Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £85,664, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1938, for the Expenses in connection with His Majesty's Embassies, Missions and Consular Establishments Abroad, and other expenditure chargeable to the Consular Vote; certain special Grants and Payments, including Grants in Aid; and Sundry Services arising out of the War.
§ 3.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Buchanan
May I ask for your guidance, Sir Dennis, on a matter of procedure. I understand that we are now about to discuss a Supplementary Estimate relating to certain foreign matters. As you are aware, there are other Supplementary Estimates down for consideration to-day. Would it not be for the convenience of the Committee if there were an allocation of time as between these various Estimates. The other Estimates which are to be considered include one in respect of broadcasting and also one in respect of the Ministry of Labour in which many hon. Members are particularly interested. If there were an allocation of time it would be very convenient to know when the Estimate concerning the Ministry of Labour was likely to be reached.
§ The Chairman
I have not heard anything of any suggestion or arrangement as to an allocation of time, and, of course, it is quite outside my power to do anything of the sort, but meantime the hon. Member can communicate through the usual channels with the object of finding out whether he can obtain any agreement as to allocation, and if such agreement be arrived at I would put it before the Committee and ask whether general assent is given to it.
§ Mr. Buchanan
I was wondering whether we might not occasionally have a little discussion about our own people.
§ Mr. David Grenfell
Could you, Sir Dennis, give any indication to the Committee of the scope of the discussion which will be allowed on these various Estimates? We would like to know how far discussion will be allowed to extend, for instance, on such matters as the Committee for Non-Intervention in Spain, and whether on that item in the Estimates some licence will be permitted in dealing with the general question?
§ The Chairman
This particular Estimate, so far as it concerns the matter to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, namely, intervention in Spain, is a case of a very small increase, and I suggest to the Committee generally that if they want to get an idea of the scope of debate on the Supplementary Estimates they can generally get it from the explanatory statement at the end of the several Votes. In this case, in connection with non-intervention in Spain, hon. Members will see on page 11, in the last paragraph but one, that the whole reason of the increase arises from the present estimation that the expenditure to be met by the Government on the scheme of observation in Portugal will be less than was expected. It seems to me that that is about the only thing that can be discussed on this particular item. With regard to the other small matters, I think that most of them are in the nature of new services. They are the grant to His Majesty's Ambassador in China, evacuation of British refugees from China, the relief of distress in Spain, the evacuation of refugees from Spain, compensation for stores requisitioned in Iraq during the War, and British contribution to preliminary expenses connected with the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain.
§ Mr. Grenfell
On the Vote for the British contribution in connection with the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain, can we discuss the rate of withdrawal, the extent to which withdrawal has gone and the general programme of withdrawal in the light of the present situation?
§ The Chairman
It is a little difficult for me to say exactly what will or will not be in order in what may be said later. I do not think that the whole situation in 1913 Spain or the question of the policy of which this is a part can be discussed.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member speaks of non-intervention expenditure. That does not come under the heading RR.
§ The Chairman
Hon. Members will have to find what they can do during the Debate. I am obliged by the instructions of the House to keep to the rules with regard to Supplementary Estimates. Those rules are strict. Except in the case of new services the Debate must be confined strictly to the reasons for an alteration of the original Estimate.
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)
The Supplementary Estimates before us relate to the Foreign Office, Class II, Diplomatic and Consular Services, and certain expenses dealing particularly with the Assyrians in connection with the League of Nations. I shall therefore, with the permission of the Committee, confine my observations to the details of these Supplementary Estimates. It might be valuable if I introduced all the Supplementary Estimates in one general series of remarks. I shall try to divide them under four different heads of administrative expenses, expenses in connection with Spain, expenses in connection with China, and expenses in connection with the settlement of the Assyrians. The Committee are always reluctant to approve extra sums for Supplementary Estimates, but on looking at the total figures they will see that the amount is not unreasonable in view of the great and varied wreckage that might have been cast on our shores by the great storms now going on in the world.
§ The Chairman
I do not know whether I understood the hon. Gentleman's intention. We have before us at the moment one Vote, which I have read out, and it 1914 applies to Class II, Vote 2, with a number of sub-heads, and those sub-heads do not cover the question of the Assyrians.
§ Mr. Butler
All these matters are covered by the Department which I represent, and I thought it would be convenient if I made my introductory remarks on the subjects of these three different heads; but if it be your wish, I will confine my remarks to the Vote that has been read, and speak again on each occasion when a new Vote is moved.
§ The Chairman
If the Committee approve, I have no objection to the hon. Member doing what he apparently originally intended, but I want to be clear what it is he means when he speaks of three sub-heads. The first one, as I have said, is Class II, Vote 2; the next one I imagine to be Class II, Vote 1, Foreign Office; and the third one is Class II, Vote 3.
§ Mr. Butler
Yes, they are the three Votes, the Foreign Office, Diplomatic and Consular Services and the League of Nations.
§ The Chairman
Hon. Members may find it convenient with general assent to talk on these three Votes together, but we shall have to put the Votes separately.
§ Mr. Butler
Sometimes it is useful to give a general review of the different Votes. With the consent of the Committee I shall revert to the plan I originally suggested, but as there are many details it might be valuable to sum them up under different heads. The administrative heads are Foreign Office salaries and incidental expenses, A and D; then Diplomatic and Consular salaries and allowances, item O; and expenses in connection with pipes in Iraq, item YY. These particular administrative expenses are outlined in the Estimate. It will be seen that there is an additional sum required for Foreign Office salaries, and as shown on page 8 of the Estimate it is due to the increased provision required for the Passport Office owing to the issue of a larger number of passports. Extra staff had to be employed in the summer and considerable overtime was worked. The extra expenditure there was £4,800.
Then there were the cost of additional staff and the extra pay necessitated by setting up the Committee for Non-Intervention in Spain. That extra cost con- 1915 sisted of the payment of an interpreter and of some extra typists, and there was some extra expenditure at the Foreign Office to meet the political situation abroad, which entailed the addition of one clerk in the News Department and extra help in the Registry and the Library. There is no very controversial question arising under these administrative heads. Hon. Members will see the total sum set out on page 7 of the Estimates. The Appropriations-in-Aid come to only £10 less than these expenses and these are receipts from passport fees. Therefore the Committee are being asked to vote an extra sum of only £10 under that head. Under head O, the other administrative question which we are considering, in the original Estimate for the general Consular Services—this excludes China—a reduction of £20,000 was made in the total sum on account of savings caused by vacancies and leave of absence. It is now known that this saving will amount to only about £10. In the main Estimates already presented the total is given each year, and from it a deduction is made owing to vacancies, but this deduction was in fact too much and therefore this sum is included.
With regard to the other item, relating to pipes in Iraq, this is not a matter which need detain us very long. Certain waterpipes were taken over by the British forces in Basra during the War and the military authorities paid the full sum for them to the Civil authorities. It was used to help balance the Budget. It is now decided that it is time to repay the owner of those pipes and the sum is to be paid to the owner.
I now come to the points that arise in connection with Spain. The heads which I think it would be convenient to take are the application of the Non-Intervention Agreement, which is item RR; the contribution to the Red Cross, item WW; the evacuation of refugees, item XX; and arrangements preliminary to withdrawal, ZZ. I hope that it will be convenient to consider all the points connected with Spain in one block. Item RR, if read out, sounds very complicated, but the extra sum required can be fairly easily explained. The cost of both schemes of observation, on the Portuguese and the Spanish-French frontiers, originally amounted to £834,000, with the addition of £64,000 which the observation on the 1916 Portuguese-Spanish frontier was to cost, making a total of £898,000. Of this 80 per cent. was to be met by the Big Five Powers. Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany and the Union of Soviet Republics. The share of each of the Big Five was to amount to £143,680, that is 16 per cent. of the total sum referred to. In our case, as the whole of the cost of the observation on the Portuguese-Spanish frontier was to be borne by the British Government, we subtracted the £64,000 which that observation was costing, and that has reduced our liability to £79,680.
We are told that £48,000 will in fact be the cost of this observation on the Spanish-Portuguese frontier, so we should find that the Estimate should result in a repayment to the general fund of £143,680, which would be our share of the general observation, of the sum of £16,000. We have, however, included a figure here of £12,000, because we do not anticipate that the total sum of £16,000 will be necessary. Therefore, we are paying back £12,000 with which we had credited ourselves on the strength of our taking over the observation on the Spanish-Portuguese frontier. The fact that this total sum for observation on the Spanish-Portuguese frontier is less than we had anticipated is largely due to the fact that observation has been in suspense, and it has not been found that the same amount of money was needed as was originally estimated.
Now I come to the head WW, which deals with the "relief of distress in Spain"—a contribution of £5,000 to the Red Cross in Spain. His Majesty's Government, as is known, are signatories of the Geneva Red Cross Convention, and we received in June of last year an appeal from the International Red Cross Committee for financial assistance in the work undertaken by them on behalf of victims of the civil war in Spain. It was explained in that appeal that the funds available from other sources were not sufficient to enable the committee's work in Spain to be carried on. His Majesty's Government have always attached very considerable importance to the relief of non-combatants in Spain, and they have looked for any impartial scheme by which this could be carried out, a scheme on an international basis which might be agreeable to both the contending parties. I think it is well known to hon. Members what good work the International Red 1917 Cross Committee does in regard to such questions as the supply of medical stores to both sides, the organisation of information bureaux, from which news of individual Spaniards may be obtained, the negotiation of exchanges of prisoners and hostages, the provision of evacuation facilities for the civil population of Madrid, and various forms of work on behalf of prisoners. Those are all duties which the International Red Cross has performed and is performing with success, so that in the light of the evidence given of their work, with the consent of both sides, and after taking steps to satisfy ourselves that a number of other Governments were making contributions, His Majesty's Government decided upon the contribution which is in this Supplementary Estimate. I would only add that this sum must not be taken by the Committee as being a final figure of what might be granted to the International Red Cross in this connection.
Another heading under Spain is XX, "evacuation of refugees." This refers to the evacuation of refugees from Madrid, and a sum of £33,000 is included in the Supplementary Estimate. These refugees were evacuated from the foreign missions in Madrid, and this was a humanitarian step which resulted in the saving of many lives and was urged by His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Valencia. The Spanish Government were at that time conducting, under the auspices of the International Red Cross, negotiations with various foreign Governments for the issue of passports to all except men of military age, and between 8th November and 19th December a vessel which was chartered by us succeeded in evacuating no fewer, in all, than 4,100 civilian refugees, who reached the coast by motor services organised by the Acting British Consul at Madrid. I should like to pay a tribute to the authorities concerned and to His Majesty's Consular representatives, who so successfully carried out this excellent piece of work. In addition, there were certain expenses involved in transporting similar refugees in His Majesty's hospital ship "Maine," a ship which some of us have heard of before. The work of the Navy in evacuating refugees is well known, and I do not think it needs any extra tribute of mine to the excellent work that has been done. I would only add that a considerable portion of this expenditure, I am pleased to 1918 tell the Committee, will be recoverable from the various Governments in whose missions the refugees were sheltered. Therefore, at a later date, Appropriations-in-Aid will include a sum which will help to repay the £33,000 for which we are asking now.
I now come to the other heading relating to Spain, ZZ, which deals with preliminary arrangements for the evacuation and withdrawal of volunteers. This particular sum seems a very small one, but if the withdrawal of volunteers is successful, the question at issue is a very large one. In deference to what you said, Sir Dennis, I will restrict my observations to the question on the Paper, which is a request for the sum of £800 for preliminary expenses connected with the withdrawal of volunteers, to which we all attach great importance, if we can make it successful. Pending a settlement of financial arrangements, certain preliminary expenses have been incurred, and these are expected to amount to a certain sum, of which this is a preliminary instalment. The actual expenses referred to here, namely, £800, relate, I am told, to the appointment of a doctor who would advise as to the arrangements made for the creation, for example, of evacuation camps in connection with the withdrawal of these volunteers, and the Committee is being asked to vote this sum now in order that the preliminary arrangements for the withdrawal of volunteers can be proceeded with. I cannot go further into detail at this stage, but the whole question is an important one and is being considered in all its bearings by the Non-Intervention Committee.
Let me now tell the Committee something about the problems which arise in connection with China. The first point is a grant to our Ambassador at that time, Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, which comes under the heading UU. I do not wish to recapitulate all the incidents which occurred at that time. His Majesty's Ambassador, as is known, was seriously wounded by a machine-gun bullet as a result of an attack by two Japanese planes. Let it be said that His Majesty's Government decided themselves to pay the grant for which we are asking the Committee, a sum of £5,000, a grant which they consider is consonant with the importance of the occasion. I am happy to say that the ex-Ambassador's health is improving steadily, and we sincerely 1919 hope that it will be restored so as to enable him to continue to render that conspicuous service to the country which he has given in the past. I am sure the Committee will have pleasure in voting this sum of £5,000 for the purpose which I have described.
I turn next to another heading under China, and that is VV, "evacuation and maintenance of British refugees." This relates to the cost of transport to Hong Kong and the maintenance there of British subjects, mostly women and children, evacuated mainly from Shanghai on the outbreak of hostilities between China and Japan. At the time that this expenditure was incurred, the Committee will remember, there appeared to be considerable ground for thinking that the international settlement south of the Soochow Creek might be endangered by land and air hostilities and that, therefore, the safety of the inhabitants of the international settlement might be jeopardised. British subjects were therefore advised to leave without delay, and approximately 3,800 women and children and 300 men, all in straitened circumstances, were removed, thanks to the arrangements made by our Consular representatives, to whom I would like to pay a further tribute at this moment. Their work has been extremely hard, they have not known any regular hours, and their responsibility has been immense.
We are asking for a Supplementary Estimate of £15,000 for this purpose. Before these refugees were evacuated they were asked to undertake to repay the cost of passage and the cost of their maintenance on their arrival in Hong Kong, but, as I have described to the Committee, many of them being in straitened circumstances, they were unable to pay the preliminary expense themselves. There has also been a certain amount of forced evacuation from their homes of British subjects who fled up the river to Hankow, away from the tide of war advancing up the Yangtze. I can assure the Committee at this stage that the future position in Hankow will be carefully watched, and in particular the possibility of establishing a zone which will be free, as far as possible, from the operations of war if they ever reach that city.
The last heading in relation to China is QQ, on which there is an anticipated 1920 shortage of receipts of fines and fees for services in China in consequence of the Sino-Japanese dispute. That shortage is quite understandable, since the normal activities of peace have been suspended, and all types of Consular fees for services, visas, and so on have not come in to the normal extent.
Now let me deal with the last Supplementary Estimate, which relates to the expenditure needed to settle satisfactorily the Assyrians on the Khabur settlement. The details of that will be found on page 15 of the Supplementary Estimates. The problem of the Assyrians has been a difficult one, but it is not for me to outline the whole history of the case this afternoon. We are looking for a solution. No solution can be completely satisfactory, but we hope that some success will attend the establishment of about 9,000 Assyrians on the Khabur settlement. Let me remind the Committee that after the unhappy incidents of 1933 the Assyrian Committee of the League Council considered the question, and searches were made all over the world, including the British Colonial Empire, for a place where they could be settled. Hopes were finally placed on the Ghab scheme in the French Mandated Territory of Syria. This, unfortunately, had to be abandoned in July, 1936, owing to the sudden change in the Syrian political situation, due to the approaching termination of the French Mandate in Syria, and efforts were made to solve the problem in another way.
