HC Deb 31 March 1952 vol 498 cc1177-9
54 and 55. Professor Sir Douglas

Savory asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) whether he has now received a reply to the note which he addressed to the Spanish Government with regard to the attack on the Protestant Church in Seville; and what restitution has been made for the damage done;

(2) whether, in view of the fuller details now available, he will make further representations to the Spanish Government concerning the burning of the communion table, committed during the attack on the British-owned Protestant Church in Seville; and if he will call for action against the attackers.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The Note already presented by Her Majesty's Ambassador at Madrid requested the Spanish Government to ensure that the persons responsible for the outrage should be properly punished. The Spanish Government's reply which has now been received regrets the incident and states that the matter will be dealt with according to law. Two persons believed to have participated in the occurrence were arrested by the Spanish police on the spot. No restitution has yet been offered for the damage done.

Sir D. Savory

In Question No. 55 I ask the Minister whether he will make further representations in view of the details which have now come to light, namely, that the hymn books and Prayer Books were piled up on the Holy Table, covered with an inflammatory liquid and set on fire; and, according to the report of an eye-witness, which I have in my hand, an attempt was made to burn the clergyman himself, with shouts of "The Protestants are now finished"?

Mr. Lloyd

At the time the original representations were made, a full account was available of what was alleged to have occurred. It was pointed out to the Spanish Government that this incident was considered regrettable by Her Majesty's Government, and the Spanish Government have agreed that it was a regrettable incident.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Does the Minister of State agree that it is not enough for the Spanish Government to regret it? This is not a mere isolated incident. How can the Franco Government expect to be treated as a civilised Government when incidents of this kind take place. Will the Government make the strongest possible representations about a repetition of this kind of incident?

Mr. Lloyd

It is necessary to keep a certain balance with regard to this incident. There is not one scrap of evidence to indicate that the Spanish Government were in any sense implicated in it. The view of Her Majesty's Government is that this was the act of a certain number of irresponsible people. The Spanish Government have stated that they are going to take legal proceedings against certain people, and it would be very much better to leave the matter there.