§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Attlee
I beg to move, "That this House do now adjourn."
I have moved the Adjournment of the House in order to call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the lack of any ministerial policy to counter a grave menace to British interests arising out of the armed intervention in Spain by certain foreign Powers. I am sorry to have to address the House twice on the same day, but the events that are unfolding before us in Europe make it absolutely necessary that this matter, should, if possible, be raised on the Floor of the House this evening. We are face to face with a situation which, in my view, is a very grave menace to British interests and to the safety and security of this country.
Let me consider for a moment what these British interests are. The first British interest which is menaced is peace. I mean peace, not the uneasy interval between wars, but a permanent and settled peace; not the kind of peace indicated by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in winding up the Debate the other night, which represents a very brief period before war comes upon us. The second is the cause of freedom. These causes stand together, and I for my part would not buy peace at the expense of freedom. In this country we stand for the peace of a free people. The third interest—they are all bound together—is the safety of this country. I hold that 487 these interests are menaced by the armed intervention in Spain which is being intensified at the present time. The conquest of Spain by the Fascist Powers will endanger the peace, freedom and security of this country.
The Prime Minister stands, as he told us, for the protection of British interests. He has adopted a policy which, I have no doubt, he thought would effect those objects. He believed it possible to secure British interests by entering into conversations and agreements with Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini on the basis that they would be true to their pledged word. He has had a rude awakening. Even while he was advocating peace with Herr Ribbentrop German forces were invading Austria. Conversations are in progress, or were in progess between Count Ciano and Lord Perth, and while these peace talks are proceeding, Signor Mussolini and his ally are trying to consummate the conquest of the Spanish Republic by the Fascist Powers. The right hon. Gentleman made the settlement of the Spanish question one of the conditions of arriving at that agreement. He pointed out that any serious intervention during that time would destroy the basis of conversations.
While these conversations have been going on there have been pouring into Spain munitions and forces on the side of the Fascists. Does anybody doubt that Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini are acting in concert? Does anybody doubt that the assistance of Herr Hitler in the conquest of Spain is part of the price for Signor Mussolini's betrayal of the Austrian Government? Read what was written in General Goering's paper, the "National Zeitung" only in November:The time will soon come when we shall put into execution the agreement made in Berlin between Signor Mussolini and Herr Hitler. To the former Spain, to the latter Central Europe.Make no mistake, the Rome-Berlin axis is in operation. We have warned the Government of the danger of this situation again and again. I characterised a policy of handing over Spain to the Fascist Powers as strategic madness when speaking in this House. I want hon. Members to look at the position of France to-day. The Prime Minister said that we are linked to France by common ideals of democracy, of liberty and parliamentary government. That is well said and it is 488 abundantly true, but we are also linked together by strategic necessity. We cannot be indifferent to the fortunes of the countries that occupy the other side of the narrow seas. To-day what does France see? She sees a greater Germany stretching from the Baltic to the Alps, linked to an Italy stretching from the Alps to North Africa. She is cut off from her friends of the Little Entente and from Russia. Can she possibly view without grave apprehension the establishment on her southern frontier of a vassal State of the Fascist Powers? No one supposes that General Franco is winning, if he is winning the war in Spain, through his own power. He is winning through the interposition of two powerful States, and it is not easy, when you have accepted that kind of help, to get rid of it.
History of wars in the past shows abundant instances of how difficult it was, when you introduced an invader into your country, to get rid of him again, particularly when he was so powerful. Look at what the position will be in the event of this conquest. You will have the Pyrenees a hostile frontier that has to be guarded, and the coasts of Spain available for the use of hostile navies and aircraft. Already German guns are being mounted on the coast of Spain at Bilbao and other places. French North Africa will be bordered by a hostile colony. The Balearics will be occupied, cutting right across her sea communications with her North African colonies That is what the men who are responsible for France see, and the question is, can we be indifferent to these things?
Let us see how this affects our own strategic position. I have been amazed that until quite recently—I think that things are changing—so many hon. Members have failed to realise the implications of a hostile Spain or a Spain in the possession of a Power which has acted as Germany has acted in the case of Austria, and as Signor Mussolini has acted in the case of Abyssinia, and as both have acted in the case of Spain. It is surprising that anyone acquainted with our history and the history of the Spanish Peninsular over the last 200 years can think that we can be indifferent to what goes on there. The writer in a military paper that I was reading called the Mediterranean the life-line of the British Empire. That life-line will be 489 cut. The ports of Spain will be available for ships operating against our trade routes just as they were in the days when Napoleon was master of Spain.
What about our old ally, Portugal? Do you think that Portugal can stand up long surrounded by the power and guardian influence of these great Fascist States? What of Gibraltar? What will be the worth of Gibraltar if the shores of North Africa and of Spain are occupied by a Power particularly hostile to us? I have put these considerations before the House very often and they have always been ignored. They are being repeated now in various quarters which are not at all friendly to us on this side of the House. I read in the "Evening Standard" that many even of those who are opposed to British intervention in Spanish affairs are recognising in the present crisis a situation unfavourable to Britain and detrimental to her national interests. So says Lord Beaverbrook, I think that the "Daily Mirror" belongs to Lord Rothermere, does it not? [Interruption.] Well, one of the Press Lords. There is a remarkable leading article in that paper to-day, headed:Now for a Real Foreign Policy.It is worth reading to the House.While Herr von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, was cajoling his friends in English 'upper class' society, while Frau von Ribbentrop was giving the last of her pretty parties, Hitler was advancing upon Austria. 'Keep the English chattering while I act. Then laugh at them!'
§ Mr. Attlee
The quotation goes on:Hitler believes in action; we in words. Hitler has a foreign policy. We apparently have none. What is Hitler's foreign policy? It is in his book, which should be made compulsory reading for all British Ministers. He has announced his aims. After he has gained the rest of Eastern Europe and terrorised the already panic-stricken nations of the Little Entente—what next?Next, the destruction of France.They go on to point out that theywill give France another frontier to defend. That will cut off France from her African possessions. And England from the Mediterranean. Use the red rag for the British bull. It always pays. Smash 'red' France. Then—or before then—the colonies.490 That indicates a remarkable change of opinion, and there is increasing nervousness to-day in this country over the Government's lack of policy. I say it deliberately—lack of policy. It is not a time when the country can wait. The Government have no policy whatever to put before it. It is no good suggesting that the Government must not be rushed. It is not we who are doing the rushing; events are doing the rushing. There is grave uneasiness and there has been a heavy fall in Government securities today—all indications of what the feeling is. What is the position in Spain at this moment? While the Prime Minister was beguiled in talks, as that leading article says to-day, masses of material were pouring into Spain. There are well authenticated reports of a mass of aeroplanes entering Spain, and of 12 ships in Bilbao. There is a report of German troopships.
Eyewitnesses of the present fighting going on in Spain say that there has been a terrific increase in the arrival of new material, aeroplanes, tanks and guns for this attempt to smash the Spanish Republic. At any time a frightful air raid may fall on Valencia or Barcelona. What are the Government going to do? For how many months have we had sham non-intervention? The Government cannot pretend to have any trust in nonintervention agreements now. They know very well how one-sided the non-intervention policy has acted all the way through. They know that these arms are piling up in Spain, and they still keep up the farce of believing that they are carrying on non-intervention, with the rulers of Berlin and Rome doing the same.
I understand that the French Government have addressed a communication to the British Government. I do not know what that is. I should like to know whether any reply has been sent. I should like to know what is the opinion that has been expressed by France to the British Government, because the Government of France are bound to be very deeply concerned at these events. Supposing France feels that the non-intervention agreement is a farce and must be given up, and that the Spanish Government should have restored to them the right to get arms in, what will be the attitude of the British Government? Will our Government see now that there can be no trust in the word 491 of dictators? That policy has gone. Will they not now allow the Spanish Government to receive arms? Will they not help the Spanish Government to receive arms?
We are deeply moved on these benches by the fate of the Spanish Republic and of the people of Spain. I do not deny that in this matter I am a partisan. I am on the side of the Spanish Republic, and I am not the least ashamed of it. Many men who have led parties in this House and many men who have led Governments in this House have stood firm on the side of freedom and against despotism. Quite apart from what our particular views may be, this is no contest of idealogies. You have here deliberate aggression. You have here a breach of international law. You have here an attack on British interests, whatever view you take of British interests. The cause of the Spanish Republic is the cause of this country. To betray the Spanish Republic is to betray France, and to betray France is to betray Britain.
The Government are seeking now the help of the workers of this country. They are constantly appealing for assistance to stand by and help them in rearmament. Will they have the face to come before the workers if they betray the workers? If the Government want to unite the country in a time of danger they must have a policy worthy of this country; a policy standing by ideals. They will not get the people of this country to stand by a craven Government which allows all its friends to go down and which allows the cause of freedom to go down. I give the Government this warning. They have had many chances lately of taking a stand on the side of freedom, a stand for collective security and a stand on the side of international law, and of preventing things from going down the abyss. Those chances have been neglected. They have another chance now by joining with France and concerting with them measures to help the people of Spain, and if they reject it it may be a case of now or never.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister
In the speech to which we have just listened the right hon. Gentleman has used some hard and provocative words. It is tempting to reply in kind, but for my part I feel that the international situation to-day is so grave 492 that I have no heart for interchanges across this Table of reproaches and accusations of betrayal. I want, therefore, to address myself to the right hon. Gentleman's Motion, and in a spirit of greater gravity than might be perhaps employed on a less grave occasion. The right hon. Gentleman has asked leave to move the Adjournment of the Houseto call attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, the lack of Ministerial policy to counter the grave menace to British interests arising out of the armed intervention in Spain by certain foreign Powers.I wish to point out that leave was asked and obtained on a definite matter—the situation in Spain. In the concluding words of the right hon. Gentleman in which he called for a declaration of Government policy on matters going far beyond Spain, it seemed to me that he was attempting to take this matter rather out of the narrow limits within the terms of the Motion. What we have to deal with in connection with this Motion is the grave menace—to use the words of the Motion—to British interests arising out of the armed intervention in Spain by certain foreign Powers. From what does this menace arise? Apparently, the right hon. Gentleman thinks that it is something which has grown up suddenly, in the night. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] He must think so, or he would not have moved this Motion. I assume that what he means is that a victory by General Franco is the menace in question.
§ The Prime Minister
Why, then, is the matter urgent? I can only assume it is because the right hon. Gentleman thinks that this victory is imminent. He went on to make what seemed to me to be a number of assumptions which were hardly justified by the evidence before us. Why does he think a victory is imminent; it may be, I am not saying it is not; but we have heard on a good many occasions that victory was imminent on one side or the other. I remember the right hon. Gentleman coming back from Spain and saying that the other side were on the point of victory. There have been successive disappointments, first on one side and then on the other for quite a long time. I ask myself, supposing it be true that that which suddenly seems to have altered the 493 situation in favour of General Franco's forces, does presage what I may call a complete victory, can it be said that that is due to the accession of fresh forces and munitions to his side. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Of course, it can be said, but can it be supported? After all, there are foreign forces on both sides. There are rumours of additions to the foreign forces on both sides, but as far as I am concerned I am bound to say that I have not yet seen evidence which I can feel was convincing and reliable as to the numbers or quantities of the forces or munitions on either side.
Hon. Members opposite admit that they are partisans in this matter. They believe every story against the other side and disbelieve all the stories which they think are not favourable to their own side. I cannot take up that line. I have to weigh the evidence before I found upon it action which may involve His Majesty's Government first, and then the people of this country, in serious consequences. I say that so far the rumours, although they may be considered to be more or less probable, are still only rumours, and I have no definite evidence of these fresh accessions of forces which hon. Members opposite appear to take for granted. As far as I can see, there is no reliable evidence that, whatever may be the effect of this recent advance by General Franco, he has not been able to carry it through with the forces which were at his disposal and have been at his disposal for some time.
