§ 6. Mr. Bellenger
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any and, if, so, what arrangements regarding trade 2831 payments exist between Great Britain and that part of Spain under insurgent control?
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17th December last to the hon. Member for Kirkdale (Mr. Rankin) of which I am sending him a copy.
§ 7. Mr. Bellenger
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give any information as to the principal features of the German-Spanish trade agreement; and whether such agreement is likely to result in a considerable diversion of iron ore from countries hitherto recipients of such supplies to Germany?
I am not at present in a position to add to the answer given on 22nd July to the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams).
§ Mr. Bellenger
Has the right hon. Gentleman's Department any information regarding this important treaty?
§ Mr. T. Williams
Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed the persistent decline in the sale of coal from this country to Spain and the decline in the purchases of iron ore?
§ Mr. Williams
But has the right hon. Gentleman noticed that just as British trade has diminished German trade in iron ore has increased?
§ 8. Mr. A. Jenkins
asked the President of the Board of Trade the quantity of iron ore imported by this country from Spain for each year from 1930 and to the most recent date of the current year?
As the answer includes a number of figures I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ The total tonnage of iron ore and concentrates (excluding chrome iron ore and pyrites) imported into the United Kingdom and consigned from Spain during 2832 each of the years 1930–36 and the first six months of 1937 was as follow:
|1937 (six months ended June)||…||…||…||502,203|
§ 9. Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft
asked the President of the Board of Trade how many foreign ships have been transferred to the British register during the last eight months; and how many of them have been engaged in transporting merchandise and foodstuffs to the ports of Bilbao, Valencia, and Cartagena under the British flag and protection of the British fleet in extra-territorial waters?
Some 210 foreign ships have been registered or provisionally registered as British since 1st December, 1936. Since that date, so far as I can ascertain, nine of these ships are, or have been, engaged in trade with the Spanish ports named in the question.
§ 15. Sir H. Croft
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that large numbers of ships have recently been acquired and chartered under the British flag for trade with the Governments of Valencia, Barcelona and Santander; whether he will state the number of such ships acquired in the last eight months; and whether there is any foreign control of the recently-formed companies operating these ships?
I am aware that some British ships which have recently changed ownership are engaged in trade with Spain and that some ships trading with Spain are under charter to the Spanish 2833 Government authorities. I do not know the number of ships concerned or the extent of any foreign interest there may be in the companies operating them.
§ Sir H. Croft
Can my right hon. Friend inform the House whether these ships have been chartered by the transfer of Spanish money, and whether in fact that money has been exported in violation of the constitution of the country?
I am afraid that I could not give my hon and gallant Friend any information about the source of the capital of these firms, as that is not one of the matters that we have to take into consideration when registering ships.
§ 77. Miss Horsbrugh
asked the Secretary for Foreign Affairs what representations have been made to the Spanish Government concerning the murder in Barcelona, on 2nd July, 1936, of Joseph Hood Mitchell, a British subject, who had been assured in the Barcelona law courts that the Catalan authorities would afford him adequate protection; whether he is aware that the alleged murderers, although arrested by the authorities, were discharged without punishment; and what compensation he is requiring from the Spanish Government for Mr. Mitchell's widow, now resident in this country?
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Viscount Cranborne)
As my hon. Friend is doubtless aware, the outrage in question took place 16 days before the outbreak of the Spanish civil war. During the period 2nd July to 18th July, urgent representations regarding this matter were made to the Spanish Government, who expressed their deep regret at the crime and undertook to take all possible steps to trace the murderers. His Majesty's Government have carefully considered the question of a claim for compensation from the Spanish Government, and have with regret come to the conclusion that there is not sufficient evidence of negligence on the part of the Catalan authorities prior to the murder to justify the formulation of a claim. It appears, in fact, from my information that Mr. Mitchell, who had been threatened for some time, was unwilling to accept police protection. I have 2834 not so far been able to ascertain whether, in fact, the murderers were arrested and subsequently released. My hon. Friend will realise the difficulties of making successful inquiries on this point in existing circumstances. If my hon. Friend will, however, communicate to me such information as she possesses tending to substantiate her statement on this point, I will certainly consider requesting His Majesty's Consul-General to investigate this matter further. Should such an investigation confirm the position as set forth by her, I should certainly be prepared to consider further the question of making a request for compensation on this ground.