§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Captain Dugdale.]
§ 7.53 p.m.
I wish to say at the outset, with regard to the matter we propose to raise, that my colleagues of the Opposition consider that the request we 1502 have made to-day to the Prime Minister for an opportunity to discuss the Government's position with regard to the exchange of agents in Spain has been fully justified upon two main grounds at any rate—first, the importance and influence of the action which the Government now propose on the situation in Spain itself; and, secondly, the importance and influence of that action upon the world situation at large. I hope it may be possible, through the answer that we may get from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in this Debate, to clear up some of the points which are in our minds as being likely to prejudice the situation in Spain and in the rest of the world, and ultimately to prejudice British interests and the position of Britain in general in the dangerous situation which is growing up in the world at large.
With regard, first, to the influence of the Government's decision on the situation in Spain, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was at pains this afternoon, in the course of his answer to the Leader of the Opposition, to stress the fact that at present about two-thirds of the territory in Spain is under the control of the Franco administration, and that there are very large and important industrial and commercial interests and trades embodied in that Franco-occupied territory. We have to have regard, not only to those commercial interests, but to the general effect of the Government's policy upon the position in Spain in the light of the pledges of the Government on non-intervention. We have had a good many Debates on this question of non-intervention in the past, and we have often described some of the actions which have been taken in that connection as having reduced the original intentions of the Government on no-intervention almost to a farce. In this particular case, we say that the decision now actually to exchange missions—because that is what it amounts to; this is not the appointment of a representative here in a particular place, or there in a particular place—this proposal to exchange missions with the Franco Government is such a long way towards the recognition of Franco, to whom, under the whole theory of the Non-Intervention Agreement, belligerent rights are being refused, that it is bound to have a very substantial and, we fear, an adverse effect upon the position of the Spanish Government within their own country 1503 and with regard to their relationships with other Powers abroad. We say, therefore, first of all, that, so far as the Spanish situation is concerned, the attitude of the Government in this matter is not in complete accord with their expressed intentions in regard to non-intervention. I hasten to say, because I wish, of course, to be fair in any criticisms that I make, that, much as we on the Opposition side deprecate the line that the Government are taking, we are at least thankful that, in the announcement the Government have made, they have said that they wish it to be clear, as far as it can be in such circumstances, that there is no official recognition on a diplomatic basis—
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)
I will leave out the adjective, and say that there is no recognition in a diplomatic sense being given to the Franco administration in Spain; but I am bound to say that, reading the foreign Press, there seems to be every indication that the importance of the decision of the British Government is appraised there, at least in one regard, as being more detrimental to the Government forces in Spain than ought to be the case on the part of the leading Government in the world committed, as it says it is, to the policy of non-intervention.
That is the first point that I make. The second is the importance and influence of the Government's action with regard to the world situation. I speak for myself on this, and no doubt I speak with what the Foreign Secretary would say is a partisan bias; but I need not apologise for that, because he himself so often speaks with a partisan bias. I say that the action of the Government in this matter is particularly unfortunate to come at this time when we have been reading of the great song which has been made about the addition of Italy to the Anti-Communist Pact, making it now a triple pact; that there will undoubtedly be widespread comment throughout the world that the British Government are now engaged, in the absence of the development of collective security in the League of Nations, in pursuing the old game of the balance of power; and that 1504 in the light of this development in the world situation—the gradual widening of this anti-Communist Pact—they are trying to balance the position as far as possible by moving a little more than they have yet moved, in the direction of support of what is regarded as an anti-Communist revolution in some quarters.
I think I have made it clear why the Opposition regard it as having been important to raise this matter to-night, and to get a more detailed statement from the Government on the matter, and to have an opportunity of getting specific answers from them on specific questions. With regard to the general situation to which I referred, I regard it as particularly unfortunate that, in the light of what has happened in the past week, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who opened a Debate on foreign affairs on the 1st November—only last Monday—by saying that he hoped to be brutally frank, when he must have known—in fact, I am certain he knew—all that was going on in regard to the negotiations to arrange this fundamental change, did not deign to offer the House of Commons a single word on the matter, or to give any idea to any of us who were engaged in the Debate on the important Opposition Amendment in the Debate on the Address. I hardly call that being brutally frank. I should have expected that we might have been treated differently from that.
The first question I put to the Foreign Secretary is this: When was the understanding arrived at with the Franco forces? What was the date? I do not want the Foreign Secretary to think for a moment that we have not suspected the Government of wanting to arrive at some arrangement. The "New York Times" gave us some light on the subject some months ago. On 29th August the "New York Times" said:Important British mining and business interests in the Bilbao vicinity are said to have supported urgently General Franco's argument that, in return for British consular representation in the Basque country, Nationalist Spaniards travelling to, or doing business with, Britain should have official diplomatic and consular representation in London. Moreover Salamanca believes that the British Government under Neville Chamberlain is more sympathetic towards General Franco than it was under Stanley Baldwin.I must say that the way in which events have been moving seem to indicate 1505 that the "New York Times" in its warning to us was not off the map. What was the date on which this understanding with General Franco was agreed on? I cannot believe that we should have got an announcement of the detailed character that was hinted at by the Prime Minister last Thursday and given in greater detail to-day by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, if the undertaking had not already been agreed on. When one considers the answers given this afternoon it seems to me there are special reasons for saying that. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his answer said:Before giving final approval to this proposal, His Majesty's Government have insisted upon a satisfactory settlement of two points in regard to which no progress had so far been made. I refer to the seven ships until lately detained at Ferrol or elsewhere and to two cargoes of British-owned iron ore which, during the summer, were confiscated. Satisfaction has been obtained. Orders have been given for the release of all these ships and, as the House was informed last week, some have already left Spain. Orders have also been given for an equivalent amount of iron ore to be placed at the disposal of Majesty's Embassy at Hendaye.The significant statement that I would direct attention to there is that they have insisted upon a satisfactory settlement of two points in regard to which no progress has so far been made. We understand that an agreement has now been made in regard to the exchange of agentsandthat Franco has agreed to the release of the seven ships and the granting of the equivalent quantity of iron ore to that which was confiscated, provided that he gets his agents appointed to represent him in London, as well as his receiving additional British agents in Spain.
I shall be told, even by the Foreign Secretary, that to General Franco the appointment of Franco's agents in London is much more important in this agreement than the actual appointment of British agents in Spain, and that a real bargaining counter has been the appointment of these agents to operate in London in order that the Secretary of State may get, what? He might get satisfaction to a point—the seizure of seven British ships and two cargoes of iron ore on which this country ought to have got satisfaction long ago, if they had made the position perfectly plain all the way through as to what was the attitude of the Government on these questions. Instead of that, I think it is 1506 true to say that, in regard to Spain as in regard to almost every other sphere of foreign affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) was right last Monday when he said that the Government had been guilty of one long series of diplomatic retreats. On this matter, in order finally to obtain the release of seven British ships and two cargoes of iron ore, the right hon. Gentleman has to concede this further development in the recognition—he does not like the word, then, "towards" the recognition of the Franco Government, that would not otherwise have been conceded. On that hypothesis what does it mean? It means, apparently, that you get agreement so far, but General Franco has only to seize a few more shipsandhold them up, and then General Franco will get his British Ambassador. That is the only logical argument which follows upon the trend of events as we see them on this side to-night as the result of the Government's announcement.
I also notice that, in the course of the answer, the Secretary of State makes reference to the important British business interests to be protected in this part of Spain. No one on this side of the House, I am quite certain, wants to injure unduly British interests in trade or commerce abroad at any time, but when one finds in the Secretary of State's answer a special reference to South Wales coal it seems to have been put in for a special purpose and that you have a special sort of plea. Having regard to the views expressed by the workers in South Wales, at any rate with regard to Spain, I should say that, as far as there is any real advantage to be obtained from this agreement for South Wales coal, you would have difficulty in finding a South Wales miner who would sacrifice an Asturian miner for an advantage of that kind. When one looks at the rest of the trade and business interests which are referred to, one can see that there was no great advantage to be gained by superimposing upon the consular system in the Franco territory the appointment of specific and special consular agents.
I, for the life of me, have not yet been able to understand the subtle distinctions which were drawn in the course of the Foreign Secretary's reply this afternoon between the means he proposes in regard to these special British agents and what 1507 would have happened if, in fact, he had extended the consular service. I should be very glad to hear the explanation, because, as far as I can gather from the answer, the situation is that in the Franco occupied territory you have a regular number of career consuls. It was said by the Secretary of State that they had been practically confined to the ports and that they would have been unable to get quite the effective contacts with the Franco authorities, considering the defence of British interests, because of the distance of those ports from Burgos or Salamanca, and the only other way to do it was by having a commercial secretary of the British Embassy making special journeys. Nevertheless, it is proposed, in the course of the appointment of these British agents, about whom I will say a word or two in a moment, that they shall perform all the ordinary consular duties.
The Secretary of State, for some reason or other, seemed to think that they were given a special mission to one of the assistant career consuls to change his place of abode from a Mediterranean or Atlantic port and go and reside for the time being at Burgos or Salamanca if thereby he would have ample recognition. I should have thought that that would have been just the reverse, and that it would have been much more ample recognition by sending to Spain a new and separate consul on a national basis instead of on a district basis. I have certainly been away from the Board of Trade for a long time—it is some 13 years ago since I had anything to do with the official side of it—but I should think, from what I knew then of the Board of Trade's side of consular practice, that there would be no difficulty at all, in either insurgent or Government area, in the Overseas Trade Department saying to one of its consular servants, "In present circumstances, mark that the work that you will be required to do in your particular trade can best be done from town X instead of from town Y, in which you are residing at the present moment." If they were already performing their consular service within occupied territory Y there would not be the slightest difficulty in transferring to town X to continue their actual consular duties.
Therefore, we need a great deal more explanation than we have had from the 1508 Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as to why it is considered necessary, on the trade and commercial side, to have a new and special appointment of British agents. I can only repeat that that has very little to do really with the specific defence of British trade in the Franco territory. It has something to do with it, but very little. The real point is that, if you had merely transferred from one town to another in the Franco territory an existing British consul, there would not have been the claim for General Franco to have had an exchange of missions and send his agents to London, and it is really on the basis of giving official recognition, of a kind not diplomatic, to some person like the Duke of Berwick and Alba, to have specific offices in London,andto have direct exchanges in London with the Overseas Trade Department and the Foreign Office, that this deal has been made. It is on this basis that we say that the move of the Government is distinctly in contravention of the spirit, which they have always spoken so much about, of the Non-Intervention Agreement, and is throwing the weight to-day on the side of the Franco insurgents.
