Friday, 19 February 1937
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Belton: My compliment to the President was premature. He moved the guillotine motion and is proceeding to get this Bill passed to-day. It was all camouflage saying that the Second Stage only was wanted to-day. When introducing the Bill yesterday he said that he only wanted the Second Reading passed. It is fairly obvious that when he gets the Second Reading to-day he will substantially get the Bill. He can do presumably what he wants to do. He can do what has been prompted should be done by Deputy MacDermot. It has been stated that the Bill is urgent. It has also been stated that the question of recognising Governments in Spain does not arise. I say that that question does arise, because by passing this Bill we are recognising the Red Government in Spain and none other. Deputy O'Sullivan called attention yesterday to a quotation from a speech made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, in which he stated that the fight in Spain was between Fascism and democracy. The democracy that our Government proposes to recognise will be understood when I give details received from a most reliable source in the handwriting of the head of General Franco's Intelligence Department which states:
“The actual composition of the Madrid Government is not known, but we believe it is virtually non-existent. We know, however, that of those who are spoken of as governing, only Largo Caballero, Alvarez del Vayo, Aiguade e Trujo belong to its Parliament...”
If I had a Spanish tongue like some people I could get it round these names, and there would be no laughing in the Gallery. Only three members of the Government junta in Madrid were elected Deputies at the last General Election.
“This is the nominal Government, because the actual effective Government is constituted by Rosenberg, Russian Ambassador, Antonov Qusenko, Russian Consul General in Barcelona, and a group of Russian tacticians who accompany them.”
That is the Government we have been recognising. It is to that Government the Minister for Industry and Commerce camouflaged a cargo of old bulls a couple of weeks ago, and then had the audacity to deny it in writing, saying that they were going to Gibraltar when, according to the “Shipping News,” they were going to Valentia. That is the Government we are recognising in Spain, and that is the Government we are recognising under this Bill: a Government that has to its credit all the atrocities I enumerated. We are, we have been told, an independent nation. The President stated that we have a perfect right to pursue our own foreign policy. Why do we not do so? Is our conception of a nation only that of a parish pump? Has it not gone beyond the threadbare howl for a republic for the Thirty-Two Counties that the Minister for Industry and Commerce shouts now and then, but that he has no more notion of achieving than of reaching the moon? That suits the mob. When we see a chance of acting independently as a nation, why do we not take it? Why do we  not strike out on an independent foreign policy? Why do we not say to the British that we have a foreign outlook? Why do we not say to the British, as one man, the late General Collins, did during the Treaty negotiations, when he told Lloyd George and Lord Birkenhead that Ireland was a mother country? Why did not President de Valera tell the British that Ireland was a mother country; that Ireland has sent her sons and daughters throughout the world; that they have colonised the British Empire; that they have colonised South America to a large extent and that they have colonised the United States of America? Why did we not show a foreign policy that was racy of Irish soil? Why did not the Government of this country, that has sent missionaries to the ends of the earth— that has missionaries to-day in the South Sea Islands, in Africa, in China, in Japan, in Siberia, in North and South America—show the world that we have a foreign policy worthy of a nation which has sent out those missionaries to spread the Gospel of Christ throughout the world, instead of allying and recognising ourselves with a Government that has set before itself the task of wiping out Christianity in Spain, and making Spain the jumping-off ground for the conquest of Europe for anti-Christ?
Why did not our Foreign Minister tell the British Foreign Minister: “We in Ireland have a view on this; our view is that Christianity must prevail?” There are two Governments in Spain claiming recognition. One stands for a Christian social order. Why should we not recognise that, and recognise it not upon the mentality disclosed here by Deputy MacDermot a couple of days ago and accepted by President de Valera? Namely, that regardless of the social order, regardless of the outlook, we will consider only geographical limits, and the day that 51 per cent. of Spain is shown to be under the control of General Franco we will consider recognition, but presumably if he loses two per cent. of that, and the forces of anti-Christ recover it, anti-Christ will be recognised by this Government. I was not surprised at Deputy MacDermot  expressing such sentiments or such ideas, because his radicalism, I fear, outweighs his Christianity in these matters. He has interjected here several times that all nations in Europe saw the necessity for promptitude in this matter and are all prepared to take this action, so why should we delay? Again I repeat for him, and in order to put it on the records of this House, that we are the only country in Europe, in the world, that is predominantly pro-Christian and pro-Franco as far as Spanish affairs are concerned that has not recognised Franco. There is nobody in this country who wants to recognise the Reds—nobody worth speaking of.
Had our Foreign Minister struck out an Irish foreign policy he would have made the name of Ireland felt throughout the world. The British Foreign Minister would have had to hesitate before showing any signs of friendliness towards Communism. It would have helped to fashion English foreign policy, and it would have helped to fashion it on Christian Catholic lines. In the British Commonwealth of Nations Ireland is the most predominantly Christian Catholic country. All other Christian countries in the Commonwealth, particularly Catholic countries, look to Ireland for a lead in these matters. They have looked on this occasion and they have not got it, thanks to the Government. Thanks to President de Valera, they are not going to get it here to-day, but there were enough here in this House to force President de Valera and his Party to adopt the guillotine before they could get their way. There are over 20,000,000 Catholics in the British Empire. They were looking to us for a lead—a lead which they have not got. Had we given that lead they would to-day be a solid block on the side of Ireland; in the event of any crisis within the Empire we could rely substantially on their support. We have alienated that to-day. Now, what support have we got? We got no support. By our action here to-day we have curried no favour except the favour that will come from Communists, from Jews and Freemasons. We have alienated Christian Catholic support in this supposed Christian  Catholic Chamber. Not only that, but those who have been mouthing about Republicanism, those who have been mouthing about a free nation in this country, have refused to exercise the freedom that was given to them. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has refused to function as Foreign Minister. He has sat like a little boy on the doorstep, until he was told by the British Foreign Minister what to do, and then he rushed into this House to do it. Because there were a few Irishmen here who said “No; we want to examine this; we want to examine what it is all about,” the guillotine was adopted. The bell rings, all his henchmen walk in, and the guillotine goes through. Thank God, they had to use the guillotine. In conclusion, A Chinn Comhairle, the Minister for Industry and Commerce laughs. I will give him an opportunity to laugh.
Mr. Belton: I will give him an opportunity to laugh; we will see whether he will laugh. I happen to be President of one of the largest political organisations that ever existed in this country. This measure that is being discussed and decided on here to-day will be put in College Green at a public meeting in the Minister's constituency. I challenge him to come on the platform. I challenge him to come on the platform and tell his constituents that this Bill which we are passing here to-day is right, and ask them for a mandate on that Bill. I challenge him to face his constituents in an open debate in his own constituency. I will abide by the result, and I have no special friends in the South side of the city. His bluff and bluster and doubtful statements will not avail him there. It will not do for him to say that the “Clonlara” went to Gibraltar when he knew it was going to Valencia. Out in public we will have to get the truth when we are face to face. Now let him come and defend this Bill before his own constituents. He will get the opportunity. Perhaps we may have an opportunity of hearing the Minister or some of his colleagues to-day.
