Formally acknowledged 13.3.39
10th March, 1939.
Mr. J. Marchbank,
Euston Road, N.W.1.
Dear Mr. Marchbank,
POSITION OF SPANISH SEAMEN
I am greatly obliged to you for accepting the suggestion made by representatives of the National Union of Seamen, the Transport and General Workers' Union and the Navigators & Engineer Officers' Union with whom I had an informal talk in this office this afternoon.
I understood that you were calling a meeting of the British Section of the International Transportworkers' Federation for Monday next at 3 p.m. I am merely writing you to send details of the Spanish boats involved and the Ports where they are to be found.
The question was first raised with us by the Preston Trades Council who enquired as to the position. On Wednesday representatives of the Mid-Atlantic shipping Company Limited called to see me and pointed out that they had no money. They were merely operating for the Spanish Government and the position of the sailors was desperate. They eventually supplied me with a list giving the names of the boats involved, the Ports where they are lying, the names of the Captains and the number of crew, and I promised that I would make enquiries in regard to the possibility of assistance.
There appear to be about 250 Spanish sailors involved, and I am informed that as the boats are returned to Franco a proportion of the crew is almost sure to desire to go back to Spain because their families are there. There will be some, however, who will not desire to return.