HC Deb 26 March 1941 vol 370 cc554-5
5. Mr. Mander

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the position at Tangier with reference to the ejection of the Mendoub and the resumption by the German authorities of his residence, the former German Consulate; and whether this step by the Spanish Government is in accordance with the recent interim agreement?

7. Mr. Cocks

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information regarding the action of the Spanish authorities in Tangier in ejecting the representative of the Sultan of Morocco and installing the German Consulate in the Mendoubia; and whether this has been done in conformity with the recent provisional agreement concluded between Spain and Great Britain?

Mr. Butler

On 16th March the Mendoub was informed by the Spanish Governor that a Dahir had been promulgated by the Khalifa of the Spanish Zone, suspending his functions and appointing a successor to act as Pasha, with the functions, but without the title, of Mendoub. On 17th March, a German Consul was installed in the Mendoub's residence, which had originally been the German Consulate-General. The Mendoub was the personal representative in Tangier of the Sultan of Morocco; these developments, therefore, primarily concern the French and Spanish Governments. Since no direct British interest is involved, the action in question cannot be regarded as inconsistent with the recent provisional arrangement between His Majesty's Government and the Spanish Government. But, as I stated on 26th February last, the rights of third parties under the relevant international instruments have been reserved under the recent interim agreement about Tangier.

Mr. Mander

Is not the presence of a German Consul and his satellites in Tangier a British interest? Will the right hon. Gentleman not do everything possible to prevent the infiltration of Germans into Tangier in this way?

Mr. Butler

Naturally, we are very interested; but I am informed that there is nothing in the Tangier Convention to prevent the establishment of consulates of foreign Powers in Tangier.

Mr. Wedgwood

Can it be honestly said that the Government are doing everything possible to prevent this, when they are not using their bargaining power of preventing food from entering Spain?

Mr. Butler

We do everything that lies in our power.

Mr. Cocks

Was not a provisional agreement made, stabilising the position in Tangier pending a final settlement? Does not this foreshadow the eventual annexation of Tangier?

Mr. Butler

As I said in my original answer, to which I would refer the hon. Member, this is a matter which primarily affects the French and Spanish Governments, and, accordingly, the action in question cannot be regarded as inconsistent with the interim agreement.

Mr. Mander

Are the Germans to be allowed a free run in Tangier? That is the point.