I ask myself, in the second place, what is this Ministerial policy for which the right hon. Gentleman has called, and which he says would counter the menace to British interests? Perhaps I may say once again what our policy has been. Our policy has been the policy of nonintervention. Some countries have intervened, but certainly this country has not. The civil war in Spain started in July, 1936. It was in August of the same year that the Non-intervention Committee was set up. It has been the custom of hon. Members opposite to jeer at the non-success, as they say, of the Non-intervention Committee. Of course, no one can pretend for one moment that the setting up of the Non-intervention Committee and the working of it, have been successful in stopping intervention. We do not pretend—it would be ridiculous to 494 do so—that there has been no intervention since then. I say that it has restricted intervention; that if there had been no Non-intervention Committee, intervention would have undoubtedly taken place on a far larger scale.
In the second place, it has averted international war being carried on first on Spanish soil and probably spreading to all Europe. The fact that the war has been confined to Spanish territory and for the most part to the Spanish people, is a remarkable tribute to the success of the British policy of non-intervention. We have ourselves scrupulously observed our obligation of impartiality under the Non-intervention Agreement, and we have made every endeavour to persuade other parties to that agreement to follow our example. Perhaps one might cite again as a testimony to the impartiality we have shown the fact that we have been so freely criticised by both sides. The right hon. Gentleman has assumed that the success of General Franco will mean handing over Spain to what he calls the Fascist Powers. He has assumed that victory for that side will mean that Spain will pass under the complete control of Germany and Italy. He has assumed that this has long been the intention of those two Powers and, apparently, he thinks that their objective is now in sight. The Government have never taken that view. The House will remember some words spoken by the late Foreign Secretary on the 1st November:There are those who are convinced that, supposing the insurgent forces are victorious, the result will be a Spain in active alliance with a foreign policy directed against this country. I do not accept that. We are just as alive to the dangers as hon. Members opposite, but there are strong forces working in another direction, forces of trade and commerce, forces of geography. This country is still' and will continue to be, I trust, the greatest naval power in Europe. That is not without its effect when it is known that we have no intention, no kind of afterthought, either direct or indirect, about the territorial integrity and the political independence of Spain. Spaniards know that very well. They know very well too that no British war material has killed any Spaniards on either side. These factors will I believe be important in the future. …We have every desire to live on friendly terms with Spain, and I believe that Spain. …whatever the outcome will share that sentiment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st November, 1937; col. 591, Vol. 328.]Then again on the 21st December my right hon. Friend said: 495I have been convinced from the first that no one who intervened in this strife in Spain was going to benefit by that intervention. I see no reason to alter that opinion in any way, and if other nations insist upon burning their fingers in the Spanish furnace that is no reason why we should do so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st December, 1937; col. 1885, Vol. 330.]We intend to continue in the future, as we have in the past, to be in close touch with the French Government. I believe to-day, as I have believed hitherto, that we shall best serve British interests, we shall best serve peace, and best serve the cause of freedom, if we keep out of Spain and make our policy one of non-intervention, and do not, as the late Foreign Secretary said, attempt to burn our fingers as other nations may still do.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Sir Archibald Sinclair
The Prime Minister has asked why this Debate was raised, why the issue was regarded as urgent. Was it, he asked, that some of us feared a victory for General Franco? It was made abundantly clear in the speech of the right hon. Member the Leader of the Opposition that what those who stood up in their places this afternoon had in mind was that a victory might be obtained by German and Italian troops. It is the threat of that event which constitutes in our minds the urgency of the present situation. When I listened to the Prime Minister's speech I could not help thinking that his opening was quite inconsistent with the latter part of his speech. He upbraided the Leader of the Opposition for connecting the situation in Central Europe with the situation in Spain. He declared that the situation in Spain was developing quite normally, and he saw no reason for any change in the policy of the Government. Then why is the gravity of the situation so great that the Prime Minister has no heart for hard and provocative words? I have a great feeling of the gravity of the situation. I shall try to avoid hard and provocative words, but I do not mean that I am going to be mealy-mouthed. I shall say what I mean objectively, but I shall try to avoid hard and provocative words.
We have to consider how far the present policy of the Government is responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves, and, indeed, we have to consider how far the recent departure in policy is 496 responsible for the increasing gravity of the situation. The Prime Minister has said that hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House have all along been partisans about Spain. I have not been a partisan of either side in Spain, and if anybody challenges that statement, I must condemn him as a penalty to read the first speech I made on this subject in November, 1936, in this House, in which I made it abundantly clear that things had happened on both sides which I could not but blame and that there had been on both sides a certain amount of intervention. I have never disguised for a moment that I wish to have complete nonintervention and to leave the Spanish people to settle their difficulties in their own way. That has always been the policy which I have upheld, and in successive Debates I have described myself as a patient supporter of the policy of nonintervention.
At the same time, I have never disguised the fact that I sympathise with the Spanish Government. I know that other hon. Members who are just as patriotic citizens as I am sympathise with General Franco. My sympathies with the Spanish Government are due mainly to three reasons: first, that they are fighting for the cause of freedom against a Fascist form of Government; secondly, as it seems to me, that the intervention by Italy and Germany in the affairs of Spain is contrary to the efforts which the democratic nations of the world are making to place the relationships between nations on the basis of the rule of law instead of force; and, thirdly, that I believe the occupation of Spain by Italian and German forces would be the gravest threat to the national and Imperial interests of this country. Those are also the reasons why I have supported the policy of non-intervention, but I deeply resent the weakness of the Government in making that policy effective. I know that some hon. Members say that there has been intervention on both sides. I have studied the estimates of the numbers of foreign combatants on both sides, and I have not seen a single estimate in papers like the "Times" and the "Telegraph"—I am not thinking about papers which sympathise with the Left—which puts the foreign forces on the side of the Government higher than 20,000 men, and not one which puts the numbers of foreign combatants on the side of General Franco lower than 80,000. 497 Nor can there be the slightest doubt, on the part of anyone who has read the evidence of people who have been in this theatre of war, that the material—the aeroplanes, the guns—on the side of General Franco is far larger than that on the side of the Republican Government.
§ Mr. George Balfour
Has the right hon. Gentleman heard of the arrival to-night of large masses of heavy aeroplanes of the latest type, and heavy artillery, for the Red forces?
§ Sir A. Sinclair
The hon. Member says to-night—I should say it is about time if we are to redress the balance which has been weighted so heavily against the Republican forces. In this situation a great many friends of mine have said, "Why not open the frontiers and let the democratic countries pour in munitions?" For that reason they opposed the Government's plan for the withdrawal of foreign combatants. I supported the plan, because it seemed to me that it was far better from the point of view of allowing the Spanish people to settle their own affairs if you could withdraw foreign combatants rather than enter into a competition with the dictator Powers in pouring munitions into that unfortunate country. I supported the plan, but I said, "Let there be a time limit, do not let it be another curtain drawn over the interminable proceedings of the Non-intervention Committee behind which the dictatorship Powers will go on arguing and talking and never really intending to withdraw their troops, but, on the contrary, reinforcing them with munitions, until finally they can batter their way towards those objectives, not which General Franco wants, but which his Italian and German masters want to obtain in Spain." Therefore, in July last I urged that there should be a time-limit and that if it became clear mat the Italians and Germans were not going to accept the plan honestly, genuinely, and sincerely, other measures should be considered and the Government should regain their freedom of action.
Time went on. Good reasons were produced for patience, but in the succession of Debates which we have had on this question, I have been feeling more and more that time was being deliberately-wasted by the Italians and Germans on the Non-intervention Committee, and I have urged more and more strongly that 498 there should be a time-limit. The Prime Minister quoted this evening from certain speeches which the ex-Foreign Secretary made on this subject in November and December of last year, but the situation is very different now from what it was then. Although I criticised the delays and wanted a little greater evidence of firmness and still pleaded for a time-limit, nevertheless I supported broadly the position which the ex-Foreign Secretary took up at that time; but by February I had certainly begun to lose patience, and my submission to the House now is that the ex-Foreign Secretary had begun to lose patience also. As the House has listened to some quotations by the Prime Minister from his speeches in November and December last, perhaps it will allow me to make a short quotation from the speech which he made on 21st February. After referring to the experience which the Government had had of the Gentlemen's Agreement in January of last year and the glorification by the Italian dictator of the victories of the Italian forces in Spain, he said:My submission is that we cannot risk a further repetition of these experiences—I hope the Prime Minister remembers that passage—Therefore, it is my contention that before His Majesty's Government open official conversations in Rome with the Italian Government, conversations which have, and rightly have, as an objective not only an improvement of Anglo-Italian relations, but appeasement in the Mediterranean as a whole—before that can be done we must make further progress with the Spanish problem; we must agree not only on the need for withdrawal and on the conditions of withdrawal—we have had assurances enough of that in the past—but we must go further and show the world not only promise but achievement. The withdrawal must have begun in earnest before those conversations in Rome can be held on a really solid basis of good will, which is essential to success."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1938; col. 47, Vol. 332.]Of course, the Prime Minister did not agree with that point of view, and in winding up the Debate he said:I expressed my personal opinion that I believed the assurances given by the Italian Government would be fulfilled and carried out, but I made it perfectly plain that if they were not, then the chances of agreement were nil.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1938; cols. 152–153. Vol. 332.]But the Italian troops in Spain are making it clear that Mussolini means to get his results in Spain before these conversations are even opened. On the 499 following day, in reply to an interruption in which I explained that I thought there should be an undertaking about the withdrawal of troops from Spain before the negotiations were started, the Prime Minister challenged me to say on what basis they should be begun. I said that one of the things to do was to get the withdrawal of foreign combatants started, and the Prime Minister said:That exactly demonstrates the point that I am endeavouring to make, that really this suggestion that we would enter into conversations providing these things were done first, is humbug."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1938; col. 222, Vol. 332.]The House can judge for itself who has been humbugged now. Later on in his speech the Prime Minister gave me a little lecture which I did not in the least resent; indeed, he rather flattered me by the comparison which he made between me and certain Liberal leaders of the past, although the comparison he made was to my disadvantage. He gave me a little lecture on the Liberal virtue of magnanimity; but he was ignoring the lessons of our past negotiations with Italy, he was ignoring the lessons of Italy's actual conduct in recent years. He said he trusted the Italian dictator and was prepared to deal with him as he would deal with the Government of France, or the Government of the United States of America, or the Government of one of our own Dominions.
But suppose that the situation were different. I wondered whether one word which the Leader of the Opposition used in the, speech with which he opened the Debate was the right word. The right hon. Gentleman said that Mussolini had betrayed Austria. Suppose that it was not a betrayal, suppose that Mussolini had exhausted his resources in sending expeditions to Abyssinia, to Libya and to Spain, suppose that the real position was that he knew he could not stop Hitler and that the game for Italy in Central and Near Eastern Europe was up, but that by making friends with Hitler, by strengthening the Rome-Berlin Axis, he could get ample compensation elsewhere at our expense. Suppose that Mussolini had made that choice. I ask the House merely to make that supposition and to see how the situation fits in with it. Suppose that every hon. Member here had made that choice, and that he was able to dispose of the forces of 500 Germany and Italy. Would it be a very bad plan to move into Austria and cut—as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) pointed out the other day so forcibly—the communications of Czechoslovakia, and be in a position to control the whole of Central Europe? Suppose he then moved into Spain and established positions on the lifeline of the British Empire, right through the Mediterranean and down the West coast of Africa and on the communications between France and North Africa? Would not those two moves be rather good preparations if those were the plans which you had in mind?
