HC Deb 17 May 1944 vol 400 cc154-6
3. Captain Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the German consul and his staff have yet left Tangier.

8. Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is satisfied with the steps taken by the Spanish Government to implement the agreement recently made by them with this country.

13. Mr. Ivor Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is able to report that the German consul-general and his staff have now left Tangier and that the German consulate-general has been closed.

16. Sir William Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how it is that the German flag is still flying over the German consulate at Tangier and that no steps have so far been taken by the Spanish Government to close the consulate in accordance with the agreement with Great Britain and the U.S.A.

Mr. Eden

I understand that, immediately after the agreement reached between His Majesty's Government, the United States Government and the Spanish Government early this month, of which I informed the House on 2nd May, the Spanish Government made urgent representations to the German Government concerning the closure of the German Consulate-General at Tangier and the departure of German officials connected with it. His Majesty's Government had anticipated that it would probably take some days to complete the necessary formalities. The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs has now informed His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires that the Spanish Government's decision to close the German Consulate-General in the immediate future is definite, and that it has been accepted by the German Government. I understand that the Consular shield and flag are being taken down at once, if indeed this has not already taken place, His Majesty's Government, who are fully alive to the importance of avoiding undue delay, have no reason to suppose that the Spanish Government do not share their desire to dispose of this matter satisfactorily in the immediate future. It is obvious that the reciprocal obligations contained in the recent agreement hang together, and that no one undertaking can be carried out apart from the others.

In this connection, I am glad to be able to inform the House that satisfactory discussions are proceeding between British, American and Spanish experts in Madrid regarding the technical measures required in connection with the wolfram clauses in the agreement. The Spanish Government have already given instructions for the release of the remaining Italian ships and considerable progress has been made in regard to the departure of German agents from Spain. The Spanish Government have also recently requested the Japanese Government to arrange for the early departure from Tangier of a member of the staff of the Japanese Embassy at Madrid, who has been residing in Tangier in recent months.

Captain Gammans

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, when the German consul has left Tangier, there will be no German nationals of any sort left in this territory?

Mr. Eden

The position is that a list of all German agents and German personages whom we wish to see removed is being given to the Spanish authorities. Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will give me notice of his supplementary question. I think the answer is "Yes," but I would like to make certain.

Mr. Lipson

May I ask whether the British Government have to implement their side of the agreement, before the Spanish Government can satisfactorily implement their side?

Mr. Eden

No, I do not put it like that. I think we go along together, and I think the account which I have given to-day shows that we are going along together very well.

Sir W. Davison

Do I understand that there is no danger of these German officials moving out of Tangier to Tetuan or somewhere along the coast, and carrying on their machinations outside?

Mr. Eden

As my hon. Friend may imagine, these problems have been a little bit in our minds.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Has the right hon. Gentleman in mind a time limit within which the German consul and his staff are expected to leave?

Mr. Eden

As I have said, very likely, by now, the shield has been taken down, which means that the Consulate-General has ceased to function as such. I would not like to talk of a time-table, but I really think it is going well and, broadly speaking; satisfactorily to us and unsatisfactorily to the Germans.