As the result of a visit of the French and British members of the Assyrian Committee in the early summer of last year, a scheme in north-east Syria was elaborated which could be expected to give a good chance of economic prosperity for settlers. A definite decision was reached by the League Council in September to reorganise the River Khabur scheme on a permanent basis. We undertook to pay about 43 per cent. of the cost, Iraq undertook to pay a similar amount, and the League the rest, amounting to just under 15 per cent. This £4,000 is a preliminary contribution to the amount deemed necessary to proceed with the work, and which will mostly consist of water wheels, and so forth, to enable cultivation to be undertaken by the settlers. The Committee is being asked on this Estimate for an extra sum of only £10 owing to the fact that there have been various savings on the contri- 1921 bution towards expenses in connection with the League of Nations, such as savings on exchange in buying Swiss francs, on travelling expenses, and on the piece of sculpture for the new League of Nations building.
To conclude the story of the Khabur scheme, in which the Committee has already taken a great interest, the total required at this stage will be £4,000, and that is, as I have explained, offset by certain savings. The ultimate expenditure on the Khabur scheme is expected to be £18,000. That is not nearly so much as the Ghab scheme would have been because the drainage and communication charges are not so much. It is hoped that this scheme will give a better economic future for the Assyrians outside Iraq who have been settled there since 1933, and some since 1936. I feel sure the Committee will have no hesitation in voting this small extra sum or the other sums referred to under the many heads I have had to cover. I would remind the Committee that they have covered administrative questions; questions relating to Spain, chiefly the evacuation of refugees; questions relating to China, and especially the sum to be paid to our Ambassador; and, in conclusion, there has been an amount necessary for the settlement of the Assyrians.
§ The Chairman
In order to get the position quite clear, I take it that it is the pleasure of the Committee to discuss all these three Votes together, with the necesary result that, after the first one has been disposed of, the next two will be put without further discussion. Is that generally approved by the Committee?
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Grenfell
I beg to move, to reduce the Vote by £100.
We welcome very much the appearance of the Under-Secretary at the Box in charge of these Estimates. I am, personally, sorry that the procedure of the House did not permit him freedom to indulge in the glorious flights of poetic fancy. When he opened with the great assemblage of varied wreckage which might have been thrown upon our shores I thought that it was a very good beginning, but he was pulled up sharply by the Chair. He then divided the Estimates and his remarks into some form 1922 of order. He said something about the Assyrians, and I was reminded of a piece of poetry about when the Assyrians folded their tents and silently stole away. Well, the Assyrians disappeared from the hon. Gentleman's speech as soon as he mentioned them, and they only came back at the end of his speech, when I thought they stole away altogether. We find it difficult to deal with the Estimates in this way, and we are sorry that we are not able to get far more information. I hope that before the Vote is taken more information will be given on the very pertinent matters which we wish to raise.
The hon. Member began by dealing with the administrative expenses of the Foreign Office and he rightly pointed to certain salaries which are required under the various Votes. I find under Vote A that increased provision is required for the Passport Office owing to the issue of a larger number of passports. I do not know whether that was in connection with Spain. The hon. Member also called attention to the cost of the additional staff and extra pay necessitated by the setting up of the Committee for Non-Intervention in Spain and by the political situation abroad. We would like to know what kind of work that extra staff is doing and why it has been necessary to enlarge the staff in view of the meagre results obtained by the activities of the Non-Intervention Committee. The Committee is not producing the results which we have a right to expect from a body of such long standing, and a body entrusted with such momentous responsibilities for the interests of our own country and the peace of the world. Nobody would object to the employment of additional staff, be it small or large, if the full purpose of the Non-Intervention Committee were being brought to greater realisation.
§ The Chairman
I must warn the hon. Member now that the whole policy of intervention and whether it is successful or not cannot be discussed. He certainly cannot do so on this item for a small increase of staff; it might quite conceivably be the case that if the Non-Intervention Committee's efforts were unsuccessful it would require a bigger staff than if it were successful.
§ Mr. Grenfell
I want to know whether we are justified in voting for this extra staff, and I thought I might be in order in inquiring whether the results of the 1923 work of the staff of the Non-Intervention Committee justified the additional expense. We are told that there is one interpreter, but we are not told whether he is in Spain or in Portugal, whether he is stationed here, or whether he is employed by the Committee elsewhere. We are not told whether the typists are working in London or are engaged somewhere else in the service of the Non-Intervention Committee. I imagine that they are engaged in attendance upon the Committee and serving the meetings of the Committee from time to time. It is due from me on this side to say that we are disappointed to find that the expenditure of the Non-Intervention Committee is higher than the estimated budget. We feel that we are not getting full value for the money, and that this expenditure is largely wasted.
The Under-Secretary then, for the convenience of the Committee and for his own convenience in the circumstances, coupled together Votes RR, WW, XX and ZZ, and I will make some observations upon each. I thought that on Vote RR we should be permitted to say more than your discretion, Sir Dennis, apparently allows us. I am sorry to find that under this Vote the increase of expenditure should not be the subject of far greater explanation. We have been told the figures, which are familiar to those who have read the history of non-intervention. We know that 27 States joined together to meet the expenses of administration in varying proportions. The greater burden was carried by five large Powers, and 22 States between them bore only 20 per cent. of the cost. The Under-Secretary told us that it looks very complicated, and I feel sure that, when he reads his speech to-morrow, he will find that his explanation was complicated too. We gather from him that there is a surplus of money in hand, that the expenditure is less by a considerable sum than was anticipated, and that certain adjustments have been made on account of the cessation of the activities of the observers on the Portuguese frontier.
As I understand the explanation, the observations have been in suspension, the Portuguese frontier has been opened, and, therefore, the expenditure has been reduced. During the period when the frontier has been opened, large quantities of munitions could easily have passed into 1924 Spain because of the suspension of observations. That is a most deplorable thing. There is a considerable quantity of foreign personnel and material in Spain, and no one knows how much is due to the cessation of observations on the Portuguese frontier during the period referred to. The £12,000 which has been saved may have led to a considerable increase in the flow of munitions into Spain which it was intended should be stopped by observers on the frontier. Some explanation should be given to the Committee regarding the period of suspense and the lines of communication which were left unattended during this time.
Head WW refers to the Red Cross work in Spain, and a Vote of £5,000 has been allocated for the purpose of assisting the International Red Cross. The hon. Gentleman told us that this Red Cross is an international body with headquarters in Spain for the time being, and that it has sufficient international confidence to attend to questions of mediation, the exchange of soldiers, the evacuation of foreign nationals in Madrid, and a variety of other purposes. When I was in Madrid in November or December of 1936 I saw the representative of this body, and knew that he was doing some work at that time, but I should like to know whether the evacuations from Madrid have been confined solely to foreign nationals who were recommended for evacuation on the grounds of personal safety by the heads of the foreign embassies in that city.
There was a tremendous problem of evacuation in Madrid 18 months ago. We called the attention of the International Red Cross to it, and I think the matter was taken by the Foreign Office to the League of Nations at Geneva, and that there was also some discussion in the central office of the International Red Cross in Switzerland. I should like to know whether there is any possibility of utilising the services of this body for the evacuation of a large number of the civilian population, both the people of Madrid itself and refugees who have come in from the surrounding country. There is in that city a large surplus of population beyond its ordinary residential capacity, and it was urgent even 15 or 18 months ago that those people should be evacuated. I do not know the position to-day, but I should like to know whether this contract with the Interna- 1925 tional Red Cross could not be developed so that they might play a still greater part in evacuating the civil population.
Then we come to the item "XX, Evacuation of refugees from Spain." This deals with the same class of people, I assume, but not under the same auspices. The Governments responsible undertook the evacuation of 4,000 non-combatants who had taken refuge in certain foregin embassies in Madrid. I do not know whether I risk being controversial in asking whether careful inquiries were made into the bona fides of some of these people. We were told in Madrid that certain foreign embassies had given shelter to a large number of people who were deemed to be members of General Franco's party and pledged to his cause. In some there were said to be as many as 500 or 600 of these persons, and there was some evidence of that.
§ Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft
Is it in order for hon. Members to make reflections against the embassies of foreign Powers in a certain capital?
§ Mr. Grenfell
There is no reflection. These are well-known facts. The hon. and gallant Member himself should know something about it. He would hear from the Foreign Office, if he made inquiries, that reports have been made about this matter and that the information has been well established. Certain embassies in Madrid were closed because they were known to have sheltered partisans, and I should like to know whether supervision was exercised over the withdrawal of these people, and whether the Spanish Government was taken into consultation. As I have said 4,000 people have been taken away. It was a tremendous undertaking, in view of the extent to which Madrid was dependent upon motor transport for its daily existence. To give even road space and to provide vehicles to take 4,000 people to the coast was an act of generosity and consideration by the authorities of Madrid. I only wish that all foreigners who chanced to be in Spain and were not involved in the struggle could have been taken away from any possible danger. We must be careful, however, not to make it possible for partisans to come and go, and to be given shelter under the auspices of a movement such as this, when there is no guarantee that their evacuation will not 1926 be followed by further action against the Spanish Government.
Then we come to item ZZ, and on that I should like to take your advice, Sir Dennis, as to whether I could venture upon a suggestion. It is a new Vote, a kind of token Vote of money for preliminary steps in the anticipated withdrawal of volunteers from Spain. I say "volunteers" because that is the word used here. There are volunteers on the Government side and also on the insurgent side, but there are on both sides a very large number of foreign troops who are not volunteers. The great bulk of the foreign troops on the insurgent side are undoubtedly men who have been sent to Spain with the approval and under the auspices of their own Governments, and people who go in' that way, whether conscripts or not, cannot be said to be volunteers in the same way as any one who volunteers as an individual to take part in the struggle. There were Irish volunteers who went out to General Franco, many of whom, I understand, have since come home, and there have been other volunteers, English, French and American, taking part on Franco's side. They are on a par with the volunteers who went to the Government side. I met Germans, Italians, Poles, Czechs, Belgians, Englishmen, Scotsmen and Welshmen among the volunteers on the Government side. I understand that this token Vote implies the withdrawal of foreign troops from Spain and is not confined to the genuine volunteers.
§ The Chairman
I understood that the hon. Member was putting a point of Order to me, or asking my advice whether this could be discussed.
§ Mr. Grenfell
The point to which I was coming is that the Under-Secretary spoke of this as a Vote for the preliminary steps to be taken towards a withdrawal, and I should like to know what is to follow those preliminary steps. Can we discuss the extent to which withdrawal is anticipated, and whether this is to initiate a stream of withdrawals which will cost an infinitely larger sum?
§ The Chairman
No, in my opinion this is not the occasion on which that can be discussed. Pending the settlement of the actual arrangements for withdrawal certain preliminary expenses are being met, and this Vote is to be regarded as merely 1927 an indication that there is on foot a proposal for withdrawal. The Foreign Office is dealing with these preliminaries, and no doubt correspondence is going on; I think the Under-Secretary implied that certain advice was being obtained; but as these are expenses for these preliminary steps only I do not think there is much which can be discussed, unless it be whether or not any negotiations should be entered into for the withdrawal.
§ Mr. Grenfell
The Under-Secretary himself said this was a very large question, and that if the preliminary steps were successful a very large undertaking would be set on foot.
§ Mr. Grenfell
No, I do not suppose we should use the same vocabulary. I am willing to be corrected. Will the Under-Secretary tell us what he meant by his statement?
§ Mr. Butler
I said this was a very long question and that we were asking for certain expenses to deal with preliminary inquiries.
§ Mr. Grenfell
I think we can agree that there is no difference between us, except that I wish to know what are the steps which are to follow, what withdrawal of volunteers does he anticipate, and the conditions. This would be a waste of time and public money if the preliminary steps were to lead to nothing else, but if this is an essential step towards a larger programme we should not object, and that is the matter on which I should like to have further light thrown. This is an important and an urgent question. A great deal depends on what we can achieve in the way of making non-intervention successful. As I understand it, the Non-Intervention Committee is marking time, and none of this expenditure would be justified if it makes no more progress than it has made so far. It is waiting for an agreement on the fundamental issue of the numbers of foreign troops which are to be withdrawn.
There has been correspondence with the Italian Government regarding the withdrawal of foreign volunteers from Spain. His Majesty's Government sent a statement to the Italian Government on 2nd October, 1937, and a reply came on 1928 9th October, and the points of agreement and the points yet to be cleared up are indicated in a document which has been published. I should like to know from the Under-Secretary whether the negotiations, the expenses of which we are asked to meet, are well in hand, and whether, when these preliminaries have been completed, we shall then start right away on a large-scale withdrawal of foreign volunteers from both sides in Spain. In short, are we coming nearer to giving real effect to the work of the Non-Intervention Committee? So far non-intervention has failed. I could give quotations on that point from right hon. Gentlemen opposite and on this side of the House, and I know what the country at large thinks. The country is amazed to find that we have permitted this sham of non-intervention to be carried on for so long while the number of foreign troops in Spain has been increasing every day.
§ Mr. Grenfell
Yes, but the hon. and gallant Member would not agree with my point of view, because he thinks the great preponderance of foreign troops is on one side. The foreign troops are in Spain as the agents and the armed emissaries of the Government which sent them there.
§ Mr. Grenfell
Is there any use in discussing further expenditure upon the Non-Intervention Committee unless effect is given to the withdrawal of volunteers? We are now discussing the preliminary steps before the withdrawal of volunteers. I still try to be an optimist, and I look forward to this country and all the other countries of Europe playing a really honourable part in this tragic story of Spain. One is driven almost to despair by the delay. Everybody complains of the delay in giving effect to the terms already agreed upon. One of the terms agreed upon, verbally and officially, was the withdrawal of foreign troops. When that has been done, the way will be open for further steps forward. I have no authority for the statement that I am about to make, but if we were assured of the withdrawal of foreign volunteers and that it will be effected in a short, measurable space of time, I should look forward to real negotiations between the 1929 Spanish Government and everybody else in Spain with a view to seeing whether by mediation something could be done to shorten the conflict. That all depends upon the drive behind the movement for the withdrawal of foreign troops. Unless we have that assurance, I should say that the bulk of the provision for the expenditure of public money is wasted. The Non-Intervention Committee might as well pack up unless something is done to give effect to the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Something was said by the Under-Secretary about China. He said that there were certain British refugees who had been caught in the conflict in China from the outbreak of hostilities. When was the outbreak of hostilities? No official date has been fixed. These people lost their homes, their resources, and narrowly escaped with their lives in a struggle in which they had no part. They were driven from their homes and certain expense has been incurred by our Government in removing them to places of safety. They were asked if they could provide the money to pay for their passage, and when it was found that they had no means, we are told, an undertaking was asked from them that they would repay the cost of their removal. That is about the shabbiest thing that I have ever heard of. Why should not the Japanese Government be asked to pay the cost? They are the aggressors. They invaded another country and our people were the victims of their aggression. Why should not the country responsible for their sorry plight be made to foot the bill? Nobody objects to these people being removed to places of safety, but to put the ultimate responsibility of the cost of their removal on the taxpayers of this country is to relinquish our rightful claim against the country who are responsible.