The Prime Minister reproached the Leader of the Opposition for assuming that Spain would pass permanently or for any prolonged period under German or Italian domination. Why not? What is the lesson of these modern dictatorships as we see them in operation? Look back to Germany a few months before Herr Hitler came into power. He had actually polled fewer votes at the immediately preceding general election than he had received at the previous general election. He was in a minority in the nation. He had a great many strong forces against him in the army and elsewhere. He had the trade unions against him, a powerful movement with their Iron Guard as it was called. But the whole thing collapsed like a house of cards when Herr Hitler got his hands on the levers of power. We know what those levers are now—control of the Press, control of broadcasting, control of the cinema, of the schools and universities, and of every means of expressing and moulding public opinion. Then, of course, came control of the police and the army and the establishment of one party with its little branches in every block, of every street of every town and city. That is not a grip which General Franco will find it easy to throw off at any rate in these next few dangerous years. This process of taking the armies and the navies and the economic resources of these little States—and they may be little but their resources are by no means negligible—and welding them into the war machines of the dictatorship Powers, is a much quicker process than British rearmament.
I would, therefore, draw two main morals from this situation. First, do not let us separate ourselves from France. Surely our friendship with France is the 501 one strong firm basis which we have in international relationships at the present time. France is more closely affected by this situation than we are. Let the Government give us this assurance, I beg them, before the conclusion of this Debate—that as far as France wants to go, we shall stand by her. My second conclusion is this. I agree very strongly with the Leader of the Opposition that in these dangers which, as the Prime Minister has said, are so grave we want unity in this House as a Council of State, and, as far as we can, in the country. I think, if I may say so with great respect to the Prime Minister, it is a grave error on his part to try to make out that there are two situations in Europe at the present time—one of great moment to the British people, namely, the situation in Central Europe, and the other the situation in Spain which does not matter nearly so much, though Spain is right on our line of Imperial communications. I do not think that is true on the merits and I am certain the mass of the people of the country do not take that view of the situation. I am afraid they will be very suspicious of a policy which takes such a keen interest in Vienna and Salzburg and Czechoslovakia and other places in Central Europe and takes so little interest in what the masses of the people regard as a struggle by the Spanish people for their freedom. I beg the Government to look at this situation as one. I am sure it is one. It presents grave dangers to this country. Let us by all means be united in face of it, but let us face the whole situation, and not different parts of it separately.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ Captain Harold Balfour
As an ordinary back-bench Member I would like to protest against the action taken by the Opposition in moving the Adjournment of the House at a time which, as the Prime Minister has said, and as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) has just admitted, is one of great gravity. This is the second time within three days that the right hon. Gentleman has started a speech by saying that he was not going to use hard or provocative words and has ended by making a speech which was certainly not helpful in the present situation. I have a perfect right as has any other hon. Member to object to the course taken by the Opposition parties, and I challenge 502 any hon. or right hon. Gentleman to say that when this Debate closes to-night the situation will have been materially helped from the point of view of the peace of this country. Particularly does one take exception to this Debate as it is based on unconfirmed rumour. I listened to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition and to that of the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last. Neither of them produced one jot or tittle of evidence, except hearsay evidence which can be seen in any paper to-day, coloured according to the politics of the particular paper. Not one single bit of evidence has been produced to show that the situation has altered, except in the military sense, by the use of the existing armaments in Spain.
What kind of evidence would the hon. and gallant Member accept, if he refuses to accept the evidence of the Spanish Government and of responsible Press correspondents, when the British Government have no other observers in Spain to give evidence?
§ Captain Balfour
I would accept entirely the evidence of our diplomatic and consular representatives who owe allegiance to no party and no policy but are there to serve the Government of the day. But let us suppose for a moment that those rumours are true. We are obliged at the present time to support the policy of non-intervention and therefore any action taken by His Majesty's Government—supposing these rumours to be true—can only be in the direction of repairing breaches in the non-intervention policy. It is the Opposition who wish us now to abandon all non-intervention and to allow the uncontrollable forces of war in Spain and probably outside Spain. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness and Sutherland talked about what the people of this country are thinking at the present time. The people of this country, the ordinary voters, are thinking that, by hook or by crook, with all the faults and failings of non-intervention, at any rate it has succeeded in localising the war in Spain and not allowing it to spread throughout Europe.
Another reason I object to the Debate to-night is the smug attitude taken by the Opposition parties, as if they were really guarding British interests by supporting the Spanish Government. The hon. Lady just now wanted me to accept 503 the evidence of reasonable and authoritative newspapers. I have here a paper with which she must be familiar. It is the "Dia Grafico" of 26th February last. It is an official organ of the Barcelona Government and it makes an attack on British policy, and says that if the Government is successful in the war Gibraltar and all the sources of wealth to which foreigners, including Britons, have had access, will be taken over by them. Here is the exact wording:We are indeed ashamed that Gibraltar does not belong to the sovereign territory of the Spanish State, as well as of the fact that through Governments of the Monarchy, together with the incompetence and lack of patriotism of our capitalists, the exploitation of our sources of wealth should have passed into foreign hands. With our effort alone, not a single foreign invader will remain in Spain, and afterwards we shall obtain the return of all our national riches.
§ Mr. Wilfrid Roberts
What authority has the hon. and gallant Member for saying it is the official organ of the Government?
§ Mr. Roberts
Can the hon. and gallant Member produce any Spaniard supporting the Government who admits it is the official organ?
§ Captain Balfour
This is not a court of law. This paper is a recognised official daily paper in Government territory and I have just as much right to quote that attack on British interests by the Spanish Government, as any hon. Member has of bringing forward, as is done day after day at Question Time, articles in papers which they allege are Franco papers, saying that Franco will do this or that.
§ Captain Balfour
Even supposing this paper is denied by the Spanish Government it is, I submit, rash and wrong for us to make our deductions from newspaper articles. [Interruption.] Hon. Members do not like to hear something which is against their case. A question I would like to ask is, supposing that the Government of Spain had achieved a great victory suddenly to-night, with the aid of French and Russian munitions which everybody admits do exist in Spain, would the Opposition have moved the Adjournment of the House in order 504 to ensure that the policy of non-intervention was succeeding? No, Sir. For the hon. Members above the Gangway would not have moved the Adjournment of the House and would not have protested at a victory for the Spanish Government. So, it is proved and admitted that they are using non-intervention just so long as it suits their political affinities, and they will throw it over directly it does not suit them. They will use it irrespective of whether it is helpful towards the cause of world peace. They are only thinking of the political ideology which they pursue and not of the interests of this country.
I protest strongly against the executive of this country being unable to function because, daily, the legislature throws sand into its wheels. We are a free democracy but that very freedom carries with it a responsibility of balance and judgment, particularly while foreign affairs are in this grave and delicate situation which the Prime Minister tells us is the case—and he is head of the Executive and knows—and which is also admitted by the two Leaders of the Opposition. I believe that when we have had eight foreign affairs Debates, as we have had during the last few weeks, while we have a daily barrage of questions intended for propaganda purposes, we are in danger of abusing the freedom of democracy by taking for political purposes all opportunities of impeding the even functioning of the executive, and endangering the peace of the country at the same time. I believe that the Opposition are doing a disservice to the country and to the cause of peace by their action, and that they will meet with their right deserts in the country for their action in the House to-night.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Maxton
The hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down made a very heated contribution to the Debate. He called for calm and objected to the Opposition getting hot about this matter, but showed a greater amount of general nervous excitation than anyone else who has participated in the Debate. His star point was to read a quotation from some alleged newspaper which he describes as being an official organ of the Spanish Government. My hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) says he does not believe there is any such 505 paper. I would not go as far as that, but while I was in Barcelona that was not one of the papers brought before my notice. In any case, on a previous occasion when questions were asked in this House, this document was passed from hand to hand and I got rid of it as quickly as I could. I am sorry now I did not tear it up. I should have thought the hon. and gallant Member would have refused to handle it for hygienic reasons alone, because it had passed through so many hands before it got to this bench, one had very grave doubts about its authenticity. That was the high point of the hon. and gallant Member's speech—that somebody somewhere in Barcelona had said that Gibraltar should never have been left in the hands of Britain through all these centuries. That has nothing to do with the future. It is a criticism of Spanish Governments of the past who left Gibraltar in foreign hands, and that is all that there is in the document. The Prime Minister does not, I hope, require the protection which his hon. Friends are anxious to give him. The appeal of the hon. and gallant Member is that the House of Commons should suspend its rights to debate these matters.
§ Captain Balfour
No. I never said that the House of Commons should suspend its rights. I said our freedom of democracy carries with it a need for balance and judgment.
§ Mr. Maxton
Hear, hear, and I think that the Opposition are entitled to stand in the House to-night and say that from the start the facts have proved that they have a more balanced and sensible judgment on the trend of European affairs than has been disclosed by His Majesty's Government. The facts to-night are in support of the Opposition critics and not of the statements that have been made from the Government Front Bench. From there there have been daily professions of ignorance. I can scarcely believe, however, that they have been ignorant of the facts either of the Austrian situation or of the situation in Spain. I cannot believe that the Consular service, the Ambassadorial service and the Secret Service have kept from the Government essential facts about both the Spanish and the Austrian situations.
I do not believe that the sudden and spectacular advance of General Franco's forces in Spain and the march into 506 Austria of Hitler's forces are isolated incidents, that these two movements are detached happenings that have just by accident occurred at this time. I am amused at the Prime Minister and his supporting casting Britain's role in this situation as if we were the gods sitting up on high Olympus above the battle, looking down pityingly and benevolently on the lesser mortals beneath. That is not our situation. We are the marked down victims. These are only the manoeuvrings of troops to get them into position. That is all that is happening up till now. When I came into politics it was no part of my intention, and it has never been part of my effort, to maintain the British Empire. I have never at any time approached my electors with a promise that I was going to safeguard the British Empire. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] Frankly, when I look at humble nations like Norway and Sweden with no empire, and I look at the lives of their people, I think, allowing for all the differences, that in the simple quiet nations that do not regard themselves as the saviours of the whole world, the common people live more happily and contentedly than the people in the great cities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, in spite of their great Empire. I came into politics to try and see if I could possibly remove some of the heavy sufferings of the poor people of this country. That was the limit of my ambition. I took sides with the Spanish people at the beginning of this trouble because I believed that that was their ambition.
To-night I am not assuming a victory of the Franco forces. I remember when I went to an international conference in Paris in 1936, I believed that before I reached Paris we would have word that Madrid had fallen. That was the general view in this country. Madrid has not yet fallen. Barcelona has not yet fallen, and Valencia has not yet fallen, in spite of what has been the most tremendous concentrations of armed forces with governmental power behind them—the governmental power of Italy and Germany. And hon. and gallant Members in this House excuse it, defend it and even applaud it while their own Prime Minister holds out the hand of friendship to Italy and Germany. While his hand is being held out he is kicked right in the solar plexus, below the belt, and hon. 507 Members who pretend to be the supporters in this House of the British Empire, and who have promised their electors to maintain its integrity, applaud -the actions of the men who are insulting and disgracing their Prime Minister in the eyes of the world. That is the role of Conservative gentlemen in the British House of Commons in 1938.
I am not anxious to drive the Prime Minister to make hasty utterances. He came very jauntily into the realm of foreign affairs near the end of a long political life. He came in very boldly, and he was scarcely in the ring when he had a knock-out blow. I am ready to give him the necessary time to get to his feet and to make a statement of where Britain stands with reference to honesty, because what has been defended on the Government side to-night is dishonesty. I am going to ask him where Britain stands on common human decency. I am going to ask him where it stands in the matter of ordinary courage. That has got to be said. It may not be said to-night; it has not been said to-night; but it has got to be said within the next few days, and said in plain language that ordinary people in this country and in other countries can understand.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. H. G. Strauss
Although the Adjournment has been moved on the question of Spain, it has been clear from the speeches of all hon. Members that greater events and the lamentable events of last week are at the back of all our minds. I agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Opposition when he said that we cannot entirely divorce one part of the Continent from another when we discuss foreign affairs. I thought that he was unfair to the Prime Minister in assuming that he had done so. As I understood the Prime Minister, he pointed out that this Debate was on a limited subject but admitted, as we must all admit, that there was a serious background which gives solemnity to any Debate on foreign affairs at this moment. I believe that one fact relating to the tragedy of Austria must be obvious to all thinking people, and that is the contrast between the appalling efficiency and calculation with which that crime was put through and that which was happening in other 508 great nations which deplored what was taking place.
