For the members of the IFTU Executive, the LSI Bureau and the International Solidarity Fund
SUMMARISED REPORT ON THE MISSION TO SPAIN OF THE 21st TO 29th JANUARY, 1937, BY W. SCHEVENELS
Aims of the Visit.
For some time the requests for food for Spain had become more pressing and the sending of consignments to Alicante, Valencia, Bilbao, Gijon, Santander and Barcelona had been intensified. We had also been informed of the lack of means of transport. On his last visit to Paris, Pietro Nenni had pointed out to Adler and the undersigned that the presence of a representative of the International Solidarity Fund had become an urgent political necessity, and it was therefore agreed, in conjunction with Adler, that the undersigned should accompany the next convoy of lorries containing food for Spain and should try during his visit to make the relief work done by the two Internationals, Socialist and Trade Unionist, more widely known in Spain.
While preparations were being made for this expedition, the question arose of the establishment of a model military hospital for the Madrid Front ( arising out of the report of his journey made by Dr. Marteaux ), and it was agreed that the undersigned should consult the Spanish comrades on the advisability and necessity of this undertaking.
As the convoy was on the point of departure, a third aim was added to the two first objects, this being the request made by the UGT to the International Federation of Trade Unions for a world conference of all anti-Fascist organisations to be called in order to organise more effective aid for Spain, and it was therefore understood that discussions should take place with the Spanish comrades regarding the conditions under which such a conference could be of advantage.
The undersigned therefore had before him this triple task, in addition, if course, to the aim of obtaining information in general.
The convoy left Paris on the 17th January and Perpignan, where all the lorries were collected and loaded with food, on the 21st, crossing the frontier on the same day. The convoy, consisting of 21 lorries ( of which 5 had been given by the CGT ), carrying forty tons of goods, and a petrol tank lorry containing 4,500 litres of petrol, passed through Figueras, Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Tortosa and Castellon, and arrived at Valencia on the 24th January.
Owing to certain incidents, only seventeen of the lorries arrived at Valencia. Two facts may be mentioned in connection with these incidents, which were mainly breakdowns of engines, tyres and the giving out of petrol.
The "Humanité" of the 17th January published a denunciation of the convoy, representing it as destined for Franco, which may perhaps explain the acts of sabotage to which the petrol lorry was subjected, causing it to catch fire twice and nearly to explode. The second fact was the manifest bad will shown by the patrols and sentinels of the Anarchists during the journey from Junquera to Barcelona, which caused considerable delay.