DUCHESS OF ATHOLL DENIES COMPLICITY Conditions to be Demanded from Joint Committee
A letter has come into Catholic hands, written by Senor Uranga, representative of the former Basque Government, in England, and sent to all the Spanish teachers and assistants who came to England with the children.
This letter is addressed direct; in Spanish, to all the Spanish teachers and supervisors, from the head of the Basque Government, from the office. of the Basque Children's Conunittee.
In this letter Senor Uranga states:
I. Unclaimed children, or those whose parents are outside Nationalist territory will remain in England till the Basque Government disposes otherwise.
2. Children of 14 or over, must not be sent back to Bilbao if they do not wish to go.
3. Teachers and assistants are not included in the possible repatriation list.
To the Teachers and Assistants.
"Am some rumours have circulated abont the future of our children in England, rumours which have provoked great uneasiness among the children, and the stuff to whose care the children are left. I hastily address myself to you in order to explain the situation. The children sent to Bilbao are those who have been claimed by both parents in letters signed by them. " All children whose parents are outside the rebel territory or who have not been claimed by there, will remain in this country until the Basque Government disposes otherwise.
" The persons to whom the children were recommended—they are the teachers, the assistants. and the nurses—must remember the following : "l. When tho Committee sends for children to London to be sent to Bilbao. they must find out if the solicited children are over 14 years of age. If they are such or older the children must be asked if they wish to be sent to Bilbao, and if not, this wish is to bo respected, and for no reason must they be seat to Bilbao, " 2. Teachers and assistants are not ineluded in the possible repatriation list. For no reason will they be bound to go to Bilbao. If for any circumstance they wish to abandon their place, they must communicate such derision. giving their reason for it. " 3. We beg teachers and assielants, to send to this delegation, a list of children in their care. stating : " (a) Where the father and mother are to be found; " (b) The names of the children over 14 years of age; " (c) The names of those who finding themselves in rebel territory were sent to Biscay across the firing line. when the Basque Government was still in Bilbao.
" This Delegation is expecting the most rapid answers to the above questions.
" 11icurt t-RANUA,
" Delegate of the Social Assistance of the Blisque Government. in England. " 53, Alitrshnin Street, " London,'S.W.1."
Never Heard Of It
The attention of the Duchess of Atholl was called to this circular seeing that (1) it was sent out from the office of her Cornmittee, (2) Senor Uranga could only have got the list of names and addresses from the Basque Committee, (3) the circular is in direct opposition to the promises made by the Basque Committee in regard to repatriation.
The Duchess of Athol! replied by repudiating, on behalf of the Committee, all knowledge of the circular.
The List Must be Disclosed At a meeting of the Wellington Committee on Monday evening, the Duke of Alba stated that when the Nationalist Government sends a ship for the repatriation of the Basque children, he will require from the Joint Committee the two assurances that it will disclose its list—the only list in existence—of Basque children in this country, and that it will cease to insist on its sole right to decide which children are to be sent back.
Capt. Macnamara, M.P., who is also a member of the Atholl Committee, was present at the meeting, and strongly approved of the imposition of conditions upon the Joint Committee. It was understood at the meeting that a majority of the Atholl Committee are corning round to the view that all the children should be sent back as quickly as possible.