HC Deb 11 February 1946 vol 419 cc7-8
16. Mr. Nutting

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply has been sent to the French Government's proposal that His Majesty's Government should join in diplomatic action with the intention of bringing an end to the Franco regime in Spain.

23. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for what reasons the proposed Anglo-French-American meetings in Paris to discuss future relations with Spain have been abandoned,

Mr. McNeil

In their reply His Majesty's Government welcomed the French Government's approach and expressed agreement with their view that any action to be taken in the sense suggested should be concerted between His Majesty's Government, the French and the United States Governments. His Majesty's Government have further informed the Governments of France and of the United States of their readiness to continue to exchange views on the questions of policy to be adopted towards the present Spanish Government. The three Governments are, in fact, in close touch on the subject through the normal diplomatic channels, and there seemed therefore no cause to pursue the tentative suggestion of holding a special tripartite meeting for the purpose.

Mr. Nutting

Is my hon. Friend aware, and, if so, would he bear in mind, that perhaps with the Spanish people more than any other, a policy of overt pressure and public threats is the least likely to achieve the desired result of bringing about the downfall of Franco, and is the most likely to precipitate any waverers in support of Franco?

Mr. McNeil

My right hon. Friend has already dealt with that specific question in this House. It is not the only question bearing upon this subject.

Mr. Warbey

Will my hon. Friend make it clear that the British Government are not lagging behind the French or American Governments in their attitude towards, the regime of General Franco? Will he also make it clear that we are willing to take all practical steps to assist in the restoration in Spain of a democratic and Republican regime?

Mr. McNeil

So far as my right hon. Friend is concerned, I am sure that blunt language has made it plain that we are not lagging in any way in displaying our attitude.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

What right have our Government to interfere in the internal affairs of Spain?

Mr. McNeil

His Majesty's Government are not interfering, but they are a signatory to the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Is it not the case that the Franco Administration in Spain is itself the result of foreign intervention in that country, and that but for that foreign intervention would not be there?

Mr. McNeil

Happily, I have no reason to accept any responsibility for that course of events.

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