 As a final word, I am not opposed to this measure going through, and going through quickly. The amendment which I have put down here has not been put down to impede the passage of this Bill. It has been put down in order to put Ireland right in the eyes of the world when we enter this Non-Intervention Pact. France is openly Communistic.
Mr. Belton: How are 800 men able to get into a train at Paris, go straight to Marseilles and have a boat waiting for them to take them to Valencia? How is that done? And this is the Government that said: “We must have non-intervention.” Will Deputy MacDermot deny that? I will put a man on the platform on College Green who was one of the 800, the 800 dupes that went to Valencia and Madrid to fight with the Reds. On the 19th November last, when I was on Franco's side in Madrid, he was an armed soldier with the Reds, and I will produce him on the platform. Deputy MacDermot might as well throw off his pinkness and say “I am a Red.” We should have people getting down off the ditches and coming into the open, coming on the side they really belong to. Let us see your colour; let us see your flag.
Mr. Belton: We know the Minister's flag and we know his colour. He has shown it, but we would wish that he had shown it with more truthfulness, because it is bad enough to have a Red Minister, but it is worse to have a Minister whose word you cannot accept as true, a word that has been proved to be false.
Acting-Chairman (Professor Thrift): I think the Deputy must withdraw that. It is an understood matter in this House that when a Minister  makes a statement, it must be accepted as true. The Deputy must withdraw that.
Mr. Dillon: May I make a submission on a point of order? While we gladly accept your ruling that, in order to preserve the amenities of this House, a statement vouched for by a Deputy or a Minister must not be controverted as a deliberate lie, may I respectfully submit that to ask Deputies of this House to accept as correct——
Acting-Chairman: That is quite different. That is not really a point of order. The difference is not a difference of opinion between accuracy or inaccuracy, or between correctness or incorrectness, but a definite statement made that the Minister had made an untrue statement. I must have that withdrawn. The Deputy can substitute “inaccurate” or “incorrect” if he wishes.
Mr. Belton: The point I wanted to make clear was that there has been agreement that the urgency of this Bill is obvious, but that we should set down in that pact our attitude in accordance with our views on the general situation, because all other nations are doing that. England is not recognising the Franco Government, and has been a bit partial to the Red Government. France has been openly supporting the Red Government, with direct lines of communication, regular train services and regular aeroplane services, and they even retreated across the border at Irun. It was alleged that French artillery helped the Reds at the battle of Irun. Armed men got across into France—they were carried around the Pyrenees and got into southern France—and that at a time when France was advocating non-intervention. France, recognising the Reds, is entering this pact. That is quite in accord with the sentiment of France. Russia is doing the same. Germany is entering into the pact, too, but before she did so, she took a stand in conformity with German public opinion on the matter, and she recognised the Franco Government. Italy and Portugal did the same. Why do not we, in the exercise of our independence in foreign affairs, do what the people of this country want done, namely, recognise the Franco Government and then enter the pact? What is going to happen by recognising the Franco Government? Suppose the hammer and sickle as the emblem came over here, if we were engaged with a struggle with the Reds here, would the Government struggling against the Reds not deserve recognition until they could show the conditions laid down by Deputy MacDermot and accepted by President de Valera?
In a word, I hold, and so does the  majority of this country, that we should recognise the Franco Government, enter into the non-intervention pact, and then co-operate with the rest of the members. It has been stated here that this matter is urgent to stop war. Was there ever such piffle heard in any sensible Assembly? Who for a moment in his sober senses believes that this will stop war? What is stopping war? Simply that they are not ready to start war, and the moment the lot of them are ready to start they are going to start. Deputy MacDermot knows that quite well. What are £400,000,000 of a special loan for? Picnics, is it? What are Russia, Italy, Germany and France arming for? The Olympic Games? The thing is nonsense. They are simply afraid of war. Some of them are not ready for it and they make a virtue of necessity, and say that this non-intervention pact must go through and that this, and this alone, will preserve the peace of Europe. Our contribution to it is that a machined majority in this House will endorse this pact, make it law and ally itself with the Red Government of Spain. This will be the first time in the history of Ireland and of the Irish people when the Catholics of this country will be penalised in the way they are being penalised under this Bill. Even in the Penal Days during the religious wars in Europe Irish Catholics were not penalised for joining European armies to fight for what they then thought was religion. They were not penalised by the penal Governments who in the past ruled this country. To-day under this Bill Catholics are going to be penalised. The young fellow who may feel inclined to go out and fight for religion in Spain will be shadowed everywhere, he will be only a ticket-of-leave man, the police will shadow him and he can be shoved into jail for two years or fined £500, and that simply because he attempts to go out and fight for what his conscience dictates. A young man in this country can go out and fight for any atheistic government, for a Mohammedan government or for the savages, but he cannot go out and fight for a Catholic people in their fight against atheism. That is the essence of  this Bill and that is what we are voting on to-day. The only saving feature about the whole matter is that it cannot be got through without the guillotine because the opposition to this Bill sponsors the refrain of public opinion that is surging up in opposition to it and that will surge and increase in volume and that will grow faster than the sponsors of the Bill imagine. Even though we have paid a terrible price to find out some people, perhaps after all it was worth it because their bluff is called and the mask is torn off their faces.
Mr. MacDermot: Sir, there were moments during the speech of Deputy Belton when I almost formed a suspicion that he did not like me. I am, therefore, all the more touched by his kindness in offering me some disinterested and dispassionate advice about my political future. It is and has always been at once my strength and my weakness in politics that I care nothing at all about my political future. If I, a mere individual as I am, unattached to Party, have any claim upon the attention of the House or the country it is because I speak out what I believe is true without caring what its effect may be upon my political fortunes. The speech of Deputy Belton was in many ways unusual. I listened to it with the patience and attention that were due to the leader of the Christian Front. It may be that in the minds of some of us his political character is more suggestive of the atmosphere of a Corsican vendetta than of the Sermon on the Mount. But still he is now the leader of the Christian Front. It may be that although I understand that the wider distribution of property is the remedy urged by Christian Fronts in other countries for the conditions that are apt to produce Communism—it may be that, in spite of that, Deputy Belton is the one Deputy in this House, alike under this Government and under the preceding Government, and even before he was a member of this House, who has resolutely, outspokenly, consistently and courageously opposed all schemes of compulsory land distribution.
Mr. MacDermot: What I have said is within the recollection of the House. Deputy Belton was as strongly opposed to the Land Bills introduced by the late Deputy Hogan for compulsory purchase as he has been to the compulsory purchase Bills brought in by the present Government for land distribution.
Mr. Belton: On a point of correction. I want to say that is not so. I do not mind what Deputy MacDermot is saying, but my action on the Land Bills is a matter on record and I want to contradict what the Deputy has said.