While Germany acted with that appalling efficiency France was without a Government at all, Russia was indulging in the worst and most fantastic of its judicial lynchings, and in this country the chief Opposition was inaugurating a great campaign in the country in an endeavour to prove to the people of this and other countries that the foreign policy of His Majesty's Government had not the support of the nation. Were those circumstances of a kind to make any dictator pause? I am not saying for one moment that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite ought not to go about the country making that statement if they believe it to be fundamentally true and that it is their duty to do so, but I think it would be well if they examined how these things must strike potential aggressors abroad; and also, perhaps, it would be as well, if they are going to attack the policy of His Majesty's Government in foreign affairs on every occasion, that they should at least make some effort to see that their attack is consistent.
I understand that to-night they say that there has recently been a great increase of Fascist intervention in Spain. They rely on some information which they have seen. On the other side it is disputed whether that information is correct. I do not wish to discuss that point of dispute. They say that recently—this must be the basis of their case—there has been a great increase of intervention on one side in Spain, and from that they deduce that it is the duty of this country to change its policy of nonintervention. They go on to assume that it would help the Barcelona Government if we did, and they finally assume that what they are advocating to-night fits in with the general policy which they are advocating in the country. I believe that every one of those propositions is questionable or untrue. Why is it so obvious that if non-intervention is not stopping all intervention, we should therefore abolish the policy and stop none? One would think from some of the speeches to which we have listened from hon. and right hon. Members opposite that this policy of non-intervention was an invention of His Majesty's Government, and that they themselves had never approved of it. In truth it was first proposed by M. Blum, and the 509 Labour party Conference and the Trade Union Conference approved of it by great majorities in 1936. Why do they assume that it should be so very desirable that France, which originated this policy, should now abandon it? I am assuming in their favour that that is what the French Government is asking should be done, though I have no evidence of it. Are they convinced that they are being very good friends of France in hoping that France will tie herself up further in Spain at this juncture? I wonder really whether it is desirable that the British Government should change its policy as often as France changes her Governments.
The policy of non-intervention, with all its faults—and I, like most Members on this side, have never denied what faults that policy has—has done something, I believe, to save the peace of Europe and to prevent the conflagration spreading. I believe, also, that it is quite untrue that that policy has as a whole been adverse to the Barcelona Government. Why should it be assumed that if non-intervention were abandoned altogether, the Fascist Powers would not be able to help General Franco's cause more than other Powers would be able to help the Barcelona cause? Barcelona is at present receiving a good deal of aid from France and Russia, and it may be that some increase would be possible, but do not let anybody exaggerate the amount of arms that France is likely to spare for anybody at the present time. Is it supposed that even if we did abandon our policy of non-intervention we should be in a position to arm anybody but ourselves? The proposition has only to be stated for it to be seen to be ridiculous.
§ Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft
May I interrupt the hon. Member? Is he not aware of the vast trains of munitions which have been going steadily over the border for the last six months? There were 5,400 tons within five weeks.
§ Mr. Strauss
I believe that what my hon. and gallant Friend says is correct, and that strengthens His Majesty's Government's position, but I was for the moment making an assumpion favourable to the Barcelona Government.
§ Mr. Maxton
How is it that the hon. Member and the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemonth (Sir H. Croft) have such precise information about the 510 supplies that go to governmental Spain, and no information about the supplies that go to General Franco?
§ Mr. Strauss
I think the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) has misunderstood me. I certainly am not claiming precise information about either side, but I am saying quite definitely that I believe there has been extensive intervention on both sides.
§ Mr. McGovern
Did you arrange that the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) was to ask that question?
§ Mr. Strauss
I do not think that is a worthy interruption. My hon. Friends below the Gangway will, I think, credit me with the same honesty with which I credit them, and I assure them that nothing was prearranged. What strikes me strangely in this matter is that since my right hon. Friend the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) gave up his office as Foreign Secretary, hon. Gentlemen opposite have been so eager to quote him in their favour on all possible and impossible occasions, but nobody ever made it clearer than the late Foreign Secretary that in his view it was completely untrue to say that if nonintervention were abandoned, it would help the Barcelona Government. It is curious to see the differences which have arisen now in the attitude of hon. Members opposite on the subject of the late Foreign Secretary and Spain.
I see present the right hon. Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George). I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is conducting a plebiscite designed to help the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite, which suggests that that policy has something in common with the policy of the late Foreign Secretary. I noticed that the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shin-well), speaking on 13th January in Barcelona, said:Perhaps we shall not be long in treating our Government, of whose attitude we are ashamed, and Mr. Eden as yon are now treating Franco, the Italians, and Germans.I understand from speeches of hon. Members to-night and on previous occasions that they regard the presence of Italian troops in Spain as not only scandalous in itself but as a menace to British interests, which it is the obvious duty of this Government to get rid of, if they can. That case has been urged in this House 511 for more than a year. It is rather curious therefore to find, in their manifesto of 23rd February, in which they were attempting to rouse the country on the occasion of the resignation of the late Foreign Secretary, that, having said all those things previously, they said on that occasion:The presence of Italian troops in Spain and Libya is alleged to be a menace to vital British interests. In reality it is a great source of weakness to Mussolini.In view of the contradictory statements which hon. Gentlemen have made in this House on the same subject, can one possibly say after examining their published statements that they are able to stick to one foreign policy for 10 days on end? It seems to be assumed by the party opposite that the request for the abandonment of the policy of non-intervention fits in somehow with their claim that we should support the League of Nations. I do not think that the League of Nations has been mentioned by them to-night, and for very obvious reasons, because a League policy would not fit in at all well with the demand which hon. Members are now making. Winding up the Debate earlier in the week, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander) said that the Spanish question ought to have been referred to the League because it was a question with which the League ought to have dealt from the beginning, and that he had always said so and so had his party. The right hon. Gentleman quite overlooked the fact that the Spanish question had been before the League on various occasions, and that the only occasions upon which the League had reached unanimity upon the subject was when the League approved the policy of non-intervention and the action taken by the Non-intervention Committee in London.
When the Spanish Government themselves directly brought the question before the League last Summer, what happened? There was a resolution on which this country, France, and others were able to agree, but it never became a resolution of the League, because it was opposed by Albania and Portugal. The statement of this fact has been generally greeted with hilarity by hon. Members opposite. The last time I drew attention to this aspect of the matter an hon. Member shouted something about Fascist puppets.
§ Mr. Strauss
If hon. Gentlemen will attempt to think what they mean when they ask for the rule of law, they will realise that they are asking inter alia for the rule of the law of the Covenant of the League. The so-called Fascist puppets have as much right to block a resolution as has any other Power, according to the law of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have constantly accused the Prime Minister of abandoning in his speech the League and collective security, but the right hon. Gentleman did nothing of the kind. He pointed out that collective security did not to-day exist and that no country was at the present moment protected thereby against the aggression of a great Power. That was true, yet for that reason the Government have been attacked again and again. They have only said what is common agreement.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Captain Bourne)
I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that, in accordance with Standing Order 3, we are strictly limited in this Debate to questions relating to Spain.
§ Mr. Strauss
I apologise, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I was attempting to follow some of the points made by hon. Gentlemen opposite in their campaign in the country against the Government's foreign policy. The lamentable recent events in Europe call for a restatement of British foreign policy, well thought out and delivered after due thought. On that point alone perhaps I agree with the hon. Member for Bridgeton. The attack that has been made upon the Government's policy to-night is not based upon any logic. No good reason has been given for this country hastily to change its policy of nonintervention. Rather does the occasion demand that this country should stand firm. The Opposition have given no reason for supposing that the Government's policy, if changed, would favour the side which they support, and they have made no effort—because the task would be impossible—to connect what they advocate to-night with their pretended support of the League of Nations.
§ 9.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Cocks
The hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Strauss) has done me the honour to refer to some of my remarks upon foreign affairs, but I cannot think, after listening to his speeches, that he has derived much benefit from what he has heard. He asked a number of questions of a somewhat academic and theoretic kind, and he hardly seemed to touch the gravity of the immediate issue before the country. The Prime Minister asked in his speech why it was that this matter of Spain had become a sudden menace. He said that things now happening in Spain had been going on for a considerable time. Many hon. Members may have watched the launching of a ship. First, after the bottle of champagne has been broken, there is scarcely any motion at all, but gradually the ship slips away. It gathers momentum, and finally it rides majestically on the sea. There is exactly the same process in Spain. The menace was always there, but the gravity of it has been growing all the time. There has recently been increased momentum. That fact, coupled with events which are now occurring in Central Europe, results in a menace which is threatening the peace and liberty of the world and the security of the British Empire.
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister described his policy in relation to non-intervention, but that policy has been a farce from the beginning. The German Government and the Italian Government seem to have joined the Nonintervention Committee for the sole purpose of burking the issue, prolonging discussion, and causing frequent breakdowns and deadlocks that have delayed decision. The atmosphere of that committee has been an atmosphere of such humbug and hyprocrisy that any decent man who was a member of it must, after one of its meetings, have wanted to go and take a bath. This is not the occasion, because time is limited, to go into the detailed operations of the Non-intervention Committee, but I want to make just this remark, that the Noble Lord the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Cranborne), who was then Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, stated, as long ago as last April, that, if it were not found possible to make progress in the evacuation of volunteers in the near future, a new situation would be created. Similar statements were made 514 by Lord Plymouth on 21st June and on 16th October, in the latter of which he said that, unless agreement was reached within a very short space of time, the British Government would reserve to itself the right to resume complete liberty of action. Five months have elapsed since then, and agreement has not been reached in a very short space of time, but the British Government do not seem to have made use of that reservation of the right to resume complete liberty of action. Only a month ago, in circumstances which are in the minds of us all because it was at the time of the resignation of the late Foreign Secretary, the Italian Government was supposed to have accepted the British formula in theory, but the Under-Secretary in the House of Commons could not tell us when the next meeting of the committee was to be held. For a month there has been a state of deadlock, although there was agreement in principle, and it is quite clear that the deadlock has been deliberate, that the dictator Powers have been holding up the committee while they were conducting these special new operations in Spain.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition proved, by his quotation from Marshal Goering, that a bargain has been struck between the two dictators. Everyone who studies international affairs knows that such a bargain has been struck between Signor Mussolini and Herr Hitler. Under that bargain, which will have to be carried out, Central Europe has been reserved for Herr Hitler, and Spain for Signor Mussolini. On the very day on which the late Foreign Secretary resigned, Herr Hitler made a speech in Berlin in which he said that there was complete identity between the two with regard to Spain and with regard to other matters throughout the world. It is clear that a deadlock has been deliberately created, while in the meantime Herr Hitler marched into Vienna with the consent of Signor Mussolini, and Signor Mussolini sent, according to a well-known French writer, 30,000 new troops to Spain in order to try to win a victory within the next few weeks. The Government do not seem even now to realise that to these two dictators agreements are nothing, their word is nothing, and the Non-intervention Committee is nothing. All that they believe in is sheer brute force and the settling of any dispute between them 515 and any other nation by superior power. They regard all these conversations that are now going on as a sign of weaknes. The visit of the present Foreign Secretary to Berlin was followed immediately by the purge of the moderate elements in the Reichswehr by Herr Hitler, and the late Foreign Secretary's resignation has been followed by the attack on Austria, and now by this attack in Spain. The Foreign Office pretend to have no knowledge of this new importation of material and men into Spain. They never seem to get into touch with our agents at Burgos or anywhere else. If they did, they would find that this information is actually true.
