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information, has now fallen. It is late in the day, but we have
instructed our Ambassador to support with all the influence
that he can bring to bear an appeal which has been made to
General Franco by the French Government to use those who
have been taken prisoner with all the humanity possible.
While I am speaking of this place, I do rather resent the
suggestions that were made by the Leader of the Opposition
and by some others that the British Government in their
humanitarian efforts have favoured one side. It was suggested
that we had been very ready to help refugees from Franco's
side but that there has not been equal willingness to assist
those on the other side. There is no foundation for that."
MR. ATTLEE : " I suggested there were certain technicalities
with regard to territorial waters that had not been objected
to when it was a question of rescuing Franco, but which were
said to be standing in the way of rescuing the supporters of
the Government.'*
THE PRIME MINISTER : " I do not want to go into that,
but the right hon. Gentleman will be surprised to hear that
from this town of Gijon alone we have removed no fewer
than 30,000 refugees in British ships under the protection of
the British flag.
" I want to say a word about the Balearic Islands. It has
been suggested that even if all goes well with the withdrawal of
volunteers, nevertheless when the war is over we may find
Italians still in Spain, still in possession of some of the Balearic
Islands and possibly in possession of other parts which might
be used for military purposes. These are very serious sugges-
tions and I do not underrate them for a moment. I know
that the idea that the Italian Government have some such
notions in their minds is very widely held, not only in this
country. But I believe that idea to be unfounded. We have
had repeated and most categorical assurances from the Italian
Government. Last September we received an assurance
from that Government that they did not contemplate any deal
with the Spanish insurgents for the cession of Ceuta, Spanish
Morocco, or the Balearic Islands. This assurance was recalled
in the exchange of notes of 3ist December which was published
as a White Paper. On that occasion the Italian Minister for
Foreign Affairs wrote that: