HC Deb 21 February 1938 vol 332 cc13-5
14. Captain Ramsay

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information concerning the recent voyages of the British ship "Dover Abbey" to the ports of Valencia, Castellion, Alicante, Barcelona, and Port Mahon; and whether he will call for a special report from the observers of the Non-intervention Committee, who were on board during each of these voyages, as to fuel for aircraft having been carried by this vessel under false bills of lading?

Sir J. Simon

I understand that the "Dover Abbey" has embarked observing officers on all her recent voyages to Spanish ports, and that no breaches of the Non-intervention Agreement have been reported to the Non-intervention Board.

Captain Ramsay

In view of the facts, of which there are reliable reports, would the right hon. Gentleman make further inquiries if I put down a further question?

Sir J. Simon

I have no doubt that all proper inquiries will be made, but I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that oil fuel is not one of the articles the export of which to Spain is prohibited under the Non-intervention Agreement.

15. Captain Ramsay

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that while a British ship was recently loading at Marseilles a cargo of condensed milk for Valencia a drum burst open and was found to contain cartridges, he will propose to the Non-intervention Committee a further form of control which will prevent contraband goods being carried under false bills of lading?

Sir J. Simon

No report has been received of the incident to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, but I shall be happy to make inquiries if he will provide me with more information.

16. Captain Ramsay

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are taken to supervise the loading of cargoes for Spanish ports by the Nonintervention authorities in Marseilles; and how many persons they employ to do this work?

Sir J. Simon

The duties of the officers of the Non-intervention Board are clearly set out in the Resolution adopted by the Non-intervention Committee on 8th March, 1937, which was published as a White Paper. In so far as cargo is concerned, their duties are confined to examining the bills of lading and other ships papers and to requiring the master of the ship to have opened for his inspection any package which is being unloaded in a Spanish port and which the officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting to contain war material in contravention of the Non-intervention Agreement. These duties are carried out on board and the observing officers have no authority to supervise the loading of cargo, responsibility for which rests solely with the authorities in the port of loading. The second part of the question does not, therefore, arise.

18. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can now state the result of his inquiries into the alleged recent landing of large quantities of armaments in insurgent Spain from ships accompanied by Italian destroyers?

Sir J. Simon

No reply has yet been received to the inquiries which, as the hon. Member was informed on the 14th instant, are being made into the matter.

23. Miss Wilkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any further information regarding recent shipments of war material from Italy and Germany to the rebels in Spain?

Sir J. Simon

No, Sir. I understand that no reports regarding the despatch of war material to Spain have been recently submitted to the Non-intervention Committee.

Miss Wilkinson

Does the pledge given by the previous Foreign Secretary about the sending of more troops being regarded as a breach of non-intervention, now hold good?

Sir J. Simon

There is no change in that regard.

33. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the percentage which is to constitute a substantial proportion for the purposes of the evacuation of foreign troops from Spain, under the plan being prepared by the Non-intervention Committee, will be applied to each separate category of such troops, and to each separate grade within each category?

Sir J. Simon

This is a question which is at present under discussion by the Nonintervention Committee. I regret that I am, therefore, not able to give the hon. Member the information for which he asks.

68. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he has received any reports indicating that insurgent submarines have left the rebel naval bases at Majorca or elsewhere since the adoption of the new measures agreed to by the British, French and Italian Governments for the prevention of piracy?

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Duff Cooper)

No, Sir.