply all round. If so, we applaud the Government's initiative. I see it stated in the "Times" newspaper this morning that those who criticise the Government will find difficulty in explaining why, when they are always asking the Government to give a lead, they criticise it as soon as it takes an initiative. We do not criticise the Government for taking an initiative, but we say that, if they are not going to try to get the co-operation of other nations, we have gone far enough in stopping war supplies from reaching the Spanish Government without stopping similar supplies from reaching the rebels. The hon. Member who spoke from the Front Opposition Bench raised the question, for example, how this Measure will affect the possibility of General Franco obtaining 'supplies from Portugal. The ship from Odessa to Barcelona will be stopped, but the ship going from Hamburg to Lisbon will not be stopped. Therefore, the ship which is carrying supplies to the Spanish Government will be stopped, but the ship which is carrying supplies to a port from which those supplies can very well reach the rebel forces will not be stopped. The Government, in reply to that, say that we ought not always to be criticising Portugal, that it is offensive to criticise a poor little country like Portugal. But I do not at all take that view. I am not criticising Portugal particularly, but it is well known that a certain quantity of supplies did reach the rebel forces from Portugal, and, if we pass this Bill, it is quite obvious that we shall tend to divert the whole of the Spanish arms trade through Portuguese ports, for they will be the only ports through which the market can, be reached. How is the Government going to deal with that? If they can tell us that their plans for control along the Portuguese frontier are ready and are then to be put into operation almost coincidentally with the passage of this Bill, that would be a very formidable answer to the argument that I am now addressing, and it would satisfy me, but unless they can do it seems to me that they are stopping the holes by which arms can reach the Spanish Government and leaving open the Portuguese hole by which they may reach the rebels.

There is another thing to which we attach great importance. Last year, when we were discussing the dispute between Italy and the League over Abyssinia, we kept on asking the Government to take more drastic action to ensure the success of the League, and they kept on retorting to us, "We are willing to go as far as the others go, but it must always be collective action."

We agreed. We never disputed it. All we said was, "Go to the council table at Geneva, and challenge the other Powers in public to say whether or not they will take a certain course which would ensure the success of the League." We say now, "Give a lead in this matter, which requires collective action, the work of the Non-intervention Committee." By all means introduce your Bill but give us an assurance that you will not bring it into force until other Powers are prepared to do the same, to make this policy effective and to stop all arms, both those to General Franco and those to the Spanish Government. That is why, on the very day that the Foreign Secretary made his announcement, my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris) put a question asking whether other countries had been consulted and whether they would adopt the same policy. We also have asked since whether the Dominions are being consulted, and I am very glad that that question was raised by the hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Front Bench. The hon. Member who spoke last said this was not the occasion to discuss it, but surely it is. If the Dominions have not been consulted on an important question of policy, we have a right to criticise the failure of the Government to enter into that consultation. We have persistently done so, and we attach the utmost importance to close co-operation with the Dominions in this and other matters.

When we asked whether there had been any co-operation with other countries, the Secretary of State answered that no approach had been made but that he was quite prepared to consider that. That was a week ago. Have other countries been approached? Is any effort being made to make this a general all round effort? The President of the Board of Trade said that our policy had been one of non-intervention in agreement with other European Powers. That is a good statement of policy but the action, the actual expression of the policy, ought also to be carried out in agreement with the other European Powers. He tells us that Norway has in fact taken action and that France is contemplating action. It shows that some of the European Powers, at any rate, are prepared to co-operate. Let the Bill, then, be put on one side for the time being. Let us pass it into law if you like, but make it clear that it will not come into action until other Powers have agreed to take effective steps which will prevent arms going to the Government as much as to the rebels. Not until then ought we to impose these extraordinary and unprecedented restrictions upon British shipping.

It is still more to be regretted that this Measure is not proposed spontaneously as a means of fulfilling our obligations under the Non-intervention Agreement but in reply to the piratical threats of General Franco to interfere with foreign shipping. The argument that the President of the Board of Trade addressed to the House was a very persuasive one. If it had been addressed to us two or three weeks ago, if it had been coupled with an assurance that he was going to secure the co-operation of other countries, I should have been strongly and whole-heartedly in favour of this method, but we cannot help feeling some suspicion about it when in fact it is not a spontaneous action by the Government, but merely their way of getting out of the difficulty in which the threats of General Franco have placed us. General Franco proposes to stop shipping which is carrying arms to the Spanish Government. He has no vestige of moral or legal right to take such action. He has already done so in the case of a Norwegian ship, which was not in fact carrying arms at all but a cargo of potatoes, and the Norwegian Government has protested. Are we supporting that protest?

In the fact of General Franco's threat, the Government are really faced with two alternatives, either recognition of belligerent rights, to which personally I should strongly object, for reasons which if need not enter into to-day, or the assertion of British rights. The Government are trying to combine the advantages of both policies by asserting the rights of British shipping on the high sea while giving an assurance to General Franco that British ships will not be used to carry war material to his opponents. What will happen if General Franco does not interfere with our ships on the high sea but within Spanish territorial waters? How is this Bill going to be enforced? Is it intended that our Fleet will indeed stop and search British ships in the Mediterranean? If General Franco wants to run the risk of bringing Great Britain into the war, if he thinks he has something to gain and is prepared to run that risk in a mood of desperation, as the last speaker said, there is nothing in the Bill to stop him. If, on the other hand, he takes the view, as I should imagine he would, that it would be a disaster to his cause to bring the British Navy- in against him, why is this Bill necessary? Why is it necessary merely to assert the rights of British shipping and to give it full protection?

To sum up, non-intervention is the policy that we want to pursue. I see no other practical policy which would not involve far greater danger for this country and the world, unless it be the policy of the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) of evacuating from Spain all the Spaniards and leaving all the others to fight it out. Apart from that, I see no other policy that is more likely to be effective in preserving the rights of democracy and the peace of Europe. But we want it made effective. My own patience is running short with the delays of the Non-intervention Committee, and I believe public opinion is becoming increasingly impatient. If the policy contained in this Bill is accepted by all the parties to the agreement, I think it is a good policy. Otherwise, it will help the rebels against the Government and put one-sided restrictions on British shipping. Accordingly, our attitude on this Measure will be determined by whether or not the Government can give us that assurance for which I have asked, that the Bill will not be brought into operation and that these exceptional and unprecedented restrictions will not be placed upon British shipping until other countries are prepared to co-operate with us in making the policy of nonintervention effective.

5.55 p.m.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

I had not intended to intervene until I heard the speech of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker). His contention is that the Bill will work entirely in favour of the rebels. I listened to his speech very carefully, and I did not hear a single sentence to substantiate that contention. It seemed to me that it ignored the reality of the situation, which is, after all, that we do not want to be embroiled. He talked a great deal about an ideal world in which all nations would refuse to export arms to an aggressor. I am entirely in favour of that, but that is not the situation that we are dealing with. We are dealing with an extremely dangerous civil war which, if we are not careful, may involve Europe in war. I deprecate Members appearing to take sides with either party in this dispute. I think it is very dangerous. I think it unfair to assume that the whole of the Spanish nation is on the side of the Government and opposed to the rebels. It seems to me that, if that were so, the undoubtedly small forces at General Franco's disposal would be quite incapable of holding the country. [Interruption.] If he were a hostile force in Spain, he would be holding the country. We know from our experience in the Peninsular War that the Spanish are the hardest people in the world to coerce if they do not want to be coerced. What is happening in Spain is that you have two extremist forces fighting it out, and the people as a whole clearly only want to be left in peace. I wish hon. Members opposite were not so persistently in favour of one side. I cannot say how astonished I was at one passage in the speech of the hon. Member for Derby. He said that we, that is, the Allied Powers were entirely justified in supporting the Tsarist regime against the Bolshevists.


I did not say that. I said that if we had permitted our merchants to sell arms to the Tsar, that would have been entirely in accordance with international law, as it would be if we now permitted our armament merchants to sell arms to the Government of Spain. But to intervene with a large armed force and help those taking part in civil war is a grave violation of international law.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

Even that admission I consider to be a very valuable one.


Valuable for what?

Brigadier-General SPEARS

An extremely valuable admission. I hope that in future we shall hear less of the crimi- nal action on the part of the French, the English and others in giving support to the then legitimate Government in Russia against the revolutionaries as they then were.


With great respect, the hon. and gallant Gentleman is misinterpreting what I said, though I know he does not wish to do so. To allow the sale of arms is different from the sending of armies in support.

Brigadier-General SPEARS

I think that we can push that matter a little too far, but the point is that we have been attacked for giving any sort of support to the Tsarist regime. It seems to me that the party to the left must admit the right to revolt against oppression. Some of the greatest movements in the world have been due to revolutionary movements. According to the arguments of the party opposite all revolution under any conditions would become impossible, and if only for this reason I beg hon. Gentlemen not to be too partisan in this case.

There is one very important point which I should like to make. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition Liberals has spoken a great deal about Portugal and of the danger of arms coming through from Portugal into Spain. That may be so, but I beg of them to remember that Spain has two mainland frontiers, the frontier between France and Spain and the frontier between Portugal and Spain, and if you propose to have sonic sort of control over the land frontiers between Spain and Spain's neighbours you must mention France just as you mention Portugal, otherwise you merely concentrate your fire upon a small country which is not able to defend itself, and whose voice has not much weight. The hon. Member for Derby emphasised what a failure the whole policy of non-intervention has been, and, if I understood his argument aright, he attributed all that failure to the British Government. He did not say a word about the fact that this policy was not initiated by our Government but by the French Government, whose leader, we all know, is a Socialist and who have Communist support. In these circumstances, and for the sake of fairness hon. Gentlemen opposite have no right to attribute failure, if there has been failure, entirely at the door of our own Government.

6.6. p.m.


It may be taken as a guide to the British Government in matters of foreign policy that the man who speaks first and speaks most decisively has the best chance of coming out on top. I feel that the British Government in this Measure and in their whole attitude in this Spanish issue have been so cloudy, indifferent and unclear, that they put themselves completely out of court as being fit persons to intervene in any way. I also feel that the Government themselves are not now comfortable about the position. I had never heard such an uncomfortable speech as that of the President of the Board of Trade. There is no man who is usually more competent, precise and definite than he is, but to-day he fumbled and hesitated and looked round, and had assistance from the Parliamentary Secretary and advice from the Foreign Secretary, but with the whole lot of it he was not very satisfactory or convincing. One felt that he was doing a job which had been put up to him, and that he had no heart or belief in it. It was the most uncomfortable speech I had ever heard, until I heard the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise), who wandered all over the place. The hon. Member for Smethwick can speak very decisively and precisely upon things when he really feels about them, but I felt that he was just doing the job in order to put himself right with the Government and not show any ill-feeling on his part. But they were both bettered by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Carlisle (Brigadier-General Spears). They were three speeches from the Government side all indicating profound dissatisfaction with the position, as they have every right to do.

What does the Bill mean? It means that General Franco announced that he was going to take steps to stop ships carrying arms to the Spanish Government, and that the British Government, the Foreign Secretary and the President of the Board of Trade, say: "Please do not do that, General Franco; we will do that for you." Mark you, there were no threats from the Spanish Government. It was a threat from General Franco, the insurgent leader, and the President of the Board of Trade said so in his speech to-day. General Franco threatened the whole British Empire. Then something serious has to be done about it. We did not tell General Franco what would be the position, as would have been done in every other case. We should have said, "Let General Franco take whatever steps he thinks fit, but, if he interferes with the legitimate legal interests of Great Britain, then he will have to take whatever consequences arise from it." That would have been the normal answer in any other case, but on this occasion, while we are in friendly relations with the Spanish Government, it is not just quite the kind of Government that we would like to have in Spain. General Franco said that it was a Communist Government. I do not think that it ever was, but if the present position of the so-called democratic nations continues, and they continue to support the rebels in every possible way and deny legitimate rights to the properly constituted Government, then Spain will become a Communist country.

It is obvious that, as hostilities have proceeded, power has tended to move in Spain from the left Radical point towards the extreme revolutionary point. It is not at the extreme revolutionary point yet, but it has been moving steadily in that direction. France, Britain, Norway, in these days have said this to the world, and Russia nearly fell into the trap. I heard several interruptions about Russia when the hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) was talking. I will not say that there was a parrot cry, but there was a constant repetition of the word "Russia."

It is very obvious to all who have been following this matter very carefully, that, having entered into the non-intervention pact, Russia kept up to the point, while it became obvious that the Fascist States were simply working with their tongues in their cheeks. I am not prepared to argue the extent of the help Russia has given to the Spanish Government, but I anticipate that any help that has come to the Spanish Government from Russia has come in the latter days, when it was proved beyond denial that Germany and Italy were helping the insurgents, and after Russia had told the Non-intervention Committee, that, in view of this assistance by the Fascist Government, they must hold their hands free to act as they please. That was a legitimate and fair thing to do. But what are the people of Spain, Belgium, Holland, Norway and Sweden being told? It is that democratic Governments with a Left tendency can expect no support in difficulties in which they may be involved from the other nations of the world, while the Government of Spain and other nations are being told that in any difficulties there may be the Fascist States will always come to the support of the people with a similar point of view to their own. Spain and all the smaller neutral countries are being told that their Governments, if they are of a Fascist tendency, or have movements of a Fascist tendency, can expect support from the Fascist States. This is while we turn round and say, "You can expect no support from Democratic Governments. You cannot even have the ordinary rights that have been established for years." This is a tremendous departure from practice.

I have been perfectly frank here. I was perfectly frank on the last Spanish Debate, and I repeat it again. I want the Spanish Government Forces to win. I want it quite definitely, not because they happen to be the Spanish Government Forces. I want it to win because I believe that the Spanish Government which was elected at the last general election in Spain had an overwhelming majority, and was believed by most of the people of Spain to be their best hope of getting out of the position of desperate poverty. It was a hope to the working classes of Spain, and, therefore, I want to see that Government's authority established in its own land and let them proceed with their schemes of social readjustment and amelioration. I am not against the insurgents because they are rebels.

If I were asked whether 1 should do this if it was happening in Germany, I say that if there was a working-class vote against Hitler I would support it for all I was worth, and if the British nation had any sense as to what was best for the British nation it would do the same. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary has run all over Europe, not as Foreign Secretary, but as a missionary of a whole lot of fantastic theories which have no real intelligent and practical application to the problem which con fronts him. He might as well be out of office writing pamphlets about an ideal world. It would be much better, because being in the position he is in now he is a danger to the nation with his fears, which put Britain out of action on every occasion when action could be used to the advantage of this nation and to the advantage of the peoples of the world.


There is method in his madness.


The hon. Member is always more tolerant in his outlook than I am. I can see the madness, but, frankly, I fail to see the method. If the rebellion is successful in Spain and General Franco is successful in establishing a Fascist Government, by the good will and active support of Germany and Italy, then I hope hon. and right hon. Members opposite look upon such a stivation with equanimity. So far as I am concerned, my support of the Spanish Government is decided for me, not on grounds of British patriotism, admittedly, but on grounds of class prejudice. I believe that the Spanish Government is a working-class Government in the main, and my prejudices lead me to support it. But I deliberately accuse the Government of this country and their supporters of taking their line because of class prejudice of a precisely opposite type. They talk in terms of the interests of owning and possessing classes rather than in terms of the interests of the British nation and its future position in world affairs.

If Spain is to become, with the deliberate help of the British Government, and through the agency of a collection of minor measures such as this Bill, a Fascist outpost in the Mediterranean, then the problem which Great Britain will have to face will be infinitely greater than the problem they are refusing to confront to-day. They are lying down in face of a threat, not from a big responsible Government, but from one whom an hon. Member has described as a pirate, who in his buccaneering is supported up to 90 per cent. of his strength by paid hirelings, the off-scourings of North Africa and of every country in Europe. People who cannot live openly, decently and respectably in their own country, are manning the arms of General Franco, and even with these people this man cannot play fair because he is paying them with bad money. This man, who is the friend of Great Britain and is going to be the future government in Spain, is paying his own mercenaries in Austrian currency of the inflation period, a currency which has been sold in the streets of London as a curio—bad Austrian crowns which have gone out of use for 15 years. This man says to the British nation, "I propose to stop any of your ships going about their perfectly legitimate business on the high seas," and the President of the Board of Trade and the Foreign Secretary say, "Oh, we are very sorry General Franco; we did not know that we were inconveniencing or incommoding you in any way. Do not do anything and we will bring in a measure which will stop our ships from carrying on their proper trade." That is the result of the Foreign Secretary's efforts.

