HC Deb 18 March 1938 vol 333 cc746-7
Mr. Attlee

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he has any information to communicate to the House on the bombing of Barcelona.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I regret to inform the House that, according to a report received this morning from His Majesty's Minister at Barcelona, Barcelona was subjected to six air raids in the course of Wednesday night and the early part of yesterday. The casualties have been very heavy and were estimated at the time to have amounted to not less than 240 dead and 400 injured.

Mr. Attlee

Is it clear that this was directed with a view to terrorism on the civilian population and not at military objectives?

The Prime Minister

Of course, the statement which I have just read out, which comes from the Minister, does not contain anything to that effect, but the reports which I have seen in the Press do appear to describe the damage as being done largely to living quarters and not to military objectives. In any case, I do not think anybody can have read these reports without horror and digust.

Mr. T. Williams

Since it is now generally recognised that the non-intervention policy has not been observed, will the Government consider the advisability of allowing anti-aircraft guns to be exported to Spain in order to avoid this bombing?

Mr. Arthur Henderson

May I ask whether the Government will not immediately draw the attention of the Vatican authorities to the appalling sufferings caused to these civilians and ask them to make representations to the Spanish insurgent authorities?

The Prime Minister

As a matter of fact, His Majesty's Government and the French Government have agreed upon an appeal to both parties in Spain to stop bombardments of this character, and the French Government have now approached the Vatican with a view to obtaining their association in any appeal they may make.

Miss Rathbone

In view of the enormous casualties arising out of these bombardments, will the Prime Minister consider making a further grant out of public funds to aid the supply of medical necessaries and medical personnel?

Mr. Speaker

That does not arise.

Mr. Thorne

May I ask whether the Prime Minister is not satisfied now that the bombing planes which have been bombing Barcelona are German and Italian?

Mr. James Griffiths

In the event of the Franco Government refusing the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman this time, as they did last time, will His Majesty's Government reconsider the necessity of providing the Spanish Government with anti-aircraft guns?