The Prime Minister said at Question Time that the munitions and men now being used by General Franco were there before, and have been there for a long time, but here are a few reports which I have extracted from recent publications, and which, I suggest to the representatives of the Foreign Office, are worth looking into. They can easily ascertain the information with the means at their disposal. The Spanish Embassy states that 30,000 German storm troops left Germany for Spain on 14th March, and that on the same date German air technicians were landed near San Sebastian. Another report states that last week 11 freighters, escorted by German destroyers, were lying at Algeciras. It is also stated that the hospital shop "Grandica" and four other vessels, escorted by Italian destroyers, landed 5,000 troops who had been withdrawn from Libya and taken to Spain. At Cadiz recently there were disembarked 100 armoured cars and 100 Maschetti bombers. The "News-Chronicle" stated on 16th March that, in the new push which is breaking through so rapidly in Aragon, there were eight squadrons of Heinkel heavy bombers, and four squadrons of Messerschmidt chasers, types of machines which have never been seen in Spain before, and which were able to outfly and destroy the aeroplanes possessed by the Spanish Government. As a result, there has been a break-through on a very wide front such as has never been possible before with the munitions hitherto available, and which has been made possible by these new weapons and new troops. These squadrons have been commanded by 516 General Veidt, an officer of the Reichswehr. Moreover, the "Daily Telegraph" stated that, in the fight which is now going on, an armoured motorised column was in action under the command of General Berginzoli, and was accompanied by 700 German and Italian planes, according to the statement of a man named Mario Minerva, who was fighting on the side of Franco and was captured. The Prime Minister apparently will not recognise that these weapons exist until General Franco is in Barcelona, just as he did not recognise Herr Hitler's intentions until his army marched into Vienna.
This controversy shows that not only does history not repeat itself, but family history does not repeat itself. I remember that when I was a very young man I was a great admirer of the right hon. Gentleman's father. I remember how, when his father was attacked by a foreign Power, he answered with defiant words. He said he was not answerable to any foreign Power for what he said, but only to his own countrymen. "What I have said, I have said." The Prime Minister apparently is of different mettle. When his Government is attacked he throws his Foreign Secretary to the wolves of the Roman Lupercal. At the time of the French Revolution Danton said, "The allies are attacking me: I throw at them the head of the King." Signor Mussolini can now say, "The League of Nations has hampered me, I throw at their heads the British Foreign Secretary, the supporter of sanctions." The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) mentioned the other day the great Emperor who had to go to Canossa. This is the first time in English history that an English Prime Minister has had to go to Caporetto, or to send his Ambassador to Rome to lay a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Pirate.
As many hon. Members have remarked, the position is very grave and serious. The Leader of the Opposition stated several reasons why it was serious, as the result of the victory of the Fascists in Spain would be to see the German Nazis, with all the wealth of Bilbao at their command, exercising control over Portugal, Italy, Cartagena, and Minorca, with Germans and Italians at Ceuta and their guns threatening Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sealed to our trade in time 517 of war, our communications cut, the Mediterranean an Italian lake. Somebody suggested that a Franco Spain would not necessarily be hostile to us, but let me quote from a report in the "Times" a speech made on 9th February by the Minister of the Interior of General Franco, who said:We will be faithful to the friends whose generous aid we have accepted.And yet when the French Government suggest that action should be taken, I read an article by a diplomatic correspondent in a newspaper to-day saying that the British Ambassador yesterday advised caution and restraint. Caution and restraint! Why, we have been exercising that for the last two years, and look at the position to which we have been brought. Some people would use other words, which are not suitable to employ in a Debate on foreign affairs. What we want at this moment is not caution and restraint, but resolute action.
I said something about the family history of the Prime Minister just now. Let me say something more agreeable. I know he has a great admiration for his father. The Germany of his day deceived his father. He tried to get an alliance with Germany. Just as Germany deceived his father, so Signor Mussolini and Herr Hitler are deceiving him. Let him go back to the great clays of his father when, in answer to threats, he responded with deeds and with resolute action. Let the Government, press on with its rearmament programme with zeal and fury, close down these conversations, which only appear as signs of weakness, and inaugurate a new policy towards Spain. It may be too late—I hope it is not—but surely we ought now to get rid of this ridiculous non-intervention policy and allow the Spanish Government to purchase freely the arms they need for their own defence. Secondly, should the French Government suggest the possibility of sending an army to Catalonia, let us give them the assurance that if they are attacked for doing so, we shall stand by them
Now I am going to speak for myself; I am not binding my party to these views. Remembering that many historians agree that the power of Napoleon was sapped most in the Spanish campaign, cannot the Government consider further action in order to prevent the friends of Herr 518 Hitler and Signor Mussolini winning in Spain? Remember that Waterloo would not have been won unless we had held in front of our lines the fortified farms of Hougomont and La Haye Sainte. It is very important that this country and its Allies should secure a strong tactical and strategical position. I suggest that, with the permission of the Spanish Government, which would be readily obtained, it might be found necessary for the British Government to occupy Minorca—Port Mahon is the finest harbour in the Western Mediterranean—and make it a French-British naval base. Further, in view of what the Germans and Italians are doing, there is no reason why they should not go on and occupy Ceuta and Algeciras, from which guns are threatening Gibraltar, and make the Straits safe for our fleet and our ships. Other measures could be taken to render Spain safe for the British Empire and prevent a victory for General Franco. If we did that, we should be strong enough to win a war if it came, and strong enough to save the liberties of Spain and prevent war occurring at all.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Crossley
The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and indeed most of the speakers on the other side of the House, have founded their arguments on two main assumptions, the first of which is that there has been a great increase recently in the quantity of arms recently sent to one side in Spain. The hon. Member made some allegations of that kind, even if he did not produce anything that could be called evidence. The second assumption on which most of the arguments of hon. Gentlemen opposite are based is that if Spain were conquered by General Franco, it would in fact be a German or Italian Spain. Rather surprisingly that has been said by hon. Members who have been to Spain recently, but if they had been in Franco's Spain, I do not think that they would find that the fighting powers of the Italian forces in Spain were rated very highly in that country.
I would ask for a more objective study of this problem. I think we are in a much simpler position. We are simply neutral. Nor do I believe that if the Government won, it would necessarily be wholly to our interests. I have thought of what would happen, for example, to 519 Morocco. Who would attempt to recapture Morocco; and what sort of position would we be in in the Mediterranean if there was not a Spanish Government, such as I think would be formed if General Franco won, but if, in fact, Morocco was adrift, to be taken in actual possession by one of the Fascist Powers? Anyone who remembers the action of the Spaniards in the Riff Wars will not, I think, presume that the Spanish Government would make the slightest attempt to recapture Morocco if they won in Spain?
§ Mr. Crossley
Because they hated the Riff Wars to such an extent. They were forced into them by that section which is, in fact, monarchist. The ordinary people in Spain hated them.
§ Mr. Crossley
I very much doubt it; but the hon. Lady must study history and form her own conclusions.
§ Mr. Crossley
While I am recommending history to the hon. Lady, perhaps I should also recommend that she should read the history of Spain in the last century. There were, in fact, two foreign kings in Spain. One, Joseph, lasted precisely five years. The other was an Italian King, and he lasted from 1870 to 1873. Both abandoned the position because of the hopeless position of foreigners in Spain. I believe that there is a much simpler reason for this new advance in Spain. This is what I want to put objectively before the House. This is the strategy of the Spanish war as I believe it has been for the last year. Last summer was spent in conquering the north. It took the whole summer and was an immense military endeavour—and, indeed, an immense achievement. When they had conquered the north, it was autumn, with a cold winter about to begin. It was too late for further operations, and the troops of Nationalist Spain went into winter quarters. There was not the slightest intention of having any more fighting until about this time of the year.
520 Suddenly, from behind the hills, there was a Government attack on Teruel. The line, very thinly held, was driven in. Reinforcements were brought up after Teruel had been captured, and—all this is very Spanish—Teruel, a town of no military importance, of no account, an extreme outpost of a long salient, a place with no manufactures, became a point of honour. Vast forces were brought up on both sides, the pick of both sides. A battle lasting more than a month ended with the complete destruction of most of the Spanish Army. "Seek out your enemies' main forces and destroy them," was the main rule of the Spaniards. A new offensive was begun by three columns acting simultaneously on three points. They pierced the line and completely destroyed the forces opposite, and only then were Italian mechanised divisions put in to pursue. I will say a word about actual Italian intervention in Spain.
§ Mr. Crossley
Yes, and German; and Russian and French. The actual use of Italians in Spain has been somewhat interesting. There were none used at Malaga except in the reserves; they never took part in the fighting. There were practically none used at Bilbao; there were a few mixed in with Spaniards in the infantry battalions. At Santander, they were used in the actual conquest of the town, but not in the main operations which occurred in the valleys before. At Guadalajara, the Italian mechanised columns were used. Before the line was broken, they were sent on ahead, and were met by the International Brigade. They got roundly defeated, and ran for miles. At Teruel, in the big battle no Italian troops were used; and in this advance they have only, in fact, been used after the main victory was won.
War materials have, of course, been imported in very large quantities. There have undoubtedly been large quantities of Italian tanks and aeroplanes, and German tanks and aeroplanes and guns. But on the Government side, only two days ago the Government's own communique said that there were 60 Government aeroplanes fighting 30 on Franco's side. Where did they get them? They did not make them in Barcelona. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] They cannot make them there. Hon. Members do not suggest that the 521 Government do not get vast numbers from Russia and France, and other sources too. Perhaps they will be interested in other figures that I have.
§ Mr. Crossley
It is a good thing that we should hear about them, and perhaps the Under-Secretary will take note of them, too. Since the beginning of the war, 510 aeroplanes have been brought down by General Franco's forces. Of those, 436 have been brought down behind his lines. This does not look as if he had had complete command of the air during the war. Of the 436 brought down behind his lines, 83 were of French design and 238 of Russian design, more than half of them being bombers. It is often forgotten that: the Spanish Government do a great deal of bombing, as well as General Franco's forces. Eighty-four of the machines were of American design, but were probably made in Russia.
§ Mr. Crossley
I do not think that I can add very much, except that there have also been very large numbers of men going steadily over the French frontier. In fact, between July and September of last year some 11,600 men went over the French frontier. There are six recruiting offices at Toulouse at the present time, and until we actually stopped it—and we are the only country in the world that has actually stopped our people and made it illegal for them to go—certain hon. Members who sit in this House were actively encouraging Englishmen to go and fight. It might be a laudable thing to go and fight in Spain or it might not, but personally I hold the view that I have always put before my constituents. I hope that the time will never come when this country will wittingly allow an Englishman to risk losing his life in Spain, that it will not allow him to go 10 either side in Spain to kill a single Spaniard.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Nicolson
I do not wish to enter into the controversy regarding how 522 many arms have been, or have not been, supplied by one side or the either. I do not wish even to go back to what faults may have been committed m the past or upon whom the responsibility rests. I want to turn to the actual Motion before us and to the words of that Motion, namely:That the present situation in Spain is a grave menace to the interests and security of this country.I wish to do that not at all in terms of politics. In fact, I should like to have seen this Debate move a little more away from politics. I do not think that it is possible for any hon. Members on any side of the House to approach this Spanish question in a mood of clarity or of judgment if they allow their minds to be affected by the very grave emotional and political issues involved. That does not mean that I am not without sympathies in this matter. I have very deep sympathy with the Spanish Government, and I have a very deep hatred, if the word means anything at all, for General Franco. But I do try, and on this occasion, I think, we ought all to try, to envisage the thing not in terms of politics, but in actual military strategic terms, because the situation is rapidly ceasing to be a political situation and is daily and hourly becoming more and more a military situation. I do not think that we need waste our time in this House, or, possibly, increase the differences between us, by arguing whether the recent advance of General Franco is due to munitions received from such or such a source, or is not due to such munitions.