There is another point—I do not want to keep the House too long—in regard to the general situation created, upon which I would like to say a word. I referred to the importance of the Government's decision on the world situation. I have indicated the way in which the League situation has been allowed to deteriorate for six years. We see a regular scramble among the Powers to see who is going to be in the right place in the struggle for the balance of power. We seem to have got right away from real support of the principle of collective security. As one sees the Government's move, one can appreciate that this is in their mind, and that Powers abroad appreciate what they are trying to do. Take, for example, the comments made, after the Foreign Secretary's speech last Monday, in the paper in Paris speaking for the Left, the "Populaire." It was speaking, I think, with a good deal of the semi-official authority of a party paper representing the party in office. In referring, on 3rd November, to the Foreign Secretary's speech, it said:The thesis of the British Government, in short, is that Italy and Germany will be compelled to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for England. We are not surprised that 1509 Mr. Eden hopes that this will be the case. What surprises us is that he believes it will be the case.Later on, they go on to point out that the British Government, in their move this week, seem to think that, by placating, to some extent, General Franco, they will not be departing from their original declaration that they are interested in the territorial integrity of Spain, and that if Franco is successful, as the Government seem to think he will be, if only they play up to him now they will be able, when the civil war is over, still to be entirely friendly with him, and that the fundamental principle of British policy for centuries now—that it is important for us to conserve in Spain a Government which will not interfere with our Empire communications—will not he interfered with. Of course, the Powers abroad see through that. The "Populaire" sees through that, and speaks of the surprising optimism of the British Government. Anyone can see that, of course, Mussolini has intervened in Spain, that, of course, he wants Franco to win, and that, of course, he has supplied men and materials. Hitler wants Franco to win, and, of course, he has made no secret of the fact that he has supplied materials and men. They want him to win, they have spared no effort to assist him, and they will continue doing so until he has won. To suggest that this sort of action now, in the middle of this, is going thereby to remove the danger that has grown up and will make for the security of our Empire communications and general Empire interests, seems fatuous.
It would have been better for the Government to have insisted that the position of the League ought to have been to allow the Spanish Government its proper rights as an elected Government, and for the Government never to have taken part in the business that has been going on for the last 12 months, and not for them now to be cringing at the feet of Franco. The Secretary of State smiles at that, but, in his answer this afternoon, he said, "We have insisted on a satisfactory settlement of two points in regard to which no progress has been made," and he goes on to say that they have got the release of seven British ships and two cargoes of iron ore as a condition for the granting of this type of mission. I am sorry to have to say it, but I believe that this action of the 1510 Government, although it has not gone so far as the granting of complete recognition to Franco—
I am not at all surprised that the Secretary of State is so anxious to get up and put that point again, because world opinion certainly thinks that these missions are, at any rate, a move in the direction of support for General Franco, and that they certainly do not constitute a completely neutral attitude.
I come to another point of importance. In the working of the Non-Intervention Agreement we have always been told that, of course, it was the essence of the whole business that we must work in complete agreement with our neighbour France. Some of us who have views to the Left—I will speak for myself, at any rate—were considerably perturbed last year at what was often quoted as French opinion, but the whole French nation, whether of the Left, Centre or Right, recognises that in the present divisions of Europe the only basis on which they can formulate their foreign policy is one of complete co-operation with this country. Whenever criticism is made of the attitude of France in regard to the beginnings of the Non-Intervention Agreement, I can never hide from myself that the French people, whether of the Centre, Left or Right, were over-impressed by the fact that unless they could look to Britain they could look to no one. Although it has been said from that Box that it was from France that the real initiative for the Non-Intervention Agreement came, I cannot separate that from the real psychology of the situation.
The Foreign Secretary says: "We have informed the French Government." He goes on quite clearly to indicate that there was no consultation. He went on, in a way which I thought rather strange, to say that he would never have expected France to consult us on a similar matter. That is a curious assessment of the Non-Intervention Agreement. I should have thought that on any matter relating to this difficult situation in which the French and British attitude combined was the essence of non-intervention, there 1511 never would be a move by either side, by France or Britain, without actual consultation, and not merely a decision to inform one Power that a certain decision had been taken?
There is a vast difference between informing another Government that you have had negotiations and now propose to complete the agreement, and consulting that Government with a view to obtaining their opinion as to what the effect of certain action would be upon the joint action of the two Powers in relation to the country with whom you are negotiating. We are entitled to ask for a further answer upon that point.
My last point is in regard to the character of the mission which it is proposed to appoint. There appeared in the Press some days ago what seemed to be a fairly authentic account of the situation, taken as a whole, and certainly the answers of the Prime Minister last Thursday and of the Foreign Secretary to-day indicate that that story in the Press last week has largely been borne out. In the newspaper forecast it was stated that the agent to be appointed would be a person of former Ambassador status, Sir Robert Hodgson, who was to have as his assistant the Assistant Secretary of the Embassy at Hendaye. We were unable to get a complete answer to that question last Thursday. When the Prime Minister was questioned about it be said that he did not know that any appointment had been made, and even if such appointment were made it would make no difference to the position. To-day the Foreign Secretary says that up to the present no appointment has been made.
We are entitled to more information, because it is understood up to the present that there is to be an exchange of missions. We are to get not an ordinary Spanish Consul here but a central mission to perform Consular work on a national basis in London, and we are to get a central mission to perform Consular work and to act in defence of British interests in Franco territory, on a national basis. We are entitled to ask what is to be the status of the persons to be appointed from this country. Is Sir Robert Hodgson to be appointed? Is the Assistant Secretary at the British Embassy at 1512 Hendaye to be appointed? If so, I think it lends a great deal of colour to the case we have submitted and to the character of the move towards recognition. I do not know whether Sir Robert Hodgson is at present in any Ministerial position, but we know he has been a Minister of importance abroad, and he is available now, so far as I know, for a Ministerial appointment of that kind. If he is to be appointed, or a person of similar status is to be appointed, it would lend very great colour to the case we are now submitting.
In his answer the Foreign Secretary will no doubt try to give us the further information for which we have asked, but it would be wrong to conclude without saying that those of us who hold the views that we hold on this side of the House with regard to the situation in Spain and with regard to the effect of the whole of the Spanish incidents upon the general basis of international relationships and ultimate peace, feel that the Government have once more blundered into a sort of fixed-up arrangement. Where they are unable to obtain satisfaction for real injustices done to British subjects, the seizure of ships and cargoes, and sc on, they now kow tow to General Franco and get this special mission agreement. instead of helping the interests of this country and helping to build a basis of real peace for the future, they are setting back the clock of progress once more. Finally, they will have drifted to a situation where they have tried to make their peace with Franco, but they will not have the goods delivered in the way that they wish to have them delivered, because they will have been stolen from the source by Hitler and Mussolini.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Sir Francis Acland
Before I come to the interrogatories, which is the correct term for our procedure to-night, I want to make one comment on the speech to which we have just listened. If my memory be correct in regard to the rather prehistoric time when I was attached to the Foreign Office, I seem to remember that there were some questions on which you informed friendly Governments as to what you were going to do. If they said, "We agree," it might have seemed a little bit patronising, while if they said, "We disagree," it might seem a little bit unfriendly. This may be one of those 1513 questions. I believe that France has several consuls de carrière in Spain, and we have only one. If we tell France that we are going to supplement that one by appointing not fresh career consuls, because that would be something in the nature of recognition, but that we are appointing totally different people, it does not seem to me at first sight that the French Government are called upon either to disagree or agree. [Interruption.] If by telling the truth I am offending hon. Members above the Gangway, I am very sorry.
Now I come to my questions, which are few in number, and I think they are clear. I will leave my notes for the Foreign Secretary as an aide memoire if he so desires. The first question is a matter of fact. Is there any precedent for this action? If so, what is it? If there is no precedent, then we must make our own precedent. From my point of view if we make our own precedent it is no worse for that, provided the precedent we make is not a bad one. If we do make a precedent it is for us to judge whether it is a good or a bad one. My second question—I should like specific answers, because on the answers will depend the attitude of my party—is this: If we accord official but not diplomatic or even consular status to the representatives of General Franco, will His Majesty's Government be in the least affected in their attitude on the question of recognising his Government or even his status as a belligerent? Will the presence of our representatives in General Franco's territory give him the means of exercising pressure on His Majesty's Government? That divides itself into two. Will it be expressly indicated to our agents that if they meddle in political matters at all they will at once be recalled?
§ Sir F. Acland
Yes; I am asking about the people we are to send there. Not only are they not expected, but if they do concern themselves in political as distinct from trade matters then certain consequences will follow? I understand they are to be sent there as trade representatives. Are they sent there as trade representatives or as political negotiators? If they are going to negotiate on political matters, we should like to know it. Secondly, will it be clearly indicated to 1514 General Franco—so far as these things can be done—[Interruption]. I am only going to make a very short speech, a quarter of the length of the one which preceded it, and I think I am asking perfectly fair questions. Will it be clearly indicated so far as these things can properly be done to General Franco, that if he even ventures to hint "You recognise me or I turn out your agents," we shall welcome their being turned out? The country will at least draw its own conclusions.
Then, arising out of this—it is important and I will put it more specifically—will the representatives we are sending out be of the Brown, Smith and Robinson type—the House will see what I mean—men who are expert in things like securing delivery, collection of debts, and similar matters, ordinary commercial matters, which only career consuls can be expected adequately to do, or will they be people who, when we scrutinise their names, we shall find are people with a political past which will make them suspect to ordinary opinion? I say "to ordinary opinion." I am not saying whether they would be suspect to myself or to hon. Members above the Gangway, but which would make them suspect to people who are able to judge between a person who is really sent for something which looks like a political object or merely to help in matters of trade, in which consuls, whatever their experience, are not trained, and cannot be expected to do. That is a fair question. If when the Foreign Secretary replies he can completely satisfy us on these questions—I think they go rather deep—we shall act accordingly, but that does not mean that when we get a chance of raising the question, which the Foreign Secretary never comes within miles of answering, where is all this non-intervention leading us, we shall not press it as best we can in the hope of getting some answer from the Foreign Secretary. Hope always rises fresh in the human breast.
I do not raise that question to-night, because I am not going to give the Foreign Secretary the chance of hitting a full pitch to the leg boundary in the way he delights to do whenever he gets the chance. If we can in the light of the Foreign Secretary's answers approve this new move, we shall not only hope—we are sick of hoping—we shall not only 1515 expect—we are tired of expecting—but we shall do our best to see that it will lead to outstanding claims against General Franco's government being dealt with more quickly and more satisfactorily than has been the case in the past. We shall watch what happens with our eyes on that. These matters are not only important in themselves but very important as precedents which may concern the whole body of British commerce in the future. Although this has never occurred before, it may occur again, and the precedents established now will be relied on in the future.
