1st March, 1940.
The Rt. Hon. Viscount Halifax, K.G., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., T.D., F
Downing St., S.W.1.
Dear Lord Halifax,
As you are probably aware, for some twelve months we have been supporting nearly 300 Spanish seamen who, for fear of political reprisals, elected to remain in this country about a year ago, when the Courts gave General Franco possession of a number of Spanish vessels which were lying in ports in the United Kingdom.
Our intention at that time was to secure the dispersal of the men, chiefly by means of emigration, and our efforts had already given promise of success when the war started. Schemes of emigration are, at least for the time being, impossible to carry out, but owing to the increased demand, a number of the men have found employment at sea in neutral shipping. We have endeavoured to encourage this tendency, and have received active assistance from the officials of the Basque Delegation in London.
A week ago, a request was received by one of the men (who has been acting as agent and has succeeded in placing a number of them in employment on board ship) for a crew for a Greek steamer lying at Le Havre. Men were specially brought to London, but difficulty has been experienced because the French Consul-General here