Mr. MacDermot: It is a matter on record that can be tested by reading even the debates on the last Land Bill, and what he then said about the Bill introduced in 1923, introduced by the late Deputy Hogan. It may be that Deputy Belton was the first to conceive the happy idea of treating an oath as an empty formula, an idea that would have been of infinite service to the Catholics of this country in the Penal times if they thought fit to take advantage of it. These are the things we associate with Deputy Belton's past, but now he is the leader of the Christian Front and as such he is entitled to the patience and attention with which I and others listened to his speech——
Mr. Belton: I claim the right to contradict the aspersion cast on me by the Deputy. These statements are not true. The Deputy suggested that I was the first to look upon the oath as an empty formula. On that occasion I took no oath——.
Mr. MacDermot: It is the first time that I have heard a remark made in this House as purposely offensive as one which the Deputy made in his speech to-day. He spoke of my Radicalism taking precedence of my Christianity. If I require any references as to my Christianity, it will not be to Deputy Belton I will go despite the fact that he is the leader of the Christian Front.
Sir, nine-tenths of this debate has been conducted as if what we had to decide in this House was who was right and who was wrong in the Spanish civil war, and what was the issue about which the people there were fighting. The questions before the House are the questions of non-intervention and diplomatic representation. It seems a great pity that our time should be wasted by going into matters so irrelevant as those that have been gone into in this debate, and gone into at such length; but in consequence I am compelled to say a little about them.
I have long ago stated, both in this House and in the country, that my sympathies in this struggle in Spain are with the Government of General Franco. I believe I was one of the first Deputies, if not the first Deputy, in this House to point out in a public speech that the Spanish Government before the civil war broke out had forfeited their claim to the obedience of the citizens, and had forfeited it by their failure to protect life and property — their failure to defend the citizens against damnable outrages. While I questioned and still question whether the amount of suffering that has been caused by the military measures that were taken by General Franco and his colleagues did not outweigh the good that is likely to be achieved, and while I cannot  help wishing that they had instead taken the more constitutional means and that they had relied upon public opinion in Spain to back them up in their fight against the horrors that were being committed, and that they had the patience to wait for constitutional victory over the scoundrels who were committing desecration of churches, murders, robberies, and burnings, nevertheless whether they were right or wrong in taking up the sword I felt all along that there could be no doubt that those who cared not merely for Christianity but those who cared for order, decency, civilisation and ancient culture as against barbarism and cruelty could have no choice but to range themselves in sympathy with the Franco Government.
That is not to say that I consider that the whole truth is told about events in Spain when it is alleged that this is a fight between Christianity and Communism. That is not the whole truth. There is a fight in Spain between Christianity and Communism but it is confused by other factors. We have the circumstance that the most practisingly Catholic part of Spain, namely, the Basque country, has thrown in its lot with the Valencia Government. We have the circumstance that, in the passion of civil war, a considerable number of Basque priests have been executed by the Franco Government. We have the fact that a great many of the people associated with the Franco side care little or nothing about Christianity.
Mr. MacDermot: In the very pastoral from which Deputy Belton quoted or, if not, in a pastoral or open letter by the Cardinal of Spain, he himself alluded to these executions, and said they were due to the fact that these priests had been too active politically on the Valencia Government side. I am not entering into the question as to whether these priests  brought their fate upon themselves or not. I merely say that, while I maintain that the issue in Spain is irrelevant to our Bill, that issue, although it includes a struggle between Catholicism and Communism, is confused by other factors. Fascism does come into the picture. It comes into the picture so much that the German and Italian flags are found everywhere flying along with the flag of General Franco's Government. It comes into the picture so much that there are as many volunteers from Italy and Germany fighting in Spain as there are from Russia. It comes into the picture so much that the individual to whom we are proposing, if we oppose this Bill, to send further hundreds of young men, is General O'Duffy, an open and declared Fascist now, whatever he may have been in the past; a man who has attended Fascist conferences in various countries in Europe.
Mr. Belton: On a point of order, the Ceann Comhairle called me to order for mentioning the name of a man who was not in this House, and who could neither prove nor disprove what I had said. General O'Duffy is 1,500 miles away, and I think that it is very bad taste on Deputy MacDermot's part to say that General O'Duffy is a Fascist or a non-Fascist.
Mr. MacDermot: General O'Duffy himself has boasted of the fact a hundred times. Heaven knows, when I had the misfortune to belong to a Party under his leadership, I had struggle after struggle with him to suppress his Fascist tendencies.
Mr. MacDermot: Any such suppression is a thing of the distant past. General O'Duffy has, with perfect candour and courage, given his views on Fascism over and over again. He has asserted that Parliamentary democracy has been proven a complete failure in every country except Great Britain, and he has stated that in Great Britain it survived only  because of the popularity of the Prince of Wales. Little did he foresee that the day would come not so long afterwards when the democracy of Great Britain would show its independence and strength by actually getting rid of that Prince of Wales from the Throne of England. I would further say that if General O'Duffy's military capacities are at all on a par with his political capacities, I do not envy any person the state of his conscience when he contributes to sending the flower of our youth to serve under General O'Duffy's banner.
I repeat that I hope General Franco's Government will win and that I believe General Franco's Government will win. I have always believed it would win. I think that there is a certain value in the justice of a cause as contributing to victory. I also believe that order, method and discipline are bound, in the long run, to triumph over disorder, faction and the various other faults of temperament and organisation that the people associated with the Valencia Government have shown. The suggestion that there is anything in my views about the Spanish trouble which I would hesitate for a moment to declare on any roadside in County Roscommon or that there is anything in my views which I have not so declared, I utterly repudiate.
One of the real points we have got to decide is whether or not we are in favour of this Non-Intervention Bill. Another point we have to  decide is whether or not we are in favour of diplomatic representation with either the Caballero Government or the Franco Government. Personally, I much regret that the question of diplomatic representation has been drawn into this discussion at all. If I were in favour of immediately recognising the Franco Government and immediately withdrawing our representative from the Caballero Government, I should still vote for this Bill. What about this Bill? What is the attitude of the Opposition and of Deputy Belton towards this Bill? I do not yet know whether they are in favour of the Bill or not. Deputy Belton said, about ten minutes before he sat down, that, apart from the question of diplomatic representation, he would have no objection to this Bill going through. About five minutes before sitting down, he said that this was a Bill to impose most unjustifiable restrictions on young Irishmen —restrictions that were never imposed in the old days when they could go and fight for the Catholic faith in any country in Europe. In the name of Heaven, which is his view and which is the view of the Opposition? After listening attentively to every word spoken on the subject, I am still at a loss to know.
The President, in introducing this Bill, did not set himself up as a champion of Christianity against Communism. He did not so set himself up on a pedestal but, in my opinion, he would have a thousand times more right to do so than either Deputy O'Sullivan or Deputy Belton.
