HC Deb 22 January 1941 vol 368 cc151-3
1 and 4. Mr. Mander

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) the position at present existing at Tangier; and whether any Italian submarines are in the port;

(2) whether British rights in the International Zone have been restored; and what action has been taken?

7 and 8 Mr. Cocks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what reply has been received from the Spanish Government to the protest of His Majesty's Government against the violation of the international Convention governing the neutrality and international character of Tangier;

(2) what is the present position regarding Tangier; and whether he can give an assurance that on agreement short of the full re-establishment of the international status of Tangier will be concluded with the Spanish Government before the House has had an opportunity of discussing its terms?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

His Majesty's Government have already placed on record a protest at the action of the Spanish Government in seeking independently to modify and to suspend without notice the institutions of the International régime in Tangier. They have reserved all their rights under the relevant instruments. His Majesty's Government have also made it clear to the Spanish Government that they are prepared to consider any proposals for regularising the situation which the Spanish Government may desire to put forward to them and to other parties interested Discussions have been proceeding at Madrid between the British and Spanish representatives with a view to concluding a provisional arrangement concerning British rights and interests in the Zone pending a final settlement. Such an arrangement will be without prejudice to the rights of His Majesty's Government and to those of third parties under the relevant international instruments. The discussions are proceeding satisfactorily. Though consideration of all the questions involved has not yet been fully completed, sufficient progress has been made to justify the view that pending a final settlement the existing rights of British subjects in the Tangier Zone will be safeguarded. I hope to be able to make a full statement shortly. There are no Italian submarines at present in Tangier.

Mr. Mander

Are the British subjects who were dismissed from the international staff now being reinstated, and, pending a settlement of all these questions, have the Government given consent to the import of large quantities of wheat to Spain, which was under consideration?

Mr. Eden

I should be grateful if the hon. Member would put those questions down. We have definitely made certain progress, but I would rather not answer supplementaries until I am in possession of the full facts.

Mr. Cocks

Will the "Tangier Gazette" and British correspondence at the Post Office now be subject to Spanish or German censorship?

Mr. Eden

That is another of the matters which are under consideration.

Mr. Cocks

Why are we not insisting on the full rights of the International Zone? Why should we not instruct our Ambassador to take a firm attitude and say that the policy of appeasement is entirely discredited?

Mr. Eden

The attitude of the Government has been made perfectly clear. So far the negotiations have gone on as well as could be anticipated. I do not wish to go beyond that at present.

Mr. Gallacher

Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it would have been much better if there had been a democratic Republican Government in Spain instead of the Franco Government?