If the Government find—and I am not surprised that they do—that there is an attitude of distrust and suspicion on the whole of this side of the House, they have only themselves to blame for it. This will undoubtedly be claimed in certain quarters to-morrow as a fresh surrender to Mussolini. I do not wonder at it. I put it quite bluntly, I think we have grovelled so long that anything we do will only be the signal for fresh pressure to keep on grovelling. There will always be an adequate departmental reply as to why each particular act on our part is perfectly justifiable, but if the Government would sometimes look not at the trees but at the wood, they would, I think, see that the wood is constantly getting darker and darker as far as the honour of this country and the interests of the Empire are concerned. That is inevitable, and for it the Government are wholly to blame. In spite of all this, if we are satisfied by the answers we get to the questions I have put, not I hope unpolitely or unfairly, that the matter is being arranged solely that we may be better able to carry on our legitimate trade with Spain and collect all that Spain owes us, we shall not oppose the Government.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Crossley
The right hon. Gentleman who opened the Debate used a phrase to which, I think, everybody on this side of the House took the very strongest exception. He said that the Foreign Secretary was "cringing at the feet of General Franco," and the right hon. Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland) has used the word "grovelling." I do not think that the Government have ever as yet grovelled at the feet of any- 1516 body. In Spain throughout their policy has been entirely consistent, and I hope that they will not now start to grovel at the feet of the Opposition. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) said that this proposal was a fundamental change in British policy. It is quite clear to what he intended to draw the attention of the House. He used the phrase "official recognition," then had to withdraw the adjective, and later on withdraw the noun, and come to the phrase "towards recognition." Of course, in point of fact, it has nothing to do with recognition; it is simply, and solely and absolutely consistent with the policy of non-intervention which the Government have followed. Non-intervention is a form of neutrality—a new form of neutrality it may be—
§ Mr. Crossley
—from which both sides may have suffered some disadvantage; but this is a step that cannot be said to be inconsistent with non-intervention. Its result will be that there will be on one side in Spain a representative who calls himself an agent, without that term in any way implying the recognition of the party administering that side of Spain; and on the other side, there will be diplomatic representation, and our Ambassador himself will be at Hendaye. I cannot conceive a stricter form of neutrality, of which non-intervention itself is a form.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall asked whether there were any precedents. It was on two or three precedents that I rose to speak for a few minutes. There is any number of very interesting precedents on this occasion. First of all, there was the case in which the United States, in 1810 sent agents to Buenos Ayres to the South American Republics that were in revolt. In 1823 we sent consuls to the Spanish Republics that were in revolt, although we did not recognise their independence until 1825. In 1849, too, the United States sent a consul to the Hungarians, who were revolting against Austria, for the express purpose of keeping in contact with the rebels.
§ Mr. Crossley
In any case, his letters of credence instructed him to keep in contact with the rebels. But there are three precedents that I particularly wish to mention. The first is the Trent case, in 1861, when two agents of the Southern States of America, coming over to this country, were forcibly seized from a British ship by a United States cruiser, a case on which our Foreign Secretary at the time, Lord Russell, wrote a dispatch giving certain opinions. Incidentally, no recogntion, either de jure or de facto, had been given at that time by this country to the administration of the Southern States of America.
§ Mr. Crossley
Yes. Lord Russell maintained that neutral States might receive from unrecognised Governments special agents enjoying no representative character and no diplomatic honours, but otherwise entitled to the immunity of Ministers. He went on to add, in his own words:The reception of these gentlemen upon this footing could not have been adjudged according to the law of nations as a hostile or unfriendly act towards the United States.I believe those words have a considerable bearing upon the present case.
Is not the whole point the fact that the British Government at the time had the right to defend their ships, which were carrying those men, because they had granted to the rebels belligerent rights, and that it was an unfriendly act by the United States Government to take off British ships representatives of people to whom the British Government had given belligerent rights?
§ Mr. Crossley
I do not think that is the whole point. There is a considerable point in the fact that our Foreign Secretary at the time laid it down that it could not be regarded as an unfriendly act for this country to receive the agents of an administration which had not been granted either de jure or de facto recognition. The next case to which I wish to refer may interest the Opposition even more. In 1920, M. Krassin came to this country as the agent of the Soviet Government, which at that time had not been recognised by our country either as the de jure or de facto Government of 1518 Russia. M. Krassin came to this country and was accorded special diplomatic immunities, and even certain immunities from the jurisdiction of the English courts, for certain specific negotiations. There may be a slight difference, but again I believe that the case of M. Krassin, in 1920, has a considerable bearing upon the case that we are now discussing. The third case that I wish to quote is one which is not by any means a complete precedent, but it sheds considerable light on the matter. It was the appointment by this country of Sir Robert Hodgson as an agent to Soviet Russia in 1921, when we did not recognise the Soviet Union as the de jure Government.
Will the hon. Gentleman expound how lie makes the analogy? I cannot see an analogy between the Russian position and the Spanish position. There was no non-intervention in the case of Russia. This country had intervened very considerably in Russia.
§ Sir Archibald Sinclair
Surely, in so far as that specific analogy is correct, it is most damaging to the Government's case, because the Russian Government then being firmly in the saddle, the exchange of agents was made with the object of preparing the way for recognition of the Soviet Government.
§ Mr. Crossley
It did not lead entirely to that result. If the right hon. Gentleman will read the history of that matter, he will come to 1923, when our Foreign Secretary, angry at the way our agent was being treated by the Russian Government, gave what was tantamount to an ultimatum to that Government that if they did not redress certain grievances within 10 days, our agent would be withdrawn and all diplomatic relations with the Russian Government severed.
§ Mr. Crossley
They were commercial relations, and so on. Actually Lord Curzon threatened the Russian Government that the British Government would terminate the Trade Treaty of 1921, as the right hon. Gentleman may remember. I think I have answered the point he made. I think the first two precedents which I have quoted almost exactly 1519 cover the situation we are now discussing, and the third precedent sheds some further light on it. If I may make one further point, I will quote the words of Grotius, written over 300 years ago, which have some bearing on the situation in which the Government find themselves to-day. Grotius wrote;Una gens pro tempore quasi duae gentis habetur,"which means:One nation for the time being should be treated as if it has two peoples.He expressly applied those words to a civil war when that civil war had gone on for a considerable period of time. Indeed, it was on the basis of that quotation that certain foreign countries treated this country when the civil war of Cromwell's time was being waged.
Owing to interruptions I have spoken much longer than I had intended, but I should like to add that this is a matter of the merest common sense. At the moment negotiations on any outstanding question have to be carried on painfully by a secretary from the British Embassy at Hendaye. That Embassy is a most uncomfortable building with an Ambassador's room which is rather smaller than the area of that Table. From the Embassy at Hendaye our representative has to travel 300 miles to Salamanca along Spanish roads which are good, driven by Spanish chauffeurs who are recklessly dangerous and in Salamanca, in a crowded hotel, he has to conduct, it may be, very important negotiations upon specific points, possibly involving the interests of British shipping, or the interests of British trade, or the interests, as frequently occurs, of British nationals. His negotiating abilities must be impaired both by the circumstances and by the fact that he is not a resident. It is true that if he resides in Salamanca he will be subject to the inconvenience caused by the fact that bombs are from time to time dropped on Salamanca, which is not very agreeable.
§ Mr. Crossley
It is a de facto consideration that we should have at the seat of the Government of two-thirds of Spain an active representative who can conduct negotiations on behalf of any of the interests which this country is bound to 1520 have in such a large area of one of the largest countries of Europe. On that basis, I consider that the Government are amply justified in the action which they are taking. If I may utter one word of criticism of the Government I would say that I cannot understand why they did not, a considerable time ago, take this rather obvious action on which the right hon. Gentleman opposite has put all kinds of interpretations which cannot be justified.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
I think the hon. Member who has just resumed his seat had his points fully dealt with by way of commentary and interrogation in the course of his speech, and I do not propose to take that matter further. The question which we on this side of the House are asking ourselves is: What lies behind the step which the Government have taken? I do not feel that I shall be doing the Government any great injustice if I say that representations from the City and from great business interests, have played their part in causing the Government to take this step. I say "representations" but I doubt if I should be going too far if I said "pressure"—pressure from business interests and pressure from the Federation of British Industries which, true to its initials, always seems to act in what it considers to be Franco's best interests. The case of the South Wales coal trade has been quoted, and I would like to ask the Foreign Secretary whether representations have been received from the miners or from the coalowners.
I regard the step which the Government have decided upon as a clear indication that that section in the Cabinet which has been backing Franco has won. I think there have been three sections in the British Cabinet on this question. First, there has been a section which, if not out-and-out pro-Government, have, at any rate been rather feebly and ineffectively in favour of a more or less square deal for the Spanish Government. Secondly, there has been a section which characteristically has hoped that the war in Spain would end in a stalemate. There has been a third section which all along has hoped for a Franco victory and that section has now "got away with it," with all the humiliation for this country which that result involves. We are now 1521 witnessing the process which we used to use to call at school "sucking up to the winner."
There used to be a golden age when this House could listen to our Foreign Secretary announcing diplomatic victories for this country. Now we only hear him announcing diplomatic victories won by other countries at our expense. The right hon. Gentleman is the head apologist for the Non-Intervention Committee in this House. I often think that the right place for the Non-Intervention Committee to meet would be in the Maze at Hampton Court. Their proceedings remind me of the old definition of a philosopher as "a blind man in a dark room, hunting for a black cat which is not there." The other day the Foreign Secretary told us that he was going to speak "with appalling frankness" and he then let out a few very innocent remarks indeed. If that is the measure of the right hon. Gentleman's "appalling frankness," it conveys the impression to my mind that he usually treats us with a considerable lack of candour.
To come to the question of the consideration which has been given by General Franco in return for the decision to appoint agents, I do not think we have had all the considerations mentioned. General Franco understands one section of the British character very well indeed, because I see he has given permission to the Calpe foxhounds to hunt in Spanish territory. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Exactly—because he knows that that confirms the impression which already prevails in a certain section of the House, that General Franco is what they call "a good fellow." The Foreign Secretary denies that this is recognition; he will not allow us to use the word "recognition" and says that the decision involves no recognition at all. We know that there are people whose modesty leads them to drape the legs of their pianos and this pretence of non-recognition is very much in that spirit.
The previous speaker quoted certain precedents. I recognise those precedents. There is the precedent of the Trent case, but may I remind the hon. Member that Lord Russell laid it down that the agents in that case should enjoy no diplomatic honours and should have no representative character, but, he said, they should 1522 enjoy the "immunities of Ministers." If that precedent is to be followed, will the Foreign Secretary tell us exactly what is covered by the term "immunities"? Will those immunities cover propaganda in this country on the part of the agents whom General Franco may appoint?
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
By no means. I am merely amplifying the statement which the hon. Member made in regard to the precedents in that case.
But if we have to face the fact that the Government have decided to take this step and the step will be taken, I feel that there are some other steps which should be taken at the same time. This decision to receive the agents of General Franco should be accompanied by a most unambiguous declaration that there is no recognition of him in any way as being the head of a Government in Spain. Further, our Ambassador to the legally constituted Spanish Government should now leave Hendaye and take up his post at the seat of the Spanish Government. In my opinion he should never have left the seat of the Spanish Government. I think, to begin with, that the head of a Mission should remain at his post when that post becomes a post of difficulty and danger, and in addition to that I also think that it has been a gross affront to the Government of Spain that the British Ambassador to Spain should not be in residence at the seat of the Spanish Government.