Mr. MacDermot: Aside from the question of Communism in this country, looking at the question of Communism in the world as a whole I say that this measure that we are asked to pass is a blow against Communism. Communism everywhere at the present moment is a receding tide, It is on the retreat. It has had to be partly abandoned even in Russia. It is being partly abandoned even in Mexico. During the last six months, since the Blum Government came into power— the Blum Government is not a Communist Government and France as a whole is not a Communist country— Communism has declined enormously in influence in France. I do not believe that Communism is in the ascendant in any country, and I believe that it is pretty nearly on its last legs in Spain. But, if that is so, there is one thing that could recover for Communism all the ground that it has lost, and more than all the ground that it has lost, and that is a general European war. Communism as a widespread danger had its birth in the last European War. The misery, the poverty, the discontent and the fury against authority in every country that would be aroused by the results of another European war would be more likely to lead to general Communism than anything else that I can think of, and this is a Bill that is for the express purpose of contributing to the prevention of such a conflagration. Therefore, I say that every vote for the Bill is a vote against Communism, and every vote against the Bill is a vote for Communism.
Mr. MacDermot: But not only is the policy of non-intervention an anti-Communist policy in the world in general, but I maintain that as things now stand they are greatly in favour of the Franco Government in Spain. To my eyes at any rate, and I doubt very much if Deputy Belton will contradict me on this, the victory of General  Franco is certain unless new factors are brought into the situation.
Mr. MacDermot: Exactly. Deputy Belton says he was sure of that six months ago, unless new factors are brought into the situation. This Bill will secure that new factors are not brought into the situation. It has been suggested by Deputy O'Sullivan that this Bill may not be effective: that people may evade its provisions. Of course, that may be said about almost any measure you may bring in on any subject, but, so far as we can see, suitable steps are about to be taken to secure that it will be effective. There is only one exception to that. It was suggested by Deputy O'Sullivan that volunteers would continue to pour across the frontier from France into Spain. France has agreed that its frontiers bordering on Spain should be under international supervision: that there should be foreign observers there to report on what is happening. Portugal has refused that. Portugal, of course, is solidly pro-Franco, and, therefore, if there is any effort at evasion of the provisions of this Bill, it will be on the Spanish-Portuguese frontier, and, so far as we can see, any evasion that is likely to happen will work in the interests of General Franco and not against him. Therefore, it is with the greatest earnestness and the greatest confidence that I appeal, not only to the members of this House who are voting here to-day, but to the people of the country as a whole, to realise that the policy of non-intervention is a sound policy, a Christian policy, and an anti-Communist policy.
Now, let us turn to a very much less important matter—the recognition of the various Governments. There has been a great deal said which seems to imply that President de Valera and his colleagues have a horror of the idea of recognising General Franco's Government. I do not believe a single word of it. I have no doubt that they will be prompt to recognise General Franco's Government at the moment when it becomes in accordance with international usage proper to do so. The recognition of a Government by having  a diplomatic representative accredited to it is not a certificate of merit for that Government. At the time when persecuting Governments in England were burning and disembowelling Catholics, Catholic Governments had ambassadors accredited to England. At the time when the Spanish Inquisition was burning Protestants, Protestant Governments, nevertheless, had representatives accredited to Spain. The presence of a representative is no kind of certificate of merit, and I wonder very much whether, assuming that there are still some Irish citizens unfortunate enough to be within the area controlled by the Valencia Government, they would be very grateful at the efforts that are being made to withdraw from them such assistance as our Minister to Spain might possibly be able to give them.
Mr. MacDermot: Even where he is now. But, to tell the truth, the presence or the non-presence of Mr. Kerney at St. Jean de Luz seems to me a matter of almost trivial importance. I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that the sort of language Deputy Dillon, yesterday, and others have used to the President about the wickedness of keeping a representative accredited to the Valencia Government is almost word for word the language that was used and published in the newspapers of the world four or five days ago by General Goering in his speech about the Vatican's wickedness in doing the same thing.
Mr. MacDermot: ——took it upon himself at the very time, incidentally, when the Nazi Government in Germany was meting out disgraceful treatment to German Catholics, to reproach the Vatican for keeping a representative accredited to the Valencia Government. I do not know  exactly when the moment will come and when it will be suitable to withdraw our representative to the Valencia Government and accredit him to the Franco Government. I think it will make mighty little difference to the chances of success of General Franco. People have been talking here as if the war will be all over anyway if only we accredit a representative to Franco instead of to Caballero. The importance of the thing has been grossly exaggerated. Language has been used which has implied that we as a Catholic country were taking a line unparalleled by other Catholic countries. What about Poland? What about Belgium? What about Austria? What about the Catholic States of South America, all of whom, I believe, with the exception of San Salvador, still recognise the Caballero Government to the extent of having representatives accredited to them.
Mr. MacDermot: Sooner or later— sooner rather than later, I hope—this Government will recognise the Franco Government, and then Deputy Belton and his associates will try to “kid” the country into believing that it is they who, by their efforts, have bullied President de Valera into doing so. Deputy O'Sullivan made a speech on this subject with his usual finesse, but in substance he was trying to do the same thing as Deputy Belton was trying to do—and, I venture to say, a discreditable thing—and that is to cash in electorally on Christianity. I have not the smallest doubt that, if the Opposition were in the Government seats, they would have followed out exactly the same line of policy that the present Government have followed  out in regard to the Spanish war—not the smallest doubt. In reply to a quiet interruption, which Deputy O'Sullivan happened to dislike, he suggested that I was a person who was addicted to balancing too delicately the pros and cons of a question.
Mr. MacDermot: That was an accusation that arose out of the debates on the Second Chamber. I am not ashamed to have experienced doubts and difficulties about that very difficult question, and I, as one who favours a Second Chamber system, and who, when the members of that Front Bench ran away from the responsibility of taking part in a constructive attempt to provide a Second Chamber, did take my part——
Mr. MacDermot: ——that the Front Opposition Bench have not got, at the other end of this building, a subservient Second Chamber to help them in this discreditable business of cashing in on Christianity.
Mr. MacDermot: We listened last night to Deputy Belton quoting a whole series of pastorals and episcopal letters and indulging in self-glorification because of his intimate association with Cardinals, and if anyone over there ventured to giggle, when he grew specially pompous, a suggestion was made that they were giggling at Christianity. Heaven knows, I am no anti-clerical, nor do I want to see an  anti-clerical party in this country, but if anything could conduce to the creation of anti-clericalism, it would be the kind of speech we heard last night and this morning in the name and the pretence of Christianity.
Mr. Dillon: Sir, when the President moved the closure this morning, I was asking the House to try to consider the issues, joined between the Parties here, dispassionately. I must say to my colleague, Deputy MacDermot, that when he takes upon himself to tell me and my colleagues upon this bench that we are trying to cash in on Christianity, it becomes difficult to preserve that moderation which should characterise our discussions. I repudiate, as a contemptuous slander, made by a man who knows it to be a contemptuous slander, that allegation.
