MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW.
Date 24th September, 1936
Time 5 p.m. to
SPAIN: CONSULTATION WITH MR. W. DOBBIE M.P., AND MR. SEYMOUR COCKS M.P., IN MR. MIDDLETON'S ROOM.
There were present in addition, Mr. George Hicks, M.P., Mr. Attlee, Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Middleton, Mr. Scott, Mr. Tewson and Mr. Bolton.
The object of the meeting was to hear a statement from Mr. Dobbie and Mr. Seymour Cocks, who had recently paid a visit to Spain in order to ascertain the position there. They stated that they had been to Barcelona, and had seen the President of Catalonia, Luis Companys, and then had gone on to Madrid, in order to see Caballero.
On their journey they were struck by the fact that the men who were defending the Government were short of rifles. In many cases they could see they only had clubs to defend themselves with. When they got to Madrid they could not see Caballero since he had become Prime Minister, but they saw Diaz Alloa, who is the T.U.C. President, and two other members of the Trades Union Congress General Council of Spain. They stated they could not understand the attitude of the democratic governments in keeping on an embargo and preventing the Spanish Government from buying war material.
Mr. DOBBIE said he saw part of the fighting. It was evident that there were not enough machine guns, and he was informed that they were lacking sights to complete these guns in the factories. What they wanted was heavy artillery. The Alcazar would not have stood out so long if they had had the proper explosives and guns. They could have reduced it much earlier on, and released the men for the Talavera front. There was a terrible shortage of aeroplanes, and they had to recollect that aeroplanes were likely to win the war, owing to their influence on the morale of the soldiers. He said the soldiers were actually going to the front without any rifles, ready to pick up the rifle of any killed or wounded comrade. To him it appeared a "death parade". The Spanish workers' representatives maintained that munitions were still pouring in through Portugal from Germany and Italy. They knew the amount of war material at the disposal of the Government before the war broke out. They knew how much they had left in their hands, and were thus able to make a comparison; and the extensive ammunition which was being used by the rebels now made it clear that they were being supplied from outside sources. The people of Spain itself demand the right of a legal Government to obtain arms. They were fighting the cause of democracy everywhere, not only Spain.
Mr. HICKS: "How do you know that the Anarchists and Socialists are now in agreement?"
Mr. COCKS: "We have spoken to Diaz Alloa and he states that they were whole-heartedly in agreement with one another, and would remain so until the end of the struggle, at any rate".