COMMENT ON SPANISH AFFAIRS
16th July 1937
17 FLEET STREET, E.C.4
SINCE the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War on July 18th, 1936, a great deal of space has been devoted to the subject in the world press. Yet rarely, perhaps, has an issue been so cruelly misrepresented.
IT is the intention of "COMMENT" to place before the intelligent public these facts of the war which have been intentionally or accidentally avoided, and yet which are frequently of supreme importance. It is hoped that in this way the public may obtain a truer perspective of the war in Spain.
Letter to Press from MISS E. RATHBONE, M.P.
9th July, 1937
THE REFUGEE QUESTION AT SANTANDER
British Responsibility for an Impending Disaster
A tragedy is impending at Santander as terrible and on a far larger scale than Guernica. Part of it will be directly due to British policy, and that part of it could be averted by a simple and uncostly change of policy.
1. The Situation. As described by two English clergymen who left Santander some ten days ago, the position is this. A normal population of 20,000 to 30,000 has been augmented by 70,000 to 120,000 refugees from Bilbao. These refugees, chiefly women, children and old men, sleep and live mostly in the streets and fields. Public kitchens supply them with one meal of soup a day, but often it gives out. Otherwise they beg what they can from the already half-starved citizens. The streets are so crammed that it is difficult to move about. Bombing would turn them into vast shambles. When there is a rumour of a ship to take off refugees, they crowd to the quays. But such ships are few.
2. The Obstacle to Evacuation. The Basques have one big ship, the HABANA, and several smaller. They have chartered eight British ships to bring in food and take out refugees. They would