Mr. Dillon: Under your direction, Sir, I withdraw the words. There can be no doubt, however, that if I am directed to withdraw that description of the foulest vituperation I have ever heard in this House, then, at least, the man who uttered those words, in my respectful submission, should be asked to consider them twice before applying them to public men who, so far as I know, have done nothing in their public lives to deserve such a shocking allegation. Deputy MacDermot turned with anger on Deputy Belton when Deputy Belton did use words which, I felt, passed the bounds of good taste. The worst that Deputy Belton said, however, pales into insignificance beside the language of Deputy MacDermot. There is no politician in this country so base as to attempt to make about his colleagues  such an allegation as Deputy MacDermot has felt himself entitled to make here to-day, and there is no man who can make that allegation against any honourable man in this country and claim his friendship thereafter.
Mr. Dillon: We have listened, and listened in respectful patience, so far as this bench is concerned, to a long discussion of the merits of differences that Deputy MacDermot and Deputy Belton may have had in the past. We have listened to Deputy MacDermot holding up his erstwhile colleagues to insult and ridicule for the edification of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party, and it made me shudder to watch those members of the Fianna Fáil Party hang on his words and rejoice as he fouled his own nest and bespattered his own colleagues, as he gave his ex-parte version of what the decencies of public life have always required in this country to be regarded as confidential—the discussions that went on in his own organisation when he was a member of it. Deputy MacDermot expects us to get up and challenge what he said, in order to edify, in the news, and to divert the members of Fianna Fáil, but our personal honour requires no vindication in this country.
Mr. Dillon: I will not. I will not give way to the Deputy. He will have another opportunity. I have no desire to get into a long wrangle with him about the difficulties of the Fine Gael Party, about the difficulties that beset us when we were colleagues at one time. There is no man who did not have difficulties and differences at one time or another, but at least they were always able to deal honestly and honourably with their colleagues of to-day and yesterday. They learned to part, when they deemed it their duty to do so, but they always tried to avoid that kind of one-sided recrimination which gives no opportunity of answering in the matter. However, that is not the business we are here for to-day, Nothing would have drawn from me those words. I have studiously  avoided ever meeting Deputy MacDermot, since he left the association, in any kind of public controversy but neither he nor any other man will tell me or my colleagues that we have cashed in on Christianity without being told what he is as publicly as he has made the charge.
We have been asked to declare our position, to say whether we are in favour of this Bill or not. This Bill standing alone forms part of a policy which we sincerely endorse. We believe in a policy of non-intervention in Spain because we believe that that policy will in the long run redound to the advantage of General Franco and the Burgos Government. We have supported the Fianna Fáil Government since the beginning of this unfortunate war in implementing the policy of non-intervention because from the first day we believed that that policy would assist General Franco and the forces that were fighting with him. To-day we are not confronted with a Bill of that character standing alone. We are confronted with the introduction of a Bill to prohibit the sending of volunteers from Ireland to Spain. It is common knowledge that 90 per cent. of any volunteers that would go from this country would go to General Franco but, at the same time, we are confronted with the fact that our Ambassador who left Spain, who came home and reported to this Government on the conditions in Spain before he left it, has been sent back, not as an observer, not as a person who has a knowledge of Spain and who is not accredited to any Government. He has been sent back accredited to the Caballero Government.
I put to any open-minded Deputy on the Fianna Fáil Benches, this proposition: suppose they picked up this morning's newspaper and read that in the Dutch Parliament it was announced that there was going to be a prohibition on volunteers proceeding to Spain and that an Ambassador was despatched to the Valencia Government of Caballero, would not the general impression amongst people who knew nothing of domestic politics in Holland be: “Well, if there is any bias in Holland it is towards Caballero.  They are stopping whatever contact there has been between Holland and Franco and they are sending their ambassador back to Valencia”? The Prime Minister of Holland would say that that was an ignorant comment, but the general impression in the world and amongst the masses of the people would be that Holland was leaning towards Caballero. And at this moment the action that it is proposed to take here is going to create in the world the general opinion that Ireland is by no means sure that Franco is right and that, in fact, if there is anything in it, Caballero has the right end of the stick.
We heard the Basque country referred to by Deputy MacDermot. He says to us: “Do not be sure that Franco is the champion of Christianity; look at the Basques.” We all know that in the Basque country there is a very peculiar Nationalist movement which is prepared, in the extremity of political fervour, to bargain with anybody who will promise them independence of the Central Government of Madrid. These unfortunate people, carried away by their frantic devotion to this ideal of Basque independence, have apparently entered into some kind of deal with Caballero that if they help him, he will give them autonomy when the fight is over. That is used now in order to suggest that here is a great Catholic people, right beside the scene of conflict, who are not at all sure that Franco is on the right side and that in fact they are helping the other side. Ireland is one of the very few nations left in the world to-day which is not afraid to proclaim that it is a Catholic country and, mind you, there are very few left. Austria is perhaps the only other one, with the South American Republics. Deputy MacDermot mentioned Poland. The vast majority of Poles are admittedly a great Catholic people, but whether their Government would claim to be a Catholic Government of a Catholic people is something I do not know. This country, gloriously and notoriously, is a Catholic country.
Our material help to one side or  the other in Spain is comparatively insignificant, and must be, because our resources will not extend to anything very formidable, but our moral support throughout the world can be immense. We have a spiritual empire of 25,000,000 souls, scattered all over the world who are closely associated with this country and who will unquestionably look to this country as a kind of guide on the merits of the situation in Spain. If it is going out to the world that we are in great doubt as to the rights and wrongs of this struggle, that for the time being we are driven to keeping in with Caballero, surely that is going to carry confusion into the minds of everybody whom we wish to be a champion of the Burgos Government wherever he may dwell? Think of the Irish in the United States. Think of the Irish all over the Commonwealth of Nations. Their influence is immense. If their influence is swayed to one side or the other, what is it going to mean? Surely it is vital that Ireland should do nothing ambiguous at a time like this, lest that great volume of opinion should be adversely affected in a time of very great crisis.
“President de Valera has not spoken better for a long time past than in the speech wherewith he moved the Second Reading yesterday. It was not an occasion for impassioned appeals but for plain facts, and he set forth the plain facts of the situation with lucidity and quiet force.... We congratulate Mr. de Valera's Government on its clear vision and on its willingness to act in concert with the whole civilised world.”
“I am anxious that we in this country should play our part in trying to shorten this conflict in Spain by preventing the export of arms to  the combatants, and also by preventing recruitment by the various sides who are fighting out in Spain, a fight which, for most of them, at any rate, is not the sort of fight that we think it is, but is a fight of one `ism' against the other.”
