HC Deb 05 July 1939 vol 349 cc1262-4
3. Mr. Day

asked the Prime Minister whether all the British ships at any time held under restraint by the Spanish authorities have now been released; and can he give particulars of the number of claims that are outstanding and still pending against the Spanish authorities?

Mr. Butler

There are, so far as my Noble Friend is aware, no British ships at present held under restraint by the Spanish authorities. The formulation of claims against the Spanish Government is in hand.

Mr. Day

Have any obstacles been placed in the way of the settlement of these claims?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir, the claims have not yet been presented.

17. Mr. Banfield

asked the Prime Minister whether he has satisfied himself that the Spanish Government is sufficiently stable to justify the initiation of trade talks?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Banfield

Will the right hon. Gentleman take care that any economic advantage obtained by the Spanish Government will not be used to the detriment of this country?

Mr. Butler

We always protect our interests.

Mr. Shinwell

Can we have an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that he does not propose to take any action that will help General Franco out of his present difficulties? Is there any reason why we should not have an answer?

Mr. Petherick

Are not these references to General Franco very detrimental to British interests?

Mr. Shinwell

May I press for an answer? Is there no answer? On a point of Order. I have asked a question which is perfectly in order, as far as I can understand. Am I not entitled to an answer, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker

A Minister has always the right to refrain from answering a supplementary question.

Mr. Shinwell

Is there any reason why the Government should be reluctant to give an answer?

Mr. Butler

Not at all. There is nothing I have to say.