6 21 p.m


It may be for the convenience of the House if I say a few words at this stage, as I should be very sorry if any other hon. Member should be led into such eloquent inaccuracies as the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton). These misunderstandings, I think, are due to the complexity of the situation. [Interruption] I propose to explain the position. and I hope hon. Members opposite will listen. I have nothing whatever to apologise for in the policy that has been pursued and I hope to show the House the clear and impartial reasons which have actuated the Government in their action. The hon. Member for Bridgeton said frankly, and I accept it, that he was actuated in this matter by class prejudice, and he was good enough to add that I was actuated by the same motive. I do not resent that accusation. But I would like the hon. Member to explain how it is if I am actuated by class prejudice in this matter, or if the Government are actuated by class prejudice, our actions throughout this business have moved step by step with the full approval of the Front Populaire Government in France. Does the hon. Member say that M. Blum is actuated by class prejudice?


If I had been inside I could explain that.


When the hon. Member makes insinuations he should explain their meaning.


I do not feel called upon to explain them because the right hon. Gentleman made an important insinuation himself the other day and refused to explain its meaning.


I accept that, but at the same time I am entitled to ask the House how it can be said that the Government's policy throughout this long and troublesome matter has been actuated by class prejudice when, in fact, we have moved step by step with the Front Populaire Government in France. If any hon. Members think that the reason why the French Government took their initiative was because of pressure we put upon them, frankly, I think, that is a poor compliment to the French Government. But it is not true. The motives which actuated the French Government are exactly the same as the motives which have actuated us—a desire to do everything in our power to prevent the Spanish civil war from becoming an international conflict.

I want to begin by referring to a point which was raised in an intervention at the beginning of the Debate in connection with the position of Dominion shipping. There may be some misunderstanding, because when there are interruptions across the Table we get at cross-purposes, and I want to put the position quite plainly. In the first place, we have no reason to believe that there are any Dominion ships engaged in carrying arms to Spain or that there is any likelihood of any such ships doing so. We have no reason to believe that there is any likelihood of this happening, but if there were we should of course at once get into communication with the Dominion Government concerned, and we have no reason to believe that any Dominion Government would not co-operate with us in carrying out the policy of nonintervention. We have pursued the normal course. We have informed them of our action, which is the normal course, when the matter is not one upon which they have to pass legislation. If they want to say anything they say it. They have not done so in this case. But this is the important point. No instructions have been issued or will be issued by the Admiralty not to protect Dominion shipping, and the position, therefore, at present is that any Dominion ship will be entitled to the protection of the British Navy. The point is really completely academic, because there are, in fact, no Dominion ships except liners within 1,000 miles of Spain, and Dominion ships are mostly coastal, and their routes are nowhere near Spain at all.

The Bill forms part of the non-intervention policy of His Majesty's Government. Those who are opposed to the policy of non-intervention and wish us to break up the agreement are perfectly logical in opposing the Bill; but I submit that others are not. What would be the position without this Bill, that is, the position under the Non-Intervention Agreement without this Bill? The position would be this. We should forbid the export of arms from this country to Spain; that is part of the agreement. We should have declared, as we have declared, although it seems to be ignored, our intention to protect British ships at sea. But without this Bill British ships may take arms from foreign ports to Spain against the declared policy of His Majesty's Government, and claim the protection of the British Navy if they get into difficulties. That is the position without the Bill. Therefore, the first point is that to oppose the Bill and support nonintervention is to approve of British ships being forbidden to take British arms from this country to Spain, but to allow them to take arms from foreign countries to Spain. That is not a position which, I think, hon. Members in any part of the House desire.


That has been the position for the last three or four months.


Yes, and I propose to explain why it is necessary to take this action. The Bill, in fact, deals with a small gap in our arrangements in respect of the Non-Intervention Agreement. We have information of a few ships—very few ships—employed In this trade of carrying arms from foreign countries to Spain. The gap is small, but it is most important because of the risk of incidents. It would have been open to the Government to accord belligerent rights to both sides. Had we done that then, of course, it would have been the right of both sides to stop and search British ships on the high seas. We have not granted that right, but have said that we propose to protect British ships on the high seas. How then can we be accused of running away? How can it be said that the fact that we will protect our ships and not have them searched on the high seas is an indication of weakness? [Interruption.] I think that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) is quite misinformed as to the position. I will come to that in a moment, but before doing so, I would like to put to the House the point, which I think is a fair one, that those who oppose this Bill are in the curious position that they are seeking to enable private enterprise in this country to make money out of a trade which is opposed to the Government's policy—a policy which we believe to be in the interest of peace. I can very well imagine the language that would be addressed to us in similar circumstances if the conditions of the parties were inverted.

Now I come to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker), whose arguments, if I may say so with respect, were based throughout on a false premise. He said that in a civil war of this kind the normal practice was not to accord belligerent rights. That is not so; exactly the reverse is the normal practice. The hon. Member for Derby said that it had not been done since 1820. That is wrong. It has frequently been done since 1820—and done normally —the most important recent example is the American civil war, when belligerent rights were in fact accorded to both sides. Had the normal course been followed in this case, I have not the very least doubt that belligerent rights would have been accorded a very long time ago. It may be that at some stage in this conflict belligerent rights will have to be accorded, and if they are, it will be exactly for the same reasons as in the past—for practical reasons of our own national interests.

I would like in that connection to draw the attention of the House to this point—which emphasises the point I made just now—that if we had followed the previous practice, which I think hon. Gentleman will find, if they look it up, has been the almost universal practice, of granting belligerent rights, it would have given the right to either of the two parties to stop and search our ships on the high seas, and the Navy could not have done anything. I repeat that we have not done so in this instance. Why? Because of the existence of the Non- Intervention Agreement. We hoped that this agreement would be well-observed. If it had been, the position would have been very different. I want to make it clear to the House that if all Governments in Europe who have accepted the Non-Intervention Agreement were strictly enforcing it, there could be no possibility of British ships taking arms from a foreign country in Europe to Spain. It is clear that this case could not then have arisen. It is unfortunately because some foreign countries are not carrying out this policy as we are carrying it out that this situation arises.

The alternative to what we are doing would be the granting of belligerent rights. I think it can be argued very strongly that it would have been wiser to have granted belligerent rights at an earlier stage. We preferred to pursue the non-intervention policy— they are not, of course, incompatible—but we have preferred not to grant the parties the right to search our ships. I repeat, I do not understand how we can be accused of running away because we have not granted to people the right to stop and search our ships on the high seas. I believe that that accusation arises from confused reasoning, and equally I think I can show the House that the charge that this Bill in some way helps the insurgents also arises from confused reasoning. Since we have not granted belligerent rights, we have not granted the right to stop and search our ships on the high seas. At the moment it is not the Government of Spain that is stronger at sea, but General Franco—the insurgents. How in the world can it be said that by not admitting belligerent rights to stop our ships, we are favouring General Franco?


Those are not the only alternatives; there is the status quo— carrying on as we are to-day.


Are we to allow our shipowners to make a profit which we deny to our manufacturers?


We are not thinking of the shipowners, nor is the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary. We are thinking of fair treatment for the Spanish Government, so that they may still be able to get supplies.


The right hon. Gentleman is, in fact, asking us to continue a policy which forbids the supply of arms from this country in British ships, but allows it from foreign countries.


Hear, hear.


That is not a position the Government take up.


The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that arms come very largely from Italy and from Germany. What he is trying to do is to stop the other side from getting any supplies from Russia. I am glad to say it is getting them, and he ought to be glad as well.


I cannot accept that definition. In point of fact, the number of British ships engaged in this traffic is very small, but it seems to us illogical to say that we will protect our ships on the high seas even when they are pursuing a policy which is contrary to an international agreement we have signed. Let me deal now with another point which was made by the hon. Member for Derby. He said that this is the first time a Bill of this kind has been introduced. That is true. It is the first time non-intervention in such a conflict has been attempted. It may be a 'right policy or it may be a wrong one, but this Bill arises from that policy. I would also point out that it is the first time in recent history that a civil war in Europe showed a definite danger of becoming a European war, and that, being the justification for the nonintervention policy, is also the justification for this Bill.

The hon. Member for Derby made another point to which I must refer. It was a very strange point. He said it is as defensible for Russia to send arms to the Spanish Government as it was defensible for us and the French Government to have sent our armies into Belgium. That argument completely ignores the fact that Russia, like ourselves, has signed the Non-Intervention Agreement. We had not signed an obligation not to go to the help of Belgium in 1914; on the contrary, we had signed an obligation to do so. Surely it is clear to the House that the responsibility of all who have signed this Agreement is similar, and that we have all of us to seek to carry it out. It is no more excusable for Soviet Russia—although I admit it may arouse more sympathy in some quarters—to send arms to Spain than it is for any other government to do so.


There was a difference in method. [An HON. MEMBER: "And a difference in time."] The other Governments said that they agreed not to send arms, and sent them. At a later date, Soviet Russia intimated openly and publicly that, as they would not stop intervention, she was not bound by the Agreement.


I cannot go into the detailed arguments again. I want to deal with the next point that was raised. 1 was asked why we acted at once in this matter, and did not wait and consult with the other Governments concerned. We acted at once because we judged it to be a British interest to do so. Once a declaration had been made of a threat of a blockade and we had met that declaration by the assertion that we proposed to defend our ships on the high seas should any such attempt be made, equally we thought it to be our duty to carry out the further stages of our policy in order, as far as lay in our power, to reduce the risks which admittedly are inherent in the policy we are pursuing.


When I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman as to whether his Department had received information that General Franco was intending a blockade, he replied "No." Has the right hon. Gentleman any fresh information that General Franco proposes to do this?


No, my answer was perfectly correct. No communication had been made to us through the diplomatic channel at that time, but statements have been made publicly and there have been declarations in the Press of which, quite naturally, we took notice. [Interruptions.] If the House is going to say that it is not the Foreign Secretary's duty to do all in his power to avoid incidents, then I feel differently; but, with all respect, I do not believe that to be the desire either of the House or of the nation. I believe the nation desires that, while pursuing a policy which we seek to make as just and impartial as we can, we should do our utmost to avoid incidents in which this country might become involved.

I would like now to deal with the position of other Governments. It is true that. I made a statement in the House on this policy which, at the time, received a considerable measure of approval from hon. Members opposite because of our refusal to grant belligerent rights. When I made that statement I had not consulted with other Governments, but I had informed the French Ambassador, and I was fairly confident of what the view of the French Government would be. [Interruption.] I knew perfectly well that they were as anxious as we were to avoid incidents. I was fairly confident that they would take similar action to our own, but whether they will do it by legislation, I do not know—I believe it is not necessary to have legislation in their case. But they are taking certain steps of a similar kind to prevent their ships from carrying arms to Spain, because they do not wish it to happen either. As the President of the Board of Trade explained, the Norwegian Government, which is a Left Government —more Left, I believe, than hon. and right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench Opposite—have already taken similar action.

I was asked to approach other Governments, and certainly I am prepared to do that. I think we must treat these matters frankly. I have ventured to explain the distinction which seems to exist. We are trying to prevent British ships from carrying arms from foreign ports to Spain. If we have complaints —and we have certain complaints, of course, against other Governments—I think the House will agree that the complaint against, shall we say, the totalitarian States is not so much that they take other people's arms to Spain as that they send their own. I have not heard anybody say that Germany is breaking this Non-Intervention Agreement —or that Italy is breaking it—because she is taking arms from some little neutral country to Spain. I do not believe that is happening for a moment; but the existence of this gap, as I said previously, is due to the fact that everybody is not carrying out this agreement as they ought. I am quite willing to make an approach—I think the matter was raised by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness—but I am pointing out a certain distinction which, I think, exists. I will now deal with another main criticism of this Bill; that is, the position of Portugal. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton), at Question Time yesterday, intervened and said that it was notorious that Portugal had become a conduit pipe through which munitions were pouring in. Of course, "notorious" is not evidence.


It is in the Press.


Nor are statements in the Press evidence.


It was Franco's statement.


What was the date of that statement? It was probably long before the Non-Intervention Agreement. Everybody knows what are the sympathies of Portugal. I know their sympathies, just as I know the sympathies of hon. Gentlemen opposite. But we have to proceed by evidence and we must be fair to Portugal, and I want the House to be fair to Portugal. This is the position. We have had evidence of certain breaches of the Non-Intervention Agreement against certain countries, and we have sent some of them to the Non-Intervention Committee, but we have had none against Portugal. This is the point I want to bring home to the House. Not only have we had none against Portugal, but only two charges of alleged breaches of the Agreement against Portugal have been brought before the Committee at all. I am revealing no secret in saying this. Those two were brought forward early in October—two months ago. The first was by the Spanish Government and the second by the Soviet Government. Both were examined by the Committee, together with the Portuguese Government's reply. In both cases the Committee, all of them—all the European States, mark you—except the Soviet representative, came to the conclusion that they had received no proof of breach of the Agreement by the Portuguese Government. That, as I say, is two months ago and since then no Government has seen fit to bring any further charges against the Portuguese Government.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any country has been found guilty by the committee of any breach of the agreement at all?


That is quite another point. What I am saying is that here is a case where there was real unanimity, where everybody but one said "not guilty."


Is it not a case of "not proven" rather than of "not guilty"?


There was no proof of it. I want to say one further word on Portugal. We have made inquiries from time to time of our representatives in Portugal. More than once in the early stages of the dispute I have telegraphed to His Majesty's Ambassador and he has told me on each occasion that he had no evidence of violation of the agreement by Portugal. Only this morning I sent a further telegram and I have had a precisely similar reply. I suggest to the House now that the attitude of a section of the House towards Portugal shows just that partiality of which they complain in His Majesty's Government. Because Portugal is a Fascist or right wing Government, they are convinced that that Government must be doing things of this sort, even though they have no evidence whatever for it. In that connection, I have a further observation to make. It has been suggested that we ought to have extended this Bill to cover shipments to Portugal. If you were to do that, clearly it would mean that the whole Non-Intervention Agreement should cover Portugal as well as Spain. That is the natural consequence of the argument.

Let the House observe what the position would be. The nations would say to the Portuguese Government, which is not itself a manufacturer of arms at all, "You are not to receive any arms of any kind as long as this civil strife in Spain goes on, even though it is next door to you. Even though you may be in a more anxious position"—and they certainly are— "than other countries which are more distant, you are to have no arms." What is to be the reason for this attitude? They are to have no arms because they are neighbours of Spain, because they have a land frontier which marches with the Spanish frontier. That would be the reason. Of course, the condition of proximity to Spain applies not only to Portugal but to France. Is anybody going to suggest that the same thing should be done towards France? I do not believe it. I think the French Government have observed the agreement extremely well. Where I differ from hon. Gentlemen opposite is that I cannot, without authoritative evidence, accept their view that the Portuguese Government is not doing so.


I would not have dreamt of interrupting the right hon. Gentleman had it not been that he—perfectly fairly, no doubt—is putting it in a way in which we have never attempted to put it in any of our arguments. We have drafted an Amendment dealing with this point. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has seen it, but it has been examined in the ordinary course to see that it is in order and it represents the point of view which we put forward. We do not suggest that Portugal should be deprived of arms. We suggest that just as arms should not be trans-shipped at sea for the purpose of going to Spain, so they should not be trans-shipped in the ports of any country neighbouring Spain for that purpose.


That would include France. But that is a different point from the point which was put earlier in the Debate. I want to deal now with what I believe to be the underlying issue in this discussion, and that is the position of the nonintervention policy as a whole. I would remind the House that the French Prime Minister, speaking the other day at a great public meeting in Paris, pointed out that not one country had yet denounced the Non-intervention Agreement. Let me say that His Majesty's Government have no intention whatever of being the first to commit what we believe would be a great act of folly. We believe that policy to be still the correct one for Europe and for peace. I would ask the House to consider still—because the problem is still there—what is the alternative. That alternative has been extremely well put more than once recently at conferences where hon. Gentlemen opposite stated their views. The hon. Member for East Woolwich (Mr. Hicks), whose views command great respect. said to the Edinburgh Conference: What is the alternative to non-intervention? That is still our question. He said: If we lift the embargo, it is hard to see the end. It must, so far as we are able to judge, land us into a great international conflagration. I agree and the Government agree. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood), speaking in rather more flowery language said—


Is this at the same conference?




That was some months ago.


Yes, but the problem is still there. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield asked: Is this Conference prepared to have a battle between democracy and dictatorship over the bleeding body of Spain? Because we must apply the alternative it does not mean that the Government are satisfied with the working of the Non-Intervention Agreement. Of course we are not. It is not being observed as it could be, and as it should be. In the view of the Government, the nations who are not strictly observing the Agreement are running a grave risk of doing a disservice to the maintenance of peace in Europe. Moreover, they are making it much more difficult for us to join in effective international co-operation in the future. I agree with hon. Members opposite that the position as it is to-day is unsatisfactory, and the British representative on the Non-Intervention Committee is, to-morrow, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, going to make clear our anxieties and our apprehensions on this score. There is a great responsibility which rests on us all rigidly to observe the Agreement which we have accepted.

