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these profits, these shipowners still send their ships to these
waters and then get bombed, is it reasonable that we should
be asked to take action which might presently involve not
only them but you in the horrors of war which I have been
trying to describe, and you are not getting any profits at all ?
" I should consider that if we were to listen to demands of
that kind we should be betraying our trust to the people of
this country. That does not mean that we condone bombing
of ships from the air, or that we recognise an aerial blockade
of ports. We have on numerous occasions made protests to
General Franco about particular incidents, and he has in reply
given us the most emphatic assurances that it is not, and never
has been, the intention of his Government to single out
British ships for deliberate attacks, and if some of them have
been struck—so he tells us—that is just because it is extremely
difficult to ensure that a bomb dropped from a high-flying
aeroplane will only hit the objective at which it is aimed
and not sometimes hit other things, like ships which may
be in the immediate neighbourhood.
" I find it a little difficult to reconcile that explanation with
some of the facts which are known to us, but perhaps, after
all, Franco's airmen do not always rigidly adhere to their
instructions. However that may be, it remains true that as
long as this war goes on and British ships are carrying cargoes
into the ports of the Spanish Government, so long the danger
of incidents of this kind will remain. Much the best solution
would be the cessation of hostilities altogether, and if at any
time we can see any prospect of offering our services to bring
that about with a reasonable chance of success, you may be
sure we shall not let that opportunity pass by us.
" Before I leave the question of foreign affairs I should like
to call your attention to the attitude of the two Oppositions
in Parliament. I do not believe any living person can recollect
a time when foreign affairs were the subject of such constant
challenge, such repeated debates and such heated and violent
" At the present time, as the Foreign Secretary is a member
of the House of Lords, most of that sound and fury descends
on my head. I do not grumble at that. I try to give as good
as I get.