The step should be accompanied by a decision to accord to the Spanish Government her rights in international law. Whenever we put up a plea from this side of the House for granting to the Spanish Government its rights in international law, hon. Members opposite always say that that would mean war. We are not asking the Government to intervene in the Spanish conflict, but we do ask the Government to grant the Spanish Government those rights in international law which she should enjoy. May I ask the Foreign Secretary: have we really reached this point in international affairs, that to accord rights to a Government which international law accords that Government means war? If that is the case, that to apply international law means war, may 1523 I ask why the Government lecture Japan on the subject of international law? Those lectures will probably carry more weight if we in this country show ourselves at the same time determined to uphold international law in our treatment of the lawful Government of Spain.
As to the denial that this is recognition, if it is not recognition, what is it? At any rate, it is the first step on the slippery slope of recognition. First of all, our Ambassador to Spain has really been the de facto Ambassador to General Franco ever since he left Madrid. Now we have the appointment of agents. I expect that next time it will be belligerent rights, and after that full diplomatic recognition. If this was in itself such a necessary step, dictated by the circumstances of the situation in Spain, may I ask why these conditions about our ships were thrown in as a sort of make-weight? I think it is undignified. If this is a step which ought to be taken because it is right in itself to take it, we ought not to accompany it with these bargains about our ships, which makes it look as if the willingness to appoint these agents has been granted in return for certain concessions made to this country.
Apart from those considerations, I feel that what has been done has been most improper as regards the Government of France. A step of first importance has been taken without any consultation with the French Government, who are merely told to accept the decision and, if they do not like it, to lump it. Our policy in regard to the Spanish struggle has always had the effect of weakening the hand of France. There was the occasion when the reply to the Note sent by this country and France to Italy was received. That Note was received in Paris on Saturday, and the French Foreign Minister gave an interview to the Press, in which he foreshadowed very drastic action indeed on account of the unsatisfactory nature of that Note. He said that the French and the British Governments were in full accord, that the French Cabinet was fully agreed within itself, and, what is more, that the American Government and the British Government were quite in accord; and he said at the end of that interview that the time had now come for action and not for words. What happened between the granting of that interview by 1524 the French Foreign Minister on Saturday and the following Monday: when all those brave words disappearedandthere were no deeds at all, but once again only words? Undoubtedly once again our Government had intervened to weaken the hand of France in regard to the Spanish negotiations.
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
I can only say that, although I have not got the interview with me at the present moment—
§ Lieut.-Commander Fletcher
Of course, I accept that, fully and freely, but it would be very interesting if the Foreign Secretary would tell us what he imagines did occur in order to cause that weakening in the French attitude between Saturday and Monday. It is absurd to say that in this matter we are working hand in hand with the French Government when a step of such importance as this is taken without any such consultation. We see the Governments of Germany and Italy working in the closest accord in regard to Spain with very good results for themselves, and can anyone imagine that a step of this importance would have been taken by either the German or the Italian Government without full consultation with the other party to that agreement? The French certainly do not like this step which our Government have taken. It has already been so stated in the French Press, and in the next few days we shall see very clearly that the foreign Press regard this step as a victory for General Franco and as a sure sign that the British Government have made up their mind that General Franco is going to win.
There is one point in regard to these concessions about shipping to which I would like to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman. I feel that we have got to be very careful that acts against our merchant shipping, admittedly only few in number, in Spanish waters do not form a precedent which might affect acts against a far larger volume of British shipping in other waters, notably in the Far East. 1525 Our aim has always been to try to narrow down the rights of belligerents against neutrals. We have denied to belligerents the right to stop neutral ships unless an effective blockade could be enforced, but General Franco, whose status in international law is only that of a pirate, has been allowed to commit against British shipping acts which would be illegal even if committed by someone enjoying belligerent rights. That is the exact point in regard to these acts against British shipping, and I feel that two points should be made clear beyond any possibility of doubt. The first is that the exchange of these agents and the measure of recognition which is involved in the exchange does not carry with it any con-donation of the illegal acts which have been committed against our shipping; and, secondly, that the satisfaction which we were told this afternoon has been granted by General Franco in regard to the "Jean Weems" should be given in regard to all other ships and claims, for I understand that there are claims amounting to £61,000 from one firm alone in regard to damage done to certain ships. I see no reason why they should not be taken into account as well as the case of the "Jean Weems."
This decision to exchange agents shows once again that this Government will put up no fight for international law. They will put up no fight for the rights of our merchant shipping. It is a Government which even says that to watch women and children drown is sound policy. I really wonder that hon. Members on the other side do not cheer that statement. I remember hearing them cheer the announcement that a British ship had been captured by General Franco. It is a Government of one class of this country which shows itself unwilling to defend a single British interest. Reflecting upon the peril in which they have brought us, the damage to our security which has been done by them, their refusal over and over again to stand up for the rights of this country and for our nationals, I can only say that, as has happened several times before in our history, salvation will have to come not from those who regard themselves as the governing class but from the people.
§ 9.18 p.m.
Mr. Vyvyan Adams
I wish that I could make relevant all my own undelivered 1526 speeches on foreign affairs with the same skill as the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton (Lieut.-Commander Fletcher). This Debate moves across a limited and narrow ground. It might, I suppose, be in order, but it would not be relevant, for us to consider the multitude of evil consequences disastrous to ourselves which would flow from a victory by General Franco. It is, however, true that at the beginning of this Debate the right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) managed to cover large areas of the globe, and so, just now, did the hon. and gallant Member for Nuneaton. I expected, when this Debate was started, a tremendous denunciation from the right hon. Member for Hillsborough. He is a master of invective on normal occasions, but to-night all that has happened is that the Government have been almost damned with faint praise. Whatever may happen in an obscure and dark future, this much tonight is certain, that we are to-day not in a condition of hostilities with General Franco.
I would submit to the House and to the Opposition in particular that you can no more commercially ignore two-thirds of the Iberian Peninsula than you can rule out for purposes of trade the whole of Germany, the whole of Italy, the whole of Japan, or, indeed, the whole of Russia. What exactly do the Opposition want? All I imagine they will get to-night is a verbal repetition of the statement which we had at the end of Questions to-day. If that is the desire of His Majesty's Opposition they must indeed be fond of tautology. At the end of Questions to-day the House was given by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary a clear, candid and informing statement. I can only wish that my own questions always elicited the same full information from His Majesty's Government. My right hon. Friend was able to show the vast majority of the House that, in fact, no other course was open to His Majesty's Government on this limited aspect of policy. I have no desire to be particularly offensive, but frankly I am amazed at the tactics of His Majesty's Opposition. I think they are clumsy; I think they are gratuitous; and I think they are maladroit.
Can they not find some point at which His Majesty's Government are really vulnerable? No evidence has been suggested or advanced of any dark design 1527 on the part of His Majesty's Government. All we have heard to-night, where the speeches of the Opposition have been relevant, have been baseless speculations about something which is probably not going to happen. His Majesty's Government on this limited matter of policy have even protected our line of action for this or any future Government if, as I personally hope, the rebel cause collapses over those two-thirds of the Iberian Peninsula, where it now predominates and, in my opinion—a back-bencher can say these things with frankness—predominates to our grave Imperial danger.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
I await with interest to hear the reply of the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary to see whether, in fact, we shall be subject to the tautology with which we are threatened by the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. I feel that that is probably all we are likely to get, but surely we are entitled to expect something more. Surely we are entitled to have from the Foreign Secretary a statement why at this time, after some 18 months of the Spanish situation, this new step has been taken. It may be true, but if the right hon. Gentleman says that we have no further purpose in our minds than merely to preserve the minor trade interests of British enterprise in Spain, we shall have to accept it because the only alternative is to say that we believe the Foreign Secretary is saying that which is not. We have no proof except that there has been some talk about precedents; but the fact about the whole development of the Spanish situation is that the thing which the Opposition only suspected on a particular day has happened a fortnight or a month later. Therefore, we have nothing but suspicion to say that in our view this is but a first step to full recognition.
I see one bright spot in the situation. The Government have shown themselves so constantly able to back the wrong horse that now, when they are beginning to back Franco, it seems to me an indication that he will probably lose. I do not want to go into the wider question; I want to stick strictly to the point before us tonight. I gather from the Foreign Secretary that this is a new service that he is creating, and I want to know whether there will be a Supplementary Estimate 1528 brought before the House for this new kind of British civil servant. Whether it is or whether it is not, I want to know at what he estimates the cost of this new service. I want to ask him how many he proposes to have on this new job in Spain. I want to ask him what kind of staff they are to get. I want to ask if there are going to be residences, and, if so, in what places.
Above all, may I say that I have visited the embassy in Valencia, and I visited the consulate in Barcelona in the month of August, and I really hope that if we are thinking in terms of increasing British prestige in Franco's territory. they will make a better show at it than we are making either at Valencia or Barcelona just now. I think the condition under which the Chargé d'Affaires al Valencia has got to do his work are shocking. While his chief at Hendaye is presumably in comfort, you are keeping that man in rotten climatic conditions, in inadequate premises, with an inadequate staff at Valencia. Now I want to know what you are going to do with the fellows you are sending into the Franco territory? What are they going to have in the way of accommodation for their work? What are they going to have in the way of staff? Are they going to be chargeable to the Board of Trade or to the Foreign Office? I am told here that their duties are purely industrial and commercial—nothing to do with politics. We have been assured that they are not to do diplomatic work.
I want from the Foreign Secretary tonight a statement of just what they are going to do. This is going to entail considerable expense. What are they going to do; what are their duties to be? I want something more than the vague statement that they are going to look after British commercial and industrial interests. Are they going to do the debt collecting, as is suggested; are they to act as bailiffs, collecting the bad debts of British investors in Franco's Spain? Is that to be the job that the public money of Great Britain is to be spent on—appointing debt collectors, when we have been told here by all the enthusiastic supporters of Franco that behind Franco's lines everything is and has beer for an extended period carried on in the most orderly fashion; that life behind' the lines proceeds in the Franco territory 1529 according to all the best precedents set in British commerce and British industry; that we have nothing to fear and that Franco's friendliness with Britain is unchallenged.
A right hon. and gallant Gentleman who sits normally on this bench always applauds everything that is being done in that part of Spain; and it is true that an hon. and gallant Gentleman even applauds the sinking of British ships; but they assure us that everything is proceeding quite normally in that territory and that our trade interests are perfectly safe in the hands of Franco. Well, what are these men going to do there? Is it the case that British interests that are still left operating in that territory are not being allowed to carry on their work? Is it that when the Franco authorities get goods delivered from British enterprises in that territory they are not paid for? What are these fellows going to do? If they have no diplomatic status, if their duties are to be of the trivial kind that is suggested by the Foreign Secretary, it is not worth sending them, because the office boys of the particular firms that are involved can go out and do the debt collecting, hand in the accounts, and all the rest of it.