There is another aspect of the question to which I would for a moment refer, and that is the position of so-called volunteers who are joining up, according to our information, in increasing numbers on either side. At present that is not a breach of the Agreement. It is not our fault that it is not a breach of the Agreement, but such is the case. We think that the Agreement should cover this matter. We think it wrong that volunteers from other countries should take part in this fighting in Spain, and, if I may say so, the hon. Lady the Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) neatly hit off that situation in a Supplementary Question yesterday. We intend that this matter also shall be raised by our representative on the Non-Intervention Com- mittee to-morrow, and I repeat that it has not been through any lack of desire on our part that agreement on this matter has not been come to long since.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite believe that the Government, in the policy which they have pursued in this matter, step by step though it has been with other democratic nations in Europe, particularly France, have been actuated by sympathy with the insurgents. [Hox. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That definitely is not so and I am glad to see that right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite do not agree with some of those who sit behind them on that point. I think that some hon. Members opposite, very largely because their sympathies are so strongly with the Spanish Government, view every one of our actions with jaundiced eyes. It is inevitable that there should be among hon. Members of this House, those who have sympathies with one side or the other, but I suggest that to judge the matter solely from a Spanish point of view, on one side or the other, is not the duty of the Government. Our duty is to judge it from the British point of view.

I ask the House to believe that we have entered upon this policy and persisted in it because we believe it to be the best policy in the interests of European peace. I ask the House not to think that on that account the Government are either unsympathetic or unfeeling as to what is going on in Spain. I think I can say that it is, in truth, our continued neutrality, understood by both sides, which has enabled this country to play a unique part in the humanitarian field in this struggle. Through our consular officers and our Navy we have been responsible for saving literally thousands of lives, and when all the figures and facts can be given, I think the House will be impressed with the result. Only yesterday the Foreign Office received an appeal from a part of Spain where hitherto we have done no work asking us to arrange for an exchange of prisoners. Of course we shall try to do so, and I hope we shall succeed. But I think I am justified in telling the House that I am convinced that we are able to do this kind of work largely because both parties believe us to be the most genuinely neutral of the European countries.

So much for the humanitarian side. Hon. Members may say that that is only one side, and that there is an appalling position as regards the actual fighting. There, again, it may be that this Government will be able to do more. It may be that an opportunity will be offered on which we can do more. If it does, I assure the House that the Government do not intend to miss that opportunity. I think we shall be better placed to render help in bringing peace to Spain through this—as I believe it to be—strict neutrality which we have observed. Certainly, I give this undertaking. If opportunity offers, or if we think the moment propitious to make an attempt, we shall make it, whether we succeed or fail. All I ask the House is that the moment, the opportunity, the occasion, shall be left to our own judgment. In this matter we have pursued this policy consistently, and we do not intend to depart from it. This Bill is, in our judgment, a necessary part, though a small part, of our work, and I hope that the House will approve of it.

7.0 p.m.


I am glad that the Foreign Secretary has made a speech in explanation of this Bill and the causes behind it, because we got no speech at all from the President of the Board of Trade. The reading of a brief that he gave us was an insult to this House. It is not the first time that it has occurred. The last time the right hon. Gentleman addressed this House he came down here with a Bill and made a careless speech from a brief that had not been adapted to the occasion. This afternoon he read a brief, was unable to answer questions about it, and did not appear to understand them. It is not fitting that a Bill should be introduced in that way. Therefore I welcome the speech of the Foreign Secretary, in which he has attempted to put the case for this Bill. He has not made out his case. He said a good deal about there having been a small gap which now had to be filled. I cannot understand why this small gap appeared only just now. You have had the Nonintervention Agreement running for a considerable time. You have had breaches of that Agreement. You have had in existence all that time the mercantile marine of this country, and the obvious possibility that it could be employed in bringing arms from other countries to Spain for one side or the other. There was no provision against it in the Nonintervention Agreement. What was the cause of the discovery of the gap? It was a threat by General Franco. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that this gives the impression of splendid neutrality. It does not. It only gives the impression that this Government is afraid of a threat by General Franco.

I was surprised at the right hon. Gentleman making the point about the private manufacture of arms after all we have heard from the party opposite on that—the party that decorated the late Sir Basil Zaharoff, the party that supported private manufacture. It does not meet the point made by the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) that a Government has the right to import arms to defend itself against aggression, and against that right we have had this Nonintervention Agreement. The Agreement was not signed by all countries, it was only signed by European countries. I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman should imagine that it is impossible to bring arms from countries outside Europe, and that it is impossible to bring arms in British ships, or in British ships registered in the Dominion. The fact is that this Bill does not close the gap. That is really the trouble in regard to the whole policy of non-intervention. The right hon. Gentleman has always put it forward as being necessary in order to prevent a dangerous incident. We agreed to it at the start in the hope that it would do that. It has become abundantly plain that a large number of breaches of the agreement have occurred, and that it has not prevented the possibility of incidents.

Now we have this Bill which again is not going to fill the gap because, as we have pointed out, the Government seem to have forgotten entirely that the British Isles is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is surprising how often that happens now. The President of the Board of Trade did not seem to have thought about it. The Secretary of State for the Dominions knew nothing. It is only when we get the words of the Foreign Secretary that we know anything about it. They put this forward on the ground that the Dominions have not much shipping. But Canada has 6,812 steamers, of a net tonnage of 1,396,153. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where are they?" J It does not matter where they are. This Bill is presumably not meant to act this week, and its provisions are not only in relation to ships in European waters at this moment. There are other ships in the Dominions. If by this Bill you effectively cut off a huge amount of the mercantile marine of this country the enterprising people who engage in this trade will go far and wide in search of vessels, and it is possible for them to use Dominion vessels. The Dominions are not parties to the Non-intervention Agreement.

The right hon. Gentleman says that the people who do this will be acting contrary to the policy of the British Government. Certainly they will in the British Isles, but they will not be acting contrary to the policy of the Dominion Governments that have not signed the Non-intervention Agreement, and they will be breaking no law, because a Bill like this has not been passed in the Dominions. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman appreciates the amount of danger that arises from partial legislation of this kind, which insists on considering the British Isles as standing alone and ignoring the position of the Dominions.

The Government of Spain has the right to a supply of arms. The Australian, Canadian and New Zealand shippers have a right to sell arms to the lawful Government of Spain, and a right to send their ships to take arms from other countries to Spain. Now we have the position in which the right hon. Gentleman says that in order to avoid the possibility of incidents we are forbidding our ships to carry these arms. But they are not forbidden to Dominion ships, and therefore there is the possibility of incidents just as before. Suppose that you get a Dominion ship taking a cargo to the Government of Spain and suppose that General Franco interferes, what are the British Government going to do? The right hon. Gentleman tells us that the British Government will be defending these ships on their lawful occasions. You will have therefore two categories of British ships, one of which will be defended by the Navy and the other which will not; one of which General Franco will search and the other which we will search for him. It is an extraordinary, slipshod way of doing business to say, "This has not happened, it may not happen now." When you have a civil war of this kind you may have to search all round the world for weapons and for ships. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman has not dealt with the point that this Bill is one which does not relieve the whole danger. The Dominions ships presumably can travel the 1,000 miles of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke. They may presumably collect arms on the way.

The right hon. Gentleman told us a great deal about Portugal. He seemed rather scornful about reports in the Press, but he seems ready to act on Press rumours when they suit him, and to deny them when they do not suit him. I am not satisfied that the Government have done their best to get accurate information, and it does not convince me when I am told that the Non-intervention Committee has made an inquiry and that the charge is not proved. The policy that has been followed here is neither British nor good international policy. The fact is that the Non-intervention Agreement has proved a failure. The general expectation was that if you applied this Non-intervention Agreement you would bring this war to an end. But this war has got worse and worse, and to-day you have a position in Spain in which you practically have a war a I'outrance between the invaders and the defenders; you have troops brought in from Morocco, you have the sweepings of Europe enlisted, and you have the most ruthless form of warfare. The hon. and gallant Member for Carlisle (Brigadier-General Spears) seemed surprised that General Franco had not been defeated already, and argued from that that the Spanish people were not against him. But war is very different to-day from what it was when the Peninsular War was fought, and it is the possession of weapons that has enabled General Franco to go on, and his modern weapons are being used with the utmost ruthlessness.

You have a great capital city being bombed night and day, and masses of women and children being killed. It is said in the Press that the Government should evacuate the city, that it is their fault for defending it. But massacre does not end when the Government forces evacuate a town or village. All that happens is that General Franco's forces come in and it merely means that massacre goes straight on. We are facing a situation which has steadily got worse, and there seems no immediate prospect of ending it. We say that the non-intervention policy has broken down and that it has worked in a one-sided way. This Bill will not assist even in the keeping of the ring. I was not impressed with the right hon. Gentleman's reference to Portugal. There is no reason why the British shipper should not get arms from some country and tranship them in Portuguese ports. The result of this, as of most things that have happened under the Agreement, is to play into the hands of the rebels all the time. I want to see this struggle brought to an end. The longer it goes on the more intense it will be, the greater the atrocities that will occur, and it will leave the whole of Spair a desert.

I would like to see whether some action cannot be taken by the great States of Europe to bring an end to the war. I agree with the tribute which has been paid to those who have done magnificent humanitarian service, but I think we ought to get somewhere beyond this mere ambulance work. I fear this thing is going on until we shall see a great city laid entirely waste, until we shall see a population of almost a million driven out. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this matter could not be taken up by the League of Nations. Could it not be taken up, to begin with, on the humanitarian side to deal with this mass of refugees, as has been done in the past by organisations such as the Nansen organisation, and cannot some effort be made to see whether, before the whole of Spain is laid waste, this struggle cannot be brought to an end? This proposal is not a proposal that can possibly commend itself to our side of the House. It does not seem to me to make more likely the avoidance of international incidents, and I believe that, in so far as it goes, it will act in a one-sided way. It really amounts to this, in the eyes of the world, that having run away from every possible dictator, the Government are now running away from General Franco.

7.17 p.m.

Wing-Commander JAMES

I hope the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, and you, Mr. Speaker, will forgive me if I make no attempt to preserve the continuity of this Debate. All that I want to do is briefly to advance one or two considerations about the struggle in Spain which appear to me to be very relevant to this Bill. I speak within two very definite limitations. The first is that I wish to say nothing to which my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell), with whom I have been working in very close harmony in the last few days, would object, and, secondly, that I hope, in the course of the next few days, to return to Spain, which I only left yesterday afternoon. It seems to me that the basic nature or character of this struggle in Spain has not yet been quite fully appreciated in this country. It is based, on both sides, upon an intensity of hatred that has to be seen to be believed. It is a clash of the most profound religious as well As political convictions on both sides. It is, I am afraid, in default of some quite unpredictable events, going to be a war as long as it is bitter. Without any exaggeration, it is going to be, in default of some intervention, a war to the death. Each side is out, quite ruthlessly, to utterly and absolutely exterminate the other side. It has all the ferocity of the religious wars of the Middle Ages and superimposed upon that the political theories of the twentieth century.

Both sides have received and are receiving an enormous volume of foreign support. Fortunately, I am not called upon to express my opinion on the Bill in the Lobby, because I am paired with the hon. Member for Broxtowe Cocks), who is now in Madrid. When hon. Members of any party talk about the assistance that General Franco's side have unquestionably received, and when they say that the war would have been over long ago had he not received this support, let them not forget that it is the proud and the legitimate boast of the Government side to-day that Madrid was saved by the intervention, at the eleventh hour, of this international column, a magnificent body of fighting men drawn from almost every country in Europe, who, for their principles, without any hope of reward, and with every prospect of an extremely unpleasant time, have rallied to the support of the Spanish Government. To talk as if the preponderance of foreign intervention was on one side is to attempt to weigh the imponderable.

I am tempted to say a word about the plight, not only of the people in Spain, but of the wretched prisoners, hostages, women, and children on both sides. I have only seen, for a few days, just one tiny facet of this appalling problem, but no exaggeration that the modern Press is capable an convey any idea of the situation in Madrid. It is perfectly and absolutely appalling. I would like to say a word about the actual character of the struggle so far, and if I appear to dogmatise a lot, I hope I may be forgiven, because I am speaking as briefly as possible. With, I think, one exception, so far as I know, the British correspondents in Madrid who have been supplying the public with their information are very young men. They are extremely nice and an extremely gallant body of excellent young men, some of them Colonials, but with that one exception they were too young to see the last War, and I think they have got the whole war out of perspective. Certainly they had entirely and absolutely misled me before I went to Spain. When they talk about intense bombardment, either from land or air, they have never seen a bombardment, and, what is even more surprising, they are not seeing it now.

It is quite different war fare. The war hitherto has been by comparison a war between two highly organised, ruthless sets of gangsters. While on the way up to Madrid we stopped to eat our rolls in a village, and while walking to the local posada for a drink of wine, we were met by a gentleman in perfectly good mufti who was carrying a submachine gun, and he came from the United States. He was a Spaniard who had been for years in America, and he appeared to be carrying the weapon of his normal trade. May I, at this juncture, in parenthesis, pause for a moment to pay a tribute to three very remarkable men who are upholding the honour of Great Britain in Madrid—Mr. Forbes and Mr. Scott, at the Embassy, and Mr. Newbiggin, of the Scottish ambulance. They have all three done the most amazing work, which has to be seen to be believed, but also they have, by their complete impartiality—an example to this House obtained and retained the confidence of the belligerents to a most extraordinary extent.

I quite frankly confess that when, on the invitation of the hon. Members on the Opposite side, I went out to Spain, less than a fortnight ago, I thought our trip was a piece of rather idealistic folly. It seemed to me perfectly impossible, even before I realised the ferocity of the struggle, that we could do the slightest good. I am now quite sure that I was wrong. I do believe that this visit of Members of this House has, in some small fraction, mitigated, at least temporarily, some of the horrors, and when I say "some small fraction," I mean this, that so colossal is the volume of horrors that what in normal times would be a great deal is now but a drop in the ocean. Then comes the question of what this country ought to do. That is a very difficult problem and one on which I would not presume to touch, whatever my ideas may be, but one consideration does occur. How long can we, how long will we, be able to sit on the fence 7 I only pray and hope that there resides in the Cabinet enough youth and vigour to be able to take the extremely brave decisions which will have to be taken later on, and the sooner the better.

May I conclude by telling an anecdote which I believe is strictly relevant to the struggle? We met in Madrid a distinguished Englishman, who has been there for many years and who probably knows more about the internal situation in Spain than anyone else, and he told us this story: Many years ago he was climbing in the Guadarramas, the mountains that overlook Madrid, on a high ridge, and he came across an old stone monument. With difficulty he deciphered the inscription on it, and the inscription was, "Here lie the bodies of two brave men who fought to the death with their knives in a dispute over a melon," and he added that generations of Spaniards have looked at that memorial, in a glorious situation looking over a lovely bit of country, and have seen nothing incongruous in it. All that they have seen is a legitimate memorial to the bravery of two men who fought implacably to the death. But for foreign intervention on both sides or on either side, this war might have retained that sort of dimension. That time has long since passed. To-day the clash in Spain has ceased to be a Spanish civil war; it is already an international civil war on Spanish soil.

7.29 p.m.


I am sure I shall be voicing the opinion of everybody in this House if I pay my tribute to the gallantry of the last speaker and of his comrades who went out to Spain. Those of us who wished them well knew how terrific would be the task that they had in front of them. I can assure him that we all without distinction of party have read with feelings of pride of their heroism, and that we have felt that they really were carrying a message of humanity to a place where it was very badly needed. There is a point I want to raise in regard to the speech of the Foreign Secretary. Bad as the position is, things are rapidly getting to a situation where the international problem is becoming much bigger in Spain than the actual fighting. The speeches of the Foreign Secretary and of the President of the Board of Trade are really a series of pretences. This Government is paying only lip-service to impartiality. I would ask the Foreign Secretary what more could the Government have done if it had wanted General Franco to win? Both the right hon. Gentleman and the President of the Board of Trade quoted the agreement with them of Norway and of France, and said that these were Left Governments. This Government has taken a lead in organising a blockade by democratic governments of the democratic Government of Spain.

