asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of Signor Mussolini's declaration on Saturday last referring to the Spanish war and the French-Italian negotiations, he will give an assurance that His Majesty's Government will support the French Government in resisting Italian pressure to compel them to change the French policy in relation to the Spanish Government?
The hon. Member may rest assured that the good offices of His Majesty's Government are always at the disposal of both the French and Italian Governments, should they desire them, with a view to expediting a settlement of the Spanish situation.
The British Agent at Burgos has already asked for, and been promised, full particulars of all British prisoners captured by General Franco's forces. These particulars, which will, I hope, be received in London shortly, will be available for publication. I have no reason to think that any British subjects have been captured by the Spanish Government forces.
asked the Prime Minister how many men serving on British ships engaged in legitimate trade with Spain have been injured or killed by the insurgents or their allies since the beginning of the war in Spain; and in how many of these cases has compensation been paid to these men or their dependants, and by whom?
So far as I am aware, 27 have been killed and 37 injured. As regards compensation, I have nothing to add to the answer given on 2nd March to a question by the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr.Shinwell).
May I ask the hon. Gentleman if, in his previous answers on this subject, he was able to say whether compensation of the dependants of seamen has been paid, and, if not, will be obtain information and satisfy himself on that head?
In view of the delay which necessarily arises before any compensation can be paid by a foreign administration, and of the very high profits which are believed to be made out of this class of freight, would it not be best for the Government to invite the owners of these ships to give compensation to the dependants of these men?
Three British ships have been sunk, and, apart from those struck during bombardments when in harbour, three have been damaged. Protests have been made in respect of all these ships and His Majesty's Government have reserved their right to claim full compensation. Some 25 British ships have been hit, the majority of them very slightly, during air raids on Spanish Government ports. From the evidence available, His Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that four of these ships had been deliberately attacked, and a protest was accordingly made, the right to claim compensation being reserved. His Majesty's Government are considering further evidence regarding the most recent bombardments.
The hon. Member has not given any reason at all, either in that Debate or anywhere else, why we did not press these claims against a government which is not recognised, and which may fall at any time.