HC Deb 14 June 1937 vol 325 cc9-13
13. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether objections have been made by any Powers to the proposals to carry out the work of control in Spanish waters by means of trawlers instead of warships and to place neutral observers on the trawlers so employed; if so, what is the nature of these objections; and by what Powers have they been made?

Mr. Eden

So far as I am aware, no such proposals have been made. The question of modifying or improving the system of naval patrol as it at present exists will have to be carefully considered by the Non-Intervention Committee as soon as it is able to resume its deliberations, and the naval Powers concerned are naturally giving careful thought to all aspects of the situation.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Would the Foreign Secretary press on all the Powers in the Non-Intervention Committee the acceptance of neutral observers as a guarantee to all concerned, as it would, in fact, be a test of the sincerity of the Powers taking part?

Mr. Eden

I do not know about a test of sincerity, but I am personally in favour of it being done, and His Majesty's Government favour the idea.

18. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any replies have been received from the Governments consulted on the proposed inquiry into the bombardment of Guernica?

Mr. Eden

Replies from all the Governments who were consulted have not yet been received.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the delay which is taking place in the answering of this communication, is the right hon. Gentleman taking any action, in view also of what is happening at present at Bilbao, where similar conduct has been going on?

20. Captain Cazalet

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will approach the Spanish Government in Valencia with a view to getting information as regards the numbers and the conditions of life of the women now incarcerated in San Rafael and Carcel de las Ventas prisons in Madrid; and whether he would be willing to consider with the representatives of other nations the possibility of offering to the Spanish Government an asylum outside Spain for these non-combatants?

Mr. Eden

His Majesty's Government are prepared to consider approaching the Spanish Government with a view to arranging the evacuation from Spain of women imprisoned in Madrid, to whom my hon. and gallant Friend refers. The provision of asylum for such prisoners would naturally be considered in the light of the reply of the Spanish Government.

Captain Cazalet

If arrangements can be made, is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to offer asylum in this country to a number of these women, as was done in the case of the children of Bilbao?

Mr. Eden

I do not think it is a matter for me; I think it is a matter for the Home Office. Our general principle is that we are prepared to do these things where possible.

21. Mr. Thurtle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is now in a position to say whether agreement has been reached between the Powers concerned in regard to the scheme to be employed for ensuring the observance of the non-intervention policy in relation to the civil war in Spain?

9. Mr. Graham White

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can make any statement with regard to the negotiations for the renewal of the international naval patrol in Spanish waters?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. The discussions which have been proceeding between the four Powers taking part in the naval patrol resulted on Saturday in an agreement on the text of communications to be made to the two parties in Spain, with a view to obtaining the guarantees necessary for the continued safe operation of the patrol. These texts have been communicated to the Non-Intervention Committee, and will be forwarded to the two parties in Spain by His Majesty's Government on behalf of the four Powers.

Mr. Benn

Does this agreement allow any latitude to individual Powers participating in this scheme to take individual action, apart from the concerted action that may be agreed upon?

Mr. Eden

I do not know whether I ought to give details of the proposals until they have been published. They will be published as soon as possible after they have been considered by both parties in Spain.

22. Mr. Thurtle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that a commercial firm in this country has financed the visit of a group of persons to the insurgent forces in Spain for propaganda purposes; and whether he will take an opportunity of publicly discouraging such action?

Mr. Eden

The answer to the first part of the question is, No, Sir. The second part does not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Thurtle

Can the Foreign Secretary say whether his Department have any knowledge of the fact that Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox are actively identified with the organisation of a visit by a group to Spain—Franco's Spain—in the last few months, including a number of Members of this House?

Mr. Eden

I have no responsibility for Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox.

Mr. H. Mitchell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the hon. Member's suggestion is completely incorrect?

23. Mr. Grant-Ferris

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any of the private Members of this House who have visited Spain recently went there as representatives of or delegates from His Majesty's Government or undertook any mission in that country on behalf of the Government?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the "Carmarthen Journal" for Friday, 4th June, 1937, the chairman of a meeting addressed by the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell)——

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member appears to be giving information, and not asking a question.

14. Mr. Kelly (for Lieut.-Commander Fletcher)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the new proposals of the Non-Intervention Committee, concerning attacks upon foreign warships upon patrol duties off the coast of Spain, will take into account the fact that such attacks may be made by insurgents as well as by Government aircraft; and whether the Non-Intervention Committee will also consider the possibility of utilising trawlers for patrol duties instead of larger craft and of instructing all patrol craft to fire recognition rockets on the approach of aircraft?

Mr. Eden

Any request which may be made for guarantees for ships carrying out the patrolling duties will certainly be addressed to both parties in Spain. The suggestions contained in the second part of the question are being borne in mind.