British national prestige and British public money and British public servants should not be used for petty little jobs for commercialists in Spain, either in the Franco territory or the Government territory This step must have something bigger to justify it than anything that has yet been said from the Treasury Box by the. Foreign Secretary. If it is only to do the petty trivial things that have been suggested so far, it is not worth doing, and if it is a step to something bigger, if it is a step towards recognition of the Franco piratical banditry as being equivalent to responsible Government—if that is the purpose o fit—to make a step towards that—then I say it is a drastic step further on the downward course that we have been pursuing in this matter right from the beginning. My hon. Friends and I believed and said in this House that this conception of non-intervention would never work. Why not throw it overboard entirely now, openly and definitely? Take your side—the side of the Spanish Government—the only side that a country that pretends to he democratic has any right to be on, rather than pander to what appears at the moment more or less successful 1530 treason? In the long run it will not make for the best for Great Britain to support treason of that description; and to say that there are certain outstanding debts requiring collection does not seem to me an adequate justification for the step that is now being taken.
§ 9.31 p.m.
Duchess of Atholl
It was with great relief that I heard my right hon. Friend assure the House that the appointment of these agents is in no sense recognition of the insurgent authorities in Spain; but I am sure my right hon. Friend would agree that this step is open to be regarded as a concession to those authorities and, therefore, I do wish to ask him if as a quid pro quo for this concession he has got assurances from General Franco that there will be no more of the breaches of international law which have occurred in several instances, as he knows well. There was the case of the "Stanwold" captured on 8th September. The port outside which she was taken was not blockaded. She had no contraband on board, only a cargo of food and medical supplies. I understand she was captured because it was supposed or believed that she was consigned by a person described as a Red consul. She was brought before a Prize Court in Ferrol, before which ships are brought and disposed of, according to the political beliefs of those who have consigned their cargo. My right hon. Friend knows better than I do that any procedure of that kind has no place in international law, and I think it is most desirable that we should get assurances from General Franco that nothing more of that kind will happen. Again, on 27th October a few days after the fall of Gijon two more ships of the same company were attacked and captured outside the three-mile limit though they had not been attempting to land any cargo and were only rescuing refugees. Yet they were attacked and captured. I feel it very necessary to ask my right hon. Friend that he should obtain an assurance that there will be no more breaches of international law of this or any other kind, and that there will be compensation for the damage which various ships have suffered in consequence of breaches of international law.
Still more should I like to ask my right hon. Friend whether, before giving this concession, he had received any assurance that the plea for clemency which, along with the French Government, he made on 1531 behalf of the thousands of Asturian miners who were taken prisoners and whose lives may be in great danger will be acceded to. I should have liked to feel that no concession of any kind had been made until we had known that there would be clemency and that these men had been sent to safe internment somewhere. I cannot help feeling that this is an unfortunate moment at which to have made a concession, when so great a humanitarian issue is, so far as I know, still hanging in the balance.
Finally, I must say that I cannot help regretting that we do not seem to have kept in step with our French allies in this matter. My right hon. Friend said specifically to-day that he had informed the French Foreign Minister of this action, but I think he made it clear that he had not had any consultation with him before this decision was taken by our Government. I do not pretend that we should be in consultation with the French over everything that may be under discussion, but we cannot forget that they consulted us before we both embarked on the nonintervention policy, and we believe that both Governments have been in close consultation throughout the carrying out of that policy. I am sure that none of us can ever forget that nearly, as many of us feel, as the issue of the Spanish civil war affects the safety of this country and its imperial communications, it affects still more nearly our French allies. We ought, therefore, to take the greatest care to assure ourselves that we do not put difficulties in their way, and put no difficulties in the way of the victory of the legal Government in Spain, a course which I believe to be alone consistent with British and with French interests.
I cannot, of course, speak for what was in the mind of the French Government when Signor Mussolini refused to take part in the tripartite conversations to which our Government had invited him, but I was travelling through France on the day on which the news of that Italian refusal was received, and I gathered that the French seemed to assume that, as a result, the French frontier would be opened for the passage of the arms which the Government of Spain has the right under international law to buy. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that we were not quite in line with French public opinion, anyhow at that 1532 time, though I cannot say what the opinion of the French Government was; and it has added to my anxiety to learn that the French Government were not consulted as to this new step. In view of the news which we have received of the signature of an anti-Communist pact between Italy, Germany and Japan I cannot help feeling that this failure to keep complete step between the two great democracies of Western Europe is a slightly disturbing factor in a situation which causes us all great anxiety.
§ 9.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Bellenger
The Noble Lady seems to have a sublime faith in the assurances of General Franco, but I have long since ceased to place any reliance on the word of General Franco or his type. It must be evident to all realists that these men only do things which are uncongenial to them when they are forced; that is clear from the Nyon Pact which was arranged. Does anybody think that the piracy in the Mediterranean would have stopped if France and Britain had not called the bluff of these dictators? I was very much interested in the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Liberal party. We must all have sympathy with him over the deep disturbances which passed through his mind and the cogitations which led to a series of questions to the Foreign Secretary. I feel sure that the Foreign Secretary will not have the slightest difficulty in giving that satisfactory answer to the Liberal party which was asked for so graciously by the right hon. Gentleman, but I venture to view this matter from a realistic angle.
General Franco occupies, as we have been told, two-thirds of Spain. In those two-thirds of Spain are vital British interests. After all, has not "Business as usual" always been a slogan of Britain? "Business as usual" even when war prevails. Naturally we have to protect our material interests in Spain, and this is the method which the right hon. Gentleman is adopting. It is he himself who has put this matter on this material plane, and therefore we have to view it from that angle. I do not follow some of the arguments put forward this evening. I think Italy will justifiably have some grievance against us after to-night when the conquest of Abyssinia is not recognised, but the conquest of two-thirds of Spain is. It will be interesting to see how His Majesty's Government 1533 eventually deal at Geneva with the question of recognising Italian interests in Ethiopia. Perhaps the Government may have some wonderful expedient which will satisfy not only Italy but the majority of the Government supporters in this House.
There are only two points which I wish to bring before the right hon. Gentleman tonight. He said in his statement to-day that he had been able to obtain satisfaction on two points, and I congratulate him, but he has paid a heavy price for it. The satisfaction is that seven British merchant ships illegally held, have been released by General Franco, or will be released, and a promise that two cargoes of iron ore are to be placed at the disposal of the British Ambassador at Hendaye. Has he in those negotiations forgotten that British naval seamen's lives have been lost by the action of General Franco? Does he remember the sinking of His Majesty's ship "Hunter"? Has General Franco been asked whether he would give this country satisfaction in return for the substantial recognition that we are giving him? To-day widows and dependants of those men who lost their lives in that wanton act are being supported by the taxpayers of this country, and to-day the Foreign Secretary of this country has bartered seven British merchant ships and two cargoes of iron ore for something which is far more valuable to General Franco. But perhaps that is what we must expect of the National Government's Foreign Secretary to-day. I like to think, in reading history, that there may have been a time when the Foreign Secretaries of this country, in negotiating with insurgent generals, would have reminded them that they cannot get away with it so easily as all that. British lives to-day are still as valuable as they were in the times of the predecessors of the right hon. Gentleman.
Let us carry our realistic survey farther. We are told that these agents will be for commercial interests, among others, debt collecting. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that these agents, without the status, as he has told us, which they are not to get, will have sufficient power to press the demands of this country? Does he not think that the German and Italian representatives are more adequately equipped to press their countrymen's demands? Even to-day 1534 soldiers, tanks, guns, and aeroplanes apparently have some potent force in getting recognition even of debt collecting demands, and I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he might reconsider giving diplomatic status to these agents if he wants to collect his debts.
The German people have for many years feared what they call encirclement. To-day the British nation themselves can fear encirclement. It is acts such as are perpetrated by the Foreign Secretary and which we are now discussing which are causing this country to be encircled. I know that it is not the slightest use of me to press this point upon the National Government and their supporters. Time alone will tell. The diplomacy of this country in the last five or six years has been terrible. We are making a rod for own backs by acts such as these. In due time, the supporters of the National Government will see the result of this patchwork policy—that is all it is—and this patchwork diplomacy which are being followed by the right hon. Gentleman and the Government to-night.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I used to tell a story about a couple of lads who were fighting in the street. It is difficult to tell it at the present moment in the vulgar way in which it was usually told, because it might cause some offence. Two lads were fighting, when one of the fathers called to his lad to stop fighting and come home. The lad shouted back: "I can't stop, because he has insulted my religion." He went on fighting. Once more the father called, but the boy replied: "I can't stop fighting because he has slandered my nationality," and he went on fighting. Later on the father called again: "Will you stop fighting and come upstairs?" "Father," the boy said, "I can't stop fighting. I am standing on sixpence" The Foreign Secretary has made most elaborate speeches about the need for peace, about his devotion to the League of Nations and his concern for collective security. Speeches have been made on different occasions that were reported in the whole of the Press of the country. Idealism seemed to be his guiding star. Surely if there was one thing in which anyone concerned with peace, collective security and the League of Nations should have been interested in it is the welfare of the government of a Member State.
1535 This afternoon the Foreign Secretary has stripped himself of all the hypocritical verbiage. There is no more talk about the League of Nations and collective security; he tells us that in the Spanish territory which is occupied by Franco there are great commercial and financial interests. Yes, but he does not tell us that one of the most important financial interests in Spain, the predominating power in the great iron mines in Spain, is Messrs. Guest, Keen and Nettlefold, and that several Members of the Cabinet have big interests in that organisation.
§ Mr. Gallacher
You do not know? Well, please ask your fellow members. Whatever you do is in the interests of your own class, whether it is represented by the National Government, by Mussolini or by Hitler. The right hon. Gentleman has been at the Box when question after question has been put in connection with Italian activities in Spain. On every occasion the Foreign Secretary has got up and said: "I have no information." He has never at any time had a word of information that has been directed against Italy in connection with the Spanish situation. We have reached a position now in which the Foreign Secretary, on the strength of financial interest, makes a new move in Spain. He has made moves before, and every move has been directed against the Spanish Government. Please do not tell me of the Nyon Agreement. Every move has been directed against the Spanish Government.
He has the cunning of the American gangster. When the American gangster is preparing for some particular action he finds it necessary to provide himself not only with an alibi—that is the common practice of the American gangster—but something else which is even more essential. An alibi can be broken down, but the American gangster will always provide himself, if he possibly can, with what they call a "fall guy"; in other words, somebody to take the blame. The Foreign Secretary on occasion after occasion has used M. Blum as a fall guy for the policy that he was already pursuing. The policy of nonintervention has, right along the line, 1536 been a case on every occasion of action against the Spanish Government.
