FEDERATION SYNDICALE INTERNATIONALE
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
9, AVENUE D'ORSAY, PARIS-VIIe
ADRESSE TELEGRAPHIQUE :
TELEGRAPHIC ADDRESS : INTERFED, PARIS
TELEPHONE : INVALIDES 45-88
Situation Espagne 32.
14th February, 1935.
To National Centres.
A delegation to Spain composed of Comrade Auriol and myself, on behalf of the International Federation of Trade Unions, the Labour and Socialist International and the League for the Rights of Man, was received by Lerroux, the Spanish Prime Minister. One of the aims of this interview was to obtain a definite promise from the government that no further executions would take place arising out of the events of October 1934. As you are aware, courts-martial are still pronouncing sentences of death against comrades accused of having taken part in the rising, twenty death sentences being promulgated quite recently.
At the present moment, two courageous comrades, who are known not only in Spain but internationally, and are particularly popular in Asturias, are about to be condemned to death. These comrades are Ramon Gonzalez Pena and Teodomiro Menendez, whose names will be known to you.
Terrible uncertainty reigns among our Spanish comrades regarding the fate of those condemned to death, although it is generally admitted that pardons might be obtained for the twenty-two condemned. There is a general belief, however, that it is the government's intention not to grant a general pardon but to make one or two "examples", and it is the above-mentioned two comrades who seem to be in the greatest danger.
The promises which we obtained with difficulty from Lerroux during the audience were not made without reservations, so that our fears are not by any means removed.
In order to back up effectively and perhaps decisively the steps taken by the International Delegation at Madrid, our Spanish comrades think that the sending by as many organisations and prominent individuals as possible of telegrams asking for pardon for those condemned, particularly Pena and Menendez, would be bound to have a favourable reaction on the vacillations of the government.
It is of course obvious that forms of protest which can only hinder the international action should be avoided, and in this connection it might be pointed out that, in view of the fact that it is a matter of life and death, such measures as representations to the Spanish Embassies in the various countries, demonstrations or meetings to arouse public opinion, or general campaigns will only be indicated should the telegrams asking for mercy remain without effect.
Trusting that we can count on your energetic efforts to save our brave Spanish comrades threatened with death,
W. Schevenels, General Secretary.
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