I do not think we need waste the time of the House on that, but we should keep in mind what will be the effect of General Franco's victory upon British interests and the security of this country. I believe with hon. Members opposite that that effect will be very grave indeed, and I am afraid that I cannot fully agree with the remark of the Prime Minister that what is important is, that Germany and Italy do not wish to control that country. I quite agree that they have no such desire. They do not want to control it. Germany wants only to control the mineral deposits of the north; and Italy wishes to control both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar. That is where "control" lies. It is said on this side of the House, and by many 523 people who know Spain that "Spain will always be Spain. She will discharge this alien and horrible body from her midst. She will insist upon retaining her own rights, her own sovereignty within her own borders, and in her own lands." I know that that is said; but I do not think that it is true. Having lived in Spain for a considerable number of years, I am aware that they have a real national dislike for the Italians; but for some strange reason they have a liking for Germans. It is not a question—and I think that the House ought to think of it in this way—of German or Italian administrations or authorities being installed in Spain. It is not a question of the Gestapo being installed in Seville. It is not that. It is a question of a few technicians, a few gun-emplacements at such places as Tarifa Point or Apes Hill. These are places where they will not come in contact with the Spanish people but where they will come into military contact, and very disastrous contact, with the British Navy. It is being optimistic to rely upon that extreme nationalism of the Spanish character (which is one of their greatest forces) to assume the absolute impossibility of the establishment at vital strategic points of Italian and German batteries and submarine bases. It is sheer optimism to imagine that this will not occur.
I feel, therefore, that if we approach the matter not with political feelings, but from the strategic point of view, such differences as exist—and they are very wide differences in the political field—between both sides of the House on this Spanish question might be narrowed. We might find a bridge. We might find between the Imperial interests on this side of the House and the democratic interests on that side a bridge. [HON MEMBERS: "No."] Upon this question of security, this actual question of safeguarding real British interests, we might find a connecting link between the two sides of the House, which at this time is so necessary.
It is not merely the danger of the Spanish situation to which I would like to draw attention to-night. It is also the great opportunity of the Spanish situation. It is essential that this country at this moment in some manner should display to the world an affirmation of strength. I do not see how we can do 524 that by any more resolutions or even by such firm and wise statements as were made by the Noble Lord the Foreign Secretary in another place this afternoon. We must have another Nyon somehow. I do not want to seem belligerent, but I think that it is necessary that we should show that the strength of this country is quickly operative on the sea; and to make quite clear, if possible, to other countries that, when we are concerned with sea matters, this country is not only determined and forceful, but also rapid.
It is very difficult for me to understand the feeling among the Members on some of the benches on this side of the House that this Spain, this country for which we have fought so often and so triumphantly, which for 300 years has been a vital British interest, this country where we beat Napoleon, can now be regarded as something of no strategic importance and that, without any real pain or agony of soul, hon. Members on this side of the House should really see, seriously see (for that is what they will see) Gibraltar, the control of the Straits, the whole of the Mediterranean, the whole of what we have fought for generation after generation, slipping into Mussolini's hands. I find it very difficult to understand their point of view. I have tried my best to be sympathetic to it. I cannot understand how a purely political emotion can blind them to the traditions of 300 years of British policy and how they can see what the right hon. Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) called "the very lifeline of our Empire," exposed to this disguised infiltration. The Spanish situation, I repeat, is a great danger; but it is also a great opportunity. If we can be united with France on this question, we can display an overwhelming and incontestable affirmation of strength. I trust, therefore that, without allowing the feelings which all of us must have on this subject to separate us unduly, we shall permit this problem of security to form a bond for united agreement, and for action.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Greenwood
The Prime Minister complained that my right hon. Friend had used hard and provocative words. They were not hard and provocative words. They were temperate and careful words. The situation in which this Government has placed the country would 525 merit much stronger language. If my right hon. Friend's words were hard, at any rate hard words are better than soft and flabby words, and certainly better than evasive words, such as fell from the lips of the Prime Minister—evasive words which shirked the issue raised in this House to-night. The Prime Minister made no attempt whatever to answer the case which my right hon. Friend put. He did not appreciate the urgency of this Debate. The "Daily Express," a paper whose views I do not share, says to-day, and this is where the matter of urgency comes in:The real blow to genuine democracy will not be felt in Spain but in France.My right hon. Friend asked the Prime Minister about French representations made to His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister gave us no reply. This House to-night is entitled to know the contents of that note. That note was not a birthday message to the right hon. Gentleman. It was not a statement of salutations. That note must have been a serious request on the part of our closest Ally on a matter gravely perturbing its mind. Not only have we heard no word of that note, but we have not even heard from the Prime Minister whether he has yet had the courtesy to reply. Still less have we got the nature of the reply. All that he said was that we shall continue in future as in the past—God help this country—in close touch with the French Government. This House and the people of the country are entitled to know in this hour of serious danger what was the nature of the French Government's communication, what reply, if any has been sent, and what reply, if one has not been sent, is likely to be sent.
The right hon. Gentleman told us that keeping out of Spain was the best way to peace. My right hon. Friend never asked that we should go into Spain. The Prime Minister's reference to that point was sheer misrepresentation, and he knows it. We asked him to get rid of what is now a ghastly farce, the Non-intervention Agreement. We ask him to agree to allow the properly constituted Government of Spain to exercise its moral right, its legal right, to obtain the means necessary for its own defence against the invader. The right hon. Gentleman has no information. As far as I have been able to gather from speeches made from the other side of the House, he never has any information, 526 certainly not when the information is likely to be uncomfortable to his security of mind. Are all the newspapers wrong? Are all the eyewitnesses wrong? Are those who have been to Spain and witnessed these mass formations of foreign military strength, wrong?
It is no use the Prime Minister trying to hide behind a barrage of ignorance. He has no business to be ignorant. The best that he claims for his policy, indeed it was a boast, is that, at least, they had got restricted intervention—restricted primarily to the dictatorships. What a confession from a Government which has stood unservingly by complete adherence to the policy of non-intervention. There is more weight of metal in Spain now than ever before. If the right hon. Gentleman can understand me, I think it would be good if we had equality of non-intervention on both sides. The Prime Minister in winding up the Debate was a little uneasy about the question of intervention. I will quote at length what he said in his first speech on 21st February. He was speaking of his discussions with the Italian Ambasador in London, and he said:First of all I told him that the British Government regarded a settlement of the Spanish question as an essential feature of any agreement at which we might arrive. No agreement could be considered complete unless it contained a settlement of the Spanish question. … I said it was essential that it should not be possible, if we went to the League to recommend the approval of the agreement, for it to be said that the situation in Spain during the conversations had been materially altered by Italy, either by sending fresh reinforcements to Franco or by failing to implement the arrangements contemplated by the British formula. I added that I did not believe these intimations would occasion his Government a moment's anxiety, since I was confident that his Government would approach the negotiations in the same spirit as we should do, namely, in perfect good faith and with a sincere desire to reach agreement.Not bad: nothing occasions the Italian Government any anxiety:Perhaps in that last sentence I have expressed that difference in outlook between my right hon. Friend and myself of which he has told us of his consciousness. I am not here to say that the actions of the Italian Government in the past have been satisfactory to me, but I am concerned with the future, not the past. I believe that if these negotiations are approached in a spirit of mutual confidence there is a good hope that they may be brought to a successful conclusion, but if you are going beforehand to enter upon them in a spirit 527 of suspicion, then none of those conditions that you can think of the initial withdrawal of troops or anything else that my right hon. Friends suggests, are going to save you. If there is going to be bad faith there will be bad faith, and no assurances beforehand are going to after it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1938; col. 62, Vol. 332.]I apologise for the length of the quotation. What is the Prime Minister going to do now in the face of that statement? Bad faith within the last three weeks has been proved. If the Prime Minister has no information about it, I am sorry, but I am bound to say that in my view, and in the view of responsible people in all quarters of the House, there has been within the last three weeks an intensification of Fascist attacks in Spain. If the Prime Minister does not know anything about it, perhaps he will read to us the French Note—[An HON. MEMBER: "And his reply!"] He has made no reply, as far as I can gather. We ought to know what his reply is, if there has been any reply. But it is undeniable that in the last three weeks, since the resignation of the late Foreign Secretary, there has been an importation into Spain on a large scale of war material in direct and deliberate violation of the Non-intervention Agreement, to which these Powers are a party. In view of these circumstances, and in view of the right hon. Gentleman's statement that he believed they were going to be good boys for once, I am asking the Prime Minister, "Where does he stand now?" By his inaction, by his acquiescence in another dose of restricted intervention, while pleasing his new-found friend Signor Mussolini, he is by implication selling Spain to Mussolini as he sold Austria to Hitler.
Is the right hon. Gentleman still to pursue his talks with Italy and with Germany. This House has a right to know. This House has a right to know whether the Prime Minister still believes in the word of a dictator after the events of the last few weeks. Nobody in this House denies the gravity of the situation to-day. The hon. and gallant Member for Thanet (Captain Balfour) said that at the end of the Debate the situation would be no less serious than it was at the beginning. I am not so sure about that. I think the situation now, because of the Prime Minister's refusal to tell the truth to the House, is graver than it was. And that 528 situation is not of our making. It will have been flashed round the world, and the world will know that Britain has no policy and that the Prime Minister intends to pursue this policy of perpetual drift.
§ Mr. Greenwood
The Non-intervention Agreement now, and everybody understands it in this House, is a rotting corpse, and it stinks so badly that the Prime Minister dare not bury it. It is admitted openly on the other side of the House that the agreement has been violently violated even after the announcement that discussions were taking place. The right hon. Gentleman began three weeks ago by saying, "Let us forget and forgive." Well, once bitten, twice shy; and twice bitten—in my part of the country we should not trust the word of the man who had bitten us twice. The near-distant results of the National Government's policy are seen to-day. The long-distant results, unless there is a change of what the ex-Foreign Secretary called "outlook and method," will be even more disastrous. The question of Spain is no longer a matter merely for the Iberian Peninsula. It has become a much graver problem. For years Austria has been the subject of a tug-of-war between two dictators; sometimes Mussolini has been in the ascent, and at other times Hitler has been in the ascent. That struggle is now over, and that piece of india rubber in the Berlin-Rome axis has now become German steel. At what price? Signor Mussolini, as a reward for giving up his claims to Austria and for making a solid Berlin-Rome axis, has now been allowed, with the active help of Hitler, a free hand in Spain, and to-day the Berlin-Rome axis, which never turned before, is turning the wheels of destiny. The Juggernaut is crushing Austria with one wheel and Spain with the other.
Hon. Members may disagree as to the merits of the Spanish civil war, but now it is not merely a question of the civil war in Spain. The axis is turning. Spain has become part of the axis. It is not a question of the civil war, which, in my view, ought never to have been tolerated; it has now become a challenge to all democratic peoples; it has become a menace to our people and to our kinsmen across the seas. During the last few days we have witnessed the beginning of the realisation of a dream of the Kaiser—a 529 great Mitteleuropa, a great Germanic Power in Central Europe. We are witnessing now the slow transformation of the Mediterranean into an Italian lake. I ask hon. Members opposite to consider the prospect of what may happen if it should be that Franco, a mere tool of great and important Powers, were to succeed in subduing the people of Spain. Northern Spain to-day is gradually becoming a new naval and submarine base for Germany in the Bay of Biscay, and that is something which Germany never had before. German guns are mounted already opposite Gibraltar, and Gibraltar itself, that gaunt, dark mountain, is flanked on the North, in the event of a Franco victory, by Fascist guns. The Straits in times of difficulty will be barred to British ships and there will be a Fascist frontier on the Pyrenees much nearer to us than Italy or Germany. A vital artery will be cut—the way through the Mediterranean to the East.
When that has happened, what will follow? Do hon. Members like the prospect, in those circumstances, of a mighty German nation levelling a pistol at the head of this country and saying, "Stand, or deliver Colonies"? It will be too late then to act, and humiliation will be heaped on humiliation for our people. Of course, we are entitled to claim that there is a lack of policy on the part of His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister has, within the last three weeks made, I think, five speeches and in each of them in my view any hon. Member can see a gradual deterioration. The right hon. Gentleman now seems to me to be clucking like a bewildered hen trying to cross a busy road. He has no policy. He had a policy once, and that policy was simple. It was "kiss and be friends." But one of the two people to whom that invitation is addressed says, "I will not be friends," and the other is not going to be friends either, and the right hon. Gentleman's policy is gradually dissolving, until now he is left in the drift from which he started.