With regard to the £5,000 compensation to be paid to the former British Ambassador in China, we all wish to compliment him upon his escape. He is a man of whom nothing but good is known; a brave man who was the victim of conditions for which he was not in the least responsible. Has the Government insisted that Japan should pay in this case? This man was injured as a result of action by a foreign Government, and that Government should be made responsible for the 1930 injury done to him, and should foot the bill.
The Under-Secretary said that the provision for the Assyrians was a very difficult problem, for which they had been seeking a solution for some years. He said that a scheme which at one time seemed to be promising had to be abandoned and that another scheme of location as a home for these people had to be found. We are told that it is a tripartite scheme, towards the cost of which Iraq is to make a contribution, Britain another contribution and the League of Nations a smaller contribution of, I think, 15 per cent. The Under-Secretary pointed out that the money was to be spent in providing conditions of existence for an agricultural population and helping them in regard to cultivation. No one objects to this Vote, which will get easy consent. Certainly, no objection will come from these benches.
The Under-Secretary also referred to a certain saving. It is good to hear of a saving, but a saving in the case of the League of Nations rather tickled me. He spoke about saving on a piece of sculpture for the League of Nations building. What is an appropriate piece of sculpture for the League of Nations? I should like to see more money and more confidence voted to the League, instead of the Government coming before the House with a miserable allowance for this great institution, which is the cheapest institution of its kind the world has ever known, and promises to give more than 100-fold value for any expenditure incurred on it. I should like to have a living effigy of the League doing its full work, responding to the world-wide demand for guaranteed peace and ensuring contentment and security for peoples everywhere. I have not been able to make the kind of speech I should have liked to make. I should have liked to cover the whole ground of the failure of non-intervention in Spain, but I have to be content by moving a reduction of the Vote, and with the speech that I have made.
§ 5.7 p.m.
§ Sir Edward Grigg
There is only one point that I wish to raise, and I think I can do so without in any way transgressing the rules of order or incurring the displeasure of the Chair. Before raising the point, I should like to congratulate my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of 1931 State on the efficiency and lucidity with which he discharged his task, and to say that his many friends on the benches behind the Government will watch his career in his new post with great good will and great confidence. The point I wish to raise refers to the Vote for a grant to His Majesty's late Ambassador in China. I am not going to question the propriety of that grant in any way. Our Ambassador in China was and is a most distinguished officer. He was motoring along a public road on his lawful vocation when he became a victim of what we regard as an inexcusable and indefensible attack. We are glad to know that he is recovering satisfactorily from the wounds he received.
While not questioning the propriety of the Vote, I should like to ask for information. Are we in this grant creating a new precedent, or are there precedents for grants of this character? If we are creating a new precedent, is it to be of general application? I have known many instances of less distinguished but equally public-spirited officers who have been wounded and even killed in the service of His Majesty in different parts of the British Empire, and I think we should all like to think that officers who suffer in the discharge of their duties, through no fault of their own, are indemnified, or their relatives are indemnified, in the same way as this very distinguished member of the Diplomatic Service.
The case is different where compensation is demanded from a foreign Government. I do not press that point in that case, because there may be difficulties. I remember that in Egypt a case of this kind, which led to the almost immediate death of a very distinguished officer, was made a case of compensation from another Government. While not pressing that point in the present case, I think we ought to know whether this is a new precedent, or, if there are precedents for it, what the precedents are, and whether the same kind of consideration will be given to all officers in the public service throughout the British Empire or serving at the courts of other countries. I raise the point with the feeling that all officers of His Majesty should receive the same consideration, according to their rank. We should all like to know that they will in future receive that consideration, if this is a new precedent.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ Mr. W. Roberts
I should like to add my word of welcome to the new Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and to ask him a question in connection with item ZZ—the evacuation of refugees from Spain. I welcome this grant by the British Government towards humanitarian work in Spain. A remarkable fact about the Spanish war is the amount of humanitarian work that has been done not only by this country but by democratic countries all over the world. Many organisations have raised money for various forms of relief. It is not an exaggeration to say that the amount of money collected in England for Spanish relief runs into a sum which would make this grant by the British Government look very small. I do not complain on that account, because one realises that a Government necessarily cannot give as generously as individuals. Certainly, a great deal of relief work has been done through these organisations. Organisations have also done much work in evacuating Spaniards from Madrid. I think the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Grenfell) misunderstood the position, if I understood him aright, in thinking that money had been used for evacuating foreigners in the interests of foreign Governments. I think I am right in saying that the money was almost exclusively used for evacuating Spaniards.
§ Mr. Roberts
The figure of £4,000 relates to exactly the same number as-were evacuated from Madrid at a much cheaper rate by a voluntary organisation. That did not, however, include evacuation from Valencia by ship. The question that I particularly wanted to ask was this: The Under-Secretary mentioned that the Governments of various countries were making payments in regard to the cost of this evacuation, and that those would come in as Appropriations-in-Aid. I understand that in addition to the Governments making such grants, the individuals concerned paid in some cases very considerable sums before it was decided to make use of these facilities. Is it possible to give a figure of how much was contributed by the Spaniards concerned and how much the figure actually was? Passing on to item ZZ, I 1933 would query, as did the hon. Member for Gower, the word "volunteers" which still appears in the heading, and which has been used for too long. It is time we dropped this expression. The majority of Italians and Germans in Spain are in no sense volunteers, although there are volunteers on the Government side. The real problem is not the withdrawal of volunteers but the withdrawal of troops in Spain.
If we are asked for the first time to make a contribution towards this policy, which is a new policy, perhaps it is right for me to say that I have been looking through some of the records on this matter. I find that the Italians first agreed to withdrawal a little over a year ago, and that they have been agreeing to it ever since, as far as I can make out. It has not cost us anything, but while they have been agreeing to it the problem has been growing larger by the arrival of more troops. May we be assured that in granting this money we are not subscribing to any new policy of the Government for the withdrawal of so-called volunteers? I have recognised in the answers which have been given during the last few days that there has not been any great anxiety to enlighten the questioners in regard to the situation which now exists. This may be a suitable time for the Government to give us a statement of their policy in regard to so-called volunteers. Is it possible to give us any indication in the reply which will be made whether the programme and the scheme laid down in the British plan of July, and re-asserted and agreed to by all concerned on 4th November, are the basis of what is being considered at the present time?
We have not yet been told precisely what formula is being used—I think that is the Prime Minister's own word—and which has been agreed to by the Italians. We want to know whether that formula is strictly limited to the way in which volunteers should be withdrawn or whether it is a new form of the British plan of July and 4th November. These questions as to the way in which withdrawal is to be carried out are of paramount importance. Perhaps I might quote the military correspondent of the "Times" of 26th February. I would draw attention to an important point concerning the relative importance of the different types of troops who may be with- 1934 drawn and the time at which they should be withdrawn. I will quote the precise words:The indications are that the number of foreign technicians as well as of ordinary troops, is much higher on the Nationalist side than on the Government side."—
§ The Chairman
I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is going too far. The item that we are discussing is a contribution to preliminary expenses to be met out of an advance made by the International Council for Non-Intervention. It is merely His Majesty's Government share of those preliminary expenses, and the money will be spent by quite a different body. It would not be in order for us to discuss any of the proceedings of the International Council for Non-Intervention.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Sir Stafford Cripps
This is altogether a new subject, which has never appeared before in the Estimates, and the amount asked for is a Token Vote under that subhead. Are we not entitled to discuss the advisability or not of making any appropriation whatever under such a sub-head? If we are not, we shall be in the position of being unable to discuss the purpose of this expenditure at any period of time. This is a new subject now being introduced, and I suggest that it is for this Committee to say whether or not we should make a contribution to the International Council for Non-Intervention for the purposes stated here, which relate to the withdrawing of volunteers from Spain. It is essential that we should know on what the money is to be spent by the International Council before we grant the Vote, and we should be able to give our views as to whether we think it is wise to spend money for this purpose. We cannot say that we are to give it to the International Council for Non-Intervention to go out and have dinner with it, or to do anything they like. The money is for some special purpose, and I suggest that it is for this Committee to discuss that purpose, this being a new subject.
§ The Chairman
A great deal of what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said is true in theory, but when you come to apply it in practice to this Vote one or two things arise which he overlooked. In the first place, this is a contribution to particular preliminary expenses for certain purposes which cannot be gone 1935 into. We are proposing to put this money into the hands of another body to make use of, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, and it is the time to consider whether any Vote should be given at all, but we certainly cannot go on discussing the policy or policies of the International Council.
§ Sir S. Cripps
You say that this is a contribution for certain purposes; are we not entitled to discuss those certain purposes? When this Committee is asked to make a contribution for certain purposes, are we debarred from discussing those certain purposes? I understand your Ruling to be that although this money is for certain purposes we may not discuss those certain purposes.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member does not correctly state what I said. I did not say that the Committee cannot discuss the purposes for which the money is required. The contribution is for certain preliminary expenses, pending the settlement of certain financial arrangements. What those preliminary expenses are, so far as information can be given, is a perfectly legitimate subject to inquire about.
§ Sir S. Cripps
I am anxious that this extremely important question should not pass by unnoticed. This money is to be a contribution towards particular preliminary expenses in connection with the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain under an arrangement by the International Council. Let me put the matter in this way to you: Suppose there to be in existence a pact which the International Council may or may not implement, and that the question is whether we should initiate the implementing of that pact by providing certain money for preliminary expenses. If I then desired to say that I opposed the expenditure of this £800 because I believed that the plan proposed was thoroughly bad and vicious and that we ought not to take any part in it, or that some other Member wished to say: "I believe we ought to spend £800 in this way, because this is a good and useful plan," surely the Committee would have to judge those expenses in the light of the object to which it was preliminary? The word "preliminary" has no context unless we know something about that to which it is preliminary, and has no meaning unless it relates to an expectation of something to 1936 be done thereafter. When being asked to grant supply of a preliminary nature we must be entitled to discuss that to which it is preliminary, and to say whether it is wise to spend the money in view of whatever is likely to eventuate.
§ The Chairman
I prefer to give my Ruling on the meaning of the words on the Paper rather than upon a hypothetical case supposed and put up by the hon. and learned Member. It is legitimate to discuss and to express views upon the question whether any contribution should be made towards preliminary expenses pending the settlement of certain arrangements, and on account of an advance made by the International Council. I have not moved from what I said, which is that the proceedings of the International Council for Non-Intervention in Spain are not a matter for debate in detail upon this particular Vote.
§ 5.26 p.m.
§ The Chairman
I have given my Ruling upon the main point, and I cannot allow hon. Members practically to make speeches on matters they want to talk about in the form of questions on points of Order based upon hypothetical questions. It will be better for the Debate to continue, and it must be left in the ordinary way to the occupant of the Chair to intervene if he finds it necessary to do so.
§ 5.29 p.m.
§ Mr. W. Roberts
I will do my best to keep within your Ruling. It is not my intention to discuss the whole question of non-intervention but the narrow question of the withdrawal of so-called volunteers. It seems to me essential that we should be able to form an opinion whether this money should or should not be voted. 1937 The question at issue is, What is the plan to be for which this £800 is part of the preliminary expenses? If it is a plan of a certain type we should support it, and if it is a plan of a different type we should be compelled to oppose it.
If I am in order, I should like to say that in any withdrawal of volunteers we regard the position of the technicians as of vital importance, and I should like to ask the Under-Secretary how the plan for which we are voting this money is likely to affect the position of technicians who may be advising in Spain at the present time. We want the plan for the withdrawal of troops and technicians to be a fair one, but, as regards the technicians, I foresee another grave injustice to one side in the Spanish conflict. My authority for that is the correspondent of the "Times," who has pointed out that there is a larger number of troops on the side of the insurgents, and that there is also an overwhelming majority of technicians on that side, and any withdrawal which does not take account of these facts will do very grave injustice to the Spanish Government. I do not want to dwell further on that point, but, if it be possible for the Government to give us any indication as to their attitude, as to what communication has been made to the Governments included in the Non-Intervention Agreement, and as to the specific proposal that is before them, we shall be very grateful.
These schemes for withdrawal have been part of a wider scheme. It is no use withdrawing troops from Spain if the frontiers are not effectively controlled so that the troops do not immediately return; but that is a totally different thing from the control of certain frontiers which is being pressed on the British Government at the present time. That is not a part of the original British plan of last July, which specifically laid it down that such control should only come into force in connection with, and—I think these were the precise words—should shortly precede, the commencement of the withdrawal. We consider that if, as the result of a general promise which has been given again and again in the last year, control were imposed upon the Franco-Spanish frontier, that would inflict the gravest injustice on one side in Spain.
§ The Chairman
Although on some matters which are a little outside the 1938 actual subject of the Debate, if an hon. Member asks a question briefly and the Minister is prepared to reply to it, I do not raise any objection; but that does not mean that I can allow the matter to be debated. Perhaps my language has not been very clear, but what I wanted to point out was that in my view the action of the International Committee on Non-Intervention in Spain is too remote for debate on this question of a contribution of £800 to a total of £5,000 for preliminary expenses.
§ Mr. Grenfell
If the action of the Non-Intervention Committee is too remote, are not the circumstances with which that Committee are faced, and which are to be met first of all by preliminary action of this kind, worthy and able to be debated in this Chamber to-day?
§ The Chairman
According to what the hon. Gentleman puts to me, he is apparently arguing that we can now debate the whole question of policy in regard to any arrangement or proposal for the withdrawal of volunteers. That, certainly, I must rule to be quite out of order.
§ Mr. Roberts
I was rather encouraged by your earlier Ruling in connection with the discussion of the question whether there should be any negotiations or not, and it is only from a consideration of these admittedly rather more general points that we can come to any conclusion as to whether there should be any negotiations for the withdrawal of volunteers. I will not tresspass much further, but I should like, if I may, to put this quite simple question to the Government: Are the present proposals for the withdrawal of volunteers in any way connected with the immediate closing of the French frontier? I trust that that is not the case, because, to give only one reason, it would seem to me to inflict a grave injustice on one side in Spain. I only want to put one other point. I believe that the Non-Intervention Committee is in some of its aspects a registered company, as it is called Non-Intervention, Limited. The name certainly lends itself to misunderstanding, or perhaps to understanding, and it was registered, I think, on a day in April, though not, I believe, the 1st. I would like to ask where the finances of Non-Intervention, Limited, stand. We are contributing a considerable sum under this Vote, and I should like to know what other Governments have paid their 1939 dues, whether all the contributions have been paid, and, if not, who has not paid.
Finally, I trust that, if the Committee approves of this Vote of £800 for the withdrawal of troops in Spain, we shall not find that we are in fact paying for the withdrawal of Italian troops—that is to say, I trust that any financial arrangements that may be made will be fair, and will provide that those countries which have nationals in Spain shall pay a substantial part of the cost of the withdrawal. I see no reason why we should pay for the repatriation of troops who have gone there contrary to the undertaking given by their Governments.
