MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW.
DELEGATION TO ASTURIAS
Date 18th October 1937
Time 12.43 to 12.55pm
Present W Schevenels
(sec. IFTU) and A.E. CArthy Int.Dept.
Mr Schevenels was informed that Señor del Vayo had been to the British Mineworkers' Federation and had asked that a delegation be sent to Gijon. Del Vayo's opinion was that a delegation of this Kind would be usefull because of the possibility of Franco getting through the Government lines and taking prisoner the fifty or sixty thousand Asturian Miners still opposing him. Trie presence of such a delegation would mitigate the slaughter which del Vayo fear: would then take ' place. The Mineworkers' Federation are willing to take their part in any delegation, but think it should be an international one.
Mr. Schevenels was asked his opinion about this suggestion, whether he would be willing to organise such an International delegation, and whether he would be willing for some person outside the Movement (for Instance, In our case, someone from the Church) to accompany the delegation. It was presumed that del Vayo had made no such suggestion to him .
SCHEVENELS stated that he did not see that at such a moment the Franco people would be restrained from their repression. He was asked direct whether he was unfavourable, and replied that he didn't see the use of It. He would be very glad to have an opportunity of seeing del Vayo, and of finding out how he expected the I.F.T.U. to act. If necessary the delegation could be sent. Be then asked et what time del Vayo wanted
delegation to be held and was told at once. He agreed that to be of any use it could have to be done immediately.
He was very doubtful about the possibility of the delegation going. It would have to be composed of people of really high international standing, and not exposed to reprisals from Franco, people of such high standing that Franco would not dare to attack them himself - de Brouckére, for instance. If the representatives were there also as delegate from a Government in a strong position in Geneva, Franco of course, would not dare to touch them, but if a Trade Union secretary or Left Wing leader went, Schevenels would not give a penny for his life - he would be thrown in prison. He was not optimistic about the proposal. He was asked whether del Vayo had proposed the scheme to him, and he said he had not seen del Vayo for weeks.
He was asked how the journey could be made. He said it was not easy - air was out of the question, and he would have to find out from someone whether we could get a very rapid motor boat, and then try to run the blockade. It would be a risky business.