§ 4. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the possibility of recalling all foreign troops and volunteers for Spain is under consideration by the Non-Intervention Committee?
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
Is any delay that is occurring in this matter due to reluctance being shown by any member of the Non-Intervention Committee to recall volunteers?
§ 8. Mr. Arthur Henderson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now received details of the note despatched by the Spanish insurgent authorities to the signatories of the treaties relating to Morocco, referring to the situation on the borders of Spanish Morocco?
§ 12. Mr. Brocklebank
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any specific regulations are contemplated regarding the issue of passports to British subjects intending to visit Spain?
§ Mr. Eden
With a view to giving practical effect to the obligations of His Majesty's Government under the recent extension of the Non-Intervention Agreement to cover the despatch of volunteers to Spain, British passports will cease to be regarded until further notice as valid for Spain or the Spanish zone of Morocco unless they have been specifically endorsed for travelling to either of these destinations on a date subsequent to Saturday, 10th February, 1937. These special endorsements are being granted on a temporary basis, and are issued only to persons who are able to satisfy the 1123 Passport Authorities or His Majesty's Consular officers abroad that they are travelling for urgent business reasons or for other special and approved purposes. I am informed that the passports of British subjects proceeding to Spain via French territory require in addition to be counter-endorsed by a French Prefect.
§ Captain Heilgers
Would it not be a good thing to suspend temporarily the issue of week-end passports to the Continent?
§ 13. Mr. W. Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to a declaration by General Franco that all foreigners found in cities which are delivered will be placed against a wall and shot; and whether he will make representations to the authorities at Salamanca to ensure the protection of British subjects in Spain?
§ Mr. Roberts
Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries as to whether the leaflets which are being dropped on Spanish towns do not include noncombatants as well as combatants?
§ Sir Percy Harris
Is it in accordance with international practice to shoot men who are foreigners in a country merely because they have arms?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that these warnings justify General Franco in shooting foreigners with arms; and is it not a fact that the Government of Madrid have given most stringent orders against any shooting of prisoners—[Interruption.]— 1124 and that less than a fortnight ago the "Times" reported the shooting of two officers?
§ 14. Mr. W. Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the plan now under consideration for the control of the entry of volunteers and munitions of war into Spain will include the control of the importation of munitions into Spain by ships belonging to the Spanish Government or the rebels?
§ Mr. Roberts
Do I understand that under the non-intervention control agreement it will be possible for foreign Powers to seal a ship and its load of arms, and that the controlling authorities will have no right to prevent that ship from going through?
§ Mr. Roberts
Does not my question really fully cover that possible situation, and am I not entitled to an answer?
§ 21. Mr. Noel-Baker
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British agent in control of the application of the non-intervention agreement in Portugal will receive the necessary facilities from the Portuguese authorities to enable him to supervise the movement of arms and munitions in Portuguese ports and railway stations and to control their transport to and from armament factories, arsenals, and other stores?
§ Mr. Eden
Under the arrangements made with His Majesty's Government, the Portuguese Government have agreed to grant full facilities to the British observers in carrying out their duties, and will afford free access to, and examination of, all relevant localities, documents and facts. The duties of these officers will be to observe the nature of goods and the number and nationality of travellers crossing the Portuguese frontier into Spain and to report to His Majesty's Ambassador at Lisbon such facts as may come to their notice. They will, therefore, be stationed, not at the ports, but at the Spanish-Portuguese frontier. The observers, as Attaches to His Majesty's Embassy, will enjoy all usual diplomatic privileges. They will be at liberty to ask for information from the local authorities, including statements of clearances or passage of cargo and passengers. The observers will further be permitted to request the competent Portuguese authorities to take such steps as may be possible to verify or disprove fears that breaches of the Non-Intervention Agreement were being or about to be committed. The observers will also be at liberty to communicate freely among themselves and with His Majesty's Ambassador. As I have stated, observation will be carried out on the Portuguese-Spanish frontier, and it is considered that the officers, who will be stationed at frontier crossings, in particular at railway stations and on major and secondary roads, will be in a position to establish all facts necessary for the proper observation of the application of the Non-Intervention Agreement.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
If the number of persons is not sufficient in practice, will it be possible to increase them?
