Political Prisoners.

Oral Answers to Questions — Yugoslavia. – in the House of Commons on 2nd April 1941.

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Miss Rathbone:

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any representations have been made to the Spanish Government to induce them to abandon or mitigate the harsh measures of political reprisals still continuing against all participants in or sympathisers with the Republican cause in the civil war?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The Spanish Government are well aware of the interest taken by His Majesty's Government on humanitarian grounds in the fate of political prisoners.

Miss Rathbone:

Does not my right hon. Friend recognise that His Majesty's Government have some responsibility for the unfortunate position of these victims of political reprisals, since they arise out of the breaches of the Non-intervention Pact, and could not the Government use the means of pressure given them by the substantial financial facilities which they are affording to Spain to secure more merciful treatment?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

Naturally, it is the desire of His Majesty's Government to obtain merciful treatment, but the matter referred to in the first part of the hon. Lady's supplementary question is a matter of opinion. As regards the last part of her question, it is the custom of the Government to make their sentiments known to other Governments on such questions, but not to seek to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

Miss Rathbone:

Is it a matter of opinion as to whether the victory of General Franco was not mainly due to German and Italian bombing—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker:

That does not arise on this Question.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

Cannot the Government frankly tell the Spanish Government that unless they treat our friends decently they will not get any food ships?