PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL N.C.L. 1. 1937-1938
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
MINUTES of a MEETING of the NATIONAL COUNCIL of LABOUR held on Tuesday, October 26th, 1937.
Sir Walter Citrine recited the course of events following the visit to London of Senor del Vayo, representing the Spanish Government, who had been concerned in securing the support of the British Government in the evacuation of the population, combatant and non-combatant, from Gijon, in view of the advance of the Rebel Forces.
Proposals had been made that a British Delegation should be appointed to visit Gijon as observers with a view to preventing the slaughter of captives.
After various discussions, however, it had been indicated that the question of evacuating the combatants, and the appointment of a Delegation either British or International had been dropped.
It was reported that following the fall of Gijon the International Federation of Trade Unions and the Labour and Socialist International had issued a statement (see Appendix I).
Mr. Attlee reported that he had been kept informed regarding the representations of the Spanish Government, and had dealt with the matter at length in the Debate on October 21st. Since then he had learnt that British ships had stood by inactive while Spanish ships carrying refugees had been attacked and while refugees had been drowned.
An All-Party Deputation was to interview the Foreign Secretary that day, and unless some satisfactory statement was forthcoming regarding the Admiralty's inaction in this matter, it was intended that attention should be drawn to it in the House of Commons. The reports were received.