PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL
MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW.
Date 19th October, 1937.
Time 11.30 to
Sir Walter Citrine,
M. Ascarate [ Azcarate ],
This morning, by arrangement, the Spanish Ambassador, M. Ascarate, called here. There were present also Mr. Middleton and Mr. Gillies, of the Labour Party.
I explained to the Ambassador what I had done and the interviews which I had had yesterday. I also explained that contact with Mr. Schevenels had been established, and I read over to him a note of the telephone conversation.
The effect of this was that Mr. Schevenels doubted the wisdom and the utility of sending a Delegation, and he too took the view, quite independently, that members of the Delegation would be exposed to considerable danger. He promised finally he would examine the means which were open to the Delegation to get to Gijon, and to establish contact with comrades Adler and de Brouckere.
Mr. Gillies informed me in the course of conversation that a statement had appeared that morning in the "News Chronicle" to the effect that the South Wales Miners had received an appeal from the Asturian miners themselves - they were sending it on to the T.U.C. and to the Foreign Secretary. Mr. Oliver Harris had stated to the "News Chronicle" that the British Government should take steps to evacuate the miners. He realised that this meant direct intervention, but a desperate situation demanded desperate measures.
The Spanish Ambassador said that he regretted the publication of this statement as it would not be very helpful.
I then communicated with Mr. Ebby Edwards by telephone, but he had not received any letter from the Asturian Miners, nor had he had any communication from South Wales.
The Spanish Ambassador said that the proposal for a Commission was now definitely dropped. The Spanish Government were satisfied that the better plan would be to seek to get the evacuation of refugees, women and children and old men, from Gijon, in return for releasing the hostages now held by the Republicans in Gijon. If this could be accomplished it would be a beginning. He had communicated the proposal yesterday to the British and French Governments, and he understood that they were going to approach the Salamanca Government.