Private & Confidential
15th October, 1937
Mr. Ebby Edwards,
The Mineworkers' Federation of Great Britain,
50, Russell Square,
Dear Mr. Edwards,
I did not see your letter of the 13th October until late last evening. I had a long conversation with Señor del Vayo here on Monday afternoon, in the presence of Mr. Middleton and Mr. Gillies of the Labour Party.
Del Vayo's suggestion was that we should try to get the Government to give assistance in the evacuation of fifty or sixty thousand of the men fighting in Asturia, as it was inevitable that Gijon would fall sooner or later. The Spanish Government were sorely afraid that these men would be butchered by Franco.
After some discussion I went along to the Foreign Office and saw Lord Cranborne and Lord Plymouth, and put the proposal to them that the British Government should give protection to ships carrying these men. Lord Cranborne at once pointed out that this would be equivalent to intervention, which would in effect mean that the British Government were helping to transport combatants from one part of the country to another. The Government had not done that,