HC Deb 07 March 1938 vol 332 cc1508-10
16. Mr. A. V. Alexander

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to give further information with regard to the statements made by General Quiepo de Llano on 27th February at La Linea with reference to Gibraltar?

22. Mr. R. Acland

asked the Prime Minister whether any representations have been made to him, or to the Foreign Office, as a result of his inquiries into the speech of General Llano relating to Gibraltar; and, if so, by whom were the representations made and what was their effect?

The Prime Minister

I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given in reply to a similar question by the hon. Member for the Combined English Universities (Miss Rathbone) on 3rd March. I would add that General Franco's Agent in London informed the Foreign Office on 2nd March that the statements alleged to have been made by General Queipo de Llano in regard to Gibraltar were falsely attributed to him. The General had in fact only said that Spain should always be strong, as her moments of weakness had always had fatal consequences for her, as happened in the War of Succession which deprived her of Gibraltar. Due note was taken of the Duke of Alba's communication.

Mr. Alexander

Is the Prime Minister aware that the "Times" Bayonne correspondent stated on 1st March that it was broadcast from Seville, the Franco headquarters, that General Quiepo de Llano had referred to Gibraltar as having been stolen from Spain by treason, and added that it would soon be back in the hands of that country? Does the Prime Minister believe that that statement, broadcast from Seville, is not to be accepted as reliable?

The Prime Minister

Yes, I do believe that, because the information from our own correspondents at Gibraltar does not bear out the original statement to which the right hon. Gentleman referred.

Mr. Alexander

Is the Prime Minister aware that the correspondent responsible for the main report in the London Press on 1st March is of long-standing and of great reputation for trustworthiness?

Mr. Speaker rose

Mr. Attlee

How does it come about that representations are being made by the Duke of Alba on a matter which cannot be said to be appropriate, in view of the terms on which he was received as envoy, when it was stated that his duties would be strictly confined to commercial matters?

The Prime Minister

I do not think the right hon. Gentleman should take exception to the action of General Franco's agent in informing us that a statement attributed to General Quiepo de Llano was not, in fact, true.

Mr. Attlee

Is it not a fact that this House was assured by the Government that there would be no diplomatic function performed by the Duke of Alba, and is it not clear from this that he is becoming now a sort of ambassador?

Sir Nairne Stewart Sandeman

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of a statement published in a rebel organ in Barcelona that if they win the war they are going to get Gibraltar back?

Duchess of Atholl

Is it not a fact that General Franco himself said to a representative of the "Times" last summer, in reply to a question, that he did not think Gibraltar could be of any interest to us or any further use to us?

Mr. A. Henderson

Will the right hon. Gentleman disclose the identity of his correspondents?

The Prime Minister

Yes, the British Vice-Consul at La Linea, who said that he was present on the occasion on which General Quiepo de Llano was said to have spoken in certain terms, and that no such remarks were made.

Mr. Alexander

I beg to give notice that I shall raise this question on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.

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