HC Deb 15 March 1938 vol 333 cc210-1
57. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister what number of passports have been issued and granted to British subjects to visit the two sides in Spain during the last three months; and on what grounds those for literary persons are refused while those for military persons are granted?

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Butler)

During the last three months 131 special endorsements for Spain have been issued by the Passport Office to persons known to be proceeding to the territory under the control of General Franco, and 73 to persons travelling to Spanish Government territory. No distinction of the kind suggested in the second part of the question is made.

Mr. Mander

If I can bring to the attention of my hon. Friend specific examples of cases where this discrimination has undoubtedly been exercised, will he be good enough to give the matter further consideration?

Mr. Butler

I shall be glad to look into any cases which the hon. Member gives me, but there has been some change in policy in this matter since last February.

Mr. Mander

May I ask what the policy was which was changed in February last?

Mr. Butler

Before that date endorsements were only issued to persons proceeding to Spain for business, journalistic or humanitarian purposes, and since then endorsements have been issued to other persons not suspected of having the intention of enlisting in the contending forces.

Mr. H. G. Williams

Was the passport which was issued to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition regarded as being in the literary or the military category?

Mr. Cocks

Could the Under-Secretary say whether the thousands of Germans and Italians who are going to Spain are provided with passports?