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ Sir H. Croft
I do not intend to detain the Committee for very long, and I shall endeavour to keep within the limits that were observed by the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. D. R. Grenfell). I will not refer at length to the various items that we are discussing, but I should like to congratulate the Minister on the fact that we have saved a little money on the memorial tablet or tombstone at the Palace of Geneva, and I rejoice to think that we are at last doing something for the Assyrians, who were such very loyal friends of ours for many years, especially in the Great War. I should also like, and I am sure every Member of the Committee will agree with me, to congratulate the Government on the services of our forces, naval and mercantile marine, to both sides in assisting so many thousands of people to escape from the suffering which they encountered in the Spanish Civil War. I think that that part of the Minister's speech was very welcome to all in the Committee.
I should not be intervening in this Debate but for the speeches that one hears on the other side. I think it would be much better if we confined our energies to Britain and the British Empire. Hon. Members opposite will admit that for three months after the campaign was first raised on those benches I kept silent, but it seems to me that we ought to be absolutely detached and to represent both sides. In attempting to do so I hope I have not given offence to anyone above the Gangway. Hon. Members opposite certainly have not given any offence to me in this Chamber, though they have done so by what they have said to foreign audiences in Spain.
1940 We are now considering a small additional expenditure in view of consultations which are about to take place for bringing about the withdrawal of foreign fighting men from Spain. It would be very easy to put forward arguments to rebut those which have been used, but I will content myself with stating the broad principle that I personally should not wish to support this Vote unless I was convinced that the policy was likely to be a practical policy, and that it is going to be attempted all round. It would ill become us to criticise the motives of the Government in attempting to carry out the policy of non-intervention, which came to us from France and which the Government have done their utmost to interpret fairly in the spirit and in the letter.
The object of this Vote is to bring about machinery for reducing the number of foreign fighting men on both sides, but if this policy is to succeed, as we all want it to succeed, it would appear to be essential that in the first place we should use every diplomatic effort that we can with all sides to prevent any more men from going into Spain. We should use our influence in that direction especially with those with whom we have remained on such good terms during all these difficult times, in order that they may realise that His Majesty's Government are most anxious that no further fighting men on any side should go over the borders into Spain. The hon. Member for Gower pointed to the slight saving that had been effected by taking off control at the Portuguese frontier, but I think he forgot to mention that there is a larger and more important frontier in Spain, namely, the Pyrenees. That frontier is far more important, because a far greater stream of men has been going over it. That fact is well known; it was actually debated in the French Chamber last week.
I understand, from what the hon. Member for Gower said, that he thinks it is correct that, while observers are being removed, countries which are absolutely bound to non-intervention should ignore those restrictions which we thought they would put on themselves. Are we ever going to achieve anything by this policy with which the Estimate we are voting to-day is concerned unless we all, as far as we can, try to carry out the spirit of non-intervention? Hon. Members deplore the fact that there have 1941 been Italian troops fighting in Spain. If we could all agree in this House that every foreigner in Spain, including those who have been invited to go by hon. Gentlemen sitting on the benches above the Gangway, should be withdrawn at once, it would be much easier to arrive at a world understanding. It is no good emptying one side of the syphon if the water is pouring in at the other. You will not get this machinery into operation unless it is clearly understood that while we are bringing pressure to bear on certain countries to agree to the withdrawal of volunteers, other countries are not pouring in thousands more. I have tried to avoid using names of countries, because I am sure that if one thing has shone out in this business it is that the Government of this country and well-affected citizens have tried to play the game. Now is the time, if there is going to be a more peaceful attitude in the world, for us to do everything in our power to follow a similar course and make the same sacrifices as we have done, and see that we carry out the literal interpretation of non-intervention that we understood when France pointed the way to us.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson
I do not propose to follow the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft), except to say that his references to the policy of non-intervention should not cause us to forget that, if it had not been for those with whom he is associated, in sentiment at any rate, there would never have been any need for a policy of nonintervention. I would like to turn to the question of China, and to ask the Under-Secretary whether the Vote which has reference to evacuation and maintenance of British refugees in China has reference to refugees from Nanking as well as Shanghai and Hankow. The position of British civilians in China is becoming even more desperate as the tide of invasion advances in that unhappy country. In the Middle Ages it was considered always that war between two countries involved war against all the civilians in those countries, but more recently the practice has been accepted—by all international lawyers, at any rate; and I believe, by the militarists of all countries—that war should not be waged against civilians. Unfortunately, we seem to be reverting to the barbarism of the past, 1942 and to-day we witness the terrible distress that has come to those who have no part or lot in war. Therefore, I welcome any expenditure which will be used to aid the unfortunate civilians who have become subject to the horrors of war. I particularly mention Nanking because of the terrible events which have taken place in that city. In the "Daily Telegraph" of 28th January, we have, on the authority of the special correspondent of that paper, a report to this effect:Reports and letters sent by professors at the University of Nanking and by American missionaries at the Japanese Embassy and to the missionary headquarters … describe wholesale executions, rape and looting. One missionary estimates the number of Chinese slaughtered at Nanking as 20,000 while thousands of women, including young girls, have, it is stated, been outraged. … Repeated complaints are made that the Japanese authorities have done nothing to curb their troops. Unspeakable crimes, it is declared, have been committed in full view of the Japanese Embassy staff.That account has been corroborated, to some extent, by a report in the "Manchester Guardian," dated 14th February, to this effect:It is becoming possible … to reckon up some of the damage done in property and lives. Foreigners estimate the number of deaths at about 10,000. Most of these were killed in cold blood and many of them were civilians shot without pretext. Men who admitted to having served with the Chinese Army on promise of no worse punishment than forced labour, were taken away in batches and killed. Foreigners heard the promise made and interviewed men who had escaped from the firing squads, or crawled away with bayonet wounds after having been left for dead. It is almost impossible to estimate the numbers of women raped, but it can hardly have been less than 8,000, judging from the cases actually proved.I would like to ask the Minister whether, in connection with the amount of £15,000 which is provided in this particular Vote for the evacuation of British refugees from China, he is satisfied that the whole of our fellow-citizens who were in China at the commencement of these hostilities have now been evacuated from the danger zones, and whether the steps which have been taken, in respect of which this expenditure has been incurred, cover British citizens in Nanking as well as Shanghai and Hankow.
I would like to draw attention to another item concerning the relief of distress in Spain. I think the Committee will have in mind the statement of the ex-Foreign Secretary about two weeks 1943 ago that certain initiative had been taken by His Majesty's Government with regard to the position of civilians as a result of air bombardment. The House was told this afternoon that His Majesty's Government was still in consultation with the French Government on this particular question, but, having regard to the fact that a good deal of the distress to which this Vote refers is directly the result of air bombardment, whether from one side or the other in the Spanish civil war, I think it is pertinent to ask the Under-Secretary to give a little more information with regard to possible future developments in this connection. Only last week, in the "Times," it was reported that Barcelona had been subject to 10 air attacks within a space of 36 hours. It does not require much imagination to appreciate the distress that must have been occasioned, and that this problem which has given the Government so much concern can only be accentuated the longer this policy of air bombardment continues. Is it not possible for other countries besides the British and French to be associated with representations in connection with air bombardment? I hesitate to ask that the assistance of the Non-Intervention Committee should be sought in this connection because, as my hon. Friend said a few minutes ago, they have been sitting for 18 months on another aspect of the civil war, and if we are to wait another 18 months the position will be infinitely worse than it is to-day.
I would also remind the Committee that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction, not only in this country, but in others, over the tardiness of the Non-Intervention Committee in arranging for the implementing of the British scheme for the withdrawal of volunteers from both sides. We on this side support the proposal to reduce the Vote, because we desire that something should be done to bring about the withdrawal of the large numbers of Italian troops who are at present serving on the side of General Franco. I hope the Minister will be able to give some indication later that, while he cannot commit the Non-Intervention Committee itself, he will, at any rate, attempt to reassure the Committee that there is every probability that in the very near future it will be possible to implement the British scheme by establishing 1944 the machinery which will be essential if that policy is to be carried out, and that we may be reassured that, in the very near future, these foreign volunteers will be taken away from Spanish territories.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Mander
There are one or two questions I would like to put to the Under-Secretary. First, in reference to item RR, can he give us some information as to these observers, and particularly those who are to watch on the Spanish-Portuguese frontier? They have been called off their work for a considerable time, and one would like to know where they are. Are they having a good time in Lisbon, or are they in this country? How many are there, and are they in such a position that they can be called back to duty at short notice? I would like to ask the same questions about those observers on the Pyrenees frontier. We are entitled to information respecting these very important persons who are holding themselves in readiness if called upon. I would also like to ask some questions about item UU, which relates to His Majesty's Ambassador in China. I find myself in full agreement with the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) just now. I agree that the Ambassador is fully entitled to be treated in this way. We all deeply regret the entirely unjustifiable outrage that was perpetrated in his case. We hope that he will be fully restored to excellent health, but we are entitled to ask whether there is a precedent for this? Is it something which is usually done, and is it only done in the case of Ambassadors? As was said by the hon. Member, there are a large number of people, some important and some unimportant, who are wounded or lose their lives performing their duty in the same sort of way as a very distinguished Ambassador, and they are just as much entitled to recognition and compensation as the Ambassador.
I remember well that when the Government made their protest to the Japanese Government about this outrage they took particular care not to base it on the fact that the person who had been shot down was an Ambassador, but took the line that he was a British subject. They approached it on broad, general lines, and quite rightly. Therefore, let us so approach the question of compensa- 1945 tion, and not allow anyone to say that this is a class affair and that compensation is given only because the individual concerned occupies a very important position. We are also entitled to know whether the Japanese Government are to be pressed to repay this sum to the British Government. I should have thought that that was the very least they could be expected to do. I hope that we shall be told whether application has been made or whether it will be made for repayment in this and similar cases. Before passing from this aspect of it, I would make, possibly from some points of view the controversial comment, that the shooting down of a British Ambassador and other similar acts show the pitiable and humiliating position in which this country is placed in the Far East through the complete failure of the foreign policy of the British Government in that part of the world.
I would put one or two further questions to the Under-Secretary following upon those that were put by my hon. Friend, who raised the question as to what steps were to be taken to see that troops who come out of Spain do not return. That is a very important matter and I hope to get some information about it. It is not only that we do not want the troops to return, but it is very important that there should not be a transfer of naval vessels. If that took place the scheme upon which we are now entering under this new service would be quite futile, and we ought not to vote money even for the beginning of it. Is it proposed to include measures which will prevent the arrival of aircraft and pilots? That is an absolutely vital part of it, and if that is not going to be part of the general scheme which the Government have in mind, we ought not to support the expenditure which is suggested here. The hon. Member made some reference to the fact that a doctor was to be employed. I take it that he meant that at certain places he was going to recommend that buildings should be set up for embarkation purposes, and perhaps we could have a little more information on that subject.
Lastly, I turn to the question of the Assyrians. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) said that he was very glad that something was being done at last for the Assyrians. That is the exact opposite 1946 of the truth. Very little is being done for the Assyrians. The last time the matter came before this House—and I remember taking part in the Debate—the Government were able to say that there was a scheme in existence which would enable them to do something for all the Assyrians, but, unfortunately, as my hon. Friend has said, that scheme broke down owing to political difficulties in Syria. The only persons who are to be helped at all are about 9,000 Assyrians who are to be settled in this particular area. But what about the 30,000 who are—
§ Mr. Mander
May I ask the Under-Secretary whether it really is to be limited to 9,000, or whether this is simply the beginning of a scheme which will bring into it large numbers who are in great peril on the other side of the frontier? We should feel very much more satisfied if we knew that it was only the beginning of a much bigger scheme to deal with all the Assyrians. There is no doubt that, although we have no legal liability in respect of these unfortunate people, we have a very big moral liability. The Mandate for Iraq was abandoned because we recommended that it would be safe to leave them there. We were quite wrong in that assumption and in making that recommendation, because not long afterwards there was a massacre. We want to do something—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman cannot go into the general policy of dealing with the Assyrians on this Vote. He can only deal with the reason for the increase of £4,000.
§ Mr. Mander
I would like to put this point to the Under-Secretary. The original scheme to which he referred in his speech was one in which we promised in 1936 a contribution of £250,000, Iraq the same sum, France £380,000 and the League of Nations £86,000. That came to an end, as we know, but at that time there was also a further sum of £180,000 to be found, of which £130,000 was provided, I think, by way of loans, and there was a sum of £50,000 from voluntary contributions to a fund started by the Archbishop of Canterbury. What has become of that fund? Has it ever been started? What is there in it at the present time?
§ Mr. Mander
I want to find out from the Under-Secretary whether the fund of the Archbishop of Canterbury is involved in any way in this scheme, as it certainly was involved in the previous scheme brought forward two years ago. I do not know, and none of us knows, and I am asking for information. It may well be that it is not involved, or, on the other hand, it may affect the situation in some way. If this money is available, is there any need for granting this sum? I cannot discuss the wider aspect of this matter, but I hope that the Minister will be able to give us some reassurance on the question of the Assyrians by holding out the hope that he is not only dealing with the 9,000 in the beginning he is now making, but that he intends to deal with them all.
In the Debate which took place two years ago it was pointed out by the then Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for South Dorset (Viscount Cranborne), that the only scheme that was really any good from both the political security and economic point of view was the Ghab scheme, and that is the one which has been abandoned. The view was expressed at that time that the Khabur scheme was not nearly so safe because it was much too near the Turkish frontier. That was the reason why those 9,000 were not to be left permanently in that place, but they were going to be brought to Ghab. I should like to know what is now the position? If it was unsafe then, surely it is still unsafe. We are not only not helping a considerable number of Assyrians, but we are leaving these 9,000 with whom we are now dealing, in a position of considerable insecurity, and I hope that we may have some reassurance upon that point.
§ 6.11 p.m.
Mr. Edmund Harvey
I should like to join with those hon. Members who have expressed their good wishes to the Under-Secretary in the very arduous task that he has undertaken, and their congratulations to him upon the admirable way in which he introduced the Supplementary Estimates to the Committee. I ask the Committee to turn from the rather more controversial subjects which have occupied us during part of this afternoon to a Vote 1948 which, I think, commands the sympathy of the whole Committee, namely, the Vote for distress in Spain, and with it the allied Vote for the evacuation of refugees. These two Votes may be taken as part only of a wider policy which, I hope, will be increasingly pursued by the Government—the policy of the good neighbour. We have had to think a great deal about non-intervention and I hope that nonintervention may yet succeed, but at the best it is just confining the conflagration within a limited area and preventing further material for the conflagration reaching the area, but all the while there is intense human suffering going on, and it is the duty of the good neighbour to help those who are suffering. I am grateful for the fact that, comparatively small as is the help that has yet been given. His Majesty's Government have seen their way to give a lead in this respect. I hope that they will be able to go still further.
The country as a whole has not yet realised the extent of the suffering among the refugees in Spain. There can be little doubt that there are at present something like a million refugees who have had to leave their homes on account of the civil war, and they are to be found on both sides, and the suffering is acute, particularly among the children. There must be more than 250,000 young children among those refugees. I have in my hand a survey that was made a week or two ago by an experienced worker who has been in Catalonia working in a non-political relief organisation since the beginning of the war, and he has made a survey of the nine regions of Catalonia, showing that there are 147,000 refugees in that part of Spain alone. He states that one-third of these are children under seven, and he has told me that he believes that two-thirds of the refugees are children under 15. Workers who have been engaged in the task of feeding some of these refugees give piteous accounts of the extent and acuteness of the suffering, of children crying for bread and unable to get it, of mothers in despair because they are unable to feed their young children, and, greatest of all, of the shortage of milk everywhere. Even where there are measures for supplying food only children under three are able to get milk.