There is no possibility now of getting any further use out of M. Blum for his. own purposes, and he has to come out more openly with this proposal for sending agents over to Spain. Franco will send here a similar number of agents. This is a question not only of having Franco's agents in London but of having them in Glasgow and all over the country, and if they are as non-political as the notorious Moral we shall have them continually operating. This gentleman is associated with a letter sent out to those who support the Foreign Secretary, and who are delighted at the new move. He knows the character of the people with whom we are dealing. The letter says that Franco's Spain stands for everything that Englishmen hold dear, such as freedom of worship and the sanctity of human life. Members who are supporting the Foreign Secretary and this new move tell us that Franco stands for the sanctity of home life, after Guernica, Almeria and all the atrocities and horrors that have been perpetrated by this organised gang of butchers. Moral is associated with them.
Now we are to have more of them, all busy operating over here. The step which the Foreign Secretary is taking is a very serious matter. He says it is not recognition, but no matter how the Foreign Secretary puts it, it will be recognised in every country in the light of a new step in the recognition and the support of Franco. Franco is not going to win; never mind about the support of the Italians, the Germans and the National Government Franco is not going to win. This is a very serious step to take at this time when the Robbers' Pact has been organised in Rome. It is not a pact against Communism; it is a pact against the world. It is a pact directed towards securing territory. Does anybody mean to tell me that Japan went into Manchuria or is going into China to fight Communism? Is it riot to get territory? Did Italy go into Abyssinia to fight Communism or to get territory? Has Hitler got his eyes on Africa because he wants to fight Communism or because he wants to get territory? I tell the Foreign Secretary that Hitler has thousands of agents in Africa now organising, and spreading among the 1537 Afrikanders the old old story that they belong to the great Deutsche family. When Hitler asks for Colonies in Africa, is he going to be satisfied with Colonies? He has his agents operating throughout South Africa; never a ship goes to South Africa but there are dozens of Nazi agents on it. South Africa is simply covered with Nazi agents, all carrying on propaganda, especially among the Afrikanders. Is that for the purpose of fighting Communism? No.
Those who speak of fighting Communism do so in order to make all kinds of divisions in the forces that are likely to be operating against them; it is in order, if possible, to isolate the Soviet Union, and not for the purpose of attacking the Soviet Union. The Germans know better than to do that: the Japanese know better; but if they can isolate the Soviet Union, and make a division between France and Britain, the British Empire is at the mercy of those who talk of attacking Communism. Apparently the Foreign Secretary does not know that either. Already the anti-Communist propaganda has started. I read in the paper to-night that there is going to be some anti-God conference in London. It is a pack of lies, and it is the Nazis who are responsible for that propaganda. No such proposal has been suggested anywhere; there is no possibility of it; but already this propaganda is being directed towards a particular object—towards the isolation of the British Empire.
This is another step in the course which is continually pursued by the Foreign Secretary towards supporting reaction in Spain, as he is continually supporting reaction in Europe. It is a scandal that the National Government should, at this time when the forces of reaction are everywhere gathering strength, and without the people of this country having a chance to say a word, take such a step as this, which is recognised everywhere, and will be accepted by Franco, by Mussolini and by Hitler, as a recognition of Franco. One hon. Member has said that it was a victory for Franco. It is a victory for Mussolini, and will be hailed in Italy as such. An hon. Member who drew an analogy from Russia was very properly taken up by the Leader of the Liberal party. He drew attention to the fact that in 1920 agents from Russia were allowed to come to this country, and that in 1921 1538 a representative was sent from this country to Russia.
The Leader of the Liberal party rightly pointed out that that step was taken in preparation for diplomatic recognition; and this step that is being taken by the National Government without the consent of the people of this country is a similar step; it is already a recognition of Franco, and is a very dangerous action in the present situation. It will have very serious effects, not only against the Spanish Government, but against the people of this country. Hon. Members opposite, and the Foreign Secretary, are not concerned about the people of this country; they are concerned about Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds. What was the answer of the Foreign Secretary? I would ask the Foreign Secretary, as a special favour, to begin, if he has the courage to do so, by reading the beginning of his answer this afternoon;We have commercial and financial interests.But the interests of the people of this country are more important than any commercial and financial interests. I again assert that these financial and commercial interests are interests of members of the Cabinet. Let them have the courage to stand up and admit it. [Laughter.] Why do hon. Members laugh? Are they proud of the fact that the members of the Cabinet are more concerned with their own interests, are more concerned with the cash at stake, than they are with the interests of the people of this country? Where have all the ideals gone now? Mr. Baldwin won elections by talking of ideals—the League of Nations, collective security, and so on. How you all supported Mr. Baldwin and his "high ideals." But now the Foreign Secretary, forgetting all about high ideals, tells us of commercial interests, and I say that the commercial interests are in the Cabinet of the National Government. I demand, and I have a right to demand, that, before such a serious step is taken, before such a criminal betrayal as is now proposed is carried out, a referendum should be taken of the people of this country, in order that they may have an opportunity of expressing an opinion as to whether this policy of support for Franco should be carried any further, or whether, as we here believe, the policy should be ended 1539 and a proper and correct attitude adopted towards the legitimate Government in Spain.
§ 10.3 p.m.
I am not going to follow the last speaker over the very wide ground that he has covered, nor to detain the House long. I have risen merely for the purpose of putting one question which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to answer, and of giving my reasons for asking it. We understand that the object of appointing these agents is solely to protect British financial and commercial interests. Does that mean that the Government will hold itself excluded from obtaining information—private information, perhaps—from these agents on matters which are of British interest but which do not affect commercial interests? I hope that that is not the case, because, after all, British responsibility in the occupied territories is not limited to British interests. As the initiators of the Non-Intervention experiment, we have a considerable responsibility for its results, but we have almost no means of observing what those results are, and that is why, although I share a great many of the fears and doubts and dislikes regarding this proposal to appoint agents, I think it would be a very considerable compensation if we could know that it means that His Majesty's Government will have eyes and ears in those places to which the agents are appointed. It has been one of the weak points of the Non-Intervention Agreement from the first that, although we were taking a great responsibility in introducing that agreement, we had no observers whatsoever on the spot in Spanish territory either to tell us what was actually happening or to put any check upon what was happening.
Until the frontier control scheme started, last April, we had not even observers on the frontier. As a result, in matters of common observation His Majesty's Government and the Non-Intervention Committee have appeared to get no information as to what is taking place in regard to the observance of non-intervention. In the Government territory there were at least consuls, and we have always assumed that through the consuls His Majesty's Government did presumably obtain a certain amount of information, even if it was only private informa- 1540 tion. But in the Franco territory there has not even been that means of information. It may be said that it is not part of a consul's direct business to report upon such matters as the treatment of prisoners or breaches of non-intervention. I believe that it is not uncustomary for representations to be received from consuls on questions which are not of direct interest to British subjects or British mercantile interests.
In the matter of refugees, we have had frequent references to the fact that the removal of consuls from ports under bombardment prevented their use as part of the machinery for evacuating refugees. I would like to know, would the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that these officials will be used for discovering what is going on, as regards non-intervention and the arrival of foreign troops, and what is going on in regard to those humanitarian methods to which my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl) referred, such as the treatment of political prisoners. I think one of the most dreadful things in this terrible civil war has been the execution of political prisoners. We have had terrible accounts of executions in towns captured by the insurgents.
If there are similar atrocities going on on the other side, that makes it worse. I admit that at one time there were excesses on the other side.
I do not think that even at that early stage it had ever been said that the Republican Government authorised or desired those cruel excesses. That Government, deserted as it was by the Army, Navy, and police, and by the greater part of the civil service, was too weak to keep order. As soon as it got stronger, it did restrain those excesses. We have never had the charge, even from the Franco Press, that in that part of Spain there were military tribunals set up day by day, condemning people on 1541 no other ground than that they had been, as combatants or otherwise, in the service of the other side. That was the account given us the other day, in an organ which could not be suspected of being sympathetic to the Spanish Government, of what is going on in Franco territory. Did the hon. Member read an account the other day of how 16 prisoners were tried, and 14 of them sentenced to death, and the judge himself said that the standard for the death penalty was that anyone should have been an officer on the other side? That, in my mind, is a more terrible thing than the bombardment of non-combatants, which has been condemned by the world, in China. It is a new thing. I did not mean to go into that, but I was drawn into it by interruptions.
That is why, when I heard the news that an agent has been appointed in Franco territory, I thought it would be a good thing if, by that means, the Government was providing itself with eyes and ears in that part of Spain, and sources of information which I hope will be impartial information. I believe it will be some sort of check on those atrocities if it is known that there are Englishmen in that part reporting to their Government what is taking place, and that the authorities there will have to face the tribunal of world opinion for any violation of international law. I do not expect the Government to publish such information, but, for God's sake, if they have the truth, do not let them continue to turn blind eyes and deaf ears.
§ 10.12 p.m.
§ Wing-Commander James
I did not intend to intervene in the Debate, but I was induced to do so by the observations of the hon. Member who has just sat down. I was in Santander on 6th October, and I attended a trial at the court there. I was given free access to the local equivalent of the Judge Advocate's Office. I examined the file and checked the card index, and I assert that there was no foundation whatever for her wild and unsubstantiated charges.
§ Wing-Commander James
No, I cannot; but I attended the trial with two 1542 Englishmen, both speaking fluent Spanish, and in the office there were a number of people who spoke fluent French. I have a number of accurate figures, which I checked over myself with the card index. The total number of persons held for trial in the province of Santander from 27th August to 5th October was 5,329. I am not going to pretend that before what you might call the "prisoners' cage" stage there has not been undoubtedly a great deal of bumping-off.
§ Wing-Commander James
No. I am trying to be fair. It is a very bitter war, and if either side take prisoners I do not doubt that they are rough, but I do assert that when prisoners, civil and military, reach what may be called the "prisoners' cage" stage in the captured territory they get a very much better deal than I should expect. There were held for trial up to 6th October, 5,329. There had been tried, 1,566. I should explain that there are two forms of trial. There are preliminary inquiries in which sworn evidence is taken in writing, and this inquiry either dismisses the charge or puts it forward to a military court. The cases dismissed at the preliminary inquiry numbered 804; acquitted at the military trial, 156; sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, 392; condemned to death, 214, executed, 42, reprieved, three. I have checked, through the card index, of all the people who have been executed. I was given the figures in one office, and I asked to see the card index and they produced it, and I checked up the length of time between condemnation to death and execution of all the cases, and it was just on 10 days. Every case was referred to Salamanca for examination. In three cases—the index and cards were there—Salamanca reprieved a person who had been condemned to death in Santander. Without enlarging upon this, I assert that, having regard to the circumstances of the case and the very difficult situation in a town which had been captured less than six weeks before, and in which it was popularly supposed there had been grave outrages, the general system of administration and the attempt to provide rough justice was very good. I do not see, in the circumstances, that any but military courts could have been instituted.
1543 I went into the court as a trial was just starting, unexpected and uninvited, and there were in the body of the hall not fewer than 300 members of the general public of both sexes and of all classes. The prosecutor said—it caused no surprise at the back of the hall, and, therefore, I am inclined to believe that it was probably not put on for my benefit; I accept nothing as certain but it excited no comment and appeared to come in the ordinary course of the remarks of the young man who prosecuted—and I give the verbatim translation given to me by my two Spanish-speaking English friends, "It has been decreed by General Franco that the bearing of arms for a political ideal is not an offence. We are concerned in this court only with persons who are alleged to have committed crimes whether in uniform or not in uniform; we are not concerned with people who have been fighting for an ideal."