Do the Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party believe that those who are fighting for Franco, or the vast majority of them, are fighting for one “ism” or another in the sense that the President used that term? I am prepared to accept those words, but not in the sense in which the President spoke them, or in the sense in which the Irish Times praises them. They are fighting for one “ism” or another in Spain, Deism or Atheism, Godism or no-Godism, and that is a fight in which I believe every member of the Fianna Fáil Party would be prepared to join in, and, I like to think, on the right side. But I think it shows a complete lack of appreciation of the situation which confronts us if the President thinks that this is a struggle between one dictatorship and another. I and all those who are colleagues of mine in this Party, detest equally Hitlerism, Mussolini-ism and Stalinism, but we also know that it is the well-tried tactic of the Comintern of Moscow to describe everybody not prepared to accept the letter of Marx's doctrine as a Fascist. Everybody who is not prepared to get on Stalin's band-waggon is a Fascist. And there are some well-intentioned people amongst us so anxious to disclaim any suggestion that they could be described as Fascists, that they are prepared to go almost any length in order to earn from the agents of Moscow the encomium of being described as a democrat. It is that constant dripping of jibing and jeering the word “Fascist” at persons not prepared to accept Communism which is one of the most effective weapons in the armoury of the Third Internationale at the present time. In this time, when everything that we have been accustomed to look upon as permanent is crashing about us, it is more vital than it ever was before that we should with courage, and without the same delicacy of shyness, testify to our faith.
 If any man at the present time dares to come out and denounce Communism for the despicable and detestable thing it is, he is first described as a Fascist, and he is immediately put on the defensive; because he denounces the beastly philosophy of Communism, he is put on the defensive, not only by the Communists, but by all the pink democrats in this country and in every other country, to prove that he is not a Fascist. And there are some simple people in this and other countries who, instead of rejecting that challenge to prove that they are not Fascists simply because they confess the truth of their faith, proceed to protest there is no Fascism in that confession of faith, and before long they find themselves defending what they ought to regard as fundamental and unquestioned truth against a controversy that suggests they ought to be ashamed of confessing to such beliefs. Many of them slowly find themselves falling back until they begin to doubt the very foundation upon which the whole philosophy of life is based. And, once having lost these sheet anchors, they are adrift, and the mentality that can let these sheet anchors go, too often finds a happy home in whatever happens at the moment to be the most clamorous mob. So, new recruits are got to that endless army of Communists, semi-Communists, radical liberals, friends of the people, friends of the peasants, defenders of the workers, mild socialists, radical socialists, red socialists, pink socialists and the 101 other factions out of which the mosaic of Communism is designed at the present time.
We, all of us, are prepared now to assist in the effective enforcement of a policy of non-intervention, but we must emphatically reject the attempt of the Government to pass this Bill and at the same time to despatch an ambassador to Valencia. Recall your ambassador and we are prepared to co-operate in whatever we believe will be effective to prevent intervention. Leave your ambassador at Madrid and it is our clear duty to make known to the world that whatever the apparent inclination of the Government Party in this country may be, a solid Parliamentary Opposition and the vast  majority of the Irish people have no desire whatever to send an ambassador to Madrid or to entertain an ambassador from Madrid in this city. We want the Spanish ambassador in this city given his papers and told to go home; we want our own ambassador recalled to Dublin. We want the world to know that, in so far as we are prepared to support non-intervention, we do it because we believe that it will be the most effective method of helping the Burgos Government to prevail in Spain.
We want the pinks and the semireds and the muddleheads in this country to understand that there is no use wobbling at this stage in regard to the Spanish situation. Your sympathies must be on one side or the other, either for Caballero or for Franco. There is no use talking in wild vapourings about Communism, Fascism, democracy or anything else. The issue in Spain, the fundamental issue, is God or no God. Fully 95 per cent. of our people desire to see an administration prevailing in that country which believes in the existence of God. They are quite content to leave over the minor political issues that may be at stake until that supreme issue is determined.
It is necessary, lest attempt should be made by unscrupulous agents of the Comintern in this country to misrepresent our position, to repeat very categorically and immediately after the statement I have just made that we detest Hitlerism, Mussolini-ism, and Stalinism equally, that we are proud of the title “democrat,” and when we rejoice in that title it is not the title “democrat” as conferred by Moscow, meaning the gullible tool of anyone prepared to shout “Fascist” at him; we rejoice in the title of “democrat” conferred upon us by democrats, a democracy of the kind that is prepared to face Communism with whatever weapons it may be necessary to use in order to destroy it, and at the same time democrats standing for a democracy which will be strong enough, resolute enough and clear-minded enough to smash Communism here or elsewhere without resorting to the methods of Fascism  or any other kind of dictatorship which at the present time is so frequently called into being where the Communist menace manifests itself. That, to my mind, is one of the terrible dangers of the present situation.
Deputy MacDermot says Communism is a receding tide the world over. He says it constitutes no menace in this country at all. Every spiritual guide of the people takes a different view. I think one of the great menaces of Communism at present is that Communism begets Hitlerism and unless the democracy of this country and of Great Britain and the other democratic countries clear their minds on the kind of fundamental issues that are at present presenting themselves in Spain, Communism will beget Hitlerism, because there will be no clear resolute purpose in the democracy to defend fundamental things against attack, whether made from the right or from the left. I want to clear the field on fundamental issues. I should like all sides in this country who believe in democracy to be clear on these fundamental issues. I say that superior to any political issue that can be raised in this country or any other country is the supreme issue whether God is in Heaven or not. That is the issue in Spain at present. That issue has to be clearly and finally determined before we get down to a discussion of the minor question of the political philosophies which inspire the participants in that country. We know what ours are. We are prepared to defend them against attack from the right or from the left. We are prepared to defend them from undermining operations by those who long to be on the left but have not the courage to wrap that standard around them. We are prepared to defend them against the persons who would receive with acclamation a resolution to condemn Communism, but would deem it most expedient to withdraw that resolution when Communism was associated with Fascism in the general condemnation. We are prepared to accept any resolution any time condemning both these systems with an equal emphasis.
We believe that the action proposed  by the Government to-day in presenting this Bill for approval and at the same time emphasising before the world our diplomatic relations with Madrid is going to mislead the entire world as to our position. Against that we emphatically protest. Withdraw your Ambassador, and we will help in the work of non-intervention. Leave your Ambassador in Madrid, and we will offset your gesture by making it clear in this House and on platforms in the country that, no matter where Mr. Kerney is, the hearts of the Irish people in the Spanish conflict are in Burgos.
Mr. Anthony: I am supporting the amendment. I feel that the attitude of the Government as expressed in the Bill which we have now before us is neither dignified nor Christian, especially at the present time and in present circumstances. I feel, too, that it is the duty and should be the duty of the Government of the Irish Free State to take the first opportunity that presents itself to make it manifest to our own country and to the countries of the world that this is essentially a Christian country. It should also be our duty, following from that, to assist General Franco in his efforts to combat the anti-God forces arrayed against him. We have heard from time to time from various platforms in this country that Communism will never take root here. The same thing is being said of other countries. The same thing was said of Mexico and the same thing was said of Spain. We have had it stated time and time again in this country that Communism has no roots here and never shall have roots here.
