From Marquis Merry Del Val
STR,—The "Official News-sheet " published every Monday at San Sebastian by the Spanish Authorities in General Franco's territory in order to fill up the gap caused by Sunday's enforced rest, announces on November 29 that the Basque Separatists' "Shadow Government " at Barcelona have instructed their representative in London not to allow any Basque children to return to the " rebel zone." If necessary he is to send them back to the Red zone.
I ask you, Sir, whether this decision is not monstrous?
There you have in England several thousand poor children taken from their homes and their native land, some of them forcibly, who are exposed to be sent to the Red zone in Spain, the seat of all godlessness and public immorality rather than back to their own province of Biscay. These children were exported from the Peninsula like so many cattle solely as a means of propaganda and are either to continue apart from their country and their people or are to he cast into the Red hell there to languish in" hunger and misery for purely sectarian and political ends. By whom? By men usurping the name of Catholics.
Such action should make the heart of any honest man revolt, whatever his creed.
Once again, Sir, it is high time that this heinous scandal should cease and the children return whence they came. In my opinion a movement in this sense should be organised all over Britain which is needlessly bearing the burden of their board, lodging and clothing to the detriment of her own little slum-dwellers.
The reasons hypocritically adduced against what is undoubtedly the natural course are mere pretexts. The fighting line at its nearest point just outside Madrid is
two hundred and fifty miles away. Sir Arnold Wilson in The Observer and later a special correspondent in the Daily•Telegraph, have testified to the capacity of General Franco's administration to care for the children in a land which is surpassing itself in charity and is ardent in social
reform. Our Sovereign Pontiff's special Delegate strenuously advocates their return. Let the children go back! Stop this insult to Spain, this crime against civilisation !
MERRY DEL VAL.