ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL CONCESSIONS Investigation Into Red Propaganda
While Great Britain has shown a marked partiality for the Red side in Spain since the beginning of the war, the present attack on the Basque country has roused her to a pitch of indignation which requires special explanation.
In an article by Alejandro del Toro, a close student of the war and an expert on the Basque question, relations between the Basques and Britain are studied and the Guernica story examined in the light of Red news in general.
" You ask me for information about Guernica," he writes in the Belgian paper, Metropole. "Unfortunately, as you know, Burgos only speaks once, whereas the Reds have at their disposal practically all the sources of information, such as the great news agencies.
British Vested Interests " Properly to understand what is taking place in the country round Bilbao, one must dig beneath the surface. Note how the British Government," continues the writer, " made the Basque Government a loan of fifteen million pounds, repayable by the export of minerals and metals. This loan was made in view of rearmament and at a time when even the Basque President thought it possible to come to an understanding with Franco. Moreover negotiations in view of a possible surrender of the Basque country were made in London, negotiations checked by France and Valencia.
" Britain is the traditional sleeping partner of Basque enterprise. British companies largely control the industrial activities of the country and Britain's commitments amount to very large sums, engaged in the exploitation of mines, railways and public utility services — in other words industries under the thumb of the Government in the Basque country which could annul the concessions with a stroke of the pen.
" The blockade of Bilbao is extremely awkward for Britain, who does a large
trade with the town, sending general mer chandise and taking out minerals. It is not difficult to understand Britain's attitude . . .
" As for Guernica, it has been made so much of in England that some one asked me the other day whether it were On the British coast!
Habitual Incendiarism " I can assure you because I know those who are leaders on both sides that Guernica was not fired or bombarded by the Whites. The Reds, through the mouth of Prieto, the Reddest man on Spain and a Basque, say that they must destroy and burn every town before
evacuating it. The Mayor of Motril actually put up a notice to this effect before abandoning the town. This was done systematically at Eibar, lain, Marquina, without provoking British protests."
Senor del Toro concludes by pointing out that Valencia spends each month enormous sums of money on its Press propaganda, while Burgos news is supplied without a pesetas cost, being supplied voluntarily from purely patriotic motives.