PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL.
MEMORANDUM OF INTERVIEW.
Date 18th October, 1937.
Time 3.30 to
Sir Walter Citrine,
Sir Robert Vansittart
Sir Walter Citrine
Mr. Anthony Eden.
On the afternoon of Monday, the 18th October, I interviewed Sir Robert Vansittart at the Foreign Office, and put to him the proposal for a Commission.
He said that he did not believe the Commission would have the least restraining influence on Franco, and that the members of the Commission would be in a very dangerous position as it would be impossible for either the British or French Governments to give them protection.
It would also be difficult to get to Gijon as no ships had arrived at that port for several days.
Sir Robert Vansittart suggested as an alternative that the Valencia Government should declare its willingness to release a considerable number of prisoners on the understanding that the Franco Government would release an equal number of Asturian miners. The exchange could then be arranged.
I promised to pass this suggestion on.
Later in the day I saw Mr. Eden, and discussed the matter over with him. I did not tell him I had spoken to Sir Robert Vansittart, and I found that he too was very much opposed to the Delegation going. He said it would put the Delegation in a humiliating position if they were successful in reaching Gijon, as Franco would in all probability have no dealings with them.
He did not believe that any restraint would be exercised by this means, and he feared greatly for the safety of the members of the Commission.
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