That is really what the whole of this Government's work has amounted to. The Government say that they have the Left Governments behind them. That is true, and it is because of the democratic prestige of Britain in Europe and the world—I cannot understand why such prestige is enjoyed by this Government at all—they have been able to get the domocratic Governments behind them in refusing the legitimate rights of the Government of Spain. I do not suggest that that only the Foreign Secretary wanted to do this. I know that the President of the Board of Trade would be delighted, for it would be in consonance with the whole of his public life. If the President of the Board of Trade or the Foreign Secretary had thought out whether there was really any service that they could have rendered to General Franco if they had wanted to—and I underline "if"—there is nothing that would have been so valuable to the in- surgents as organising a democratic bloc against the legitimate Spanish Government while Mussolini and Hitler engaged in supplying the rebels with arms. I am speaking of the early days when there was no question of Russian intervention and when the Russians were meticulously observing the Non-intervention Pact. When it became clear that other Governments were not observing the Pact, Russia still maintained a correct attitude. I would like to deal with a point raised by the leader of the Liberal Opposition when he said that the Commintern and the Russian intervention had in fact made the situation that led to the present troubles by organising actions against the Front Popular earlier this year.

I saw the situation in May and June this year and I was in touch with practically all sections of the Popular Front. It is simply not true that the Commintern at that time were making difficulties for the Popular Front. The hon. Gentleman has muddled up the various sections of the Popular Front and has assumed that action against which all the Communists in Spain strongly protested, were the work of the Commintern. It is not my business to defend the Communist party in Spain. In fact, there are not too many of them to defend even if one wanted to, but it is still the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has completely muddled up the actions of the C.N.T. and the work of the Communist section of the Popular Front which was engaged in fighting that particular section.

There is a curious aspect of the situation which it is difficult for people on our side of the House to understand. Several hon. Members on the other side have said that there are no vital British interests at stake in this matter. It seems rather strange that those who have been brought up in the normal school of British imperialism, of the importance of Gibraltar, of the All-Red line to India, and the rest of it, should suggest that threats to Gibraltar were not threats to the vital interests of the British Empire. I could imagine that in any other circumstances than these apoplectic colonels would be carried out of Piccadilly clubs at the very suggestion that there should be any other European Power established in the rear of Gibraltar. What is extraordinary about the whole of this conflict is that in Spain to-day two British interests are clashing. There are the imperial interests of Great Britain and the class interests of the present rulers of this Government and the country. When their imperial interests clash with their class interests, their class interests win.

Everybody who has spoken from the other side has assumed as a matter of course that General Franco is on the side of law and order. The Foreign Secretary has not suggested that here is a rebel general breaking his oath, bringing in foreign aid before there was any suggestion of foreign aid on the other side, and bombing women and children in his own country. There has been no condemnation of that. If it had been the other side, we can imagine how the Foreign Secretary or the President of the Board of Trade would have lectured this side of the House because of our lack of humanity and respect for law and order. But because it is their class that is doing this, because the rebels are the people with whom they normally associate, the importance of the imperial side of the struggle has been entirely lost sight of. I have seen a great deal of the struggle in Spain, and I know a good deal of the people there, and I feel the tragedy of what is happening and of that great country with its great traditions, with its art treasures and its real treasures in human life, being the cockpit, as the Foreign Secretary has called it, of the contending ideological doctrines of Europe.

It is the beginning of the war of Fascism versus Communism that is taking place in Spain. It cannot only be fought out there. It will be fought out in Europe, but whether finally between Germany and Russia or whether it drags the whole of us in, no one can say. That is the side of the struggle that nobody can view with anything but horror and alarm. What we on this side view with very real dread is the whole attitude of this Government. While talking of impartiality, they have in fact so arranged things that, if it had not been for one other country, General Franco by this time would have been in Madrid. It would not have been the weapons of General Franco that would have brought victory, but Italian and German weapons. Italy and Germany would then have proceeded to collect the bill for services rendered. The Front Bench opposite know that. Do they know what that bill is going to mean? Does the payment of the bill include Ceuta and the handing over of the Balearic Islands? If so, what excuse will the Government offer to their own Imperialists? Britain has had great democratic traditions in the past. It is a tragedy that we should be discussing a Bill still further to blockade the legitimate Government in Spain and that, in the course of the discussion on this the Foreign Secretary should even have suggested that before long he would be willing to grant belligerent rights to General Franco. It seems to me that this Bill is the coping stone on the whole of that long series of acts which those who were viewing the thing objectively would say was completing the British blockade of democracy in Spain.

7.40 p.m.


Although you, Mr. Speaker, have given us a very wide latitude in the Debate, I will not follow the hon. Lady into the intricacies of party politics in Spain, but I think that an impartial observer from a gallery in this House would have no doubt in deciding which side of the House was more impartial in its attitude towards this struggle. We on this side do not view with equanimity the establishment in Spain of either a Communist or a Fascist Government, but we are not so ready as hon. Members opposite to make a choice between those two evils. I am at a loss to know what the Opposition case is. I listened with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker), but I am still none the wiser. He produced an ingenious theory that the Covenant of the League and all its provisions apply as much in civil wars as they do in international disputes, and I should have thought that he, with his knowledge of Geneva and its proceedings, would have known better. The hon. Member shakes his head, but if he looks at the OFFICIAL REPORT to-morrow he will see that he devoted a considerable passage of his speech to stating that theory.


I said that Signor Mussolini had sent Italian aircraft from the air forces of the Italian Crown.


I think the hon. Member will agree with me that the Covenant deals in the main with the relations between sovereign States and that therefore the question of civil war does not arise. It cannot arise unless the rights of belligerency are accorded to both parties. Yet the hon. Gentleman is opposed to the recognition of belligerent rights. However, that is a matter with which I shall deal later. Again, the only contribution which the Leader of the Opposition was able to make was to join in the general grouse against Portugal. One would think that the Opposition had something more concrete to say against this Bill, which I understand they are intending to oppose. I would go further than my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the subject of Portugal. I submit that it is not only France against whom we would have to impose an embargo; we would have to impose it against not only the entire Continent of Europe, but also the Continents of Asia and Africa. This Measure is purely a maritime Measure, and because it does not deal with all the problems of the world that is surely no reason why the Labour party should oppose it. It deals very effectively with what it intends to deal with, and that is the import of arms on British ships to Spain.

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal party and the hon. Member for Derby also criticised the Government's policy and this Bill in particular as being one-sided. They said that the result would be that the Spanish Government would be adversely affected. I think that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite forget that there are ports in Spain and in Spanish territory which are in the possession of the insurgents and that the naval forces are fairly equally divided between the two parties. This is not a Bill to deal only with the situation to-day but a Bill to deal with the situation which may arise at any time during the whole course of this unhappy struggle, which is by no means at an end. I submit that circumstances may arise at no distant date when it will be the Government naval forces which will be attempting to blockade an insurgent port.

Let me say that I warmly welcome this Bill, and, moreover, I hope that it may have important and far-reaching results. I hope that this Bill, and the non-intervention activities of the Committee in London which have preceded it, may prove to be the prelude to the establishment of a new code of neutrality, a code which will stress not so much the rights of neutrals as the obligations of neutrality. However, the immediate purpose of this Bill is, as I understand it, to prevent Great Britain from being dragged into this Spanish conflict. I submit that if we are to be able to form an opinion as to the adequacy of this Bill to secure that result we must ask the Government for more precise information as to their attitude towards the question of the recognition of belligerent rights. I did not altogether understand what my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary meant by his brief reference to that important aspect of the question. He said that the Government were not at the moment thinking of recognising a. state of belligerency because of their adherence to the Non-intervention Agreement—let me say in this connection that I fully and firmly support the policy of non-intervention--but almost in his next sentence my right hon. Friend added "But, of course, there is nothing incompatible between adherence to the policy of non-intervention and the recognition of belligerent rights." There he left it. He first said that we were not going to accord belligerent rights because we were adhering to the policy of non-intervention, and then said there was nothing incompatible between the two. I therefore ask the Government, when they reply, if they will give us some further information on their attitude towards the recognition of belligerency. It seems to me that that step might well prove to be the best solution of our difficulties.

If belligerent rights are—and I understand there is a possibility of it—to be ultimately accorded to the combatants it would obviously be preferable that all the Powers should recognise belligerency simultaneously, particularly in the present case, when there is one group of Powers supporting one party and another group of Powers known to favour the other party. I realise that to obtain a simultaneous recognition of belligerency would inevitably require considerable diplomatic consultation. If the object of this Bill is merely to tide over this inevitable period of consultation, and in the meantime to reduce the danger of the occurrence of an international incident which might drag us into the conflict in defence of our rights, I think this Bill is a wise, necessary and a salutary measure of international precaution. If, on the other hand, this Bill were to be regarded not as an adjunct but as an alternative to the ultimate recognition of belligerent rights, I think that it would reflect a somewhat precarious policy.

The occasion which has given rise to this Bill is the likelihood of the Spanish conflict extending to the seas on a considerable scale arid the possibility that one party may establish an effective blockade of the ports in the possession of the other. In these circumstances I think the Government reasonably envisage the possibility that the blockading party may claim the right to search foreign merchantmen. It is, as I understand, the object of this Bill to reduce to a minimum any excuse which the blockading navy may have for attempting to search British ships, and that is an object with which all hon. Members on every side of the House will be in agreement. But let us remember--and this is, I think, an argument in favour of considering very seriously the recognition of belligerent rights—that arms and ammunition are not the only form of war contraband, and that before very long it may well be that we shall have to consider restrictions which may be imposed by proclamation by one or other party prohibiting the importation of general supplies far outside the range of this present Bill. In this connection I do not believe it would be practicable to extend indefinitely the scope of the schedule of articles provided for in this Bill.

Nevertheless, while we may reasonably hope that this Bill will reduce the danger of an international complication arising from an attempt to search British ships yet, unless it is ultimately, and reasonably soon, followed by a recognition of belligerency, we shall still be leaving far too much to chance and to the discretion of the blockading party. Let us envisage the possibility of the insurgents establishing an effective blockade of the port of Barcelona and, in spite of the passing of this Bill, insisting on stopping and searching British merchant ships. If the British Government had not by then recognised a state of belligerency His Majesty's Government would, I think, be in honour bound to lodge a protest, and if that protest were disregarded they would be obliged, as I think the Foreign Secretary admitted this afternoon, to follow it up with armed intervention, by the British Navy in the Mediterranean. Such a course of events, which is by no means an improbable one, has, I think, all the makings of an ominous and an ugly international situation.

What is more, I believe that in such circumstances—and this is a matter on which 1 should be glad to have the observations of the Government—even our legal right in international law to resist search might possibly be in doubt. If the question came to be referred to the Court of International Justice at The Hague or to some other international tribunal it is more than possible that they would declare that by the action of the Non-intervention Committee—and this present Bill might still further emphasise that—the existence of a state of belligerency had already, in fact, been implicitly recognised, and that, therefore, we and the other Powers concerned were no longer entitled to deny to either of the combatants the full rights of belligerency. I submit, moreover, that unless this Bill is soon followed by a recognition of belligerent rights we, as a great naval power, who have insisted on our rights in the past, and may have to insist on them in the future, will be setting a somewhat dangerous precedent which we may one day have cause to regret. Furthermore, I submit that by running the risk of becoming embroiled in the Spanish struggle through an excessive reluctance to recognise belligerency we may well be jeopardising all the invaluable work of the International Committee for Non-intervention in which His Majesty's Government have played such an honourable and a successful part. In these circumstances, while 1 shall in any case warmly support this Measure I venture to hope that the Government will recognise that the provisions of this Bill are essentially bound up with the question of the ultimate recognition of belligerent rights, and that they will, therefore, give us this evening some further information as to their policy and intentions in this matter.

7.59 p.m.


I hope the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Sandys) will excuse me if I do not follow him into the interesting points he raised. Much as I am in many respects doubtful about this Bill, and I think public feeling in this country would much more strongly criticise and resent a recognition of belligerent rights. The point I want to make is that none of the defenders of the Bill, neither the right hon. Gentleman who introduced it nor the Foreign Secretary, has either met or attempted to meet what is really the main bulk of the objection raised from these benches, and that is that whatever intention lies behind the Bill—and I agree with the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Noel-Baker) in not questioning the genuineness of the Government's desire to make, through this Bill, a real contribution to international peace—we must judge political actions by their results and not their intentions. What troubles us is the quite undeniable fact that in its actual working-out the Non-intervention Agreement, supplemented by the present Bill, has repeated the irony of the Abyssinian crisis last year. Just as then the one really effective thing the League did was by an embargo nominally applied to both parties to prevent the victim of aggression from defending itself, so today the practical effect of the Non-intervention Pact has been to prevent the legitimate Government from arming itself.

I do not see how the Government can deny—certainly it has evaded but it has not denied the argument that has been brought forward, that many of the things said by the Foreign Secretary to-day, and still more contained in his speech of 29th October, established that point. 1 remember him on 29th October reminding the House that the Spanish Government were in a weaker position to equip than were the rebels because the rebels had the control of the Army and the greater part of the arsenals. In the same speech he told us that the original intention of the Non-intervention Pact was that it should come into operation only after the German, Italian, Portuguese and U.S.S.R. Governments had agreed. Yet actually he told us that our own Government had begun to prohibit the export of arms to Spain from the very beginning of the conflict. I estimate that was some time in July—I am not aware when the prohibition of the export of arms actually came into operation. [An HON. MEMBER: "The 19th August"] Following that I think the right hon. Gentleman said that actually no export of arms from this country to Spain had been licensed after the beginning of the civil war; that was I think the expression he used.

France recognised the Non-intervention Pact on 8th August, the German Government did not even pretend to adhere to it until 24th August, the Portuguese Government on 27th August and the Italian Government on 28th August. There was a whole fortnight's dalliance in each case before the Fascist States which supplied the rebels even pretended to adhere to the pact. The Foreign Secretary also reminded us, in the same speech, that Italy was geographically extremely well placed for supplying arms to Spain, and he might have added that Portugal also was extremely well placed. He said that one of the reasons for non-intervention was because of the factors on the side of those who were supplying arms to the rebels. The democratic Powers joined in the pact long before the Fascist Powers and the rebels were better supplied from the very beginning. The rebels were better situated. Why then was not more care taken that the Non-intervention Pact was not brought into actual operation until those who were supplying arms to the rebels had given evidence of their intention to stop-doing so?

What is the situation at present? Nobody can deny that Italy is still extremely well placed to supply arms to Spain and that Russia has a very long way to bring them. If Russia wants to supply arms to Spain she is very much more likely to need the help of British ships, or those of some other foreign Power, than is Italy or probably Germany. Inevitably, therefore, we are inclined to think that this, like the nonintervention pacts in the case of Abyssinia, is likely, because of the way it has been operated, to be almost entirely to the disadvantage of the legitimate Government of Spain.

Another point on which I want to say a word is the determined effort that has been made throughout the Debate by speakers on the other side, to make out that Russia is at least equally culpable with the Fascist Powers in the matter of breaches of the Non-intervention Pact. What are the facts? The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Government gave its adhesion to the pact two days after the French Government on 10th August. Is it stated that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Government committed any serious breaches of the pact between 10th August, when it signed it a fortnight before either Germany or Portugal or Italy signed it, until about the middle of October, when it had become perfectly clear that the pact was a farce, and when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Government gave full notice of its intention to have no more to do with the nonsense—to express it roughly?

I have done my best to find out what the Foreign Secretary really does believe is the case about the contribution of the Russian Government—I wish he was here because I do not like to criticise him in his absence—but I venture to think it was hardly worthy of the Foreign Secretary to insinuate in his reply to the hon. Member for Derby, as he did, that Russia had been more culpable in breaking the Non-intervention Pact than other countries, and to refuse to establish that insinuation. When I asked him the question in the House only the other day he gave an evasive reply. I asked, Is there any evidence that Russia had supplied arms to Spain in any substantial quantity previously to 5th October? He did not reply. I noted the statement made by Mr. Blum, who said yesterday that there was no such evidence.' The Foreign Secretary has not replied. Is it quite fair to make an insinuation of that kind about a great and friendly Power, and, when asked, "Did you mean it or not?" to plead the fact that the nonintervention conference proceedings are held in private and that he is not to reveal what has happened. He revealed hat happened about the Non-intervention Pact when he wanted to defend Portugal, and if he did not want to reveal what was the case about Russia he should not have insinuated something that he was not willing to prove.

I happened to be, during the last week of September, chairman of a small unofficial committee for investigating charges of breaches of international law by supplying arms to the rebels before there was any Non-intervention Pact, and subsequently breaches of the pact. At that time, the last week in September, we did not receive a single suggestion from anybody that Russia was sending arms to Spain. On the contrary, as the hon. Member for Derby said, we were taunted with the statement that the British Press in supporting the Government of Spain was more emphatically on that side than the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. We were asked, "When Socialist France is not sending arms to Spain, why do you want the British people to send arms to Spain?" There was far more convincing evidence than anything we have heard about the actual military situation at that time, and does anybody doubt that at that time, and for some time afterwards, the Spanish Government were on the very verge of defeat, not because they had not got far more men than General Franco but because those men were so miserably ill-equipped.

