Oral Answers to Questions — General Franco (War Attitude)

– in the House of Commons on 16th December 1942.

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Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British Ambassador to Spain was present on the occasion of General Franco's recent speech extolling the genius of Mussolini and the Nazi ideology; and whether any contrary representations were subsequently addressed to General Franco by the Ambassador?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

His Majesty's Ambassador was not present on this occasion. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Does the right hon. Gentlemen consider that our tenderness to General Franco has been justified by his neutrality, which has probably been more helpful to the Axis than to ourselves?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

That is a matter of opinion.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Yes, I am asking for your opinion.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is it not about time that we regarded this man Franco as the enemy of this country and acted accordingly?

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has taken note of the message sent by General Franco to Herr Hitler expressing his wishes for the triumph of German arms; and whether His Majesty's Government propose to make a protest against this breach of international custom on the part of a neutral Power?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I have seen a report in the Press of a message sent by General Franco to Hitler in connection with the German campaign in the East. I do not, as at present advised, see any advantage in the suggestion made in the second part of my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

In view of the fact that we have recently assured the Spanish Government of our intention to respect the integrity of Spain, including the modus vivendi in Tangier and our Trade Agreement, is it not a serious and unfriendly thing for General Franco to reply that he wishes victory to our enemies?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend in dissociating myself from the sentiments which General Franco has pronounced, but the question asked me is whether it is a matter about which we should lodge a protest. In my view there is not much value in action of that kind.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

As we are all aware that our Ambassador in Madrid wears a velvet glove, would it not be better if he sometimes showed the steel underneath that glove?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I do not think that my right hon. Friend is just to the work that the Ambassador is doing.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Could not the Ambassador in Madrid make some representations to General Franco? What does he really say to General Franco?

Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I have already dealt with that and said that I do not think there is any value in merely making protests of this kind.