This does not apply to Catalonia alone. In other districts the need is very great, especially in Almeria. At the beginning of February in the hospital at Almeria 1949 babies who were cut down to half a ration of milk had to have even that amount diminished. It is not only in Republican Spain that the need is felt. It is true that in the Northern Nationalist Spain there are more abundant food supplies, but there is a lack of organisation and there is acute need in the region around Oviedo and in the neighbourhood of Bilbao. I have here a letter from an American relief worker in Nationalist Spain. He says:We found Oviedo children scattered in temporary and permanent orphanages for 70 miles around, others still huddle amid the ruins. One of our experiences that most tugged at our heart-strings was that of giving out 40 blankets to 652 children. Several of the little ones who did not get blankets walked up to them and felt them. One child patted the blankets and then walked outside into the night cold.Help is needed not only in Nationalist Spain but in Republican Spain in the supply of food, and particularly in the supply of milk for young children. I am grateful for the answer which was given by the Under-Secretary of State this week, that His Majesty's Government have given a promise of assistance to the International Commission, under the chairmanship of Judge Hansson, the distinguished President of the Nansen Office in Geneva, now engaged on plans which may shortly be carried out, if funds are forthcoming, to supply one hot meal per day to refugee children in Spain on both sides, wherever it is needed. The commission hope, if sufficient funds are forthcoming—and funds have already been promised by different Governments—to supply at least 80,000 children with a hot meal a day for 100 days.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Member is now discussing something which will come under the new Estimates for next year.
I am taking the sum mentioned in this Vote to-day as part of a general policy of relief, and I hope the Under-Secretary will be able to indicate that he will do his best, as he has been doing, to encourage other Governments to assist in this great work, and that His Majesty's Government will itself take a generous part in it. The work that has already been done under the Estimate cannot be judged by figures. It means bringing hope and life to many who are suffering. It will help not only the children, but their mothers and their 1950 friends. It will bring good will into homes where there is darkness at present, and hope into hearts where there is now nothing but hate. The Committee, I am sure, will wish the Government to go on in this task of the good Samaritan.
§ 6.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Cocks
Because I sat with him for two years on an important committee and I formed a high opinion of his ability. I wish him, personally, success, although I disagree entirely with the policy he has to pursue. I want sincerely, Captain Bourne, to try and keep in order. I do not wish to use any ingenuity I may have to circumvent any Ruling you have given. I shall try to follow the example of the clergyman who, being a moderate man, all his life tried to walk along the narrow path which divides right from wrong. In my view what I am going to say is entirely in order and this is the appropriate time to say it. If you rule otherwise I shall promptly sit down, because the whole of my speech is directed to one point and if I am ruled out of order on one point I am ruled out of order on the whole of my speech. Here we have a sum of £800 put down for the first time in connection with the expenses for the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain. This work, as the Under-Secretary said, is of the very greatest importance. I want to ask the Government why is it, seeing that this Committee have been sitting for 18 months in order to carry out this work, that it is now only able to recommend an expenditure of so small a sum as £800 for the withdrawal of such volunteers from Spain as can be withdrawn?
I want the Government to explain why the Committee has not been able to make more rapid progress with this work; why it has not been able to produce more successful results? I want the Government to tell us what are the obstacles in the way and how the Committee are trying to overcome them. I also want to know the present position of the Committee and when they expect to be able to make a start with the evacuation of volunteers. The Committee of Non-Intervention was set up some time ago in order to bring 1951 about the evacuation of volunteers from Spain and to prevent any more foreign nationals going into Spain to fight. I do not propose to deal with the prolonged proceedings of the Committee, but I should like to start my survey of its work from about a year ago. Last March, after the battle of Guadalajara, Signor Grandi, the Italian representative, went to the Non-Intervention Committee and stated that not a single Italian soldier would be withdrawn until victory was won. France threatened strong action, and in this House on 11th April the Noble Lord who was then Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said that if it was not found possible to make progress with the evacuation of volunteers in the near future a new situation would be created.
The result was that the subject of the withdrawal of volunteers was again placed on the agenda of the Non-Intervention Committee, and on 19th April a control scheme was put into operation. On the 26th of May the Committee met and considered a plan for the withdrawal of volunteers submitted by the technical subcommittee, and the Non-Intervention Committee decided to refer the plan to the various Governments concerned for their consideration and acceptance. Five days later there occurred the incident of the "Deutschland," and Germany and Italy withdrew from the Non-Intervention Committee and also from the control scheme. Next month, on 12th June, a new control scheme was set up, Germany and Italy returned to the Non-Intervention Committee—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I think my predecessor ruled that the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee could not be discussed on this Vote.
§ Mr. Cocks
He made some observation of that kind, but when I asked him whether he would give a definite ruling that we were not to discuss the work of the Non-Intervention Committee he said that he would not give a ruling then but that he must wait and listen to the speech of the Under-Secretary before he could give a ruling.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I have now had the advantage of listening to the speech and I rule that we cannot go back so far in history.
§ Sir S. Cripps
Is it not permissible, when we are considering whether we shall vote money to the Non-Intervention Committee, to consider what they have done in the past? The only way we can judge whether the Non-Intervention Committee is likely to do anything satisfactory is by examining what they have done in the past. Surely it is legitimate to say that because in the past they have not done this and that this Committee ought not to give them any further money?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. and learned Member will know that on a Supplementary Estimate we cannot go into questions of main policy. This is a small grant for a new service and for a special purpose and we cannot discuss main lines of policy.
§ Sir S. Cripps
I am not suggesting that we should discuss main lines of policy but that we should go back to the acts of the Non-Intervention Committee in order to judge whether we now consider them a sufficiently responsible and efficient body to carry out further work with regard to the evacuation of volunteers now being initiated under this Vote.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
If that argument was good it would enable the whole actions of the Non-Intervention Committee to be discussed, and that is exactly what does not arise on this Vote.
§ Mr. Cocks
I have to bow to your Ruling, and I am going to carry out my threat and sit down and reserve my remarks for a future occasion. I will conclude by saying that there must have been a good deal of obstruction to the progress of the Non-Intervention Committee; otherwise a sum of more than £800 would have been spent on evacuating volunteers. I suggest to the Government that if they want to make more progress they will have to take stronger action to induce the German and Italian Governments to agree to the evacuation of volunteers. Can the Under-Secretary of State tell us the present position of the Committee? 1953 When will the Committee meet again, and is there any prospect of a plan being adopted and real progress being made in the withdrawal of volunteers?
§ 6.30 p.m.
Before making a few observations on each of the sub-heads applying to Spain, I wish to join with other hon. Members in welcoming the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary in his new position. I hope he will exert his utmost efforts to deal fairly, impartially and humanely with this very difficult and painful question of the Spanish conflict. It is inevitable that the hon. Gentleman should suffer one disadvantage, as does his colleague the Foreign Secretary, in that he comes newly to the subject of foreign affairs, and has not had that long experience which his predecessor had of the infinite capacity of those Powers which desire to frustrate the intentions of non-intervention for manoeuvring and delaying. That fact adds to the anxiety with which we approach this Vote. I should like to take the subheads in the reverse order of that in which they appear on the Paper, because I think the penultimate Sub-head ZZ raises by far the most important issue, although it deals with a sum of only £800; but, as was said by the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Grenfell) in opening the Debate from the Opposition side, it is in a sense a token Vote.
As you said a moment ago, Captain Bourne, the general policy of non-intervention was agreed to by the House when it voted the Estimate previously, but here the Non-Intervention Committee is embarking upon a wholly new stage of its career, and the sum of £800 is intended to cover the preliminary expenses of the new scheme for the withdrawal of foreign volunteers from Spain. Therefore, in a sense, it is to a new policy that we are committing ourselves, and before doing so, we ought to consider whether we really want to commit ourselves to that new policy of the withdrawal of volunteers before we know a little more about how it will work. Several hon. Members have remarked that the sum involved is a small one, but to take a humble analogy, if it were a question of whether I should buy some article on the hire-purchase system, I should not be prepared to make my first payment on the ground that it was only a few shillings if I had not been 1954 able to inspect the article first and to see exactly what I was to get.
I submit that we are entitled to know a little more about the lines on which it is proposed that the withdrawal of foreign volunteers should be carried out. Although we may not be allowed to know precisely what the formula is, a question which is in our minds is whether the formula is such that it will ensure withdrawal not merely proportionate to the number of foreign combatants on each side, but proportionate within each separate category. That is a point of enormous importance, and I think it affects the question of whether or not we ought to agree to this Vote, and whether indeed we want the preliminary arrangements to be entered into. Even if the proportion of combatants withdrawn were a fair proportion from both sides, unless a very substantial part of the combatants withdrawn belonged to the higher ranks, the result would be again, as it has been at every other stage of the Non-Intervention Committee's operations, almost wholly to the disadvantage of the Spanish Government.
Reference has already been made to the fact that the insurgents are far richer not only in the number of foreign combatants on their side, and that those foreign combatants are trained troops, whereas those on the side of the Spanish Government are genuine volunteers, but in the number of technicians which they have. The mere withdrawal of considerable numbers, if they consist of Italian infantry, who have not so far proved very valuable to the side which they were sent to help, will be of very little advantage to the Spanish Government, and will work out unfairly unless the technicians, the commanders on land and on sea—I emphasise the commanders on sea, for they are very important—the aviators, tank drivers, engineers and instructors, are withdrawn. Moreover, is it proposed that not only combatants, but so-called volunteers in the non-combatant services should be, withdrawn? We have heard rumours that there is a considerable number of Germans working in the telephone service and the railway service. It will be far more difficult to secure the withdrawal of the Germans, who are fewer in number but more valuable in quality than the Italian volunteers, owing to the fact that the Germans are so much more skilled in concealing 1955 themselves. They do not have the impulse which their more flamboyant allies from the Southern country have to parade in uniforms.
§ Sir H. Croft
Does the hon. Lady suggest that the German technicians are necessarily more skilled than the Russian technicians who are running the whole of that side of the work in Barcelona?
I am taking it for granted that if a certain number of German and Italian technicians is withdrawn, a corresponding proportion of Russian technicians will be withdrawn; but here I will quote the estimate given by the "Times" correspondent in an article a few weeks ago, in which he said that on the insurgent side there are about 80,000 Italians, and about 10,000 Germans, and that on the other side, there are about 20,000 volunteers altogether, including about a thousand Russians. Nobody imagines that the numbers on the Spanish Government side are anything like the numbers on the insurgent side. There is another aspect of the matter besides the question whether the withdrawal will really make a very great difference in the conflict. We have heard that withdrawal is one of three operations in this stage. The withdrawal is to be preceded by the resumption of control of the frontier, and it is to be followed by the granting of belligerent rights.
Those three operations have to be considered together. If control of the frontier were resumed, as some people are clamouring that it should be now, it would obviously be very hard on the Spanish Government, because the sea control is not complete. One of the weakest points in the scheme throughout has been that the sea control did not pretend to prevent the import of troops and munitions in vessels of war, nor did it pretend to prevent the arrival of seaplanes. It is notorious that the sea control has been far more to the advantage of the insurgents than the Government. German and Italian vessels have transported plenty of material by sea to the insurgents, whereas any attempt to take material over the French frontier has been liable to be stopped. It is exceedingly important that there should be no resumption of control on the French frontier before the original stipulation of a withdrawal of volunteers has been carried out.
1956 There is then the question, after the withdrawal, of granting belligerent rights, to which the Government are pledged. I would like to have an assurance that the form of belligerent rights which will be granted will be the limited form which was first foreshadowed in the British proposal. I allude to these three operations because they hang together. Before we can know how the withdrawal of foreign combatants will work out, we have to consider what the Spanish Government, which might be expected to benefit most from the withdrawal of foreign combatants, will have to pay for the withdrawal in respect of the loss of any assistance which it gets over the French frontier and in respect of the greater damage of granting belligerent rights to the insurgents. The cleverness of the Italians and the Germans has been that at every stage of non-intervention they have so manoeuvred that they have always managed to make concessions at a time when those concessions had ceased to cost them anything. In the first place, there was the attempt to prevent munitions from getting through. We know that the Germans and Italians did not even pretend to consent to that until a fortnight later, when all the other countries—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
So far, the hon. Lady has kept strictly in order, but now she is going back into past history.
I will obey your Ruling, Captain Bourne. I will sum up my observations on this matter by saying that at each of the three stages—first, the attempt to stop munitions going in; secondly, the attempt, which was made in December, 1936, to prevent the inflow of so-called volunteers; and, thirdly, the coastal and frontier control scheme which began in April, 1936—the Germans and Italians so manoeuvred that they did not even pretend to agree until they had first wasted weeks in negotiations and had spent those weeks very profitably in sending in to the insurgents everything they wanted to send. We have to be quite sure that that will not happen in this fourth and last stage of non-intervention. We have to be sure that there will not be such delays that the concession will be of no use when it comes, and we have to be sure that there will be a real withdrawal of foreign aid of all kinds and that the scheme will not be a fresh means of helping in the destruction of the Spanish 1957 Government by reason of the fact that certain nations faithfully carry out their obligations and do not intervene, while other nations first delay and they openly break their pledges. Many hon. Members feel that the British Government and the French Government have a very heavy moral responsibility in this matter. It is not enough for honourable nations to keep strictly to their own part in the bargain if at the same time they turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to flagrant abuses and breaking of pledges by other Powers. It is because I am desperately anxious that there should be no repetition of that, that I submit we ought to be very scrupulous in seeing what it is to which we are committing ourselves before we vote this amount of £800 for the next stage of the non-intervention scheme.
I would like now to refer to the subhead which deals with the evacuation of refugees from Spain. I do not think any hon. Member will grudge the money that was spent in paying for a British ship to transport from Valencia some 4,000 non-combatants who had taken refuge in certain foreign missions in Madrid; but I feel very bitterly on the question why it is that English money has been abundantly voted for the evacuation of adult refugees of both sexes from foreign missions in Madrid—refugees who, from the nature of the case, were pro-Franco refugees—whereas, in spite of all our pleading, the Government would not vote one sixpence to help to remove child and women refugees from Bilbao at a time when that town was being destroyed by foreign aircraft. If it is possible for a British ship to go right into Valencia and pick up these Franco-ite adult refugees, we cannot see why it was not possible to allow British ships even to escort and protect, inside territorial waters, the British merchantmen which were hired by the Spanish Government to fetch out women and children. We know that there are technical explanations, but those of us who watched that stage in these proceedings were left with a bitter sense of unfairness in our hearts. We felt, somehow or other, that the assistance given to refugees has all been given to well-to-do Franco-ite refugees.
§ Sir H. Croft
Does the hon. Lady deny the fact that His Majesty's Ship "Southampton" conveyed a large number to safety and that at least 20,000 refugees were able to escape from the 1958 northern coast of Spain largely owing to the assistance given by the British fleet?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I must point out that there is no item in this Vote in regard to refugees from Northern Spain.
