PRESS STATEMENT, August 28, 1936.
A Conference of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the General Council of the Trades Union Congress and the National Executive of the Labour Party, held at Transport House today (Friday) issued the following statement:-
The military rebellion in Spain which has raged with increasing fury for the last six weeks emphasises once more the grave dangers arising from the growth of Fascism. Organised Labour pays homage to the steadfast courage and sacrifice of the Spanish people, who have cemented with their blood the foundations of liberty and democracy.
The struggle has been brough[t] about by Spanish officers who have broken an oath of loyalty to the Republican Government which they had recently renewed, have seduced Spanish soldiers from their duty, and have organised an invasion of their own country by foreign mercenary troops. The workers, peasants and youth of Spain, unorganised for warfare, have rallied to the defence of the people's rights with a bravery, unanimity and energy without parallel in history. Events have shown that the spirit of the Spanish nation cannot be broken by any dictator.
It was clearly the right of the Spanish Government by rules of international law to obtain arms for its defence, but by the supply of arms to the rebels, in clear breach of international law, in circumstances which showed foreknowledge of their plans, Fascist Italy created a new and immediate danger of war. This danger was simultaneously aggravated by the adoption of a similar policy by Nazi Germany which had already established a vast system of espionage, corruption and intrigue in Spain. Fascist Portugal has aided and abetted the rebellion, and its territory has been used as a base.
The Conference expresses regret that it should have been thought expedient on the ground of the dangers of war inherent in this situation, to conclude agreements among the European powers laying an embargo upon the supply of arms and munitions of war to Spain, by which the rebel forces and the democratically elected and recognised Government of Spain are placed on the same footing. While such agreements may, however, lessen international tension, provided that they are applied immediately, are loyally observed by all parties, and their execution is effectively co-ordinated and supervised, the utmost vigilance will be necessary to prevent those agreements by utilised to injure the Spanish Government.
The course of events has shown that the Fascist powers grow more reckless, aggressive and dangerous. This is a portent and a warning that the democratic nations cannot ignore.
The Conference instructs the National Council of Labour to maintain its close watch upon events, in consultation with the International Federation of Trade Unions and the Labour and Socialist International, and the representatives of our Spanish comrades, and to recall this Conference when the situation requires it.
In the meantime, we again call upon all sections of the British Labour Movement to accord the fullest possible financial support to the International Solidarity Fund for Spain, which has been created to provide humanitarian assistance to the Spanish people.
The question of calling of Parliament together was left to the consideration of the Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party.
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