MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW.
Date 12th April, 1938
Time 11 a.m
Present Dr. Julius DEUTSCH Mr. GESSNER Sir Walter CITRINE Mr. H.H. ELVIN Mr. W.J. BOLTON Mr.J.S. MIDDLETON Mr. W. GILLIES.
STRICTLY PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL.
Dr. Julius DEUTSCH, former Austrian Social Democratic leader, who is serving with the Republican forces in Spain, attended at the offices. He was accompanied by Mr. R. GESSNER, an Austrian living in this country.
Dr. DEUTSCH came, he said, to find what help could be given to the Spanish Government from the British Trade Union and Labour Movement. The morale of the people of Spain was good, but first of all he asked that some manifestoes, similar to that issued by the A.E.U., should be published, so as to enhearten the people in their struggle in Spain. He said that the position was very serious, and it seemed clear that, unless aeroplanes, guns, and munitions could be got into Spain for the Government, the extra help that was coming from Germany and Italy would overwhelm the Republican forces. He therefore asked, first, what chance was there for getting the British Government to raise the embargo?
Sir Walter CITRINE indicate that the British Trade Union and Labour Movement had been doing, and were doing, everything possible to get the embargo raised. Demonstrations, conferences, interviews, Motions and Questions in Parliament all had been tried. He referred especially to the Sunday demonstration held in Hyde Park, and the interview that was secured between members of the General Council and Lord Halifax, the previously Wednesday afternoon. The Government were resolute in their attitude, and told them what they were constantly saying in the House of Commons and in the country, that, if they raised the embargo, it must ultimately lead to war. Up to the present time, they had convinced, undoubtedly, the majority of the British people that the danger of war was real in these circumstances, and consequently they feel quite sure of their position as a Government.
Dr. DEUTSCH said that the people in Spain had the idea that, if the workers in their Trade Unions were to organise strikes, that would bring down the Government.
Sir Walter CITRINE informed Dr. Deutsch of the law of 1927, and the possible consequences which would prevent the struggle, even could they organise the strikes mentioned, from being successful. It must be remembered that, not only would they have the legal power against them, but also very many of the people. It had to be confessed that not all the people in this country saw the evil consequences of Franco establishing a military regime, and a system of Government that favoured Germany and Italy.