§ Mr. ATTLEE
(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give the latest information as to the situation in Madrid and whether he has any other statement to make?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. Eden)
I have no special information to give the House regarding the military situation in Madrid where severe fighting continues which has, unfortunately, resulted in a large 1922 number of casualties to civilians. No casualties have occurred so far in the British Embassy. As I informed the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) yesterday, His Majesty's Charge d'Affaires is authorised to take, in collaboration with his colleagues, such steps as he may consider practicable to safeguard the position of the wounded and civilian prisoners by representations to the authorities concerned. For this purpose our good offices have been and still remain at the disposal of both sides. I understand that the German and Italian Governments have decided to recognise General Franco's Government and to enter into diplomatic relations with them, at the same time recalling the diplomatic Missions hitherto accredited to the Spanish Government. The attitude of His Majesty's Government remains as previously defined.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
I take it from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that there is no intention of His Majesty's Government to recognise General Franco and his colleagues? May I ask the Foreign Secretary whether there is any possibility of any action being taken to enable the civilised peoples of the world to show their disgust at what is happening in Madrid in the slaughter of innocent women and children by air bombardment?
§ Mr. EDEN
In reply to the first part of the question, the House will appreciate that there is a distinction between the recognition of belligerents and the recognition of any one side as the Government of Spain. On neither of these two subjects have I anything to add to what I have previously told the House. As regards the humanitarian aspect of the question, the House will be aware that in the course of the last few weeks the activities of His Majesty's Consul and His Majesty's ships have resulted in the saving of, at a low estimate, many hundreds of lives. The House may be assured that we shall continue to do all we can in that respect which, I venture to think, has only been made possible by the policy of strict neutrality which we have pursued, and shall continue to pursue.
On the question of the recognition of belligerents, has the right hon. Gentleman received a com- 1923 munication from Burgos with regard to the proposed blockade and possible bombardment of Barcelona, and, if so, what steps are the British Government taking to deal with that communication?
§ Mr. EDEN
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will not mind putting that question on the Paper, as I have had no notice of it. I have, however, seen reports in the Press. So far as our own attitude to both parties is concerned, it remains governed by the rules we have followed since the dispute began.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
May we take it that British ships will still be protected on the high seas if they are taking goods to Barcelona?
§ Mr. BENJAMIN SMITH
Will the recognition of General Franco by Italy and Germany in any way invalidate the Committee of Non-intervention?
§ Mr. GALLACHER
Is not this declaration of Germany and Italy an open and deliberate breach of non-intervention, and do the Government propose to meet this new aggression by their policy of "do nothing"?
§ Mr. EDEN
Certainly not. It is quite possible to pursue a policy of non-intervention in respect of the supply of arms while recognising a Government on one side or the other. That is, in fact, what most nations have been doing hitherto, because they have recognised the Government of Spain but have pursued a policy of non-intervention. So far as breaches are concerned, I wish to state categorically that I think there are other Governments more to blame than those of Germany or Italy.
§ Mr. GALLACHER
On a point of Order. I want to ask whether the Foreign Secretary has a right to make such an innuendo—[Interruption.] I wish that the democrats would keep quiet. Is the Foreign Secretary in order to make such an innuendo against unspecified nations in view of the discussions that are going on in the Non-intervention Committee?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I do not know anything about innuendoes. If his remarks are in order, the Foreign Secretary has as much right to say what he likes as other hon. Members.
§ Mr. MAXTON
May I ask the Foreign Secretary when he obtained this precise information, because when this matter was debated in the House he had no precise information about the supply of arms?
§ Mr. THURTLE
Will the right hon. Gentleman take the earliest opportunity of getting into touch with both the German and Italian Governments and getting from them specific assurances that this recognition of the rebel forces does not mean that they are going to hold themselves free to supply arms?