No one in this country wants war. No reasonable person anywhere wants war, but an ever-accelerating retreat can only lead to disaster. In view of the admitted failure—admitted by the Prime Minister—of the Non-intervention Agreement, the simple thing for the Prime Minister to do now is boldly to declare that, in these circumstances, because this problem is 530 to-day our problem, the Spanish Government should be entitled freely to purchase all the arms and supplies she needs for her defence. It is time now, before it is too late, for the right hon. Gentleman to live up to his promises. About Czechoslovakia to-day he has said no word. He discreetly ignored the undertakings given by this country with regard to aggression. He will perhaps ignore this plea made from this side of the House to-night. It is a plea that the League might still assert moral authority, might reaffirm its faith in its obligations, and might, at this hour, stop this further murder of the Spanish people, not merely in the interests of the Spanish people—though I should wish it to be done on that account—but also in the interests of our own people and of the peace of the world.
§ 10.25 p.m.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Simon)
The opportunity of moving the Adjournment to-night was obtained on the allegation that there was a definite matter of urgent public importance to be discussed, and that matter was Spain. There have been, however, times during the Debate when references to foreign affairs have been much wider than that. I do not mind that, but when the Deputy-Speaker was in the Chair an hon. Friend of mine was told he must keep within the limits of the subject which had been laid down for this Debate, and I shall do so. Dealing with this definite matter, I would like to put before the House, before we vote, one or two very plain considerations. I shall not attempt to enlarge on what the Prime Minister has said, but the Debate itself brings out very clearly one or two strictly relevant matters with which I would like to deal. The complaint of hon. Members opposite has been of lack of Ministerial policy, which they say is to be censured, in regard to Spain.
The first point I should like to remind the House about is that, whether or not the policy we are following receives approval here or there, there is no lack of policy. Our policy in this matter of the Spanish civil war is not ourselves to intervene in that war and to do our utmost to persuade other Powers not to intervene. That is a perfectly definite policy. It may be that hon. Members in other parts of the House think they could do better. But our policy has been clearly defined and explained again and again in 531 this House both by the ex-Foreign Secretary and by the Prime Minister. If it be that we are trying to keep out of intervening in the Spanish conflict, then it is impossible that we should change our policy according to the changing circumstances and fortunes of this prolonged and terrible civil war. We cannot change that policy with every change of fortune, It is unreasonable, if that policy is really understood—whether you want to criticise it or not—to describe it as the Leader of the Opposition did, as the handing over of Spain to the Fascist Powers. There have been times in this civil war—and they may come again—when the fortunes of the conflict have favoured the Spanish Government side. That would be no reason why those who support or favour General Franco should accuse our policy of involving the handing over of Spain to the Spanish Government forces. It is of the very essence of the policy which we are supposed to be discussing, and which the House is invited to condemn, that it is a policy which is persisted in in changing fortunes, and the reasons are grave enough and powerful enough to justify persisting in it, however the fortunes of the fight from time to time may vary.
I next ask the question: What is the alternative policy? I am not going to adopt the device of challenging the other side. It is perfectly right that the executive Government of the country should be held to answer for the policy it has adopted. I agree that everybody is free to criticise it as much as they please, and they cannot be expected to give the same definition of their own alternative policy as they would have to do if they held the responsibility of government. At the same time, in order to see where we are, we must examine what this alternative policy is. I was interested to hear the right hon. Gentleman just now when he finished his speech say that the Opposition had never asked that we should go into Spain. Is that really so? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] That was a rather half-hearted answer, I think. I have certainly understood that there were sincere and devoted men whose firm opinion was that the right course for this Government to adopt was to intervene in this Spanish quarrel. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I merely ask the House, and I ask my hon. Friends to 532 note that now, on 16th March of this year, we have it from the Opposition that none of them has ever sought to suggest that we should intervene and go into Spain. It is a complete change from the position which again and again—
§ Mr. Attlee
I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to produce any evidence of any Member from these benches suggesting that this country should go into Spain. It is a deliberate mis-statement, and he knows it.
§ Sir J. Simon
The right hon. Gentleman will not get me to alter what I am saying by using violent language. I am perfectly content to rely in this matter upon the judgment—
§ Mr. Speaker
The Adjournment Motion has been moved by one side in order that there should be a condemnation of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman ought to be allowed to reply.
§ Mr. Speaker
Accusations were made from both sides of the House. There is nothing unusual in accusations being made.
§ Mr. Attlee
May I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is unusual for a Minister of the Crown to make allegations against Members on the other side and, when challenged to offer any evidence, to refer merely to a general impression in the country?
§ Sir J. Simon
I said and I repeat, if hon. Gentlemen opposite who are so confident that they are right will be good enough to listen, that we have to consider what the alternative policy is.
§ Mr. Greenwood
The right hon. Gentleman really must obey the rules of debate himself. The point that he is making now is that there must be an alternative policy, and he implies that therefore that policy 533 must be ours. I stated my party's position with accuracy to-night and in the presence of my hon. Friends.
§ Sir J. Simon
I accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement of the position of his party, but I repeat that I am perfectly prepared to leave to the judgment of the country what that policy is. [Interruption.] Those who oppose the views put forward by the Government in this matter must necessarily face what the alternatives really are. I am not saying, and I have never said—in fact, I said the opposite; I do not expect the Opposition to define with the same precision as the Government have to do what their alternative really involves, but I take the liberty of doing a little definition myself, and I say it is really quite obvious that anybody who is prepared to condemn the policy that we are offering must consider whether the alternative to a policy of non-intervention is not a policy of intervening. The right hon. Gentleman said, and I accept it, that that ought not to be taken as the definition of their policy. He said that from his point of view what is wanted is that we should send arms to Spain.
§ Sir J. Simon
Then, in Heaven's name, what is the importance of getting rid of the Non-intervention Committee? The right hon. Gentleman told me he wanted to get rid of the farce of the Non-intervention Committee, I presume for some practical purpose. Then what is the practical purpose?
§ Mr. Greenwood
I have already answered once—to permit Spain to be restored the right she should have to purchase arms wherever she can.
§ Sir J. Simon
I think the right hon. Gentleman will not differ from me when I say that his view is, and he is perfectly entitled to put it, that this country should supply one side in Spain with arms. [Interruption.] I hope I may have the indulgence of the House to read one quotation. It is a quotation from a speech which was made not recently but comparatively early in the history of this business, on 29th May, 1937, at Oxford. It was made by the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last, and this is what he said:I have done what I can to provide arms for the people of Spain.534 He went on to say:I have never been neutral.Then he enlarged his statement to cover his Friends as well as himself, and he said:We have done a great deal, more than we dare say in public.I hope after that quotation that the House will be able to take a perfectly clear view of what the right hon. Gentleman's policy would be. I am not saying that the policy which we have adopted has been perfect and that it has proved in every respect and in every aspect a success. I do not know that hon. Gentlemen opposite always do full justice to the necessity of the Government's choosing between difficulties which exist either way, in order to select the wisest course. I do not desire to justify the policy that we have been following as one which would achieve every conceivable object that we desire. It is from quite a different point of view that I am defending it in this House. I defend that policy because, when all is said and done, it is the best policy to keep this country out of war in Spain. I do not believe for a moment that it is the desire of anybody to foment war, but the danger of becoming involved, and of all Europe becoming involved, would be enormously heightened if we abandoned the policy by which we have stood.
§ Sir J. Simon
One hon. Member said something about going to the League of Nations. This matter was taken to the League of Nations, and one of the main reasons why it was not carried to a more definite result there, was that members of the League were of different opinions on this very point. It is not true that all members of the League were equally desirous to help one side in the civil war. There was a difference of opinion. If we had adopted any other policy, we should, I think in the judgment of all fair-minded people, greatly have increased the danger not only of our being involved in war in Spain, but of enlarging the area of that conflict throughout Europe. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] I will tell the hon. Member why. I think the view which is put forward in the Motion is a rather one-sided account of the matter. Certain Powers, Italy and Germany, are mentioned, and they are said to have supplied 535 troops in Spain. There are troops there also from other foreign nations. [HON. MEMBERS: "Volunteers."] I am willing to call everybody in this matter a volunteer. I am speaking of the foreign origin of many of those who are fighting in Spain. If we departed from our policy of non-intervention, it is surely plain that this would add to the danger of enlarging a conflict in which we might be engaged.
There was one particular point which the right hon. Gentleman made much of. He spoke with great confidence, as though it were a matter of which he had inside knowledge, of a French Note which he alleged had just been despatched and which we had either replied to or had not replied to—I am not sure which. The general implication of what he said was that there had been addressed to us a Note from the French Government asking or proposing that we should take some action. That is what he meant. I would ask him this question. He is professing knowledge of this Note—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Then it was a dream? Do I understand him to say that this has been found in the Press? I can only say that, having made inquiries, neither I nor the Prime Minister know of any such document. The right hon. Gentleman not only professed with great assurance to know about it, but he actually demanded that its terms should be read] out in this House, and that the House should be informed what were the terms of the answer. I would add that in the policy which we are steadily following we have throughout kept in the closest touch with France, and we shall continue to do so. As my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Mr. H. Strauss) reminded the House earlier in the Debate, the non-intervention policy is a policy the origin of which is to be traced to the French Government and to M. Blum, the present Prime Minister of France.
It seems to me that there is no ground for the attack which has been made, and I hope the House and, I believe, the country, will recognise the solid reasons which have justified the course that we have taken.
§ Sir J. Simon
The right hon. Gentleman who preceded me rather denied the 536 implication that hard words have been used, and I agree that severity of language in these matters is not of much moment. I do not know what are regarded by the right hon. Gentleman as hard words, but, referring to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition said that he was "betraying the workers of this country."
§ Sir J. Simon
As a piece of Parliamentary rhetoric that may be all very well, but I certainly should have thought that it might be classed in the category of hard words. The right hon. Gentleman says now, if I do not misunderstand him, that he does not advocate that we should send arms to one side, namely, the Spanish Government, from this country. But, as to supplying arms, I remember that only yesterday the former Under-Secretary of State for Air made a very great complaint that there was any export of arms from this country; he pointed out that we needed more and more of these weapons. If I am not mistaken—I shall be glad to be corrected if I am wrong, but I have not the quotation before me—I think I am right in having read in the "Daily Herald" this morning that Mr. Ward, of the Amalgamated Engineering Union—[Interruption]. I am sorry to have given the wrong name but I do not see that it much matters. This gentleman indicated that, as regards trade unionists at least, their co-operation in response to what the Prime Minister said the other day would necessarily depend upon this, that their production was a production which was devoted to the service of this country.
I ask the House to reject this condemnation by a large majority. When hon. Gentlemen opposite, exercising their perfectly legitimate rights of criticism, accuse the Prime Minister in these harsh terms, and impeach the policy which has been adopted with so little appreciation of the real difficulties of the situation, I feel, without wishing to provoke hon. Gentlemen opposite, that a departure from this policy would involve a definite running of risks which this country would not, I think, expect the Prime Minister to do in these circumstances. An hon. Member said just now that he was waiting to see whether or not the Government would show ordinary courage. But is that not courage in the head of the 537 Government who deliberates before he puts the country in a position which he thinks would expose it to unnecessary risks? Some of us remember a speech he made not long ago, the concluding passage of which, I think, did receive and deserve the sympathy of everybody in the House, when he said that there was no more terrible responsibility than the responsibility that might rest on a man who is the head of the Government of this country, and who might one day have to decide that this people should engage in war. The policy we have adopted is a policy we have deliberately chosen because we believe that it is the best policy in the long view in the interests of this country, and I believe that the mass of our fellow countrymen are of that opinion.