Who can account for the failure to take the Alcazar in Toledo, or the steady advance of Franco's troops to Madrid during the earlier part of the war except by the fact— as was described by eye-witnesses— that the Spanish troops were going to the front with the front rows armed with old rifles and the back rows with sticks? Would that have been the case if Russia had been sending supplies? Quite recently, within the last two or three weeks, why has there been a change in the military situation Everybody knows that it is because other countries besides Germany and Italy have been breaking the Non-intervention Pact since the thing became a farce. The hon. and gallant Member who left Madrid only yesterday told us that it was said in Madrid that it was the international force that saved Madrid, but why did Madrid need saving? Everybody knows it is because they had not got any arms. Is it, then, fair to talk of the Russian Government doing what it quite frankly said it was going to do, when it was seen that Italy and Germany were continuing their supply? I do not attach great importance to the supply that Italy and Germany sent after the pact. If they had observed the pact perfectly and sent nothing at all after the 24th, 27th and 28th August it would not have made much difference, because they had simply saturated Franco's troops with arms before that.

I think that so long as that argument is used the Members of the Government roust not blame other hon. Members for suspecting there is class prejudice in the matter. They see, and we all see, that the actual result of the Non-intervention Pact has been mainly to help the rebel troops, and they ask themselves, how it is this has been so manipulated? How it that whereas in the case of the Abyssinian dispute we were told over and over again that the Government could not take any single step until they were quite sure of the co-operation of the whole League, on this matter the Government has taken the first step? I admit France did so too, just as France was our fellow sinner last year in the Abyssinian matter. The result of it all is that through this talk of taking no part in the war, and limiting our commitments and keeping safe ourselves, what we are doing is to throw one by one of the surviving democracies of Europe into the arms of either Fascism or Communism. What can these weaker countries think when they find democratic States huddled into the corner of the fold, hoping that the wolf will feed on smaller lambs than themselves, and so will leave them alone, whereas the dictatorships protect their own?

I have not heard a speech that so unfavourably impressed me in that way as that of an hon. Member who said that the reason he wanted Franco to win was that if the Spanish Government won Germany and Italy would not stand it, and they would insist on entering openly into the conflict. If you are going to apply that argument to Spain where is it going to stop? Suppose that the next operation of this technique of Fascism is against Czechoslovakia, as is only too likely, for it is a country that has a strong discontented minority. If the strong discontented minority is stirred up to revolt, supported with men, money and armaments, and then one of the Fascist Powers comes to the rescue, we shall be told, I suppose, that we ought to wish the rebel minority to win, because otherwise we may have further trouble into which we have brought ourselves. But what is that party coining to that used to put the Union Jack up as a party symbol? Is it not plain what it will do whenever Fascism and Communism are set in rivalry or opposition

The hon. Member opposite, whose speech was not as wise as he looked— for it is not very good for British interests to have a Fascist Power at the gateway of the Mediterranean and along the southern border of France— said openly that he would rather have Fascism than Communism in Spain. But where is the menace of Communism? There is a menace of ideas perhaps, but does anybody think that Communist Russia is going to be a danger to our Imperial interests? Has Russia so little territory, or is she so finished in development, that she will bother about aggression on any other country for another 50 years at least? No sane man or woman thinks that. The struggle is between class fear and fear for private interests on the one hand, and fear for democracy, for liberty, and the sense of honour to the weaker countries that trust in us on the other, and in the clash between those two motives, class interest wins every time. I am not a Socialist and I am not a Communist, but I see the facts. Can one wonder that those of us who see those facts feel suspicious of a Bill like this? I should not be satisfied, even if I were told that the Bill is not to come into operation until Germany and Italy had signed it too. Why? Because the signature of Germany is not worth the paper it is written on. Whatever Amendments may be made in the Bill, I shall vote against it.

8.16 p.m.


The House listened an hour or so ago to a very interesting speech from the hon. and gallant Member for Wellingborough (Wing-Commander James), which brought such a breath of reality from the other side of the Pyrenees. One remark was made in it which I could not help feeling absolutely described the situation. It was that the international war has started. It has been going on in Spain for some time, but it is increasing in intensity, and sooner or later we shall inevitably be involved in it. No efforts of the Government can keep us out of it; they only tend to make the final intervention more disastrous. Ever since the fatal blunder of Abyssinia we have been on the run. We have been under the orders of the Fascist States, and we have not dared to interfere or to stand up to anything that they say or want to do.

We have to-day had from the Foreign Secretary a very spirited defence of the Government, as we should expect. To me it was a very unconvincing one. I hope, after the Debate to-day, we shall hear no more from Members of the Government about the unity in the House of Commons in support of the Govern- ment's foreign policy. Unity does not exist. There is the strongest opposition to the Government's foreign policy, and I hope that that will become quite clear to the Government and to the country as well. The Bill is another example of the Government's policy of isolation at all costs, and of keeping out for the time being, at any future risk to this country or to the British Empire. That policy, I believe, will have fatal results. The Foreign Secretary referred to the fact that this was a Bill only for filling up a small gap, but he said nothing about the enormous gap that is left open by which the Fascist States are pouring arms, as they have been doing for a long time, since the beginning of the civil war, into Spain. The small gap bears no comparison, and is a matter of no importance, beside the real thing which matters. I was a little surprised at the attempt he made to use the cloak of the private profit and private interests of British and foreign manufacturers in order to cover up the real fact, as my hon. Friend has just said, that the Bill will give a further advantage to the rebels. That is the whole reason why we are opposing it.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) said that we should be influenced by any information which the Government could give us as to the willingness of other Powers like Germany, Italy, France and Russia to come in, and be equally bound by an engagement of this kind. The Foreign Secretary was not able to give any assurance whatever on that point. Of course, he could not. I never thought for a moment that he would do so. All that he could say was that he would consult, but even he did not pretend that consultation was likely to have any very happy results. He alluded to the fact that the Non-intervention Committee— I prefer to call it the Intervention Committee—was getting on happily and that none of its members had resigned. Why should they? They were simply disregarding it, and there is no point in withdrawing from an institution in which you absolutely decline to observe the rules. I fully agree with him that any undertaking that might be arrived at for non-intervention of the States, not simply of Germany and Italy, but Russia too, ought to be rigidly carried out.

It has already been said several times that the case of Russia is different, for the reason that for a considerable period she played the game and did not intervene until she saw that the rules were not being obeyed. Then she did the very natural and proper thing; she gave notification that she, too, would play her part in supplying arms. It is a very lucky thing that there is one State in the world which has the guts to stand up to the Fascist States. It is a very lucky thing for us. It is not a very pleasant thing to think that we are cowering behind the defences supplied by Soviet Russia at the present time, and that she is looking after our interests because we appear to be too feeble to take any stand about the matter ourselves.

The Foreign Secretary made reference to the Non-intervention Committee. I would like to ask whether information can be given to us in reply about the functions of the committee. The Foreign Secretary admitted, in reply to a question which I put to him, that no State had ever been found guilty of doing anything wrong at any time. That was the most devastating reply that we have had. It showed what an utter farce and humbug the whole thing is. It is most convenient for the Foreign Secretary, when he is asked inconvenient questions about the arrival of aeroplanes and munitions, and so on, in Spain, to be able to get up and say: "I must not refer to that; that is before the Nonintervention Committee." We have reason to know that while the proceedings of the committee are supposed to be secret, those proceedings are quite well known. They appear in the Press and are broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It would be interesting to know how that occurs. I would ask the Foreign Secretary if he could manage to persuade the committee to avoid presenting us every now and then with the spectacle of an ambassadorial dispute. We have quite recently had an example of a wild and savage attack, by Signor Grandi, upon Russia, and a natural reply in kind. I hope that the Non-intervention Committee will be more successful in the future in curbing the violence of any of its members.

I would ask the Member of the Government who is to reply to-night to be good enough to give us further information about what seems a very serious point. We are told that, although the Bill is not passed and has not the force of law, instructions have already been given by the Admiralty to British ships in the Mediterranean and in the neighbourhood of Spain, to take action as though this Bill already had the force of law. Why should they do that? Why cannot they wait? They waited for months; why not wait until they can act with legality? There is no sudden emergency. I should like to know precisely what those instructions are. Has the British Fleet been instructed to search vessels proceeding to Spain to see whether they have arms on board; or has the Fleet been instructed to avoid taking any action in defence of British ships which may be detained by the rebels because they carry arms? I think the House is entitled, before the Division takes place, to have some defence and some explanation of this very extraordinary and, to my mind, quite indefensible position.

Reference has been made to the case of Portugal. I quite see the difficulty of bringing Portugal in, but I do not believe that it is insurmountable. At any rate, it might be said that no British ship must carry armaments which are destined for Spain even if they pass through Portugal. I can quite see that there might be some difficulty in practice in finding that out, but it would lay down the law, and would provide some check, at any rate, on the situation. Certainly nothing has been said up to the present to reassure or satisfy one on that point. I feel that this Measure is contrary to the interests of this country and of the British Empire. No case has been made out for it, no satisfactory answer has been given by the Foreign Secretary to the questions put by my right hon. Friend, and for that reason we here intend to vote against the Second Reading.

8.28 p.m.

Duchess of ATHOLL

We are witnessing a terrible situation in Spain, and am not going to quarrel with the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) or with the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) if they said some rather hard things about what they feel is the attitude of Members on these benches in regard to this question, but I think the hon. Member for Jarrow went too far in saying that the Government were not honestly trying to carry out a really impartial policy in adopting this policy of non-intervention. Having said so much, I feel bound in honesty to say that I think that that policy has told against the constitutionally elected government of Spain. My hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise) earlier in the Debate ridiculed the idea that the Spanish Government was constitutional, but obviously, from what he said, he recognised the recent election as having been constitutional. If that be so, the present Cortes is a constitutional body, and, as I understand, it supports the present Spanish Government, even though it is further to the Left than the one originally elected.

Since the non-intervention policy seems to me to have helped the insurgents, I cannot help viewing this Bill with some anxiety. It is, perhaps, almost inevitable that a non-intervention policy should tell against the Spanish Government. The Foreign Secretary has admitted that the insurgents have behind them bodies of troops not only trained, but well armed, and that they command the greater part of the arsenals of Spain. On the other hand, the Government had to raise new levies of untrained, undisciplined recruits, and to find arms for them. As the weeks have gone on, I think it has become ever clearer that the Government can count on the support of a much larger part of the Spanish people than the insurgents. I have been much struck by the continual repetition of the fact that the Moors and the Foreign Legion are doing the fighting for the insurgents, whereas we read of the Government's new militia levies, not only of men but of women, and I would wish to pay my tribute to the magnificent courage of the men and women who have gone up into the firing line, as we heard a few minutes ago, too often without adequate equipment. Therefore, owing to the peculiar circumstances of the insurrection, the nonintervention policy was perhaps bound to tell rather against the constitutional government.

Then one has to admit that a mistake was made in putting on our embargo against the export of arms before we were assured that other Governments were going to pursue the same policy. I can never forget that quite early in August we had convincing proof that Italian aeroplanes were being sent to the insurgents, nor that, on 13th August, I read in the "Daily Telegraph" that Sir Percival Phillips had wired from Gibraltar that he had heard that not only Italian, but German aeroplanes, and not only converted commercial aeroplanes, but bombers and fighters, were going to the insurgents. That was some five days after an assurance had been given by the German Government that they had not sent any armaments to Spain. It seems strange that, notwithstanding the evidence that existed on the 19th August that Italian and German fighting aeroplanes had been sent to the insurgents, the Government should put on an embargo. I think it would have been wiser to have waited until they were satisfied anyhow that other Governments which had taken this action were not going to take further action of the kind. Therefore, owing to the way in which the policy was introduced, and to the fact that, as we know, it was not being fully adhered to, it has further inured to the disadvantage of the Spanish Government.

I also wish to say, because I feel that rather loose statements have been made on this subject from this side of the House to-day, that I am quite convinced that the breaches of the nonintervention policy made by the Soviet Government took place very much later than the breaches made by others, and I am not surprised that the Soviet Government took the action that it did. I think we must not forget that the fight which the Spanish Government is waging has attracted to itself, not merely help from Soviet Russia, but help from exiles from Fascist countries. When the Foreign Secretary speaks of trying to get the nonintervention policy applied to the prevention of volunteers from going to Spain, I am sure he does not refer to exiles from other countries, because they have no nationality properly so-called, and, therefore, can hardly be legislated for by any Government. It is, I believe, a national force largely composed of men who are exiled from Fascist countries, and I believe it has been doing valuable work for the Spanish Government in the last few weeks. I was very glad to hear the assurance of my right hon. Friend that he would do everything he could to ensure that other Governments took the action which His Majesty's Government are now proposing to take, because, if there is no uniformity of action in this matter, the Bill will still further weight the scales against the Spanish Government.

I fully agree with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) in the anxiety with which lie has told us he views the possible success of the insurgents. It would raise most serious questions for this country and although, as a Conservative, I do not wish to see Spain in, the hands of the extreme elements of the Left, I must repeat what I said a week or two ago that my information from a representative on the insurgent side is that the extreme elements in Spain are Anarchist rather than Socialist or Communist. The Anarchists outnumber the Socialists and Communists put together. That is confirmed by the hon. Member for Jarrow, who is much better versed in matters affecting the Left than I can pretend to be. That being so, the fear that, if the existing Spanish Government won, we should be faced with a State which might be subject to the dictation of Soviet Russia seems to me to be a remote contingency. I probably should not tike the form of Government that might emerge, but I do not believe it would be a Government that would be subservient to Russia. As a matter of fact, it is extremely interesting to note that a leaflet dropped by the insurgents over Madrid which was published a month or two ago in the "Manchester Guardian" expressly appeals to the Anarchists to join them because their views are so radically different from those of the Communists.

So I think that, though there may be dangers to be feared on both sides, if the Spanish Government win we might have a not very orderly Spain, the dangers that that would involve to this country are very much less than those with which we might be faced if the insurgents won. Obviously, they have had the most valuable assistance from Fascist Powers which could not well be repaid in money, and would therefore have to be repaid by some transfer of territory or the use of ports, air bases and so on. Again, my friends on these benches are very apt to think that all the trouble that has taken place has been due to Russian intrigue, but when the insurrection began the Spanish Government had not recognised the Soviet Government, and it thus seems to me impossible that the Soviet Government can have been doing very much in Spain before that event. That is worth bearing in mind. I should like to endorse the appeal made by the right hon. Baronet to the Soviet Government to increase the efforts which I believe they are making to get the Communist International to desist from making trouble in other countries. It seems to me lamentable that, at a moment when all democratic and peace-loving countries are faced with such dangers, any Government that rejoices in the name of proletarian should not be doing its utmost, to prevent any fomenting of sedition in such countries. I am very thankful, need hardly say, to have my right hon. Friend's assurance that he will not miss any opportunity that may offer for mediation. I am sure he will always be on the look-out to do what he can, and I hope he will not be moved by the appeal that has been made from these benches in his temporary absence to grant belligerent rights to the insurgents.

8.41 p.m.


I should like humbly and respectfully to congratulate the Noble Lady on her speech. She has said many things which, I am sure, will be more convincing to the public, coming from her, than they would be coming from these benches. I hear a voice of protest below me saying that she no longer speaks for her party. There is apparent now a very interesting cleavage in the party opposite which the Noble Lady's speech emphasises very fully, and which I think the country ought to observe. She is following the line of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), who is engaged upon what one might call a programme of Liberal Imperialism, in contradistinction to the reactionary capitalist Imperialism of the Front Bench opposite. They, indeed, have been prepared to sacrifice Imperialist rights to their ardent desire to preserve capitalism in different parts of the world, whereas the Noble Lady and the right hon. Gentleman are now taking the view that they are prepared to tolerate even Russia if that is likely to preserve the interests of the British Empire and of democracy. The Government have sacrificed Imperialist interests in the East to Japan in order to save China from becoming possibly Communist or Socialist. They are prepared to sacrifice Imperialist interests in North Africa in order to save Mussolini from being kicked out of Italy. Now they are prepared to sacrifice Imperial interests in the Mediterranean by such measures as this in order to do their little bit to assist Franco in winning in Spain. I look at this problem, quite frankly, from a partisan point of view, because I believe it is of vital importance to the working class movement all over the world that General Franco should be defeated. I believe the success of the legitimate popular Government of Madrid is a matter which vitally concerns a great many other countries besides Spain.

