HC Deb 13 April 1937 vol 322 cc794-6
78. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any British subjects serving in the International Brigade have been executed by Moroccans after being taken prisoner?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

No, Sir. No reports have been received suggesting that anything of the kind has taken place. We are, however, in communication with the Spanish Government and with the insurgent authorities in respect of British prisoners.

Viscountess Astor

Can my right hon. Friend tell us how many English Communists are fighting in the International Brigade?

80. Mr. Mander

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of protests against actions hostile to the lives and property of the people of this country and contrary to international law which have been sent to the rebel forces in Spain; how many have not been replied to; and the average length of time in obtaining a reply?

Mr. Eden

Much labour and detailed research would be required both here and at His Majesty's Embassy at Hendaye to compile the information requested. The hon. Member will appreciate that many communications relate to individuals, their property, and matters of local importance. In view of the very heavy pressure of work falling upon my Department at this time I hope that the hon. Member will not consider it indispensable to pursue his request.

Mr. Mander

In view of the fact that the Government appear to have given Franco a free hand to do pretty much as he likes, is it likely that he will pay any attention to any communications we send?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Member will have noticed the reply to our protest about bombing and the apology which was received.

Sir A. Sinclair

So far as this question refers to lives are we to understand that no British prisoners have been shot on either side?

Mr. Eden

That is different. If that is what the hon. Member referred to then that is not how I understood his question.

Mr. Mander

No, Sir.

81. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has examined the evidence put at his disposal by His Excellency the Spanish Ambassador concerning the presence of Italian troops on Spanish soil, contrary to the provisions of international law; and, if so, what action he proposes to take?

Mr. Eden

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which my Noble Friend gave yesterday to a question asked on this subject by the hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson).

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Has the right hon. Gentleman examined this matter himself, as well as passing it on to the Non-Intervention Committee?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, certainly. I think that my Noble Friend made it clear yesterday that our desire is to get on with this subject of the withdrawal of troops, but if that cannot be agreed upon, then we shall have to consider what action should be taken?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the interview of a correspondent of the "Times" with an Italian officer who explained that his Division of the Italian Regular Army, the Littorio Division had been sent to Spain under Government orders?