§ 10.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Eden
I do not propose, in my few remarks to-night, to enter upon—I do not know whether to call it controversy or not—the exchange of information which has taken place across the Floor of the House about executions of prisoners, and so forth. I would only say that, when the time comes for reckoning up the toll of the Spanish civil war, I am convinced that there will be on both sides a terrible death roll of people who have not been taking part in the war. As far as our own country is concerned, I believe that, when the controversy has died down, what will leave the most satisfaction in the minds of our fellow-citizens will be the tens of thousands of Spaniards on both sides who have been rescued or exchanged, or taken away from the place of danger where they were. Beyond that, on that aspect of the subject, I have nothing to say to-night.
Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my question as to whether the agents would provide information on the subject?
§ Mr. Eden
We must take things in their due order. I feel that my hon. Friend the Member for West Leeds (Mr. V. Adams) was more than justified in the taunts which he hurled at the Opposition to-night. I have the greatest respect for the debating powers of the right hon. Gen- 1544 tleman who opened the case from the Front Opposition Bench, but I have never seen a speaker on behalf of a party so embarrassed as to what he was to say. The right hon. Gentleman did his best. At least for 10 minutes of the 30 minutes he addressed us he spoke about the exchange of agents, but the rest of the time he wandered around the world, pointing an anxious finger at this point or that where he thought the situation was growing increasingly anxious; situations which had nothing whatever to do with the exchange of agents.
As I listened to the right hon. Gentleman a reflection came to my mind, not for the first time when listening to hon. and right hon. Members opposite when they are talking on international questions, that there is a Jekyll and Hyde in their character—a Jekyll which is interested only in our selling goods abroad and in finding employment for our people, and a Hyde which is interested only in international Socialism and seeking at all costs to prove that every move of this Government is directed by hostility towards international Socialism.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the proposed action is inconsistent with non-intervention. I can only say that I most sincerely wish that nothing more inconsistent with non-intervention had been perpetrated during the last 18 months. If that had been so the state of the world and the state of Spain would be considerably happier than it is to-day. This is in no sense a breach of non-intervention. The right hon. Gentleman was nearer the mark from his own point of view when he said that in what we were doing we were not keeping an equal balance between the two contending parties. Even there he was wrong, because the only diplomatic representation which we have in Spain is diplomatic representation with the Spanish Government. That is our only diplomatic representation and is carried out by His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Valencia and will be carried out at Barcelona in a short time.
The right hon. Gentleman tried to create a great atmosphere of suspicion. He asked: "How long have these negotiations been going on? Have you been trying to put them through without the House of Commons knowing anything 1545 about it?" I do not feel so desperately guilty about that. If the House of Commons does not like negotiations of this character, it has always a perfect right to express its opinion of the Foreign Secretary and His Majesty's Government. I do not think the House can expect any Foreign Secretary to come down and say: "I am entering into negotiations with such and such a foreign country." Not only should I give to the public full notice about it but I should give any other Government which does not want the negotiations to succeed full advertisement of what I am doing, so that they have ample notice to put a spoke in the wheel. On a basis like that it is impossible for any Government or any diplomatic service to fulfil any part of its duty in such matters.
Here I take up the charge about the French Government. The right hon. Gentleman tried to make a great deal out of it. He said that we had not consulted them, that we just informed them when it was all over and they had to take it or leave it. That was not what I said this afternoon. If I gave that impression it was the last impression I wanted to give. We informed the French Government long before the negotiations reached anything like a concluding stage; in fact, we informed them of our intentions, and, of course, the position was that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall (Sir F. Acland), with his Foreign Office experience, put very fairly to the House. In cases such as this, where British trading interests are at stake, the French Government could, if they wished, make representations against what we were doing if they thought it was so important internationally as to surpass our commercial interests. They did not make any such representations.
I can assure the right hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Alexander) that we told them what we were doing and also assure him that there is nothing very sinister about this procedure. We told them more than once what we proposed to do. They made no representations against it, and it is very unlikely that they would do so because, to be perfectly frank, their relations with General Franco all through the year have been much better than ours. They have far more consular officers in Spain than we have. They have an advantage which we have not. Their Con- 1546 sul-General at San Sebastian has been their intermediary with the insurgent forces. We have no similar Consul-General throughout General Franco's territory, and therefore it is natural that they would not make a complaint. But I. want to say in all seriousness to the House that I hope nobody is going to suggest that because we have taken this step there is, therefore, any modification in the fundamental attitude of this country towards France or of France towards us. It really would be a profound mistake to try and magnify out of a matter of this kind, important to our commerce as it is, any suggestion of that kind. On the contrary, our relations with the French Government are, and I am confident will continue to be, so close and so intimate that there is no question of a matter of this kind, important to our trade interests but not of international significance, having the effect which hon. Members opposite suggest.
I resent a little the attitude of hon. Members opposite on this question. Something is done by Anglo-French policy of which they approve. In the early days of non-intervention hon. Members opposite approved—
§ Mr. Eden
I am not speaking of hon. Members below the Gangway. The "Daily Herald" approved, and threw a bouquet at the feet of M. Blum, "Look at this great statesman." Then hon. Members opposite did not like intervention so much. When the results of Anglo-French co-operation are satisfactory it is due to a French lead, if they are unsatisfactory it is due to the attitude of His Majesty's Government. I do not think that is a just way of looking at the matter.
What are the objections to this proposal? Nobody denies that General Franco has control of two-thirds of Spain at the present time. Nobody denies that there are large British interests there. The hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) has been positively eloquent about them. Nobody denies that these territories are large buyers of British goods and sellers of products which we need. Last year was a bad year naturally for Spanish trade, in view of the conditions prevailing; yet even last year Spain took nearly £3,500,000 of British exports and re-exports.
§ Mr. Eden
Russian trade with Spain is now going up, and ours is going down. If that gives satisfaction to the hon. Gentleman, he may have it. During the first nine months of this year, the territory over which General Franco has control has purchased goods from this country to the value of just over £2,000,000 out of total purchases of £2,800,000 by the whole of Spain during that period.
§ Mr. Eden
This is the sterling allocated to pay for British goods purchased by General Franco's territory. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that I was trying to make some political point when I mentioned coal, but I was not. It so happens that coal accounts for the largest part of these figures. The coal imported into that part of Spain for the first nine months of this year was worth just under £500,000, a not unimportant figure. When the hon. Member talks about the Asturian miners, I do not know what he means. Does he mean that if we did not send British coal, coal would be got from the Asturian miners? If he means that, he is quite wrong. If we did not sell the coal to them, it would be sold to them by Germany. If it did not come from Durham and South Wales, as it does at present, it would come from Germany. Let me mention some of the other items: £270,000 for tinplate; £180,000 for cotton goods; £80,000 for petrol; £80,000 for jute. During the next few days, the state of the jute industry is likely to be discussed in this House. I have no desire to exaggerate these figures. The House will notice that I am not now speaking of British commercial interests in that territory in the sense of financial interests—the sense which the hon. Member for West Fife mentioned. I am speaking of the goods which we are selling to that part of Spain which, as I have said, for the first nine months of this year have been worth over £2,000,000. I suggest that for that trade it is worth taking the normal steps which are normally taken in order to do all we can to protect it and to further it.
It is inevitable that in time of war trade becomes dislocated, and our work in that respect becomes increasingly difficult. When hon. Members realise that during 1548 the last nine months we have had to send our messengers from 200 to 300 miles to the nearest authorities in the territory under General Franco's control, they will see for themselves the inconvenience under which we have worked. I must say that I am astonished by the attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Scarcely a day passes without their getting up in the House and saying, "Why have you not represented that to General Franco? Why have you not pointed that out?" Yet when we appoint somebody who will not have to travel 300 miles in order to represent this or that, hon. Members opposite are the first to complain.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall asked a number of questions to which I would like to give answers. I will deal first with the point which was made by the right hon. Gentleman who opened, and which I thought to be a perfectly fair one, when he asked why we did not move consuls from one part of General Franco's territory to another. We have only two career consuls there, and we want them where they are. What we want is more help for our trade than at present, and shifting people from one place to another would not meet that need. It would be possible, as I tried to explain at Question Time to appoint new consuls, but that would mean exequaturs, which mean a measure of recognition. That, among other reasons, is precisely why we did not wish to follow that method. I thought that for that at least I would receive the blessing of hon. Members opposite, but, not for the first time, I have been disappointed by them.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall asked a specific question to which I would like to reply. He asked whether this arrangement constitutes any form of recognition. The answer is, No; and the agreed communiqué which will be issued when this arrangement is arrived at, I hope within a short time now, will make that absolutely clear. It means recognition neither as a Government, nor as belligerents. Then, the right hon. Gentleman asked would this enable General Franco to put pressure on us by threatening to turn our agents out? The reply is, "No more that it would enable us to put pressure on General Franco by threatening to turn his agents out." But that is not the purpose of the appointments, either in one case or 1549 the other. He also asked would the activities of these agents be limited to trade? The answer, which is also the answer to the. Noble Lady, is, "Yes." Their purpose is to be limited to trade, to the protection of British commerce and the protection of British nationals, and is to be non-political. But I do not wish to be too exclusive in what I say. If hon. Members ask me, as no doubt they will, whether we cannot make representations on this or that or the other subject, I will not always say "No." The right hon. Gentleman asked what would be the character of the individual whom we would appoint. I can say that he will certainly be the best man I can find for the post, because I think it is an important post. He will also be a man who has had consular experience for the greater part of his life. Beyond that I would rather not pledge myself. I was also asked "Will this be better for our trade?" The answer clearly is "Yes."
The right hon. Gentleman who opened seemed inclined to sneer at the seven ships and the two cargoes of iron ore which had been released. If he had to answer as many questions as I have had to answer on the subject, he would not treat it so lightly. Now that the ships are released there can be no more questions about them, but when they were not released there were three questions about them at least twice a week. The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong when he says that this is a price which we have paid to General Franco in order to get these ships and this iron ore released. That is not so. A pre-condition of the negotiations was the release of the ships and of the iron ore, and the exchange which we got is the exchange which we wanted—that is to say, the presence of consular agents to do this work at Salamanca and other points in Spain.
§ Mr. Attlee
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the question of personnel may I ask will the representatives of General Franco in this country also be persons solely dealing with trade questions, persons of commercial experience, and not politicians or diplomats?
§ Mr. Eden
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has made that point. These appointments have to be made by them, and naturally, as an ordinary matter of courtesy, I have no doubt that 1550 they will consult us as to who is to be appointed. But I do hope that the House, if I may say so with respect, will not treat the Franco authorities as if they were something different from any other authorities. I have no reason to suppose that they will not pursue the ordinary forms in any arrangements that have to be made.
