POINTS FROM SPEECH OF LORD HALIFAX IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, 3rd NOVEMBER, 1938.
Repeated attempts had been made to get from the Government a firm definition of what they meant by "settlement!" That definition was dependent upon the circumstances. "It is quite obvious that there is no intrinsic connection between the Anglo-Italian Agreement and the Spanish Civil War, except the connection that arose from the fear that civil war in Spain might lead to international complications."
There was a body of opinion that regarded the bringing into force of the Anglo-Italian Agreement as a blow struck by the British Government against the Spanish Government, an opinion which proceeded from two false assumptions: the first, that the Agreement and the Spanish question are naturally linked together, and the second, that ratification or non-ratification of the Agreement might have a decisive effect on the fortunes of the Spanish Government.
The Government were considering whether there were any steps which they could take to ensure the safe passage into Spanish territory of provisions destined for distribution to non-combatants by certain approved relief organisations.
"It has never been true, and it is not true today, that the Anglo-Italian Agreement had the lever value that some think to make Italy desist from supporting General Franco and his fortunes. Signor Mussolini has always made it plain from the time of the first conversations between His Majesty's Government and the Italian Government that, for reasons known to us all - whether we approve of them or not - he was not prepared to see General Franco defeated."
Whether or not General Franco should receive belligerent rights has nothing whatever to do with the Anglo-Italian Agreement, but is a matter that, under the terms of the Non-Intervention Committee's Plan, to which we are party, is dependent upon the progress that that machinery finds it possible to make.