Those refugees were on rafts and were in danger of their lives. They were not picked up at the ports as these Valencia refugees were. A great many of them were drowned because the British war vessels were not allowed to protect ships inside territorial waters.
I come now to item WW relating to the relief of distress in Spain and a grant of £5,000 to the International Red Cross. I do not grudge one penny of that money. I wish the amount were larger. But we would like to know more about the purpose for which it is being used. When we think of what the Red Cross stands for, or what it has stood for in most people's minds in every war up to this, it is rather strange to reflect that neither the International Red Cross Society nor the British Red Cross Society, both of which have substantial funds, have sent one hospital or one ambulance or any personnel at all to Spain. I believe that to be the case. They have, it is true, done valuable work in assisting the interchange of refugees and they have sent a certain amount of relief in kind, but I believe they have not sent one doctor, one nurse or one ambulance there. Is that not abrogating the natural function of the Red Cross?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I do not think the Minister can possibly be expected to answer for the Red Cross Society.
I will not dwell upon that point, but when we are asked to vote £5,000 to this society we have a right to ask about the kind of work which the society has been doing, and why it has not been doing the particular kind of work which nearly everybody associates with its traditions and ideals. Finally, there is Item RR, which concerns the British contribution to the International Fund for the application of non-intervention in Spain. I recognise that we cannot go into the whole question of what has happened on the Portuguese frontier. We know that that frontier in 1959 the early stages of the war was a sort of liaison office for the Franco-ites. We know, too, that the control over the Portuguese frontier has probably not been a great injury to General Franco, because he was able to get by sea all the goods he wanted. Therefore, we do not feel that the opening of the Portuguese frontier is on the same level as the opening of the French frontier. Personally, I wish that the Opposition, instead of putting down an Amendment to reduce this Vote, had offered complete opposition to it as far as it refers to the work of the Non-Intervention Committee. I look upon that work as a work which was well-intentioned in the beginning but which has been, since the first month of its operation, a disgrace to the names of Britain and France, and a disaster to the Republic of Spain. Therefore, I would take no part in voting one penny towards it.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Sexton
As these Estimates are largely concerned with refugees may I offer a welcome to the refugee from the Ministry of Labour who now occupies a position in another danger zone, namely, the Foreign Office? I wish to refer to the item under Sub-head VV in respect of the evacuation and maintenance of British refugees from China. I draw the Committee's attention to the fact that these refugees are described as British subjects, mostly women and children, and that they were evacuated mainly from Shanghai. The Minister said that the number was about 3,800. We are all glad that these women and children were removed from the shambles of Shanghai, but evidently the cost of their removal is to be treated as a sort of loan. It looks rather like the sort of poor law relief that is granted in the North of England to the refugees from poverty because we readUndertakings to repay have been obtained from the individuals concerned and the sum recovered will in due course be credited to Appropriations-in-Aid.How much have these British subjects, mostly women and children, undertaken to repay? I contrast that with the item under subhead XX.Evacuation of refugees from Spain. Provision required to pay cost to 17th December, 1937, of chartering a ship to transport from Valencia some 4,000 non-combatants who had taken refuge in certain foreign missions in Madrid on account of the civil war in Spain, 1960 and the cost of messing the refugees while on board.Were any undertakings to repay asked for in that case, and if not, why not? If such undertakings were asked for, how much is expected to be repaid? The statement seems to be very definite that the Governments concerned will make repayment. The Estimate contains the statement that repayments received from the Governments from whose missions in Madrid these refugees have been removed will be credited in due course. What guarantee have the Government that any such money will be refunded? I ask the Committee to note the difference between the case of British refugees from China who are asked to repay the money and the case of the refugees from Spain, most probably not British, from whom no undertaking to repay has been asked.
I wish to refer briefly to the grant of His Majesty's Ambassador in China under subhead UU. I cannot understand why Britain should be called upon to pay for Japan's crimes. The victim of violence is not usually compensated by his own friends, and damages ought to be paid by those who do the damage. It is not that we on this side are against the payment of this £5,000 to the Ambassador, but we desire that equal justice should be done both to Ambassadors and to ex-service men who suffer in their country's service. I say that the Ambassador should be paid, but that all the men who have suffered for their country should be paid likewise.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I do not wish to begin by extending any general welcome to the new Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Rather would I give him a little advice. I would advise him not to take too seriously these fulsome eulogies. Exactly the same felicitations were handed out to his predecessor by the very same people.
§ Mr. Gallacher
But when the hon. Gentleman's predecessor was most in need of the support of those people it was not forthcoming, and I warn him that they will let him down just as easily and as quickly as they let down his predecessor. I wish to touch on the question of the Assyrians. Probably if the Minister of 1961 Labour were here he could give us some interesting quotations from the Scripture about the Assyrians and their habits in Palestine. An hon. Member who spoke earlier said that we ought to be grateful to these Assyrians because they had given us valuable service during the War. Against whom was that service given? Against the Germans. Now the Government have put down this miserable Vote as their return to the Assyrians, thus demonstrating that they are more interested now in making friends with the Germans than in caring for the Assyrians who gave them such valuable help against the Germans. The Assyrians, of course, as well as many neglected ex-service men in this country, will note the fact that the Government are not in the least concerned with those who gave service at that time. They are now more concerned about playing up to the rulers of Germany.
As regards the items in respect of the Red Cross, many hon. Members have spoken of the valuable work that the Red Cross organisation has been doing. But when I see £5,000 extra in this Vote as a grant by the Government to the Red Cross organisation, I ask myself: Are the Government giving this money for humanitarian purposes, or will they utilise the Red Cross organisation for ulterior purposes? It is no use asking the Minister for a reply to that question. But everyone who joins the secret service whether he is attached to the Red Cross or any other organisation understands when he joins that, immediately he is discovered, he will be repudiated by the Government. Never has any Government at any time admitted responsibility for a secret service agent, once that agent has been discovered. It would scarcely be worth while to ask whether the Government have any ulterior motive in subscribing this money to the Red Cross. I am certain they would deny any ulterior motive, but the Minister will permit me to have my own suspicions and my own opinions about this grant.
Regarding the extra money spent in connection with the evacuation of volunteers, it is, I think, permissible to ask whether the item "volunteers" includes the actual armies of invasion? Does "volunteers" include the modern and highly equipped aeroplanes that have been sent from Germany and Italy to Spain? And does "volunteers" include the 1962 highly specialised technicians who are there in abundance, and does it include submarines and other warships that are being used on Franco's side? I do not know whether the Minister will answer those questions, but certainly we are entitled to know something about the matter before we decide that this money should be spent. I am opposed to a single penny of it being spent, because I know from past experience the trickery that goes on. The hon. Member who spoke from the Front Bench below the Gangway said that we should use every diplomatic means to stop the sending of men and material to Spain. With what Government would we use diplomatic action for that purpose? There are only two Governments who have any responsibility. What other Governments?
§ Mr. Gallacher
Well, what Governments are associated with Russia? You keep saying "Russia," but you do not say how Russia gets the goods in. There must be other Governments associated with Russia to enable it to get goods into Spain. Is it the French Government, the Polish Government? Immediately you face the question it is obvious that there are only two Governments concerned in this deliberate invasion of Spain. But does the heading of "volunteers" include all these categories I have mentioned, because unless these categories are included, the whole thing is simply another trick directed against the legitimate Government of Spain? That brings me to the question of non-intervention. I say quite emphatically with the hon. Lady for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) that we should oppose the voting of a single penny for the Non-Intervention Committee. There never has been in the history of international affairs such a shoddy and unscrupulous trick played upon any people.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I thought the hon. Lady said that the whole of this money for non-intervention should be opposed. If that is not what she was saying, at any rate it is what I am saying.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
That is the point. I stopped the hon. Lady quite 1963 definitely from proceeding to deal with that subject.
§ Mr. Gallacher
But on the Estimates we are asked in connection with "Non-Intervention in Spain (Grant-in-Aid)," to give an increased amount of £12,000.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Gentleman does not realise that that is the heading for the original Estimate. This is an increase of £12,000 in that original Estimate, and the hon. Gentleman can speak only of the reasons for that increase.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Well, I am opposed to this £12,000 being granted. I consider that the only thing the Non-Intervention Committee succeeded in doing was to prevent the Spanish Government from getting the armaments it required, while all kinds of armaments were being loaded for the use of the butchers in Spain who represent the powerful and wealthy interests; and because the Non-Intervention Committee was deliberately used for that purpose we should not vote another penny for it. There is not one of these Estimates that makes the slightest appeal to me, and I would ask the Committee, and especially hon. Members opposite who still profess to believe in democracy and constitutional government to give no support to what is going on in connection with the Fascist invasion of Spain, but to oppose these Estimates and finish with the Non-Intervention Committee.
§ 7.6 p.m.
§ Sir Walter Smiles
I intervene only because of something said by the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) about the Assyrians. It is exactly 20 years ago this month that I, and I dare say a good many other Members of this House, saw these Assyrians streaming down the hills in the rain from North Persia, absolutely starved, driven by the Turks out of their homes where many thousands of them had been massacred, and I never thought that 20 years later in this House the British Government would still be liquidating that debt. I appeal to the hon. Member when he proposes to vote against this Supplementary Estimate to remember the suffering of those Assyrians in the cause of the Allies. At any rate, on this particular Vote he might perhaps change his mind. 1964 The hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) mentioned the number of refugees saved from Spain on one side or the other, but I seem to recall a statement made by the First Lord of the Admiralty in which he said that nearly three times as many refugees were saved as the number which she mentioned.
§ Sir W. Smiles
I apologise. I am not the first to be called to order on this point, but I think the hon. Lady was far craftier than myself in getting over her point.
Do not misunderstand me. It is quite true that the First Lord of the Admiralty was alluding to refugees to whom British ships had given protection outside territorial waters. I do not deny that protection was given, but they were not actually evacuated in British ships.
§ Sir W. Smiles
I think that when a man is saved it matters little if he is saved inside or outside territorial waters.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ Mr. G. Strauss
I feel, like many of my colleagues, very doubtful about the utility of voting this sum of £800 under ZZ, and I base my doubts on the past failures of the Non-Intervention Committee. When responsible statesmen, who have without question been violating non-intervention up to now, continue to make statements affirming that they are going to continue to do so, one wonders what is the use of this preliminary work for the withdrawal of all volunteers. About a week ago there appeared in a German paper called "Wille und Macht," the official paper of the Hitler Youth movement, a statement by the Italian Foreign Minister, and it is important to note that this statement appeared after the overtures had been arranged between the Government of this country and the Italian Government. In that article this sentence appeared:On Spanish soil the Italian and German volunteers are fighting side by side, and showing with what determination the youth of our two nations serve the cause to which they have dedicated themselves.If that statement does not mean that the youth of Italy have dedicated themselves to serve the cause of one ride in Spain I do not know what it does mean. It is 1965 a plain and positive assertion that it is the intention of the Italian authorities to continue in the line they have taken in the Spanish conflict. In those circumstances, remembering the past history of non-intervention, it is extremely doubtful whether it is any use entertaining any hope that intervention in Spain will really be stopped by anything that the Non-Intervention Committee will do.
I want to ask a question as to what is meant by "volunteers" in sub-head ZZ? I assume that "volunteers" is not to be interpreted strictly as those who go there voluntarily and have not been conscripted, because if that interpretation were put upon the word the whole thing would be utterly farcical. But does the withdrawal of volunteers mean also the withdrawal of what is, after all, even more important than volunteers or conscripts, namely, the armaments to support those volunteers and conscripts? And is it proposed in this preliminary work that arrangements shall be considered both for the withdrawal of armaments and the prohibition of further armaments reaching Spain? I think there is no doubt in the mind of anyone who has followed the Spanish contest, and particularly anyone who has been to Spain, as I have recently, that the support given by tanks, guns and aeroplanes is having much more influence in this war than actual man-power; so that the withdrawal of man-power, even if it were accomplished, would have little effect on the civil war in Spain compared with the withdrawal of armaments.
§ Lieut.-Commander Agnew
Is the hon. Gentleman referring to tanks, guns and aeroplanes that he saw behind the Spanish Government's lines on his visit to Spain, or to some other tanks, guns and aeroplanes?
§ Mr. Strauss
I was referring to armaments on both sides, but I do not think the hon. Member or any hon. Member of this House will deny that an overwhelming number of armaments—guns, tanks and aeroplanes—have been supplied from foreign sources to the Franco side, compared with those which have reached the Spanish Government. Indeed, this question was put to me on more than one occasion when I was in Spain. They said they could not understand the attitude of a great democratic country like Great Britain in this matter. The insur- 1966 gents were able, virtually without let or hindrance, to get the man-power, the guns, the tanks and the aeroplanes that they wanted. Yet, on the side of the Republican Government, they did not want people from other countries to go and fight for them as volunteers, and they did not want the gift of armaments. All that they demanded was the right to be able to buy the armaments that they wanted, to buy anti-aircraft guns with which to drive off the aeroplanes which were murdering their women and children, and the great democracies of the world, particularly Great Britain, were preventing that happening.
I say that, unless the proposition now before the Committee is intended to lead to a cessation of the armaments arriving on both sides, but particularly on one side, because it is virtually only one side that is concerned, the withdrawal of volunteers, or the cessation of the shipment of new volunteers, is comparatively unimportant. I am very interested to know whether the Minister will be able to assure us that the existing conditions, under which armaments have been able to arrive without any difficulty on the insurgents' side in Spain, are proposed to be changed by the Non-Intervention Committee, because if not, I think it is an absolute waste of money that the Committee will be voting this evening.
§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Miss Wilkinson
I wish to refer, first of all, to the items dealing wih China. I note the £5,000 that is being voted to Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, and, like other speakers, quite naturally I make no objection to that, but I would like to know whether, when we are compensating our Ambassador so handsomely, similar or appropriate compensation is being made to those British seamen, in both China and Spanish seas, who are losing their belongings. I have among my constituents seafaring men who have lost their belongings, and so far they have been very shabbily treated indeed. I regret that, while we are asked to give a very substantial grant to one man, who at any rate, I suppose, is still in the enjoyment of his official salary as Ambassador, the Government have not put down any grant for the compensation of those seamen who have lost their belongings and in some cases their lives, and I would like to ask whether these men have got to wait 1967 for compensation until some hypothetical sum, at some hypothetical time, is recovered from the Japanese Government, or until some still more hypothetical sum, at some still more hypothetical time, is recovered from General Franco. Without something for these men, the Estimates are very sadly lacking.
In regard to Iitem VV, I notice the statement thatundertakings to repay have been obtained from the individuals concerned,who are stated to be mostly women and children evacuated from Shanghai. This seems to me to be a piece of the most extraordinary meanness on the part of His Majesty's Government. Many of these people who have been evacuated have been in China on Government work, in connection with British trade, or on mission work, and people who go there and are nationals of this country surely expect—though I admit that in these days, when we are dealing with Fascist countries, it is a great deal to expect—that they carry with them the protection of the Government of Great Britain. The Government have signally failed to protect their nationals, either in the matter of their diplomatic policy or in any other way, and they are therefore in danger of losing their lives in the present hostilities. Surely it would be only the decent thing for these women and children—whose husbands presumably are losing their livelihood as a result of Japanese aggression in China, and who are also losing practically everything they have except what they stand up in—who are being evacuated by their own country, to whom they naturally look for protection, that this country, which is spending hundreds of millions on defence, might take these people out of the danger zone in Shanghai without first asking them to sign a paper that they will repay the money. I think that is about as mean a bit of work as possible, and I do not know whether hon. Members opposite support their Government in that characteristic piece of meanness.