Deputy Dillon spoke about the various colours of the Communists, the various grades of Communists. There are the pinks and the reds and the pale pinks, etc. That there is at present in this country a Communistic movement cannot be gainsaid. Let us take only one or two recent incidents that occurred in this country. After two great meetings, two of the largest meetings ever held in this country, one in Dublin and the other in Cork, to protest against the atrocities in Spain  we had a meeting some time ago of the Irish Labour Party at which a motion was submitted condemning Fascism. Some delegates from the County Tipperary branch of the Irish Labour Party present moved an amendment that Communism should also be condemned, and what happened? The motion and the amendment were discussed apparently in camera and, by consent, both motion and amendment were withdrawn.
An Ceann Comhairle: There is a Bill before the House which has no relation to social conditions in this country. There are two amendments, neither of which deals with our position here. The purpose of both amendments is to request the Government to take a certain line of action. As I have said before to-day when the Deputy was not present, if this debate is to develop into a discussion of the social and other conditions in this country and the action of the individuals or Parties in this State, the discussion would be prolonged and quite irrelevant.
Mr. Anthony: A precedent, I submit, has been created to-day, and  even yesterday when Deputy Belton and others were allowed to discuss the amendment and to establish reasons why it should be carried.
Mr. Norton: I submit that I am entitled to make my position clear.  Deputy Anthony said definitely that the recent Labour Party Conference refused to condemn Communism. I said that was a deliberate lie. It is a deliberate lie, and I will not withdraw that statement as applied to Deputy Anthony's remarks.
Mr. McGilligan: If I might be allowed to intervene. Deputy Norton has made a protest which the Chair considered unparliamentary. Could he not be prevailed upon to make the ordinary amende honorable made in these matters? I do not want to enter into the merits of the controversy, but he has made a protest which was couched in language which the Chair considers unparliamentary. Surely the language might be withdrawn. That is all the Chair has asked.
An Ceann Comhairle: If I might, contrary to all precedent, put it to the Deputy, he has now stated that an incorrect and an untrue statement was made by Deputy Anthony. It would have been quite parliamentary to refer to the statement in that fashion at the outset.
Mr. Norton: The expression will stand so long as the Deputy will not withdraw what was a deliberate slander on the Labour Party, whose only offence is that it expelled Deputy Anthony from membership of the Party.
Mr. Anthony: In support of my argument, I want to point out that various bishops in their Lenten Pastorals called attention to the menace of Communism. It cannot be said these spiritual directors of the people are not in touch with the feelings of the people. They must have good and valid grounds for warning them against the inroads of Communism. Some of them suggested that Communism was present in various parts of this country. While, to-day, Catholic institutions, priests and nuns may be bearing the brunt of the Red atrocities in Spain, it is  not in Spain alone that they will have to do that if Communism is allowed to spread, because all Christians will be attacked in turn. The Protestant faith is no more safe from the inroads and outrages of Communism than the Catholic Church. I know that there is a very strong feeling amongst all professing Christians in this country against Communism. It is well known that in at least four or five centres there are Communist agents.
An Ceann Comhairle: I told the Deputy that conditions in this country are not to be discussed on this Bill. The Bill relates to Spain, and requests the Government to take certain action regarding Spain.
Mr. Anthony: I only want to make a suggestion to the President that he might respond to public feeling in this matter because there is an intense feeling amongst the Irish people that the forces led by General Franco should win in this terrible conflict. I believe the President must be aware of the fact that the majority of professing Christians in Ireland believe  that this is a fight between the forces of God and the forces of anti-Christ.
Mr. Morrissey: Deputy Norton seemed to be very angry with Deputy Anthony for the reference he made to happenings at the recent Labour Party conference, but all the anger of Deputy Norton about “deliberate lies” will not get away from this fact, that there was on the agenda——
Mr. Morrissey: Deputy MacDermot delivered a speech here to-day to which I intend only to make a passing reference, as it has been very adequately dealt with by Deputy Dillon. In the course of his speech, Deputy MacDermot dealt with conditions in this country. I want to submit that these conditions were practically the basis of his speech. Deputy MacDermot re-echoed words used by the President not very long ago, and I want to relate them to the Bill and to the amendments, because of the effects, not only outside, but inside this country, if the amendment in the name of Deputy O'Sullivan is rejected. Unless the amendment is accepted, there will be an incentive to those carrying on Communistic work to continue doing so, and a very bad example will be set the youth of the country. Deputy MacDermot, in re-echoing the words of the President, said that whatever trace of Communism there might have been here five years ago, there was practically no Communism here now. Speaking last week, two days after the bishops' pastorals had been published in the newspapers, Deputy Norton spoke of the scare stories about Communism, and how grossly exaggerated they were. For the first time in this country the key-note of all the pastorals of every bishop, from the Cardinal down, was the menace of Communism, but, of course, Deputy Norton is in closer touch with things in this country than the whole bench of bishops. Deputy MacDermot,  speaking out of the depths of his intimate knowledge of Irish conditions and of the Irish people, tells us there is no danger. Do not believe what the bishops tell you: they know nothing about it. “Take my word for it,” says Deputy MacDermot, “whatever Communism was there five years ago has ceased to exist as a result of the operations of the present Government.” So far as I am concerned, if I want to get a correct view of conditions in this country, I prefer to take those impressions and those views from the Irish Hierarchy rather than from Deputy Norton, and certainly not from Deputy MacDermot. The Deputy went on to tell us also that there were fewer Communists in France to-day than there were even six months ago; there was less fear of Communism in France. I have no doubt whatever that the Deputy can speak with much more authority about the conditions in France than he can about conditions in the Irish Free State. But the remarkable part of the whole thing— and it shows, I think, more clearly than anything else the sorry plight of the Government and the Government Party —is that the Government Party took Deputy MacDermot to their bosom and applauded him. They must be in a very sorry plight, indeed, over this matter, when they need the championship of Deputy MacDermot, and when they receive it with open arms and with applause.
Another point from Deputy MacDermot's speech was that, having listened to Deputy Professor O'Sullivan, Deputy Belton and some other speakers, he did not know whether they were for or against the Bill. I should like to ask Deputy MacDermot, or the President, is he for or against the reasoned amendment to the Second Reading of the Bill in the name of Deputy Professor O'Sullivan? Is Deputy MacDermot in favour of our having an accredited representative to the Red Government in Spain? The President and his Party obviously are. The President and the other members of the Front Bench are very fond of talking about mandates from the Irish people, and about carrying out the will of the Irish people. We have heard  that here and in the country over and over again during the past five years. Will the President or any other member of his Party dare to assert that it is in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people that we should have an accredited representative to Valencia? I do not believe that even the President would dare to make that assertion. Are we to take it that the Government view of the situation in Spain has been correctly put by Deputy Hugo Flinn, the Parliamentary Secretary, when he said, “The fight in Spain is a fight between Fascism and democracy, and the Fianna Fáil Party has no use for Fascism”? Link that up with the President's “isms” last night, and connect those two things with the leading articles in the Government Party organ over the past six months. Does the President agree or disagree with those leading articles?
