HC Deb 04 March 1946 vol 420 cc17-8
41. Major Wilkes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any representations have been made to the Spanish Government regarding the execution of 10 Republicans, after summary court martial, and the long terms of imprisonment passed on 35 Republicans on charges of reorganising the Spanish Socialist Party; what action His Majesty's Government contemplates taking, in view of the changing character of General Franco's Government; and whether he will make a statement

83. Mr. Frederick Willey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any protest has been made to General Franco following the recent execution of Cristino Garcia and nine other Republicans.

Mr. Noel-Baker

When the news was received of the execution of Garcia and nine other Spaniards His Majesty's Ambassador in Madrid was asked for an immediate report. He was also asked for a report on the trial of the 37 members of the Spanish Socialist Party, to which my hon. Friends refer. The Ambassador informed us that, according to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Garcia and his companions were convicted on criminal charges of murder, assault and robbery. The 37 Socialists, at whose trial a member of the British Embassy staff was present, had been charged with the offence of re-organising the Socialist Party. His Majesty's Ambassador was at once instructed to tell the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs that the execution of Garcia and his companions had roused deep resentment in this country, and to invite the Minister to furnish the evidence on which they had been convicted. The Ambassador was further asked to tell the Spanish Minister that the punishment of the 37 Socialists for organizing their party was utterly repugnant to British opinion, and would inevitably have a most serious effect on Anglo-Spanish relations. He was instructed to press the Spanish Government to reconsider the whole matter.

Major Wilkes

While I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, I would ask him if the increasingly terrorist nature of the regime in Spain does not seem to incidate that verbal representations made in the past did not produce the necessary effect, and that some further specific action would seem to be required?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think, for the moment, I had better not add to the statement I have made

Sir S. Reed

Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what happened in Spain when Lord Palmerston attempted to interfere in the internal Government of that country?

Mr. Noel-Baker

If the hon. Member will put the Question down I will reply.

Vice-Admiral Taylor

Although some of us might not approve of the executions, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman what affair it is of ours? Is it not entirely the affair of Spain? It is not endangering the peace of the world at all.

Captain Blackburn

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the responsibility of a previous British Government for the present regime in Spain and will he take far more drastic action than has been indicated?

Mr. Thurtle

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any other country in Europe in which the formation of an independent Socialist party would lead to action by the Government?

Hon. Members


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