HC Deb 05 December 1945 vol 416 cc2314-5
35. Mr. Mikardo

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the trial of 22 Spanish anti-Fascists, which was suspended in October following representations by His Majesty's Ambassador in Madrid, is about to be resumed; and whether he will make a further approach to the Spanish Government on the subject.

Mr. Bevin

I understand that it is the intention of the Spanish authorities to open the trial of these men in the near future. His Majesty's Ambassador has reported that he has good reason to believe that the death penalty in any of these cases is most unlikely. He will, of course, continue to watch this matter closely.

Mr. Mikardo

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House how it comes about that General Franco, who was so worried about his position at the end of July, has now regained confidence to such an extent as to thumb his nose in this way at His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Bevin

The mercurial habits of this dignitary are very difficult to explain.

Captain Noel-Baker

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the recent arrival in this country of a new Ambassador from Spain is being interpreted in Spain and elsewhere as implying His Majesty's Government's political support for the present regime, and what steps can he taken to prevent that?

Mr. Bevin

It is surprising what hon. Members can read into a question. Our attitude to Franco was made quite clear in the speech I made a short time ago; it has not changed; we detest the regime.

Mr. Maxton

Is it in Order for the right hon. Gentleman to refer in that way to the head of a State with which His Majesty's Government seem to be on reasonable terms?

Mr. Bevin

You can be friendly with a person and frank with a person. In this case it is the regime, it is not merely the man; the whole regime is one with which His Majesty's Government have no sympathy.

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