§ 22. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by which of the delegates objections have been raised on the Non-Intervention Committee to the proposed allocation of cost and on what 1126 basis; and whether these objections have been responsible for the postponement of the date by which the land and naval control scheme can be put into action?
§ 23. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what date the agreement to stop volunteers from proceeding to Spain came into force; and whether the agreement is being observed by all the naitons concerned or, if not, by whom it has been violated?
§ 24. Mr. Dobbie
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by what date it is proposed to bring into operation the land and sea control scheme for Spain; and what are the reasons for postponement?
§ Mr. Eden
I have every reason to believe that the scheme will be brought into force within the next few days. The Naval Powers which have agreed to undertake the duty of naval observation have notified the International Committee that they will be in a position to begin the duties which they have agreed to undertake on Saturday, 13th March.
§ Mr. T. Williams
Did all the observers fail to observe the 15,000 Italians who landed after the agreement?
§ Mr. Williams
Has no information been received in the Department of the 15,000 Italians who are alleged to have gone there?
§ 28. Mr. Hepworth
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Powers interested in non-intervention in Spain have issued any warning to their respective subjects now assisting on one side or the other in Spain, as to the possible loss of civil rights in the country of their birth?
§ 29. Mr. Mander
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, under the new system for the control of the Spanish coasts, there will be any, and, if so, what, British naval vessels in or near ports under the control of the Spanish Government?
§ Mr. Eden
His Majesty's ships are responsible under the control scheme for the supervision of the northern coast of Spain from the French frontier to Cape Busto and for the southern coast from the Portuguese frontier to Cape de Gata. The supervision of the above zones will constitute a very considerable additional commitment for His Majesty's ships in Spanish waters. I regret that I cannot indicate at the present stage what forces it will be possible to maintain in or near ports under the control of the Spanish Government. In spite of these additional demands, however, I understand that His Majesty's naval authorities will take steps, as heretofore, to maintain touch with His Majesty's diplomatic and consular representatives at Valencia, Barcelona and Palma.
§ Mr. Mander
Are we to understand that there will be British vessels in the three ports mentioned under the new scheme?
§ Mr. A. V. Alexander
Does it mean that British subjects will not patrol that part of the coast which is under the control of the Spanish Government?
§ 31. Mr. Mander
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with reference to the ships from Spain loaded with iron ore for Great Britain which have recently been stopped by the rebels, the crews changed, and the ships sent on to Germany, some of them coaling in an English port; and, in view of the fact that the ore had been paid for by British firms and is urgently needed here, what action has been taken in the matter?
§ Mr. Eden
Yes, Sir. I understand that two Spanish vessels, the "Mar Baltico" and the "Fernando L. de Ybarra," carrying British owned cargoes of iron ore for 1128 British ports were in the course of February intercepted by Spanish insurgent warships and taken either to Pasajes or Ferrol. I have no information as to what has since happened to these ships. His Majesty's Ambassador in Hendaye has been instructed to protest to the Salamanca authorities against this interference with British property on the high seas, to ask for the release of these cargoes and to state that His Majesty's Government reserve the right, if necessary, to claim damages.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
Do not these acts constitute, under international law, acts of piracy; and is this country merely to content itself with making protests?
§ 37. Mr. Hicks
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why a British destroyer was placed at the disposal of the British Consul at Bilbao in order to enable him to persuade the Honourable Jessica Lucy Freeman Mitford to return home from Spain, at considerable public expense, for personal affairs, when it might be engaged in more essential duties?
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (Lord Stanley)
There is no foundation whatever for this assumption. A destroyer proceeds between St. Jean de Luz and Bermeo for communication with Bilbao, whenever the weather allows, as part of its normal routine duties which include the conveyance of His Majesty's Consul when necessary. On the occasion to which the hon. Member refers the destroyer went to Bermeo in order to repatriate Spanish subjects and returned with a number of refugees, and the Consul took passage on board on the outward journey. I am informed that his return to Bilbao had no connection with the presence there of Miss Freeman Mitford.
I have answered the question fully. The destroyer did not make any special journey in connection with this case.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
May I ask my Noble Friend whether he thinks the questioner would consider it more an essential duty rescuing Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell for the third time from the hands of the Royalists?