With regard to the evacuation of refugees from Spain, we hear an awful lot of cant from the other side and from Members below the Gangway on this side about non-intervention, but surely we might expect, if we are talking about nonintervention, impartiality, and the other 1968 abstract things with which the Government connect their policy in Spain, some impartiality in dealing with refugees. I think this is the only Vote that is being asked for with regard to the evacuation of refugees from Spain. The previous Foreign Secretary, in a rather embarrassed reply to a question, pointed out that the number of supporters of General Franco who had been directly evacuated by this country was largely in excess of any who had supported the other side, and most of them, I think, walked into Government Spain. In this case the British taxpayer is being asked to provide this money in order to take away people who are largely wealthy people. I happen to know something about the whole of this refugee business. Part of our Consular work is the selection of the refugees who should receive the protection of the Consular mission in Madrid. They have been a very carefully selected body, and our Consular agent in Madrid has made it not doubtful at all as to where his sympathies in the matter lie.
I would like to know from the Minister how many working-class supporters of General Franco, if there are any in Madrid—and presumably there are some—have been rescued by our present Consular Agent there. I think the hon. Gentleman will find that they all belong very much to the upper classes and are very strong supporters of General Franco. Why we, who are selecting from among our own nationals, who have lost everything, should take these wealthy refugees from Madrid at our expense, at the same time as our First Lord of the Admiralty has stated that he could not pick up those who were actually drowning before his eyes in the sea off Spain because if he rescued the children, he would have to rescue their mothers and grandmothers on the land as well, I do not know.
Coming to item ZZ, I cannot understand why my colleagues are so anxious to stay on both sides in this matter. If a greater amount of material has come into Government Spain than to the rebels, the fact that, through the Non-Intervention Committee, we have imposed a ban on our arms going to Spain and have collected a large number of other countries to do the same, does not abrogate in international law the right of the legally recognised Government of Spain to buy 1969 arms with which to keep order within their own borders and to put down rebels.
§ Miss Wilkinson
No, but it has been said so often by everybody else that I do not see why I should not say it, too. The continuation of this Non-Intervention Committee and this £800, to which I call attention in order to keep myself in order, does not seem to me to deal with that point at all. When we deal with volunteers in this matter, I regard the people who are fighting with the international brigade as real volunteers. They are volunteers. They have not been sent out by any Government, and the only volunteers that there are in Spain, except for a very, very few, are those who are fighting on the side of the Government. While, therefore, you say that this £800 is a contribution to preliminary expenses in connection with the withdrawal of volunteers, it will in fact be a contribution to take away from the Government those few thousands of men who are genuine volunteers in the international brigade. Everybody, including the supporter of General Franco, who has just been placed on the Government Front Bench, as a gesture to the friends of Franco, no doubt under instructions from Rome—[Interruption.] I do not want to flatter the hon. Gentleman, but as he seems likely to be in the queue when the present unfortunate Under-Secretary, to whom we offer our condolences rather than our congratulations, has been broken, as each one of his predecessors has been broken, no doubt the representative of Signor Mussolini will have better luck. I should like to say that even those representatives on the Government Bench would admit that the organised troops sent under organised officers by the organised instructions of Signor Mussolini and Hen-Hitler are not really volunteers, and so I want to know what this £800 has to do with them, and whether it is not mere camouflage.
We go through the most elaborate charades in this House, whenever we are discussing Spain, in using the word "volunteers," pretending that the rebels and the Government are on the same basis so far as our Government are concerned, but how can they be when their representatives sit on the Government 1970 Bench and conduct the operations of the Non-Intervention Committee? I should like to know whether this is merely a token sum and whether in fact, as part of these new negotiations into which they are about to enter, His Majesty's Government will make to Signor Mussolini and to Herr Hitler the generous offer of paying them if they will be so kind as to take away their volunteers from Spain.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Sir S. Cripps
I am going to speak within the narrow limits of this Debate. There are three matters with which I wish to deal, and I will notify you of them, Captain Bourne, in order that you may keep me within the limits of order. The first is on Class II, Vote 1—salaries of the Foreign Office and extra pay of additional staff necessitated by the setting up of the Committee for Non-Intervention in Spain. The second is Sub-head RR, under Vote 2, which is an extra sum of £12,000 which it is proposed to pay to the English corporation which represents the Non-Intervention Committee. The third is Sub-head ZZ, the contribution of £800 in respect of expenses in connection with the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain. With regard to the first item, I want to put forward an argument that that expenditure has never been justified, that there was no justification for the setting up of the Committee for Non-Intervention, and that there was no justification for appointing additional staff as the result; indeed, that the whole position would have been far better and far more economically handled by the Foreign Office in this country had that committee never existed. I must, obviously, give my reasons for that argument, for it would not be fair or right merely to leave the Committee with an assertion of that kind.
The first statement I desire to make is, I believe, supported by all the evidence. Suppose at the very outset of the civil war there had been no non-intervention at all, undoubtedly the rebels would have been defeated in a very few weeks. Had the Spanish Government, in other words, not been deprived of their legitimate resources by the Non-Intervention Agreement and the Committee set up under it, they would have been able, with the 1971 assistance of those resources, to do what everybody wants to do, that is, terminate the civil war as rapidly as possible. Hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved and this mass of suffering and tragedy would never have had to be gone through. However, the Non-Intervention Committee was set up—unfortunately, I am convinced—with the result that at stage after stage the legitimate Government of Spain has been hampered by non-intervention. Someone remarked on one occasion when non-intervention had died down for a bit that they hoped it was not going to break out again because of its serious and damaging effect on the Spanish Government. Now we are apparently going to see it break out again under this sub-head ZZ.
Stage by stage as one follows through the work of the Non-Intervention Committee, which has necessitated this extra expenditure of the Foreign Office in the way of salaries, one finds that every act that it accomplished—not the acts it failed to accomplish—was an act against the interests of the Spanish Government. Whenever any restraint has been put nominally on both sides, it has been effective against the Spanish Government but never effective against the rebels. One cannot but come to the conclusion on examining, as I would like to do if I had more time, every action of the Non-Intervention Committee, that this Government which has played so large a part in the direction of the Committee, has been activated by the desire for the defeat of the Spanish Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If they have not, then they have been responsible for the most dishonest and disgusting behaviour. This Government is presumably bound by the obligations of the various covenants and treaties that it has undertaken. The only conceivable excuse for non-intervention was if those Governments which joined in it would guarantee that it should be applied equally on both sides. That is the only conceivable excuse that could have justified this expenditure of £4,000. Instead of that, however, we have seen the Government time after time either prevaricate about what is happening in Spain, or close their eyes to what is happening and pretending publicly that it is not happening at all.
It is unfortunate that nowadays one cannot believe a word that is said by a 1972 Foreign Secretary in this House. That was illustrated admirably the other day, and I wonder how many hon. Members noticed it. When the late Foreign Secretary was making his excuses or his explanation, he stated that one of the things that had disgusted him most as regards the Spanish and Italian situation was the knowledge that, immediately after the making of the Mediterranean Anglo-Italian Treaty, large numbers of Italian troops had been landed in Spain. He was frequently asked that very question in the House and he denied any knowledge. One can go through the reports of this House and find that time after time it has been denied from that Box. Now the late Foreign Secretary tells us he knew it perfectly well. How can we believe what is said by the Government at that Box when, after a Foreign Secretary has gone and wants to explain why—
§ Sir S. Cripps
I was only illustrating the unreliability of the information that we get on these points, because I was afraid that somebody might pick me up on the things I was saying and say that it was not what the Foreign Secretary said on such and such a date. I was only preparing the ground to get rid of that argument. Let me return to the main line of my argument. It was that the uniform actions of the Non-Intervention Committee have been such that we ought never to have expended the sum which is required in this Supplementary Estimate. The main complaint we have against the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee is not so much the various matters that have been devised and proposed by one country or another, but that this and other Governments have uniformly carried out those proposals in such a way as always to damage one side. They decide to stop munitions, but they stop them for the Government and not for Franco. They decide to stop volunteers, but they stop them for the Government and not for Franco.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
That argument does not at all follow from the Estimates before the Committee. We cannot now discuss the whole policy of nonintervention.
§ Sir S. Cripps
I am dealing with the cost of additional staff and extra pay necessitated by the setting up of the Committee for Non-Intervention, and I am arguing that it would have been better had it never been set up at all, that this expenditure should never have been incurred, and that it certainly should not be continued.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I am afraid that that does not arise on this Estimate. That question of policy has been settled already by the Debate on the main Estimate. This Vote is merely for additional staff at the Foreign Office to carry out certain work.
§ Sir. S. Cripps
Then I must put my argument on this basis, that we ought to have nothing to do with the Non-Intervention Committee and, therefore, that we should not have employed a staff at the Foreign Office to have anything to do with it. This is obviously some sort of liaison staff, and the work of the Non-Intervention Committee is such that we ought not to have a liaison staff. It is not worth it. We ought to dissociate ourselves from anything so dishonest in foreign affairs and in international policy because it has been utilised throughout for one side. [Interruption.] The hon. Member is tempting me to go into this matter in detail, but the Chairman has told me that I cannot do so. I have the notes here, and I should otherwise have been prepared to do it.
Let me pass to the question of whether we should give a further sum of money to the Non-Intervention Committee at this time, as regards both the £12,000 and the £800. The £800 is a preliminary expenditure in connection with a new scheme. Is it worth while putting on a new act in this farce, or have we seen enough? We believe that we have seen enough of it. Theoretically, of course, the withdrawal of volunteers—which is a word used in order not to offend Signor Mussolini and to cover Italian troops—would at one stage of the proceedings have been an excellent thing. It would have been a fair thing if the volunteers had been withdrawn from both sides. There has, however, now come a time, as everybody knows, when General Franco would be glad to see the last of some of the volunteers who are in Spain. He is no longer so urgently pressed for man power providing he can get two other things, namely, materials and the right to blockade the eastern coast of Spain. He 1974 would sacrifice the whole of the Italians for these two things, which are far more valuable to him at this moment.
That is the plan towards which this £800 is to be spent by the Government. It is to try to bring into operation a plan which, at this moment, is the plan that can give the greatest help to General Franco and be the most damaging to the Spanish Government. It is part and parcel of every stage through which the Non-Intervention Committee and the Government have gone. That is why the Italians or the Germans may consent to this plan because, at this moment, it will give them and their allies in Spain just the vital things which they believe to be essential for the purpose of conquering the Spanish Government. Materials will not be interfered with under this plan. There is no suggestion that materials will be stopped going into Spain. There is only a suggestion that a certain number of effectives are to be withdrawn from both sides, and, what cannot be done at the present moment, that is, a blockade of the Spanish forts, will, if belligerent rights are granted, enable Franco to control ships going into Spanish ports, be they neutral or Spanish. If we still thought there was a chance of even-handed and just administration, through the Non-Intervention Committee, of some scheme for depriving both sides of weapons and assistance equally, we should, perhaps, not be unwilling to consider the expenditure not of £800 but of £800,000, because then we know that the legitimate Government of Spain would very quickly win the victory which we desire to see it win. We are not ashamed of saying that we urgently desire the Spanish Government to be victorious. It is only the other side who are ashamed to say, what is a fact, that they anxiously desire to see the victory of General Franco.
§ Sir S. Cripps
He is the only one who calls out in that way, denying the accusation. That is why we are opposing this Item ZZ. There are in this plan as regards volunteers, as it has been put forward so far, infinite possibilities for 1975 prejudicing still further the circumstances against the Spanish Government. It can be wangled in every sort of way. It has to give what the Government have always desired, the appearance of fairness, and to conceal the fact of the prejudice to the Spanish Government. Throughout the whole of this history they have used phrases and pretended actions which were intended to make the people of the country think that they were acting fairly. In fact, those actions have been designed to advantage one side, and here we are opening a fresh method of giving that unfair advantage to one side as liberally as it has been in the past. Indeed, we on this side are particularly alarmed now, in view of the recent change in the foreign policy of His Majesty's Government. Before, we were afraid of the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee, of which His Majesty's Government was a powerful member, but now, with a change in the foreign policy of His Majesty's Government, the Non-Intervention Committee becomes an even more dangerous weapon in the hands of international Fascism and against the Government of Spain, because this recent approach, this "Now or never" attempt to deal with Mussolini, is going to put the Prime Minister and the Noble Lord who is the Foreign Secretary in a far weaker position, so far as the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee are concerned, than ever before. It has all got to come in the "Now or never"; this will have to be settled at the same time; and any nice little scruples of Liberalism which might have survived in the person of the late Foreign Secretary—for which he has been chucked out of the job—will have to be put aside. This new ideology which has been introduced, the thin end of the wedge—
§ Sir S. Cripps
Yes, it is a long wedge, and that makes it all the worse—this thin end of the wedge will be introduced not only into the Government but into the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee as well, and it is more than ever certain, we believe, that methods of this kind—the control of volunteers, the regulation of shipping, whatever it may be—will be utilised to the disadvantage of the Spanish Government. That Government has fought more gallantly perhaps than any 1976 Government to maintain its independence. It and the Spanish people have performed feats of heroism which few people suspected they were capable of two years ago, and they are still fighting desperately. We pretend, under this Non-Intervention Committee, to hold the ropes. Instead of that, we have uniformly been trying to help one side, and very effectively trying to help one side, and I believe that this is only a new device by which that help is to be perpetuated in a more damaging and dangerous form. It is because we on this side want to do all we can to protect the Spanish Government from this fresh onslaught against non-intervention, from which they have suffered enough already, that we shall vote against this Supplementary Estimate to-night.
§ 7.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Butler
Before I address myself to the many points which have been raised in this Debate I must thank those hon. and right hon. Members who have offered me either their condolences or their congratulations, and I hope that if they cancel each other out I shall at any rate be able to preserve sanity in the difficult task which I have before me. The hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is one whose performances I have learned to regard in my past experience in this House, and it therefore gives me pleasure, mingled with some concern, that I should be crossing swords with him to-night. I have not perhaps the high-flown style or the learned diction of the hon. and learned Member, and perhaps I have not all his erudition, but to-night, at any rate, it is not my task to go into the broad generalisations which he has drawn from a Supplementary Estimate. Mine is the more pedestrian task of the Under-Secretary, whose business it is to account to the Committee for the expenditure to which the hon. and learned Member referred. He drew several very interesting generalisations on the subject of our foreign policy, past, present and future, from the item of £4,000 devoted to salaries. Let me draw the attention of the Committee to what this expenditure entails. It entails extra payment for one interpreter, one French shorthand-typist, 14 typists, three clerks, two office-keepers and a charwoman.
