15th April 1937.
Mr. W. Schevenels,
International Federation of Trade Unions,
9, Avenue D'Orsay,
Dear Comrade Schevenels,
We propose sending to Bilbao a consignment of foodstuffs in order to relieve the shortage in that neighbourhood, but we are very much concerned owing to the dubious attitude of our own Government to regard to ships going to that port. Although they have stationed our largest warship in the vicinity, they feel it necessary to warn ships that they can enter Spanish territorial waters only at their own risk. We are having an interview with our Foreign Office this afternoon for the purpose of holding them to the common understanding that help despatched for humanitarian purposes would not be interfered with.
What I should like you to do is to get into touch with Jouhaux and ask him if he will see M. Blum or his Foreign Minister so as to induce them to give an undertaking to protect French ships sent for humanitarian reasons only. I am sure that if he could get their assent he will considerably strengthen our hands here. Our own Government are getting no support for their policy, and feeling is rising rapidly against them.
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