HC Deb 08 February 1937 vol 320 cc10-3
19. Sir Nairne Stewart Sandeman

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it has been decided what steps are to be taken after the acceptance of the report of the Non-Intervention Committee, and it being agreed that no foreign nationals of any country will be allowed to go to fight in Spain on either side, in order to compel the repatriation of the French and Russians who are fighting on the side of Signor Caballero, as well as the Germans and Italians?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Viscount Cranborne)

I understand that the question of repatriating foreigners already fighting in Spain has not yet been under discussion in the committee. It was mentioned by the German and Italian Governments in their replies to the representations which His Majesty's Government recently made on the subject of volunteers, and His Majesty's Government have made it clear that they are willing to take part in an early discussion on the matter in the committee.

Sir N. Stewart Sandeman

Is it not a fact that if these French and Russians, and, perhaps, Germans and Italians, had not gone to Spain, the war would have been finished long ago, and law and order would have been restored?

22 and 29. Captain Ramsay

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what steps are now being taken to put a stop to the flow of men, arms, and munitions into Spain from France which has continued since the outbreak of civil war in Spain?

(2) whether any steps are now being taken by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or by Italy or Germany to prevent their nationals from proceeding as volunteers to Spain; and whether he can give the House the approximate figures of nationals of these three countries, respectively, having landed in Spain since 1st January of this year?

Viscount Cranborne

As my hon. and gallant Friend will be aware, replies have now been received from all the Governments to which His Majesty's Government addressed inquiries, regarding their willingness to enforce the prohibition of the despatch of volunteers to Spain. All the replies were favourable in principle to the enforcement of such a prohibition, but in some cases, the actual enforcement was made dependent on the putting into force of an effective form of supervision. The replies, as has been previously stated, are under active consideration in the International Committee, for the further proceedings of which I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the communiqués published on 28th January and 2nd February last. As regards the last part of Question No. 29, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, East (Mr. Mander) on l0th January last, to which I have nothing to add.

30. Captain Ramsay

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the latest information goes to prove that the present régime of the Left in Spain represents not only the minority of the country at the elections but a minority financed and directed by Moscow for many years; and whether His Majesty's Government recognise these facts as now established and are prepared to reconsider their recognition of that regime as the legitimate government of Spain?

Viscount Cranborne

The information of His Majesty's Government is that the present Spanish Government contains representatives of all the parties, except for one or two small groups, comprising the Popular Front, which was successful at the last election. The answer to the last part of the question is, No, Sir.

Captain Ramsay

Is my hon. Friend aware that the circumstances which placed that government in power are very far from being democratic, and are we to understand that His Majesty's Government really look upon those people as a legitimate government, because if so they have in that view the support of neither this House nor the country?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Has my Noble Friend's attention been directed to a book written by the present Foreign Secretary of France in 1933 drawing attention to the preparations which he found in Moscow for what was called the forthcoming Spanish revolution? If, I send him a copy of the book, may I ask whether he will find time to read it?

Mr. Thurtle

Will the Noble Lord also ascertain from the documents of the German and Italian Governments the preparations they have made for the outbreak in Spain?

Sir N. Stewart Sandeman

Has Senor Caballero ever yet met the Cortes?

37. Sir H. Croft

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been called to the volume of propaganda distributed in connection with a civil war now proceeding on the Continent of Europe and published by the Embassy in London concerned, and in some cases with a signed introduction by the Ambassador; and whether he proposes to make representations in connection with this departure from diplomatic custom?

Viscount Cranborne

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Central Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. Denville) on 27th January, to which I have nothing to add.

Sir H. Croft

Is my Noble Friend aware that only last week great volumes of propaganda have been sent out under the orders of that Embassy in London, and is he not going to take any steps to deal with that situation?

Mr. Denville

How does the Minister make the answer to my question last week in any way comparable with the answer this week? My question has reference to three pamphlets, two of which he has acknowledged and the other is forgotten?

Mr. Maxton

Is the Noble Lord aware that two agents of the rebels in Spain delivered a lecture upstairs in this House the other day and put wrong ideas into the heads of hon. Members?

Mr. Attlee

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give any information as to the landing of numbers of Italians in Spain?

Viscount Cranborne

Reports have been received, indicating that considerable numbers of Italians have recently arrived in Spain. As I informed the hon. Member for Wolverhampton East (Mr. Mander) on 20th January last, it is not possible to give any accurate estimate of volunteers and military personnel reaching either party to the dispute in Spain.

Mr. Attlee

Is it not clear that we have one-sided intervention at present, and that long delay in coming to a decision is really creating the situation that occurred in August last year?

Viscount Cranborne

It is impossible to get accurate information, but such information as we have tends to show that the amount of volunteers on both sides is about equal.

Mr. D. Grenfell

Does the Noble Lord suggest that this latest addition to the Italian strength consists of volunteers? Is it not a palpable fact known throughout the world that both Germany and Italy are sending reinforcements under Government auspices?

Viscount Cranborne

All these forces, I understand, rank as volunteers, and that applies to both sides. At the same time, it is obvious that it is desirable that it should be stopped, and that is the Government's object.

Sir N. Stewart Sandeman

Can the Noble Lord say what is the daily quota going in from France by way of Perpignan?

Mr. H. G. Williams

Can the Noble Lord say why the Spanish Embassy circulated to Members of Parliament a report on the situation from six of our colleagues?