The Government have told us that one of their objectives in passing this Measure is to prevent the spread of war. I think it is Measures of this type which have in the past, and will in the future, lead to that very danger which they suggest they are trying to prevent, because one cannot, as the Foreign Secretary told us, discuss the matter except as part of the so-called non-intervention policy of the Government. If it were not for that policy, this Bill would never have been brought forward. That policy is now, and always has been, nothing more than a veil for an embargo upon the legitimate Government of Spain while a large measure of assistance was being given to the rebel enemies of that Government. The whole term "non-intervention" is an ingenious misnomer invented by the Government. There never has been any question of intervention either on one side or the other, and all that is being covered by the so-called non-intervention pact has in reality been the question of imposing an embargo stopping the legitimate Government from purchasing arms in this country and having them exported to Spain. The use of the term "non-intervention" has led a good many people to believe that if they were not for the Non-intervention Pact, opposite to the Non-intervention Pact would be intervention by the Government, a thing which has never been suggested, as far as I know, by anyone at all.

If one examines the arguments which are put forward in support of this policy one must, of course, examine the legal basis upon which the Government are pretending or are suggesting that it can be justified. It is not a question here of rival rights between two different persons or bodies in Spain. As far as international law is concerned there is only one Government of Spain at all, and there is no question of any other body having Sovereign rights in Spain at the present time. The fallacy that lies behind all the arguments dealing with the Non-intervention Pact is the fallacy which regards the position as if there were two rivals, both of equal power, fighting against one another in the Spanish Peninsular. The rebels are not, and cannot be, recognised internationally; they have indeed no international existence at all. Therefore, one has to regard this problem, not from the point of view of its effect upon two parties equally, but as to its effect upon the only party whom we are entitled to consider as having rights in Spain at the present time. Clearly what it has done—I think nobody would disagree with the facts—has been to hamper the Spanish Government in the legitimate defences of their own territory, and if one asks why it is that the Spanish Government should be hampered in the legitimate defence of their own territory, it seems to me that there can be only one possible answer that the Government can give, and that must be, "Because we do not like the Spanish Government. We are afraid of a Socialist or Communist Government that may follow the Liberal Government of Spain, and we therefore have invented this device by which we are able without appearing to do so, while professing neutrality, in fact to weight the scales against that Government."

The only conceivable excuse for such a policy, from the legal point of view, would have been if it could have been shown that the legitimate Government of Spain could have been helped in maintaining its sovereignty by the imposition of some embargo upon some of the ports of Spain occupied by the rebels. But so far from that being the case, the obvious, and indeed the universally admitted fact is, that this Agreement operated, certainly during the first three months during which it was in force, in precisely the opposite direction. It was a cloak for the assistance of the rebels by the Fascist Powers while being also an embargo upon the Government which very nearly succeeded in bringing that Government to defeat, had it not been that after the obvious failure of the Non-intervention Pact to achieve any measure of neutrality and had not Russia, seeing the legitimate Government of Spain being bled to death by these pro. cesses, stated quite openly to the world that, unless other people were prepared to observe this fact, she would be forced to lend some measure of aid to the Government of Spain. That, I should have thought, was the attitude that should have been adopted by every democratic government which had any regard at all for the preservation of Spanish democracy.


If the German Government should lose the confidence of the German people and the trade unions should revive, and it became evident that the Government no longer had the support of the people, does the hon. and learned Gentleman still feel that the only Government that we could recognise and must assist would be a Fascist Government, oppressing and tyrannising the trade unions and the workers?


I should be quite certain that that would be the only Government that the hon. Gentleman would recognise or assist.


I am asking about the Government and not myself.


I am not answering for the Government. I have stated that I am frankly partisan. The view I take I would be in favour of the working-class movement, whichever side it was, and I am dealing with the argument which the Government put forward as justification for the Non-intervention Pact. I am saying that if they justify it on the basis of their legal obligations, as I understand them to do, then there are certain circumstances which follow from those legal obligations. I am pointing out that if they justify them they can do so only upon the basis that the neutrality operates equally in both directions. That is to say, that any measure of this sort which is agreed upon does not weigh against the legitimate Government. Otherwise, there can be no legal basis For the imposition of Such an embargo. It might legally be imposed by international law against rebels to assist the Government. That would be legal, but it would not be legal if it were imposed in the opposite direction so as to have the opposite effect.


May I—


I am afraid that I cannot give way to the hon. Gentleman. It is really only since the time has arrived when there has been a universal disregard of the Non-intervention Pact that it has ceased to be a menace to the European situation. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary asked what was the alternative to a non-intervention pact. The alternative is to drop the pretence. You will continue with the actuality whether you continue with the pretence or not. The alternative is to face up honestly to the facts of the situation and drop the pretence of a committee which has sat in London, and which, while everybody knows and admits there are wholesale breaches of the Nonintervention Pact, has been unable so far to obtain evidence of any case of any breach whatsoever. Never has there been a more pitiable farce than the sittings of the Non-intervention Committee, and anybody interested in preserving any form of international order must realise that to perpetuate such a farce is one of the most dangerous things to do as regards the preservation of international order.

This precise Bill, which is, we are told, a means of implementing the policy of Non-intervention, which has admittedly failed in every direction, is a Bill of a very exceptional and quite unprecedented nature, and it is being forced upon the British people by the threat of General Franco, which was not even communicated to the Government but which the Foreign Secretary read in the Press. I was a little anxious when I heard two other remarks made in the course of this Debate to-day. One was by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Wellingborough (Wing - Commander James), who has returned from Madrid. He told us of the magnificent work that the international detachments were doing in keeping Franco back. Indeed he said, "They turned from failure to success the defence of Madrid," and shortly before he made that remark, the Foreign Secretary told us that they were proposing to ask the Non-intervention Committee to see that no more international volunteers were allowed to go to Spain. It sounds strangely as though this was another way of helping General Franco. [HoN. Members: "Nonsense."] Hon. Members say "Nonsense" Why then at this moment suddenly bring before the Non-intervention Committee the idea that people who wish to volunteer to help Spain should be stopped?


Bcause, if the hon. and learned Member had read this evening's newspaper, he would see that by way of retaliation something like 5,000 Germans have landed in Spain.


Does the hon. Member suggest that they are volunteers?


Are the Russians volunteers?


I have not the slightest idea, but I do know that there are hundreds of Englishmen and Scotsmen volunteers in Spain.


I take it that it is the opinion of the hon. and learned Member that it is not in the interests of the working classes of Spain that they should be conquered by Nazi Germans?


I do not share the views of the hon. Member. The blotting out of the Government Front Bench would be the greatest benefit to the British working people in any circumstances. Never before in any period of our history has there been a person or Power sufficiently strong to enforce the passage of such legislation as this upon the British Parliament. We have never before been forced by any emergency to pass legislation of this nature, and General Franco, whose statement in the newspaper which the Foreign Secretary read, and which led him immediately to put this Bill into draft, can pride himself on being the first person to have so much power with the British Foreign Office. How drastic this Bill is can be gathered by making a comparison between what would happen under this Bill and what would happen if both parties had been recognised as belligerents. No one is suggesting that they should be recognised as belligerents, but if they had been nothing like the powers which have been taken under the Bill would have been in the hands of British courts or of the British Navy as a result of the order or declaration which no doubt would have been made as regards neutrality. All that could have been done would have been to prevent people in this country from fitting out a military or naval expedition to aid either side, prevent the enlistment in the forces of either of the belligerents, and prevent the reconditioning of warships in any British port. There would have been no power to prevent British ships unloading cargoes of any kind in the ports of either belligerent.


Is not the hon. and learned Member leaving out one important point in his catalogue—the right of search by Spanish ships of our ships at sea?


The hon. Member does not appreciate the point with which I am dealing. I am dealing with the power of the British courts and the British Navy. General Franco's Navy is not yet the British Navy. Of course, directly they are recognised as belligerents they have the right of search, but that is not a question of the courts or the Navy of this country. To stop British ships landing goods in all ports of either of the belligerents is an unprecedented act which is being taken in this Bill. To find a necessity for making such an alteration in the law dealing with this matter, an alteration which has never yet had to be made in spite of all the wars and revolutions which have taken place in the last century, one must surely expect to find some very good and powerful reasons. We have been told by the Foreign Secretary that this is to stop up a little gap; that it is part of the non-intervention policy, and that we are going to make this profound change merely because there may be a ship or two which have been doing so. When one approaches a problem of this kind one approaches it from a very different angle if one is laying down general principles to be applied in all cases, as the Americans did in the resolution they passed in 1935, when they laid down a scheme of neutrality to be applied in all future cases. To approach it from that point of view is very different from approaching it from the point of view of dealing with one specific instance.

When you are dealing with one specific instance you cannot take into account general matters which might apply to a general piece of legislation. You must examine in the light of the facts all the particular circumstances with which you are dealing, and the Foreign Secre- tary failed completely to do that in his speech. He examined this as if it was a bit of general policy, a new principle of neutrality, which we are going to apply without examining it from the point of view of the specific case as to what harm or damage it is going to do to a friendly Government, the Spanish National Government. That is the problem which we should consider. Are we going to further embarrass that Government by taking this step, which is not part of the Non-intervention Agreement, which is not taken in concert with other Powers or with our Dominions, but taken purely because the right hon. Gentleman has been frightened by what General Franco said and which the right hon. Gentleman saw reported in the Press? He has not even had time to consult the Dominions about it because he was so hurried.

The only ground which has been put forward for the Bill is that General Franco said something which the right hon. Gentleman saw in the newspapers. In these circumstances, quite clearly, one must have regard also to the ports through which the rebels can obtain, and have in the past obtained, their supplies. Everybody knows that at the moment, whether goods are passing through Portuguese ports or not, that they are there; that it is a sympathetic Government to the rebels, and that if other ports are closed they will be 'able to go to the Portuguese ports and unload for the rebels; but they will not be able to unload goods anywhere for the Spanish Government. This, I believe, is only another of those devices which under the apparent camouflage of professions of neutrality are being aimed by the Government at the Spanish Government, because they believe their case will be better served by a Franco government in Spain than by a government of the working classes of a Communist or Socialist nature.

9.5 p.m.


In a previous discussion on Spain I drew attention to what I consider to be a very notorious fact, that under its present leadership this country is being dragged down to a very deep depth of degradation. I think this Bill clearly bears that out. Is there any hon. Member opposite, or any right hon. Gentleman on the Government Front Bench, who, on reading this Bill, will dare to say that it has what is known as the "Nelson touch"? Will the Foreign Secretary, when he is passing through Trafalgar Square, take off his hat before the monument of Nelson, and say, "Behold, one who follows in your footsteps"? We have always been told that Britain is the mistress of the seas, but General Franco makes a declaration and we run away. As has been said, this Bill is part of a continuous policy. I remember nine months ago declaring in this House that there were people in this country and in the Government who were prepared to sacrifice the British Empire in order to maintain reaction in Europe. Many hon. Members laughed when I said that, but Abyssinia showed how far they were prepared to go. Today the Foreign Secretary told us that we do not want this strife to spread, but that is what we were told in connection with Abyssinia. But it has spread. It has spread now to Spain, and will go on spreading if we do not take action to stop it.

It can be stopped by the united democratic forces of Europe. It is wrong to say that it is a question of a Fascist Government or a Communist Government. There is only a small minority of Communists in Spain, and there are only one or two in the Spanish Parliament. The main body of the Spanish Government is composed of Socialists and Radicals. It is sheer madness and folly to talk in the language which is used by some hon. Members opposite. It is a question of the Fascist Powers going on their way as they wish. The British Government represents what is supposed to be a mighty Empire, and hon. Members opposite are supposed to be very proud of it. Where would the Empire be to-day, with Germany, Italy and Japan, if it were not for Russia'? Where would the Empire be if it were riot for the might of Russia? What shield would you have against the powerful, terrific, mechanised army of Germany, with Italy in the Mediterranean and in North Africa, with Japan in the East, if it were not for the might of Russia, at which the Foreign Secretary makes nasty sneers? If it were not for Russia, Great Britain would be in a very weak position against the Fascist States of Europe. Let there be no mistake about that. If hon. Members want to play with very serious questions, it is their own business, but they will have to pay a price for it.

An hon. Member opposite has said that the Government in Spain is not the Government that was elected, but has been changed. I remember that in 1531 the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Lord President of the Council was Leader of the Government, and after the election he was Prime Minister, but suddenly he went out and the present Prime Minister took his place, and there were other changes. Governments can change their personnel, but the Government of Spain represents the Spanish people and is the Government that ought to have the complete support of every hon. Member who claims to believe in democracy. We have a very peculiar sort of democrat nowadays; we have democrats of a peculiar character who are prepared to support every kind of reaction that is directed towards the destruction of peace and progress—for the democratic Government in Spain represents peace and progress as opposed to the aggressive designs of the Fascist States of Europe, which are represented by Franco.

I will now turn to the speech of the Foreign Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman made a speech the like of which I am sure was never delivered by a Foreign Secretary before. I am certain there was not an hon. Member opposite who did not realise, while the Foreign Secretary was speaking, the hopeless position the right hon. Gentleman occupied and how impossible it was for him to find an argument to support that position. The Foreign Secretary said that the Government had been accused of running away. He said that they could have granted belligerent rights and given to General Franco the right to search our ships, but that that right had not been given. No! we were going to do the searching ourselves. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we knight in the near future grant belligerent rights. The right hon. Gentleman therefore puts it to us that we did not run away from Franco, but that we may in the near future have to grant belligerent rights. What an attitude for a Foreign Secretary to take up on such a situation.

I would like now to refer to the statement made by the Noble Lady the Mem- ber for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) that somehow or other the Communists had something to do with the trouble breaking out in Spain. Who are the foreign Communists in this country? [An HON MEMBER: "The Scots"] We often have the complaint that there is an invasion of Scotsmen in England. From the point of view of facts, what is all this talk about foreign Communists? What use would foreign Communists be in Britain? What use would foreign Communists be in Spain? No use. But the home article is of very considerable use in this country and in Spain. There never has been any proof that any so-called foreign Communists are in Spain, but it is obvious to anybody who has studied the matter that preparations for the revolt on the part of the Fascists had been going on for months. It did not spring up suddenly and spontaneously. It had been in preparation for months, supported by Germany and Italy.

A statement was made by an hon. Member who has just returned from Spain, to the effect that this trouble was partly religious and certain hon. Members have interjected remarks about religion and Christianity. The issue is not religious at all, but religious feelings are being played upon and stirred up, as has been done on many occasions in this country on questions which were not religious at all, in order to divide the forces of the people and put one section against another. The issue in Spain is not one of religion. It is the great landed interests, the great industrial interests, the great banking interests which are concerned. I was speaking to some business men the other night, one of whom referred in very high terms to Mussolini and Hitler and to what they had done for their respective countries. Then he put this poser to me: "What do the Communists say about religion, because the country or cause which is without religion will never prosper?" I said, "Why is it only when you refer to the Communists that you raise the question of religion? It used to be the same in regard to the Socialists. It used to be said that the Socialist movement was anti-religious. Why is this?"


But is it not the case that in Spain the Carlist Wars were fought over religion before there were any Communists,


I know, just as we were supposed to fight for high ideals in the Great War.


I do not say that they were wrong. I am only saying that those wars were fought over religion.


Yes, religious feeling was worked up but it was land and property that they were after—the Carlists and all of them. They used religion then as they are doing now. The reason why the cry of religion is only raised in connection with Communism or Socialism is because Communism and Socialism attack profits. That is the real issue. Mussolini is an atheist but he protects profits and there is no question of religion raised in regard to him. Hitler and the Nazis propose to wipe out the Christian religion and to provide Germany with a pagan religion based on the German mythology, but Hitler protects profits and so nothing is said about Hitler's religion. What is at issue here is not religion but the question of land and industrial and banking interests and profits. All the forces that are gathered round Franco, whether they are German or Italian, are concerned with the maintenance and support of profits, just as hon. Members opposite and the Government are concerned with the protection of property interests.

There are two sections among hon. Members opposite—those who are concerned with private property in general and those who are more concerned with private property in particular. That is where we find a division. There are Members opposite who feel that if democracy wins in Spain, it will be a bad influence in Europe and will arouse the German and Italian workers and cause a setback to the forces of reaction. To maintain reaction in Europe they are prepared to sacrifice the British Empire. But there are others within the camp of the capitalist class whose view one can hear expressed in these discussions and who take a rather different line. There are those who would sacrifice private property in general before they would sacrifice private property in particular. The hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. A. Herbert) who is, I believe an alleged humorist, asked the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) whether he wanted the Nazis to conquer the working-class in Spain. Of course he does not, but the working class of Spain, the progressive people, including the intelligent intellectuals are not supporting but are fighting the Spanish Imperialists at the present time.


Since the hon. Member has dragged me into this, may I say that when the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) resented so hotly the idea of the invasion of Spain by a few Germans I thought it a good opportunity to refer to the extremely foolish remark—in the opinion of most hon. Members on both sides of the House—which he made the other day to the effect that it would be a good thing for the working class of this country if they were conquered by the Nazis of Germany. That was all I said.


