Private & Confidential.
Statement issued on April 28, 1937.
The General Council of the Trades Union Congress and the National Executive of the Labour Party issued the following statement to-day, (Wednesday):-
The dreadful sufferings of the Spanish people have reached a climax of horror and shame in the criminal bombing of Guernica by German airplanes under the command of the rebel generals. British Labour denounces this monstrous crime, perpetrated upon the defenceless Basque city with no shadow of military reason or excuse, as an outrage upon humanity and a violation of the principles of civilisation. The ruthless slaughter of men, women and children driven from their ruined homes, and systematically shot down in cold blood by the German air-raiders, is a manifestation of the merciless and inhuman spirit which animates the rebel forces and their Nazi and Fascist accomplices, and of the savage hatred felt particularly against the liberty-loving Basques for their heroic defence of Bilbao.
The General Council of the Trades Union Congress and the National Executive of the Labour Party in the name of the organised working class, declare that the authors of this outrage are criminal murderers.
Civilised opinion throughout the world will hold them responsible for this crime.
The two National Committees call special attention to the statements of eye-witnesses that this murderous attack was carried out by German airmen using German aircraft, dropping German-stamped bombs, in cynical contradiction of the declaration made by Herr Hitler himself in his Reichstag speech in May, 1935, that the German Government opposed the use of aircraft for the destruction of open towns and the bombing of non-combatant women and children.
The General Council and the National Executive therefore call upon the British Government to take immediate steps, whilst the horror excited by this example of "frightfulness" supplies the cause of instant action, to take the initiative through the League of Nations for an examination of the whole problem of the bombing in warfare of open towns and the indiscriminate slaughter of the non-combatant population.
The two National Committees pledge the organised working class movement to continue its humanitarian work in sending supplies of food and other necessities to the Spanish people, and renew their urgent appeal for further contributions to the International Solidarity Fund. In the name of British Labour the two National Committees congratulate the officers and seamen who have successfully broken the rebel blockade with ships carrying food cargoes provided by British trade unionists and other sympathisers. The two Committees demand