§ Mr. Greenwood
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will state if there have been representations within the last two days made by the French Government to His Majesty's Government—whether by Note or not I am not concerned—[Interruption]—whether those representations are concerned with the crisis in the West of Europe and, if so, whether any kind of reassuring answer has been given to the French Government in answer to any requests they have made? I am in the dark. I do not profess to have the slightest knowledge, but this House is entitled to know.
§ The Prime Minister
In answer to the right hon. Gentleman, I really cannot help thinking that in the speech which he made a little time ago he went a great deal further than he is apparently prepared to go now. He certainly gave the House to understand in the most definite terms that the French Government had presented a Note to this Government which required a reply. The implication of that was that the Note required us to say whether we should take some action or not. My right hon. Friend has said that no such Note has been received. Now the right hon. Gentleman changes his ground and says, "Have representations been received?" If he means representations with a view to asking us to take some action in Spain, the answer
§ is, "No." If he means, Have they kept us informed of any circumstances which come to their knowledge in Spain? the answer is "Yes." We have done the same to them.
§ The Prime Minister
I do not intend to be cross-examined or to answer fishing inquiries which keep on being changed. I have already answered a question in this House, and I may perhaps remind hon. Members of the terms. I said:His Majesty's Ambassador in Paris received yesterday evening from the French Government an indication of the anxiety with which they view the present military situation in Spain. His Majesty's Government are fully alive to the importance of recent developments and are keeping in close touch with the French Government.
§ 10.57 p.m.
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby
The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a statement that he understood that some Members on the other side of the House had advocated active interference in Spain by this country. As I understand, the Leader of the Opposition denied that that was so and challenged my right hon. Friend to cite an instance. I have listened to every word of the Debate, and I quite understand that the Leader of the Opposition could not be present during the whole of the Debate. I heard the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) make a categorical demand that this country should interfere in Spain actively.
§ Sir A. Southby
It is perfectly true that the hon. Member did say so. He dissociated himself from his party. But it is equally true that my right hon. Friend said that an individual on the other side of the House had said so.
§ Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 317.541
|Division No. 139.]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Acland, R. T. D. (Barnstaple)||Adamson, W. M.||Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)|
|Adams, D. (Consett)||Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.)||Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.)||Ammon, C. G.||Banfield, J. W.|
|Barnes, A. J.||Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel)||Paling, W.|
|Barr, J.||Hardie, Agnes||Parker, J.|
|Batey, J.||Harris, Sir P. A.||Pearson, A.|
|Bellenger, F. J.||Hayday, A.||Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.|
|Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W.||Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Price, M. P.|
|Benson, G.||Henderson, J. (Ardwick)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Bevan, A.||Henderson, T. (Tradeston)||Quibell, D. J. K.|
|Broad, F. A.||Hicks, E. G.||Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)|
|Bromfield, W.||Hills, A. (Pontefract)||Richards, R. (Wrexham)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire)||Hollins, A.||Riley, B.|
|Buchanan, G.||Hopkin, D.||Ritson, J.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jagger, J.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Cape, T.||Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)||Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Johnston, Rt. Hon. T.||Rothschild, J. A. de|
|Chater, D.||Jones, A. C. (Shipley)||Sanders, W. S.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Seely, Sir H. M.|
|Cooks, F. S.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Sexton, T. M.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kelly, W. T.||Silverman, S. S.|
|Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford||Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.||Simpson, F. B.|
|Daggar, G.||Kirby, B. V.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)|
|Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)||Kirkwood, D.||Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lathan, G.||Smith, E. (Stoke)|
|Day, H.||Lawson, J. J.||Smith, T. (Normanton)|
|Dobbie, W.||Leach, W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Ede, J. C.||Lee, F.||Stephen, C.|
|Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty)||Leonard, W.||Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-te-Sp'ng)|
|Evans, E. (Univ of Wales)||Leslie, J. R.||Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)|
|Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H.||Lunn, W.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Foot, D. M.||McEntee, V. La T.||Thurtle, E.|
|Frankel, D.||McGovern, J.||Tinker, J. J.|
|Gallacher, W.||MacLaren, A.||Tomlinson, G.|
|Gardner, B. W.||Maclean, N.||Viant, S. P.|
|Garro Jones, G. M.||MacMillan, M. (Western Isles)||Walkden, A. G.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd (Carn'v'n)||Mander, G. le M.||Watkins, F. C.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Marshall, F.||Watson, W. McL.|
|George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey)||Maxton, J.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Gibson, R. (Greenock)||Milner, Major J.||Westwood, J.|
|Green, W. H. (Deptford)||Montague, F.||White, H. Graham|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)||Williams, T. (Don Valley)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (M'ddl'sbro, W.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)|
|Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)||Muff, G.||Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)|
|Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)||Nathan, Colonel H. L.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Groves, T. E.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.)||Oliver, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Hall, G. H. (Aberdare)||Owen, Major G.||Mr. Mathers and Mr. Whiteley.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.||Bull, B. B.||Crowder, J. F. E.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G.||Bullock, Capt. M.||Cruddas Col. B.|
|Albery, Sir Irving||Burghley, Lord||Culverwell, C. T.|
|Allen, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead)||Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S.||Burton, Col. H. W.||Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil)|
|Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.)||Butcher, H. W.||Davison, Sir W. H.|
|Anstruther-Gray, W. J.||Butler, R. A.||Dawson, Sir P.|
|Apsley, Lord||Campbell, Sir E. T.||De la Bére, R.|
|Aske, Sir R. W.||Cartland, J. R. H.||Denman, Hon. R. D.|
|Assheton, R.||Cary, R. A.||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.|
|Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Dodd, J. S.|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.)||Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester)||Doland, G. F.|
|Baillie, Sir A. W. M.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Donner, P. W.|
|Balfour, G. (Hampstead)||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Dower, Major A. V. G.|
|Balfour, Capt. H. H. (Isle of Thanet)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n)||Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)|
|Balniel, Lord||Channon, H.||Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side)|
|Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M.||Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)||Dugdale, Captain T. L.|
|Barrie, Sir C. C.||Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)||Duncan, J. A. L.|
|Baxter, A. Beverley||Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead)||Dunglass, Lord|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Clydesdale, Marquess of||Eastwood, J. F.|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h)||Cobb, Captain E. C. (Preston)||Eckersley, P. T.|
|Beechman, N. A.||Colfox, Major W. P.||Edge, Sir W.|
|Bennett, Sir E. N.||Colman, N. G. D.||Edmondson, Major Sir J.|
|Bernays, R. H.||Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D J.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Birchall, Sir J. D.||Conant, Captain R. J. E.||Elmley, Viscount|
|Bird, Sir R. B.||Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.)||Emery, J. F.|
|Blair, Sir R.||Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)||Emmott, C. E. G. C.|
|Blaker, Sir R.||Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.)||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Craven-Ellis, W.||Errington, E.|
|Boulton, W. W.||Critchley, A.||Erskine-Hill, A. G.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Croft, Brig.-Gen. Sir H. Page||Evans, Capt. A. (Cardiff, S.)|
|Briscoe, Capt. R. G.||Crooke, Sir J. S.||Everard, W. L.|
|Brocklebank, Sir Edmund||Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C.||Fildes, Sir H.|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham)||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Findlay, Sir E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)||Cross, R. H.||Fleming, E. L.|
|Brown, Brig-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)||Crossley, A. C.||Fox, Sir G. W. G.|
|Fremantle, Sir F. E.||Locker-Lampson, Comdr. O. S.||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.|
|Fyfe, D. P. M.||Loftus, P. C.||Russell, Sir Alexander|
|Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley)||Lyons, A. M.||Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Mabane, W. (Huddersfield)||Salmon, Sir I.|
|Gledhill, G.||MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.||Salt, E. W.|
|Gluckstein, L. H.||McCorquodale, M. S.||Samuel, M. R. A.|
|Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. M. (Ross)||Sandeman, Sir N. S.|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||MacDonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Sanderson, Sir F. B.|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)||Sandys, E. D.|
|Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester)||McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir P.|
|Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J.||McKie, J. H.||Savery, Sir Servington|
|Grimston, R. V.||Macnamara, Capt. J. R. J.||Scott, Lord William|
|Gritten, W. G. Howard||Macquisten, F. A.||Selley, H. R.|
|Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake)||Magnay, T.||Shakespeare, G. H.|
|Guest, Hon. I. (Brecon and Radnor)||Making, Brig.-Gen. E.||Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)|
|Guest, Maj. Hon. O. (C'mb'rw'll, N. W.)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon H. D. R.||Shute, Colonel Sir J. J.|
|Guinness, T. L. E. B.||Markham, S. F.||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W.||Marsden, Commander A.||Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. D. H.||Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hambro, A. V.||Maxwell, Hon. S. A.||Smith, L. W. (Hallam)|
|Hannah, I. C.||Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.||Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)|
|Harbord, A.||Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth)||Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)|
|Hartington, Marquess of||Mills, Sir F. (Leyton. E.)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Harvey, Sir G.||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Southby, Commander Sir A. R. J.|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick)||Spens. W. P.|
|Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Strestham)||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Mitcheson, Sir G. G.||Storey, S.|
|Hely-Hutchinson, M. R.||Moore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.||Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.|
|Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan-||Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Col. J. T. C.||Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)|
|Hepworth, J.||Moreing, A. C.||Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)|
|Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Morgan, R. H.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)|
|Higgs, W. F.||Morris, J. P. (Salford, N.)||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. J. W. (Ripon)||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.|
|Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Holmes, J. S.||Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J.||Tasker, Sir R. I.|
|Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L.||Munro, P.||Tate, Mavis C.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Nail, Sir J.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Howitt, Dr. A. B.||Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)|
|Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)||Nicholson, G. (Farnham)||Thomson, Sir J. D. W.|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||O'Connor, Sir Terence J.||Touche, G. C.|
|Hulbert, N. J.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Train, Sir J.|
|Hume, Sir G. H.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W G. A.||Tree, A. R. L. F.|
|Hunter, T.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.|
|Hurd, Sir P. A.||Palmer, G. E. H.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Hutchinson, G. C.||Patrick, C. M.||Wakefield, W. W.|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.||Peat, C. U.||Walker-Smith, Sir J.|
|James, Wing-Commander A. W. H.||Peters, Dr. S. J.||Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan|
|Jarvis, Sir J. J.||Petherick, M.||Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Jones, Sir G. W. H. (S'k N'w'gt'n)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)|
|Jones, L. (Swansea W.)||Plugge, Capt. L. F.||Warrender, Sir V.|
|Keeling, E. H.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.||Waterhouse, Captain C.|
|Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)||Porritt, R. W.||Watt, Major G. S. Harvia|
|Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)||Pawnall, Lt.-Col. Sir Assheton||Wayland, Sir W. A.|
|Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.||Proctor, Major H. A.||Wedderburn, H. J. S.|
|Kimball, L.||Radford, E. A.||Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)|
|Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.||Raikes, H. V. A. M.||Williams, H. G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Lamb, Sir J. Q.||Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G.||Ramsbotham, H.||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.|
|Latham, Sir P.||Ramsden, Sir E.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Law, Sir A. J. (High Peak)||Rankin, Sir R.||Wise, A. R.|
|Leech, Sir J. W.||Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)||Wolmer, Rt. Hon. Viscount|
|Lees-Jones, J.||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Womersley, Sir W. J.|
|Leigh, Sir J.||Reed, A. C. (Exeter)||Wood, Hon. C. I. C.|
|Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Raid, J. S. C. (Hillhead)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir Kingsley|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.||Reid, W. Allan (Derby)||Wragg, H.|
|Levy, T.||Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)||Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.|
|Lewis, O.||Robinson, J. R. (Blackpool)||Young, A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Liddall, W. S.||Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Lindsay, K. M.||Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Little, Sir E. Graham-||Rowlands, G||Captain Hope and Lieut.-|
|Lloyd, G. W.||Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.||Colonel Kerr.|
Remaining Resolution agreed to.