The only thing about it—which the hon. Member for Oxford University does not seem capable of realizing—is that the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol put a very good idea in a very wrong way. The good idea was that of getting rid at the earliest possible moment of the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite and those who are foolish enough to support them but the correct way to do that is to arouse the masses of the people of this country and to have those right hon. Gentlemen turned out lock, stock and barrel. If, while we are in the process of turning them out, Hitler should send his boys over here to stop us turning them out and to keep them in, what would the hon. Member think of that? Here you have a. legitimate Government in Spain carrying on, or proposing to carry on a policy of progress directed towards raising the poverty-stricken peasants to a higher standard and taking the workers away from the slums and away from disease —from darkness into light. Just when they were started on that policy, in came Franco with the Moors and the Foreign Legion supplied with military equipment by the German Nazis and the Italian Fascists.

Is any hon. Member prepared to support that kind of thing? What justification can there be for it? But this Bill is a continuation of the same policy, the policy of standing in the way of the progressive forces, of creating confusion and disorganising those progressive forces. Hon. Members have talked about not wanting it to spread, but unless we take a different attitude towards Fascism, this kind of trouble will spread until civilisation is destroyed, because destruction is going on all round us. I appeal to hon. Members who believe in democracy, who believe in peace and progress, not to encourage this sort of thing. It is deliberately designed to keep arms away from the Spanish Government. How is it that it always happens that the forces which represent progress and peace are hampered by your actions and that the forces which represent Fascist aggression are not hampered in the slightest degree?


Do you and your friends on the opposite benches—


Address Mr. Speaker.


I apologise. Does the hon. Member suggest that by prohibiting the carrying of arms in British ships we may seriously hamper the cause of the Spanish Government? To what extent will that prohibition, added to what already exists, hamper in the slightest degree the supply of armaments to the Spanish Government?


If there had been none of this so-called non-intervention, which was obviously directed against the Spanish Government, the position would have been that the Spanish Government, a friendly Government, would have carried on in the ordinary way with this country and other countries. It would have retained its full right of trading with this country. It would have got from this and other countries all the arms which it requires—it had all the men—and the revolt would have been crushed at its inception. But while the Spanish Government has the men, it had no armaments. The non-intervention policy prevented it getting armaments, while Germany and Italy loaded Franco up with armaments. The policy of so-called nonintervention tied the hands of the Spanish Government completely and gave every opportunity for the development of the revolt.

Now they have made a terrific stand, a stand the like of which has not been seen before in history. They have held up the forces of Franco. Everybody, including the Press, said that Franco was in Madrid, but here he has been held up week after week and the Government is showing possibilities of developing an offensive against him. At this very moment in comes this Bill to close every port in Spain. But nothing is done about Portgual. Volunteers have gone from this country to support the Government. They have gone from other countries as well. They have had to travel under all sorts of conditions and dodged through all kinds of frontiers. But General O'Duffy and his brigade took a boat at Liverpool and are sailing to Lisbon. General O'Duffy and his brigade will have armaments. If a general here in Britain with a brigade proposed to travel through France to support the Government, would it be allowed?


Is the hon. Member suggesting that General O'Duffy is a partisan of the British Government?


General O'Duffy is a very close partisan of the policy of the British Government. Please try to understand the point I am making.


I do not.


I know you do not. I have only got to look at you to realise that. But we are told that there is no proof of armaments passing through Portugal and here is a brigade openly, publicly sailing away from Liverpool, not to America, not to North Africa, but to Lisbon. Is that proof?


Will the hon. Member say how many there are in a brigade? I understood that there were 40 going, not a brigade.


That is the advance guard of the brigade. Surely it is obvious that Portugal is open for brigades, well equipped brigades. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol referred to the other threat about stopping the volunteers. If you stop the volunteers from this country the Germans will still be there. If Germany signed a Non-intervention Pact which included no volunteers, the Germans would still be there, and so would the Italians. The Spanish Government, the duly elected Government of the Spanish people and representing the great body of the Spanish people, as the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) properly pointed out, is fighting the battle against Fascist aggression, and Fascist aggression will not have any more respect for the British Empire than it has for Spain or than it had for Abyssinia. Therefore I call on every Member of this House who has any regard for democracy, peace and progress to vote against this atrocity, which represents a scuttle in front of the Fascist enemies of the people of Europe.

9.34 p.m.


I am against this Bill because I want Franco to be beaten and because I think that if it passes it will be more difficult to get arms from Russia into Spain. I think that the defeat of Franco depends on that. It is just as well to be candid. I believe that when I have done three-quarters of the House will agree with me. We see in the newspapers to-day that 5,000 Germans have landed in Seville with arms. Obviously if there was no opportunity of getting arms into Spain from outside to the Spanish Government, the inevitable end must be the victory of Franco and the defeat of that Government. I am perfectly aware that nearly six months ago when this trouble in Spain started the vast majority of this House and the people of this country, horrified by the accounts of atrocities in Spain, felt that their sympathies were entirely with the rebels and against that Government. It was perhaps inevitable when one reflected on the Russian Revolution, or even the French Revolution of a century before, that we should imagine it was the same and that all decent self-respecting Englishmen would be on the side of those who were against the Reds.

That was so six months ago. But I am sure the House will agree with me that during the last six months there has been a revolution or a revulsion in the feelings of the people of the country, of the Press of the country, and of the Members of this House. Partly that change of feeling has been due to the importation of the Moors from Morocco, partly to the growing evidence that the only force at Franco's back are the Moors and Legionaries and that the Spanish people are taking no part on his side in the war, partly owing to the bombing of Madrid and the killing of women and children, recklessly and apparently with no military object, partly to the heroic defence of Madrid by the people of that town, a heroic defence which recalls to our minds the defence of Saragossa in the Peninsular War, or, very similar, the defence of Londonderry in the reign of William III. Sympathies are naturally with the weaker side, and sympathies in this country have come round.

Apart altogether from the merits of the two sides, there are not many people in England to-day who would not regret the capture of Madrid and the defeat of the Spanish Government, with all the atrocities that would follow in its wake. For that reason, I say that, from the humanitarian point of view, we should all be now more or less united in desiring that the Spanish Government may be successful, and if that success can only come about through assistance from outside, we ought not to put any further obstacles in the way of that assistance arriving. The danger, as we must see at present, is that assistance, if it be only petrol, which is urgently needed, or in foodstuffs, any assistance whatever coming from Russia at the present time in Russian bottoms 'runs the risk, an ever growing risk, of being sunk by Italian submarines or in some other way before it reaches Barcelona. Probably the only way in which supplies can reach Barcelona or Valencia is in bottoms which the Italian Government or the Italian volunteers will not dare to sink, so that I regret this Bill, because it wipes out, as a possible source of succour to that oppressed people, the English mercantile fleet from the picture and leaves them to rely upon other countries.

It is for that reason that I think everybody should regret this Bill and seek in some way to remedy the harm which we are doing to those defenders of Madrid in their very difficult position, and that is why I put before the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, when he was speaking, the third alternative of the status quo. He put before the House, and completely proved his case, if there were only those alternatives, either the recognition of belligerent rights to both parties, or this Measure. With those alternatives before us, there is not a man who holds any of the views that I hold who would not be in favour of this Bill rather than of the granting of belligerent rights. If belligerent rights are granted, it means that not only English ships but all ships, for it would be followed by other countries, would be liable to be sunk if they were going to Spanish Government ports. They would be searched and sunk, and the British Fleet would not protect them. They would be running contraband. It would therefore be adding to all the difficulties that the Spanish Government have to face now, and if those were the only two alternatives, I and, I think, all of us would be strongly in favour of this Measure. It is because, first of all, this Bill is not the only other alternative and, secondly, because this Bill must inevitably be only one step in a progressive deterioration, that I oppose the Bill.

Suppose we consider my alternative of leaving things as they are, not acknowledging belligerent rights, because that would be an outrage, in my opinion, and would be definitely taking sides and sealing the fate of the Spanish Government. Suppose we consider the alternative of remaining as we are. That means that sooner or later a British ship might be stopped, seized, and sunk, just as the Norwegian ship was the other day outside Vigo by a Spanish insurgent cruiser. That would not much matter, but suppose it was stopped and sunk by an Italian ship. In that case there would undoubtedly be the risk of war, and I am perfectly certain that the Secretary of State, in looking at this problem, is looking at it not in the least from the point of view of either side in Spain but from the point of view of his passionate desire to keep out of war.


Hear, hear.


If the right hon. Gentleman really thinks this will keep us out of war, I think he has a case, but I hope to show him that it will not keep us out of war and that therefore there is no case for this Bill. He told us first of all in his speech that the Bill was to be adopted also by Norway and possibly by France. This Measure is twofold. It provides, first of all, very heavy penalties on anybody who carries warlike stores from one foreign port to another foreign port in an English ship. The penalties are there, and the British fleet is to search ships and see that they do not carry those particular goods. The British fleet is a very large order, and it is possible for the British fleet to search every ship crossing the Bay of Biscay or in, the Mediterranean. It is an extensive business, but still, with our enormous fleet, it is quite possible to deal with the problem in that way. It is also possible that the Italian and German Governments would trust us, and trust us rightly, to carry out that search. It would be impossible for British ships, without running the risk of these tremendous. penalties, to carry any warlike stores from Riga, or Odessa, or Petrograd to any Spanish port.

The same does not, however, apply, I need hardly point out, to the Norwegian Government. They have passed this law, but they cannot enforce it. We can, and the French Government may pass such a law, though they may not, and it is not easy to enforce. I do not think you will find that the Russian Government, if they came in would be keen to search their own ships, so that there are two questions. There is the question of whether Franco's Government and the Italian Government will believe that we are searching these ships and that the British ships are not carrying ammunition. They may, but there is also this difficulty, that if they do not, you will be in exactly the same position, and the risk of war will not be less but greater if an accident occurs. The House knows perfectly well that the list of warlike stores on that list are not by any means all that is needed in Spain to-day. What is needed most of all is foodstuffs, and, next to foodstuffs, petrol. They are not on that list. It is every bit as much to Franco's interest to stop those stores going in as it is to stop tanks or aeroplanes. Therefore, he will not be appeased and the Italian Government will not be appeased if we search only for these other goods. If in a month's time, if things do riot get much better, a further threat comes from Franco— "It is not your war stores I am caring about; it is petrol. You are supplying petrol to these people and we cannot carry on the war successfully as long as petrol gets to Madrid,"—it will be impossible, if the right hon. Gentleman swallows this, not to swallow that as well. And so it will go on.

The issue is much larger than the character of the contraband or what other countries come in. I do not think that it will be the slightest use or that it will convey the slightest confidence to the Government of Spain if Germany came into this agreement or if Italy came into it. It is so easy to pass a law such as this when most countries in the world outside Great Britain have a nice little way of passing laws and then never operating them at all. So I do not think that it will be the slightest consolation to hear that all the other countries are inside the scheme. We are —I will not say the "mugs"—but we are the people who pass laws like this and then put them into operation. We do not get any benefit from them because we are like a man who shows weakness; a man well driven into the corner will expect you to show further weakness. The more we surrender in order to keep peace, the more we are forced to surrender. Because we gave way in Abyssinia we have the trouble now. To go further back, although I was against trying to prevent Japan taking Manchuria, I can see now that if we had stood firm then we should not have had the trouble with Abyssinia and Spain. All this trouble becomes cumulative.

It is a very little gap that the right hon. Gentleman is stopping by this Bill. He pleads for it as a. small thing. Things will be smaller and smaller, and then the pressure upon him, on his office, on his colleagues, of the old passionate desire to keep us out of war will make each concession easier. I do not know whether I have more of the historic sense than other hon. Members of the House, but all the time that this has been going on I have been thinking of the extraordinary parallel between our conduct now and our conduct under Queen Elizabeth when exactly the same terror was going on in Spain. There we had no Franco, but Alva massacring and with overwhelming strength against the rebels. There we saw not Protestantism going down, but growing, the overwhelming strength of Spain and the Empire, the narrow seas right up against it, armies which had never been defeated, and a prestige greater than that of Napoleon; and as our friends, the Protestants, were beaten down the feeling of this country was that we must help them. It went on for years and all the time Queen Elizabeth put her foot down and said, "No" It was not until after William the Silent had been murdered, it was not until after the cause was almost hopeless and Antwerp lost, that we allowed an English army to go in and retrieve our own and Sir Philip Sidney to lose his life. Anyone looking through the reign of Queen Elizabeth knows that the darkest blot on her reign was our conduct towards the heroic struggle of the Dutch in those years of the sixteenth century.

Now we seem to be doing it again. I wish that there was someone on those benches who would put the cause of humanity and the cause of England together and see that it is not by perpetual surrender, but by courage that we can save ourselves from destruction and the world for peace. Hon. Members who still think that it would be better that Franco should win should reflect what his victory means. It means more than the enslavement of a great people. It means that we are providing for Franco all along the coast of Spain and Portugal places innumerable not merely for submarines, but for aeroplanes. The situation would be such that we could not get food ships to this country. It would not be necessary for Spain or Portugal to concede a single yard of territory. We remember how in the War the submarines used the bases in Spain and Greece and how we had to close the Mediterranean in consequence. The submarine is as nothing compared with the aeroplane; the range of the aeroplane makes it infinitely more dangerous. If Franco wins, it will not only enslave the Spanish people, but it will establish another Fascist State in a world divided between Fascist peoples and free peoples. That State will be established on our flank where our commerce can be destroyed, where our communications can be cut, whence our Fleet can be destroyed. We are doing this with our eyes shut, selfishly thinking that we in our time may save our lives. But our children will perish.

9.53 p.m.


We have heard some extraordinarily eloquent speeches on matters of fundamental moment, and not least the speech of my right hon. and gallant Friend who has just sat down, whose passionate conviction on this matter we all intensely admire. I want to come back nearer to the Bill itself in order to say that we had very much hoped that the Foreign Secretary would have been able to give us something in the nature of an assurance on the main point raised by my right hon. Friend earlier in the Debate that it will be possible to get this action of ours in stiffening up the Non-intervention policy adopted by other nations such as Germany, Russia and Italy. I except Portugal because, apparently, she is guiltless. The Foreign Secretary said nothing practicable on that point which we can take as hopeful and definite. He did say, of course, what he could about the Government's wishes, desires and hopes. We never doubted them, and I for one have not the slightest suspicion that the Government have not the position in Gibraltar in mind or the desire that General Franco should win.

An hon. Friend says that is a very innocent view to take; but that does not matter. What the Foreign Secretary did say was that the Non-intervention Agreement was not being adhered to—I think I am quoting his words—and that the Chairman of the Non-intervention Committee will make clear our anxieties and apprehensions on this subject to-morrow. We think that the Chairman will be in a stronger position in the endeavour to get other countries to fulfil their pledges of non-intervention if this Bill is not on the Statute Book by to-morrow, when the Chairman meets representatives of those other countries. We hope to be able to move, if the Second reading is carried, that the Bill should be brought into operation only by an Order in Council, that Order to be made when the States which are members of the Non-intervention Committee have given assurances that they also are going to stop the supply of arms to either side. As at present we cannot see any prospects of the Bill leading to any more general all-round non-intervention, we shall feel bound to oppose its Second Reading.

I wish to add only a few more sentences. One of the mistakes which authoritarian states are inclined to make is to think that they only are capable of real firmness. There has been too much justification for that idea in the past—though I do not want to go back on that to-night—in this dispute, but I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on having at any rate refrained from according belligerent rights. That is certainly something to the good. But our country is now being representel in Italy as a country which will always lie down and let itself be trampled on. It is a definite part of Italian film propaganda to show an Englishman playing with toy boats or arranging toy soldiers. I believe the impression which the Italians are trying to produce in that and other ways to be a profound mistake, and a misrepresentation of the attitude of this Government or of any other Government which might possibly hold office in this country. My fear is that those countries may some day go too far and that disasters may happen, I do not mean disasters to this country only, but to their own as well, for war is a disaster all round. It is because we feel rather strongly that the passing of this Bill, as long as it is in no way linked up with any probability of securing a genuine all-round application of the non-intervention policy, would be likely to increase the mistaken attitude of certain Powers with regard to the temper and spirit of the British people and, therefore, to make war more likely rather than less, that we have to take the attitude which we have taken up this evening.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 239; Noes, 132.