Finally, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Cornwall asked was there any precedent for what we are doing. There are, I believe, a number of precedents, the most interesting of which is that during the Great War we accredited an agent to President Venezelos when he was in rebellion against the Greek Government of the day, to whom we had also accredited a representative. That is an almost exact parallel with what we are doing at the present time. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman opposite says that we were fighting then. Thank Heaven we are not fighting now, but I do not think that vitiates the argument. I know that hon. Gentlemen opposite wish we were fighting now but we are not.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to say that there is no analogy between the case in which we were fighting in a war on the side of M. Venezelos, whom we had induced to come in with us, and the case of the civil war at the present time? There is no analogy at all and no precedent.
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. Gentleman said that he had said something, and that he regretted it. There is nothing more to be said.
§ Mr. Eden
Perhaps I may be allowed to conclude what I have to say. There was an argument throughout this Debate that in what we were seeking to do, we were in some way prejudicing the course of the Spanish Civil War, and hon. Members opposite maintain that the Press of 1551 the world will make much of this and will say that it is recognition of General Franco, whatever it really is, and so on. That may be, but the Press of the world is not always absolutely accurate. I have had put into my hands a paper to-night, an extract from which may perhaps interest the House. It is a message from Budapest, and it states:Sir Samuel Hoare, Britain's Home Secretary, has arrived in Budapest on a private visit. He is staying several days.That is not an inapt illustration that the world's Press is not always accurate.
In conclusion, I would only say this: The Government did believe that this arrangement in the special conditions of the present time was a practical and a reasonable one. We believe it also to be an arrangement in the interests of British trade, and that is why we have done it. That is the purpose. There is no ulterior motive. We believe it will be clearly understood by the country, and may I add that we hope, after the full explanation which I have endeavoured to give, hon. Members opposite will not think it necessary to divide this House on this issue.
§ 10.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Attlee
I do not rise for the purpose of carrying on this discussion at any great length, but I want to point out one or two points to which we have had no reply. The first point that was put to the Prime Minister and afterwards to the Foreign Secretary was as to the time when this arrangement was come to. The announcement was made while the Foreign Secretary was away. The Foreign Secretary made a speech in this House, and then proceeded to Brussels. We want know whether this arrangement was concluded in his absence or before he went away. If in his absence, it is a very curious way of dealing with important matters like this, with the Foreign Secretary absent. If, as a matter of fact, it was concluded before he went away, there seems no reason why, in making a full statement on foreign affairs, he should not have told this House as to what was proceeding. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think it was very odd that the Opposition should be suspicious of the Government. At the beginning of his speech he quoted Jekyll and Hyde. The 1552 right hon. Gentleman is always coming before this House as a nice, kindly Jekyll, but the actions of the Government almost always turn out to he those of Mr. Hyde. If we should take what the Government said, if we should take all the speeches that were made on behalf of democracy by Mr. Baldwin, if we should take all the speeches of the Foreign Secretary on foreign affairs, and then look at what has actually happened, we find an enormous difference. The fact remains that with all the fair speeches that we get from the Foreign Secretary, the actions of the British Government for the last 18 months have invariably inured to the side of General Franco. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] The weight of opinion on the Conservative benches—and I am not alluding to hon. Members below the Gangway, but to weightier opinion—has been on the side of General Franco, and he is the man they are backing to win. In our view, while you may put up a plausible case on the ground of British interests, as a matter of fact this is a new departure. You can find no direct precedent for sending these agents. They are not to have diplomatic immunity and they are not to be consuls. I am entirely unsatisfied with the right hon. Gentleman's reply with regard to the emissary whom General Franco is to send to this country. If he is, as we gather from the Press, the Duke of Berwick and Alba, I am not aware that he has any commercial experience. The whole of this business causes in our minds the greatest suspicion. Although it is not recognition de facto or de jure, it is a kind of half-way house towards it. It has given General Franco satisfaction, and that is clearly shown by the fact that the right hon. Gentleman is able to use this exchange of agents as a bargaining point to get the rights of British ships on the high seas respected, instead of using the rights of this country to get them respected. In view of this, and in view of the whole record of the past 18 months, we cannot take the right hon. Gentleman's protestations at their face value. In spite of Dr. Jekyll we shall vote against Mr. Hyde.
§ Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 241; Noes, 107.1497
|Division No. 6.]||AYES.||[7.33 p.m.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Findlay, Sir E.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Fleming, E. L.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Fyfe, D. P. M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.|
|Apsley, Lord||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Petherick, M.|
|Asks, Sir R. W.||Gower, Sir R. V.||Pilkington, R.|
|Assheton, R.||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Grant-Ferris, R.||Radford, E. A.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Grimston, R. V.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Bernays, R. H.||Hambro, A. V.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hannah, I. C.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Bull, B. B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Rowlands, G.|
|Burton, Col. H. W.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Royds, Admiral P. M. R.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Butler, R. A||Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)||Salt, E. W.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Holmes, J. S.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Hopkinson, A.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Channon, H.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Hutchinson, G. C.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chorlton, A. E. L.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'ld)|
|Christie, J. A.||Joel, D. J. B.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Storey, S.|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Keeling, E. H.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Strauss, E. A. (Southwa[...]k, N.)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Cox, H. B. T.||Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Lewis, O.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Crooke, J. S.||Loftus, P. C.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lyons, A. M.||Touche, G. C.|
|Cross, R. H.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Crossley, A. C.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Turton, R. H.|
|Crowder. J. F. E.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Davidson, Viscountess||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||McKie, J. H.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|De Chair, S. S.||Macquisten, F. A.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Magnay, T.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Denville, Alfred||Maitland, A.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Doland, G. F.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Watt, G. S. H.|
|Donner, P. W.||Markham, S. F.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Eastwood. J. F.||Moreing, A. C.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Morris. J. P. (Salford, N.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Wragg, H.|
|Elmley Viscount||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Munro, P.||Sir James Edmondson and|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Captain Dugdale.|
|Everard, W. L.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Broad, F. A.||Cove, W. G.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Bromfield, W.||Daggar, G.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Dalton, H.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Dobbie, W.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Burke, W. A.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Cape, T.||Ede, J. C.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Charleton, H. C.||Edwards. Sir C. (Bedwellty)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Chater, D.||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)|
|Bevan, A.||Cluse, W. S.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.|
|Foot, D. M.||Leach, W.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Frankel, D.||Lee, F.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Gallacher, W.||Leonard, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Leslie, J. R.||Stephen, C.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Lunn, W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||McGhee, H. G.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||MacLaren, A.||Thorne, W.|
|Grenfell, D. R.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Thurtle, E.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Marshall, F.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Maxton, J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Groves, T. E.||Messer, F.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Montague, F.||Walker, J.|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Watkins, F. C.|
|Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Hardie, Agnes||Owen, Major G.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Harris, Sir P. A.||Paling, W.||Welsh, J. C.|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sexton, T. M.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Shinwell, E.||Young, Sir F. (Newton)|
|Kirkwood, D.||Short, A.|
|Lawson, J. J.||Simpson, F. B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
Question put, and agreed to.
|Division No. 7.]||AYES.||[10.47 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Owen, Major G.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Ganzoni, Sir J.||Palmer, G. E. H.|
|Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Patrick, C. M.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Peake, O.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||Petherick, M.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Goldie, N. B.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Gower, Sir R. V.||Pilkington, R.|
|Apsley, Lord||Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Grant-Ferris, R.||Power, Sir J. C.|
|Assheton, R.||Grigg, Sir E. W. M||Pownall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton|
|Astor, Major Hon. J. J. (Dover)||Grimston, R. V.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Baldwin-Webb, Col. J.||Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Radford, E. A.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Raikes, H. V. A. M.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N.W.)||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Gunston, Capt. D. W.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Hambro, A. V.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hannah, I. C.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Braithwaite, Major A. N.||Hartington, Marquess of||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Heilgere, Captain F. F. A.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Bull, B. B.||Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Burghley, Lord||Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan[...]||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.||Herbert, A. P. (Oxford U.)||Rowlands, G.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Royda, Admiral P. M. R.|
|Butler, R. A.||Herbert, Capt. Sir S. (Abbey)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Campbell, Sir E. T.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Holmes, J. S.||Salt, E. W.|
|Cary, R. A.||Hopkinson, A.||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Horsbrugh, Florence||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Channon, H.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Hutchinson, G. C.||Shepperson, Sir E. W.|
|Christie, J. A.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Clarke, F. E. (Dartford)||Joel, D. J. B.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Somervell. Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W"m'ld)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Storey, S.|
|Cox, H. B. T.||Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lewis, O.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Loftus, P. C.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Lovat-Fraser, J. A.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Crooke, J. S.||Lyons, A. M.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton. (N'thw'h)|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Cross, R. H.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Crossley, A. C.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Touche, G. C.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Davies, C. (Montgomery)||McKie, J. H.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Turton, R. H.|
|Davison, Sir W. H.||Macquisten, F. A.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|De Chair, S. S.||Magnay, T.||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Maitland, A.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Denville, Alfred||Makins, Brig.-Gen. E.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Doland, G. F.||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Donner, P. W.||Markham, S. F.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Dorman-Smith, Major Sir R. H.||Marsden, Commander A.||Watt, G. S. H.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Duggan, H. J.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Duncan, J. A. L.||Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)||White, H. Graham|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Moreing, A. C.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Wise, A. R.|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Entwistle, Sir C. F.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Munro, P.||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Nall, Sir J.||Wragg, H.|
|Everard, W. L.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Findlay, Sir E.||Nicolson, Hon. H. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fleming, E. L.||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Captain Hope and Captain|
|Foot, D. M.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Dugdale.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. G. A.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Groves, T. E.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Richards, F. (Wrexham)|
|Ammon, C. G.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Ridley, G.|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Brom.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Hardie, Agnes||Sexton, T. M.|
|Banfield, J. W.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Shinwell, E.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Short, A.|
|Batey, J.||Jagger, J.||Silkin, L.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Silverman, S. S.|
|Bevan, A.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Broad, F. A.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Bromfield, W.||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Brown, C. (Mansfield)||Kirby, B. V.||Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lawson, J. J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Leach, W.||Stephen, C.|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lee, F.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Chater, D.||Leslie, J. R.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Logan, D. G.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lunn, W.||Thurtle, E.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafforu.[...]||McEntee, V. La T.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Daggar, G.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Viant, S. P.|
|Dalton, H.||MacNeill, Weir, L.||Walkden, A. G.|
|Day, H.||Marshall, F.||Walker, J.|
|Debbie, W.||Maxton, J.||Watkins, F. C.|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Messer, F.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Ede, J. C.||Montague, F.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Welsh, J. C|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)|
|Frankel, D.||Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Gallacher, W.||Naylor, T. E.||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Gardner, B. W.||Noel-Baker, P. J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||Paling, W.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Parker, J.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Grenfell[...], D. R.||Price, M. P.||Mr. Whiteley and Mr. Mathers.|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
§ Adjourned accordingly at Three Minutes before Eleven o'Clock.