§ Sir S. Cripps
May I ask whether it is the last-named who is now running the foreign policy of the Government?
§ Mr. Butler
When I decided to give the Committee these details I took a private bet with myself that the hon. and learned Member would raise that point. I decided, nevertheless, in the interests of accuracy, for which all Ministers stand—including my predecessor, whose honesty in the statements he has made has been impugned to-night—that it was my duty to give every detail in my possession to the Committee. I propose now to try to answer some of the points which have been raised in the Debate. I conceive that to be my duty on a Supplementary Estimate. The hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Grenfell), who opened the Debate, referred to the present situation with regard to observations on the Portuguese frontier, and asked why the cost of observation there had been over-estimated. When the Estimate was drawn up very little information was available as to the likely expenditure upon travelling and upon transport—whether observers would get about by motor-car or otherwise. The number of observers actually required was found to be fewer than had been expected, and the fact that there has been some suspension of observation has had the effect of reducing the Estimate.
I was asked by the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) what the observers are doing, whether they are sitting in cafes and idling away their time. When the scheme of observation was suspended we had to decide what to do with this corps of observers, and it was thought that in the interests of the future, in the event of control being reestablished, it was wiser to have those observers available, and therefore they are waiting until such time as control may be re-established. The same hon. Member also asked about the case of the ex-Ambassador in China and whether there was any precedent for a grant of this kind. Before coming to the Committee I tried to find whether there was a precedent, but, as far as we know, these very unfortunate and singular circumstances have not occurred before, and so there can be said to be no exact precedent. I am authorised to say that any case of this sort in the future must be considered on its merits. With regard to the possibility of compensation by Japan, it was and remains the view of His Majesty's Government that this matter was not one to be condoned by 1978 the payment of monetary compensation by the Japanese, and the form of a grant was preferred.
I was asked by the hon. Member for I arrow (Miss Wilkinson) whether compensation is and will be given in the case of naval ratings and others who have suffered during the Sino-Japanese conflict. I would refer to an answer given on 2nd February to the hon. and gallant Member for Rochester (Captain Plugge) by the late Foreign Secretary. That is an example of cases of compensation and of the machinery of compensation available to deal with trouble of that sort. The hon. Member for North Cumberland (Mr. W. Roberts) raised the point as to how much the Spaniards themselves have paid for the evacuation of refugees. The payment was effected in something like this way: the Consul, in conjunction with the Red Cross, organised the transport of refugees in the foreign missions from Madrid to Valencia. His Majesty's Government incurred no expense on this particular part of the journey. The Red Cross provided the money and the Swiss Government gave a particular grant, and we believe that some of the refugees also contributed. The hon. Member raised one or two other points to which I will reply later.
The hon. Member for Kingswinford (Mr. A. Henderson) asked about the evacuation of British subjects from Nanking and also about the position in Nanking. I am afraid that the latter point cannot be regarded as coming within this Supplementary Estimate, but I can assure him that according to my information the Japanese have taken steps to send an officer to see that there is no recurrence of the sort of events that took place there. In regard to the evacuation of British subjects, the normal strength of the British community in Nanking was just over 100. By the date of the atrocities to which he referred the number had been reduced to 22, and through the kindness of Messrs. Jardine, Mathieson and Company, to whom the thanks of His Majesty's Government have been conveyed, a hulk was placed at the disposal of our Consul for the reception of refugees, and with the aid of this they were able to proceed to a place of safety. I think we should pay a further tribute to the assistance given, and to the admirable arrangements made, by His Majesty's Consul in Nanking. He 1979 was specially commended at the time by His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires.
Points have been raised about the demand of an undertaking from those British refugees moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Between 17th and 24th August of last year, a very short period, 4,058 persons, of whom about 3,800 were British subjects, were sent to Hong Kong. Of the British subjects about 2,300 found their own accommodation in Hong Kong and paid for themselves. Only about 500 became a charge upon the Government. It has been said by the hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Sexton) and others, that it is very unfair to ask refugees to give an undertaking that they will attempt to repay money expended upon them; but it must be remembered that many of these refugees have money which we were told they were unable to obtain because their funds were lying within the area of hostilities. Many of them, I know from personal knowledge, were people who could frankly afford to pay when they could get the money belonging to them. In the circumstances, I think it is quite legitimate for His Majesty's Government to ask for undertakings that they will do their best to repay the sums in question. I was asked by the hon. Member for Kingswinford whether the evacuation of the refugees from Nanking was covered by this sub-head of expenditure. The answer is, yes.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
In the case of those refugees who were not in a position to pay, can the Under-Secretary say that the Government do not propose to bring pressure to bear upon them?
§ Mr. Butler
All that I can say is that it is hoped to obtain, as an Appropriation-in-Aid, as much money as possible for these people. I cannot say more than that we hope to get the money. In our humanitarian work we are actuated by humanitarian principles, which I hope will be carried out in whatever we may do. One or two points were raised by the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone). While I do not want to follow the arguments she used, I must correct one or two impressions which she seemed to have formed. She said, among other things, that we were only too keen to spend money in helping supporters of the insurgent side in Spain, and that we did not spend money help- 1980 ing the supporters of the Government side. My answer is that the amount of money spent by the Government in affording naval protection to British and Spanish vessels engaged in evacuations from Bilbao, Santander, Gijon and other places, far exceeded the cost of chartering this particular vessel. That is the answer to the suggestion that we have tried to favour one side rather than the other.
Does the hon. Member deny that the cost per head incurred for the refugees evacuated from Valencia in a British ship must have been far higher, because it covered only a relative handful of well-to-do refugees, whereas the other was spread out over the whole population of the Basque country?
§ Mr. Butler
The sums spent in saving the refugees on the other side in Spain were infinitely greater than the sums spent in saving the refugees referred to by the hon. Lady. Our humanitarian work is directed towards helping both sides in this conflict. Several other points were raised. The hon. Member for Jarrow said we had helped from Madrid only members of the upper class, and she passed some reflections upon the conduct of the British Consul at Madrid. I should not like to accept her observations, but rather to say that in that particular case it happened that those most in need were from the class she has described as the upper class. I would remind her, however, that the vast number of Government supporters evacuated from the north coast and those who were assisted by the British Navy were from the lower classes in Spain, and some of the most needy. Therefore, any suggestion that our protection has been devoted to helping one side more than the other is refuted by the facts.
I was asked by one hon. Member whether undertakings were obtained from the foreign governments concerned that they would contribute to the cost of evacuating from Valencia the refugees in their respective foreign missions. The answer to that question is, yes. A final point about the relief of distress was referred to by the hon. Lady. Speaking of the International Red Cross she said some rather wounding things about the work they are doing. I agree that they themselves feel that they could do more had they more money. No doubt if they had 1981 more money they could send more ambulances and do more work than they have done. They have, however, undertaken medical relief, negotiations for the exchange of hostages and inquiries about the relations of Spaniards on one side and the other. In deference to the work of the International Red Cross it is my duty to mention these facts.
I think I have covered most of the points that have been raised. I should not be in order were I to go into more detail on the major policy. I will only say, in answer to the legitimate questions which have been put to me about the future of the withdrawal of troops, the future of the Non-Intervention Committee, and the future of the difficult problems which lie before us, that these matters have to be dealt with by the Non-Intervention Committee, and it is too early at this stage to give any of the assurances which have been desired. Nevertheless, it would be legitimate for the Committee to vote the £800 referred to in Vote ZZ, because in our heart of hearts we are all in favour of some scheme for the withdrawal of volunteers which will fit into the general British plan or the plan which finally emerges from the deliberations of the Non-Inter-
§ vention Committee. If that is our view, it is surely worth while making preliminary inquiries with the object of bringing a satisfactory scheme into effect.
§ Mr. Butler
I am afraid that I cannot give a time-table. I wish I could. I understand that the Non-Intervention Committee are setting about their problems with as much dispatch as possible.
§ Mr. Mander
In regard to the Assyrians, can the Under-Secretary say what has happened about the Archbishop's fund, and can he say anything about the danger to the security of the Assyrians left in the Ghab area?
§ Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £85,564, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 111; Noes, 209.1983
|Division No. 126.]||AYES.||[8.10 p.m.|
|Adamson, W. M.||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Milner, Major J.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Montague, F.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Groves, T. E.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Haskney, S.)|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Muff, G.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Benson, G.||Hayday, A.||Owen, Major G.|
|Bevan, A.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Parkinson, J. A.|
|Bromfield, W.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pearson, A.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hicks, E. G.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Burke, W. A.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Hopkin, D.||Ritson, J.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Cove, W. G.||John, W.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Daggar, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shinwell, E.|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Kelly, W. T.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Day, H.||Kirby, B. V.||Stephen, C.|
|Dobbie, W.||Lathan, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Lawson, J. J.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Leach, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Lee, F.||Thurtle, E.|
|Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Leslie, J. R.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Logan, D. G.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Frankel, D.||Lunn, W.||Welkins, F. C.|
|Gallacher, W.||Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Watson, W. McL.|
|Gardner, B. W.||McEntee, V. La T.||Westwood, J.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||McGhee, H. G.||White, H. Graham|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||McGovern, J.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||MacLaren, A.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Gibbins, J.||Maclean, N.||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Mander, G. le M.|
|Grenfell, D. R||Marshall, F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Maxton, J.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Anderson.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Fleming, E. L.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Fyfe, D. P. M.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsay and Otley)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Peters, Dr. S. J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gledhill, G.||Petherick, M.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Pilkington, R.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Cower, Sir R. V.||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Porritt, R. W.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Grigg, Sir E. W. M.||Radford, E. A.|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grimston, R. V.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Hambro, A. V.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Hannah, I. C.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Harbord, A.||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Hepworth, J.||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Higgs, W. F.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Rowlands, G.|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Holdsworth, H.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Bull, B. B.||Holmes, J. S.||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Butler, R. A.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Salt, E. W.|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hunter, T.||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Cary, R. A.||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Channon, H.||Keeling, E. H.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Kimball, L.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Latham, Sir P.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Leech, Sir J. W.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Storey, S.|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Levy, T.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Liddall, W. S.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||Lindsay, K. M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Little, Sir E. Graham.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Lloyd, G. W.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Cross, R. H.||Loftus, P. C.||Train, Sir J.|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lyons, A. M.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||McCorquodale, M. S.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Dawson, Sir P.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|De Chair, S. S.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|De la Bère, R.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Macquisten, F. A.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Denville, Alfred||Magnay, T.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Dower, Major A. V. G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Markham, S. F.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Moreing, A. C.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Emery, J. F.||Morgan, R. H.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Errington, E.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)||Munro, P.||Captain Dugdale and Major|
|Everard, W. L.||Nall, Sir J.||Herbert.|
§ Original Question put, "That a sum, not exceeding £85,664, be granted for the said Service."1984
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 207; Noes, 110.1987
|Division No. 127.]||AYES.||[8.18 p.m.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Atholl, Duchess of||Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Barrie, Sir C. C.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Baxter, A. Beverley|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Gluckstein, L. H.||Petherick, M.|
|Beauchamp, Sir B. C.||Gower, Sir R. V.||Pilkington, R.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Greens, W. P. C. (Worcester)||Plugge, Capt. L. F.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Gridley, Sir A. B.||Porritt, R. W.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Grimston, R. V.||Procter, Major H. A.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Radford, E. A.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hambro, A. V.||Ramsbotham, H.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Hannah, I. C.||Ramsden, Sir E.|
|Bower, Comdr. R. T.||Hannon, Sir P. J. H.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Harbord, A.||Rayner, Major R. H.|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.)||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Reid, Sir D. D. (Down)|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)|
|Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.)||Hepworth, J.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)|
|Bull, B. B.||Higgs, W. F.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Butler, R. A.||Holdsworth, H.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)|
|Cartland, J. R. H.||Holmes, J. S.||Rowlands, G.|
|Carver, Major W. H.||Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.|
|Cary, R. A.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hunter, T.||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Salt, E. W.|
|Channon, H.||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.|
|Clarry, Sir Reginald||Keeling, E. H.||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Clydesdale, Marquess of||Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Scott, Lord William|
|Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Kimball, L.||Simmonds, O. E.|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J.||Latham, Sir P.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W D.|
|Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Leech, Sir J. W.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Levy, T.||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Cox, H. B. Trevor||Liddall, W. S.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Craven-Ellis, W.||Little, Sir E. Graham.||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Lloyd, G. W.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Storey, S.|
|Cross, R. H.||Loftus, P. C.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Lyons, A. M.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Crowder, J. F. E.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Cruddas, Col. B.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Culverwell, C. T.||M'Connell, Sir J.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||McCorquodale, M. S.||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Dawson, Sir P.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Train, Sir J.|
|De Chair, S. S.||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|De la Bère, R.||Macmillan, H. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Macquisten, F. A.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Denville, Alfred||Magnay, T.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Dower, Major A. V. G.||Manningham-Buller, Sir M.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)||Markham, S. F.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Dunglass, Lord||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Eastwood, J. F.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Edmondson, Major Sir J.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Ellis, Sir G.||Moreing, A. C.||Wayland, Sir W. A|
|Emery, J. F.||Morgan, R. H.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Emmott, C. E. G. C.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Errington, E.||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Erskine-Hill, A. G.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Withers, Sir J. J.|
|Everard, W. L.||Munro, P.||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Fleming, E. L.||Nall, Sir J.||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Fox, Sir G. W. G.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Parkins, W. R. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gledhill, G.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Captain Dugdale and Major Herbert.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Daggar, G.||George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Gibbins, J.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Davits, S. O. (Merthyr)||Gibson, R. (Greenock)|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Day, H.||Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)|
|Benson, G.||Dobbie, W.||Green, W. H. (Deptford)|
|Bevan, A.||Dunn, E. (Rother Valley)||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Bromfield, W.||Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)||Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)|
|Buchanan, G.||Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)||Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)|
|Burke, W. A.||Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Frankel, D.||Harris, Sir P. A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Gallacher, W.||Hayday, A.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Gardner, B. W.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)|
|Cove, W. G.||Garro Jones, G. M.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)|
|Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||MacLaren, A.||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Hicks, E. G.||Maclean, N.||Sexton, T. M.|
|Hills, A. (Pontefract)||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Shinwell, E.|
|Hopkin, D.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Mander, G. le M.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)||Marshall, F.||Stephen, C.|
|John, W.||Mathers, G.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)|
|Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Maxton, J.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Milner, Major J.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Kelly, W. T.||Montague, F.||Thurtle, E.|
|Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Tinker, J. J.|
|Kirby, B. V.||Muff, G.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Lathan, G.||Oliver, G. H.||Watkins, F. C|
|Lawson, J. J.||Owen, Major G.||Watson, W. McL.|
|Lee, F.||Parkinson, J. A.||Westwood, J.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Pearson, A.||Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)|
|Logan, D. G.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.||Wilkinson, Ellen|
|Lunn, W.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's)||Williams, D. (Swansea, E.)|
|Macdonald, G. (Ince)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Ritson, J.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|McGovern, J.||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. Groves and Mr. Adamson.|
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £85,664, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1938, for the Expenses in connection with His Majesty's Embassies, Missions and Consular Establishments Abroad, and other expenditure chargeable to the Consular Vote; certain special Grants and Payments, including Grants in Aid; and Sundry Services arising out of the War.