Cranborne, Viscount Hulbert, N. J. Ramsbotham, H.
Crooke, J. S. Hume, Sir G. H. Ramsden, Sir E.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Hunter, T. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Hurd, Sir P. A. Rayner, Major R. H.
Cross, R. H. inskip, Rt. Hon. Slr T. W. H. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Crowder, J. F. E. Jackson, Sir H. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Culverwell, C. T. Jones, H. Haydn (Merloneth) Remer, J. R.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Keeling, E. H. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Ropner, Colonel L.
Dawson, Sir P. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)
De Chair, S S. Kimball, L. Rosa Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Denville, Alfred Latham, Sir P. Runciman. Rt. Hon. W.
Dodd, J. S. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Doland, G. F. Leckle, J. A. Salt, E. W.
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Leech, Dr. J. W. Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Dower, Capt. A. V. G. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Drewe, C. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Lewis, O. Sandys, E. D.
Duggan, H. J. Llewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Duncan, J. A. L. Loftus, P. C. Scott, Lord William
Dunglass, Lord Lumley, Capt. L. R. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Dune, P. R. R Lyons, A.M. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Eastwood, J. F. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Simmonds, O. E.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. M'Connell, Sir J. Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. McCorquodale, M. S. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Elliston, G. S. MacDonald. Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Elmley, Viscount Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Emmott, C. E. G. C. McKie, J. H. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)
Entwistle, C. F. Magnay, T. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Erskine Hill, A. G. Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Storey, S.
Everard, W. L. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Fildes, Sir H. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G K. M. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Furness, S. N. Maxwell, S. A. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Fyfe, D. P. M. Mayhew, Lt.-Col, J. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Ganzonl, Sir J. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Mills, Sir F. (Layton, E.) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nailn)
Gluckstein, L. H. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Sutcliffe, H.
Granville, E. L. Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Moreing, A. C. Tate, Mavis C.
Gridley, Sir A. B. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Grimston, R. V. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Gritten, W. G. Howard Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Clr'nc'st'r) Titchfield, Marquess of
Guy, J. C. M. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Hamilton, Sir G. C. Munro, P. Wakefield, W. W.
Hanbury, Sir C. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H. Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Hannon, Sir P. J. H. O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Wardlaw-Mllne, Sir J. S.
Harbord, A. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Waterhouse, Captain C.
Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Orr-Ewing, I. L. Wickham, Lt -Col. E. T. R.
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Palmer, G. E. H. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Heneage, Lieut -Colonel A. P. Patrick, C. M. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Penny, Sir G. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hltchin)
Hepworth, J. Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord F. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.) Perkins, W. R. D. Wise, A. R.
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Petherick, M. Wragg, H.
Herbert, Capt, Sir S. (Abbey) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Wright, Squadron-Leader J.A.C.
Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Holdsworth, H. Porritt, R. W.
Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Procter, Major H. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES-
Hopkinson. A. Ralkes, H. V. A. M. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Ramsay, Captain A. H. M. Ward and Commander Southby.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Cape, T. Frankel, D.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Cassells, T. Gallacher, W.
Adams, D. (Consett) Chater, D. Gardner, B. W.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Cluse, W. S. Garro Jones, G. M.
Adamson, W. M. Cove, W. G. George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)
Ammon, C. G. Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Daggar, G. Gibbins, J.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Dalton, H. Gibson, R. (Greenock)
Batey, J. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)
Ballenger, F. Day, H. Green, W. H. (Deptford)
Benson, G. Debble, W. Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.
Bevan, A. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)
Bromfield, W. Ede, J. C. Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)
Brooke, W. Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)
Buchanan, G. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Groves, T. E.
Burke, W. A. Foot, D. M. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)
Harris, Sir P. A. Marshall, F. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Hayday, A. Maxton, J. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Milner, Major J. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Montague, F. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Hills, A. (Pontefract) Muff, G. Stephen, C.
Hollins, A. Noel-Baker, P. J. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Hopkin, D. Oliver, G. H. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Jagger, J. Owen, Major G. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Paling, W. Thorne, W.
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Thurtle, E.
John, W. Potts, J. Tinker, J. J.
Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Pritt, D. N. Viant, S. P.
Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Quibell, D. J. K. Walkden, A. G.
Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.) Walker, J.
Kelly, W. T. Richards, R. (Wrexham) Watkins, F. C.
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Riley, B. Watson, W. McL.
Kirby, B. V. Ritson, J. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Lathan, G. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.) Welsh, J. C.
Lawson, J. J. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens) Westwood, J.
Leach, W. Rothschild, J. A. de White, H. Graham
Lee. F. Rowson, G. Whiteley, W.
Leonard, W. Sanders, W. S. Wilkinson, Ellen
Leslie, J. R. Seely, Sir H. M. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Logan, D. G. Sexton, T. M. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Lunn, W. Shinwell, E. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
McEntee, V. La T. Short. A. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Maclean, N. Silkin, L.
MacNeill, Weir, L. Silverman. S. S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mender, G. le M. Simpson, F. B. Mr. Charleton and Mr. Mathers.

Bill read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House.—[Captain Margesson.]

Division No. 27.] AYES [10.10 p.m.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Courtauld, Major J. S. Grimston, R. V.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Craddock, Sir R. H. Gritten, W. G. Howard
Albery, Sir Irving Cranborne, Viscount Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake)
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh) Crooke, J. S. Guy, J. C. M.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Hamilton, Sir G. C.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Croom-Johnson, R. P. Hanbury, Sir C.
Aske, Sir R. W. Cross, R. H. Hannon, Sir P. J. H.
Assheton, R. Crowder, J. F. E. Harbord, A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Culverwell, C. T. Haslam, H. C. (Horncastle)
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Davies, C. (Montgomery) Heligers, Captain F. F. A.
Bexter, A. Beverley Dawson, Sir P. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. De Chair, S. S. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Denman, Hon. R. D. Hepworth, J.
Bernays, R. H. Denville, Alfred Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)
Birchall, Sir J. D. Dodd, J. S. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)
Blindell, Sir J. Doland, G. F. Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)
Bossom, A. C. Dorman-Smith, Major R. H Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.
Boulton, W. W. Dower, Capt. A. V. G. Holdsworth, H.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W. Drewe, C. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Boyce, H. Leslie Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Hopkinson, A.
Brass, Sir W. Duggan, H. J. Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir R. S.
Brlscoe, Capt. R. G. Duncan, J. A. L. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Dunglass, Lord Hulbert, N. J.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Dunne, P. R. R. Hume, Sir G. H.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Eastwood, J. F. Hunter, T.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Hurd, Sir. P. A.
Burgin, Dr. E. L. Edmondson, Major Sir J. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.
Butler, R. A. Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Jackson, Sir H.
Cartland, J. R. H. Elliston, G. S. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Cary, R. A. Eimley, Viscount Keeling, E. H
Castlereagh, Viscount Emrys-Evans, P. V. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Entwistle, C. F. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)
Channon, H. Erskine Hill, A. G. Kimball, L.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Everard, W. L. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Christle, J. A. Fildes, Sir H. Latham, Sir P.
Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead) Furness, S. N. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)
Clarry, Sir Reginald Fyfe, D. P. M. Leckle, J. A.
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Ganzonl, Sir J. Leech, Dr. J. W.
Colfox, Major W. P. Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Colman. N. C. D. Gluckstein, L. H. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Lewis, O.
Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Granville, E. L. Liewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Loftus, P. C.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Gridley, Sir A. B. Lumley, Capt. L. R.

The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 133.

Lyons, A. M. Petherick, M. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Mebane, W. (Huddersfield) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)
M'Connell, Sir J. Porritt, R. W. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
McCorquodale, M. S. Procter, Major H. A. Storey, S.
MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Raikes, H. V. A. M. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Ramsay, Captain A. H. M. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Ramsbotham, H. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
McKie, J. H. Ramsden, Sir E. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Maclay, Hon. J. P. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Magnay, T. Rayner, Major R. H. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Makins, Brig.-Gen. E. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Reid, W. Allan (Derby) Sutcliffe, H.
Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Remer, J. R. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Maxwell, S. A. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Tate, Mavis C.
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Ropner, Colonel L. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'nderry) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Rowlands, G. Titchfield, Marquess of
Mitchell. H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A. Tree, A. R. L. F.
Moore, Lieut.-Col. T. C. R. Runclman, Rt. Hon. W. Wakefield, W. W.
Morning, A. C. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth) Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.) Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen) Wardlaw-Mllne, Sir J. S.
Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Salt, E. W. Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham) Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cir'nc'st'r) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A.J. Sanderson, Sir F. B. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Munro, P. Sandys, E. D. Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Scott, Lord William Wise, A. R.
O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree) Wragg, H.
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar) Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.
Orr-Ewing, I. L. Simmonds, O. E. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Palmer, G. E. H. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Patrick, C. M. Smith, L. W. (Hallam) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Penny, Sir G. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe) Ward and Captain Waterhouse.
Perkins, W. R. D. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Pritt, D. N.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddi'sbro, W.) Qulbell, D. J. K.
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Adamson, W. M. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Riley, B.
Ammon, C. G. Harris, Sir P. A. Ritson, J.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hayday, A. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Bonfield, J. W. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Rothschild, J. A. de
Batey, J. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Rowson, G.
Bellenger, F. Hollins, A. Sanders, W. S.
Benson, G. Hopkin, D. Seely, Sir H. M.
Bevan, A. Jagger, J. Sexton, T. M.
Bromfield, W Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Shinwell, E.
Brooke, W. Jenkins. Sir W. (Neath) Short, A.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) John, W. Silkin, L.
Buchanan, G. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Silverman, S. S.
Burke, W. A. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Simpson, F. B.
Cape, T. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Cassells, T. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Charleton, H. C. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Chater, D. Kirby, B. V. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Cluse, W. S. Lathan, G. Stephen, C.
Cove, W. G. Lawson, J. J. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Leach, W. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Dagger, G. Lee, F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dalton, H. Leonard, W. Thorne, W.
Davies. R. J. (Westhoughton) Leslie, J. R. Thurtle, E.
Day, H. Logan, D. G. Tinker, J. J.
Dobble, W. Lunn, W. Viant, S. P.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) McEntee, V. La T. Walkden, A. G.
Ede, J. C. MacNeill, Weir, L. Walker, J.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) Mender. G. le M Watkins, F. C.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Marshall, F. Watson, W. McL.
Foot, D. M. Mathers, G. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Frankel, D. Maxton, J. Welsh, J. C.
Gallacher. W. Milner, Major J. Westwood, J.
Gardner, B. W. Montague, F. White, H. Graham
Garro Jones, G. M. Muff, G. Wilkinson, Ellen
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Noel-Baker, P. J. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Oliver, G. H. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Gibbins, J Owen, Major G. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Paling, W. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Potts, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Groves.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee on the Bill."— [Coptain Margesson]

Division No. 28.] AYES. [10.20 p.m.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Emrys-Evans, P. V. Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)
Agnew, Lieut..Comdr. P. G. Entwistle, C. F. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H.
Albery, Slr Irving Erskine Hill, A. G. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. J. (Armagh) Everard, W. L. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S.(Clenc'st'r)
Anstruther-G ray, W. J. Fildes, Sir H. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. P.
Aske, Sir R. W. Furness, S. N. Munro, P
Assheton, R. Fyfe, D. P. M. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Ganzoni, Sir J. O'Connor, Sir Terence J.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. O'Neill, Major Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet) Gluckstein, L. H. Orr-Ewing, I. L. H.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Graham Captain A. C. (Wirral) Palmer, G. E. H.
Baxter, A. Beverley Granville, E. L. Patrick, C. M.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Peat, C. U.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Gridley, Sir A. B. Penny, Sir G.
Bernays, R. H. Grimston, R. V. Percy, Rt. Hon. Lord E.
Birchall. Sir J. D. Gritten, W. G. Howard Perkins, W. R. D.
Blindell, Sir J. Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E. (Drake) Petherick, M.
Bossom, A. C. Guy, J. C. M. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Boulton, W. W. Hamilton, Sir G. C. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir G. E. W. Hanbury, Sir C. Porritt, R. W.
Boyce, H. Leslie Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Procter, Major H. A.
Brass, Sir W. Harbord, A. Ralkes, H. V. A. M.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Haslam, H. C. (Horncastie) Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Ramsbotham, H.
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Heligers, Captain F. F. A. Ramsden, Sir E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Rayner, Major R. H.
Burgin, Dr. E. L Hepworth, J. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Butler, R. A. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Cartland, J. R. H. Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey) Remer, J. R.
Cary, R. A. Holdsworth, H. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Castlereagh, Viscount Hope, Captain Hon. A. 0. J. Ropner, Colonel L.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hopkinson, A. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (L'derry)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Channon, H. Hulbert, N. J. Rowlands, G.
Chapman, A. (Ruthergien) Hume, Sir G. H. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Christie, J. A. Hunter, T. Runciman, Rt. Hon. W
Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead) Hurd, Sir P. A. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)
Clarry, Sir Reginald Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston) Jackson, Sir H. Salmon, Sir I.
Colfox, Major W. P. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Salt, E. W.
Colman, N. C. D. Keeling, E. H. Samuel, Sir A. M. (Farnham)
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Samuel. M. R. A. (Putney)
Cook, T. R. A. M. (Norfolk N.) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Sanderson, Sir F. B.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Kimball, L. Sandys, E. D.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Lamb, Sir J. Q. Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Latham, Sir P. Scott, Lord William
Craddock, Sir R. H. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Cranborne, Viscount Leckie, J. A. Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)
Crooke. J. S. Leech, Dr. J. W. Simmonds, O. E.
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L. Smith, L. W. (Hallam)
Cross, R. H. Lewis, O. Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Crowder, J. F. E. Lleweilin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Culverwell, C. T. Loftus, P. C. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir J. C. C. Lumley, Capt. L. R. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Lyons, A. M. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)
Dawson, Sir P. Mabane, W. (Huddersfield) Storey, S.
De Chair, S. S. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Denman, Hon. R. D. M'Connell. Sir J. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Denville, Alfred McCorquodale, M. S. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Dodd, J. S. MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross) Strickland, Captain W. F.
Doland, G. F. MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Drewe, C. McKle, J. H. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Duckworth, G. A. V. (Salop) Maclay, Hon. J. P. Sutcliffe, H.
Duggan, H. J. Magnay, T. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Duncan, J. A. L. Maklns, Brig.-Gen. E. Tate, Mavis C.
Dunglass, Lord Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Dunne, P. R. R. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Eastwood, J. F. Maxwell, S. A. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Titchfield, Marquess of
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.) Tree, A. R. L. F.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Wakefield, W. W.
Elliston, G. S. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Elmley, Viscount Moore, Lleut.-Col. T. C. R. Wardlaw-Mllne, Sir J. S.
Emmott, C. E. G. C. Moreing, A. C. Warrender, Sir V.

The House divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 133.

Wedderburn, H. J. S. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R. Wise, A. R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES —
Williams, C. (Torquay) Wragg, H. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Willoughby de Ereshy, Lord Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C. Ward and Captain Waterhouse.
Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hltchin) Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A Qulbell, D. J. K.
Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple) Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.) Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Riley, B.
Adamson, W. M. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Ritson, J.
Ammon, C. G. Harris, Sir P. A. Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hayday, A. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Rothschild, J. A. de
Banfield, J. W. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Rowson, G.
Batey, J. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Sanders, W. S.
Beflenger, F. Hollins, A. Seely, Sir H. M.
Benson, G. Hopkin, D. Sexton, T. M.
Bevan, A. Jagger, J. Shinwell, E.
Bromfield, W. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Short, A.
Brooke, W. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Silkln, L.
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) John. W. Silverman, S. S.
Buchanan, G. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Simpson, F. B.
Burke, W. A. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Cape, T. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Cassells, T. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Charleton, H. C. Kirby, B. V. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Chater, D. Lathan, G. Stephen, C.
Cluse, W. S. Lawson, J. J. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le Sp'ng)
Cove, W. G. Leach, W. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Lee, F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Daggar, G. Leonard, W. Thorne, W.
Dalton, H. Leslie, J. R. Thurtle, E.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Logan, D. G. Tinker, J. J.
Day, H. Lunn, W. Viant, S. P.
Dobble, W. McEntee, V. La T. Walkden, A. G.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) MacLaren, A. Walker, J.
Ede, J. C. MacNeill, Weir, L. Watkins, F. C.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough E.) Mander, G. le M Watson, W. McL.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Marshall, F. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon J C.
Foot, D. M. Maxton, J. Welsh, J. C.
Frankel, D. Milner, Major J. Westwood, J.
Gallacher, W. Montague, F. White, H. Graham
Gardner, B. W. Muff, G. Whiteley, W.
Garro Jones, G. M. Noel-Baker, P. J. Wilkinson, Ellen
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Oliver, G. H. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Owen, Major G. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Gibbins, J. Paling, W. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Potts. J.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Pritt, D. N. TELLERS FOR THE NOES —
Mr. Groves and Mr. Mathers.

Bill accordingly considered in Committee.

[Sir DENNIS HERBERT in the Chair.]