An Ceann Comhairle: I spoke to-day already on that matter of the Press. Ministers are responsible for their ministerial statements, but neither collectively nor individually have they any responsibility in this House for leading articles in any paper.
Mr. Morrissey: I am not trying to put responsibility for the articles upon the President. I am putting a straight question to the President, which I am sure the President understands quite clearly. Does he or does he not agree with those articles? Do those articles reflect Government policy in this matter? That is a question I am entitled to put, and I suggest, Sir, that it is a question to which the people of this country are entitled to an answer. Fascism versus democracy! Listen to this, from what is regarded as the official organ of the Vatican, on the situation in Spain:
“Eleven bishops and over 15,000 priests have been killed—that is to say, from 40 to 50 per cent. of the Catholic clergy. In nine dioceses the assassination ratio is 80 per cent., and at Malaga 90 per cent. Almost all the churches have been burned down.”
Fascism against democracy, and Fianna Fáil has no use for Fascism!  We are entitled to be told by the head of this State, by the person who has authority to speak for the people of this country, where exactly the Government stands. The President's only contribution to this debate was the few words he said yesterday evening in introducing the Second Reading of this Bill—what has been described by the Irish Times as a very lucid statement. Does the President deny that the Caballero Government has murdered priests and bishops and nuns, and destroyed churches? Does the President, knowing that, believe for one moment that the people of this country desire to be associated even in the remotest way with the Government that is responsible for that? That is the net issue. All the word-splitting and all the undoubted ability of the President so to couch his phrases that it is utterly impossible afterwards to repeat them without being met by the President himself with the charge of misrepresentation, is not going to get away from that plain, straight issue. If the President believes, as he must believe, that he is not acting in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people, then I suggest to him that if he still believes in democracy, if he believes that he is head of a democratic State, he has no option but to accept the amendment which stands in the name of Deputy Professor O'Sullivan.
Mr. Coburn: I should like to say a few words on this Bill. Deputy Donnelly, of course, coming from the Six Counties, is a great champion of Catholic rights and Catholic principles in the North, and he is very safe here in the legislative assembly of the Irish Free State. As a very humble member of this House, having read this Bill and read the amendment, I  should like to ask the President a straight question, and being fond of a person who gives a straight answer naturally I want no quibbling. I want to put this question to the President: What are the difficulties, if any, existing at the moment which prevent the President from accepting this very reasoned amendment set down on the Order Paper by Deputy O'Sullivan? In other words, would acceptance of this amendment interfere in any way with the provisions of this Bill? That is a straight question, and, if the President would answer it, it would enable him to have this Bill passed within an incredibly short space of time, and he would be able to prove to the world at large and to the Irish people in particular that he can rise to an occasion, and that he can see the point of view as put forward by the members of the Opposition. I do not speak on this Bill as a mere politican. I speak on it as an Irishman and a Christian, leaving out altogether the question of Catholicity. I want the President to tell me here and now, unequivocally and without hesitation, by what right is he spending the money of the Irish people in sending an accredited representative to the Government controlled by Caballero, who has been guilty of horrible crimes, of mauling our Catholic bishops and priests, and insulting nuns, more particularly that body of pure high-minded nuns known as the Little Sisters of the Poor, of which my eldest sister, I am proud to say, is a member; a Community that have devoted their lives to the care of the sick and the aged. Here we have the President of our Irish Free State sending a representative to that Government. Again, I ask the President is it essential that we should have that representative. Seeing that he finds it necessary to introduce this Act of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War, surely it would be more consistent on his part, if, simultaneously with the introduction of that Bill, he would sever connections altogether with both parties if necessary in Spain. I think I have now put the position fairly squarely and honestly.  I am not even asking the President to recognise or to send a representative to the Franco Government, although judging by his past declarations one would imagine that he would be the very first man in this country to recognise the Franco Government, and to send an accredited representative on behalf of the Irish people to that Government. That is all that is in this entire debate and that is all the answer required to be given. The President can have his Bill, if he has the moral courage to accept the very reasoned amendment of Professor O'Sullivan.
As I say, I am speaking here to-day, not as a politician and not as one of those narrow-minded men who wish to obtain political kudos by criticising the President's actions on this or any other Bill. I want to assure the President that there are many honest men in this country who may possibly disagree with him politically, but who, when the time comes, can give him credit for any good he has done, whether socially, internationally or otherwise, for the people of this country. I feel on this particular occasion as many thousands like me feel who are as good Irishmen as the man who waves the flag and shouts “Up the Republic”, and when it comes to a question of defending the faith and defending this nation against all comers who are out for the destruction of law and order, I will not be in the back ranks. I say the President is in duty bound to accept this amendment unless he wants to make it clear to the peoples of the world that the Irish people are behind the Red Cabellero Government.
Speaking again as a non-politician, I could not help but almost weep when listening to the gloating there was over the references of Deputy MacDermot to General O'Duffy. If there is any man who has less cause to speak a good word of General O'Duffy, it is I, but, recognising that the men on those benches fought with him years ago, and seeing their attitude to him to-day during Deputy MacDermot's speech, I could not help but recall the words of, I think. Shakespeare:
I could quote from the Official Records of this House tribute after tribute paid by Deputy MacDermot to General O'Duffy, and yet to-day we had the spectacle of men on the Fianna Fáil Benches, who looked upon him as a hero some years ago, gloating over the sordid references made to him in his absence by Deputy MacDermot to-day.
I speak as a humble member of this House and as one representing the honest workers of this country, and not the professional workers, the overwhelming mass of whom I know are in favour of severing all diplomatic relations with the present Government in Spain. If I were asked to put forward an argument as to whether the Caballero Government demands the support and co-operation of the people of Spain, in my own commonsense way, I simply apply this acid test, that no President and no Government, neither Mussolini, Hitler nor any of the other dictators referred to, could govern a country for one hour unless they had the support and co-operation of the decent, working classes of that country, and it is because Mussolini has that that he can govern Italy and because Caballero has not that that he cannot govern Spain. I make an analogy here with respect to the President's own position. If any small section of people in this country started a rebellion to-morrow, I guarantee that the present Government could subdue that rebellion inside seven or 14 days, for the simple reason that they would have the hearty co-operation, not alone of their own political friends, but of every man who stands for the preservation of law and order.
Therefore, there is no use in members of the Fianna Fáil Party and of the Labour Party speaking here, and outside, like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, with their tongues in their cheeks, and saying that the present fight in Spain is a fight between Fascism and democracy. It is not a fight between “isms” to use the President's own  words. Leaving out the question of Catholicity altogether, it is a fight between Christianity and having something approaching the state of affairs that at the moment exists in Soviet Russia. What is the use of trying to mislead the people? Again let me say here and now I am sorry the leader of the Labour Party is not here, and I am sorry that the members of the Labour Party are not here, that if I had a choice between Mussolini as leader, as President of the Irish Free State—if I had to make my choice as between him and the man representing Labour, that representative of sloppy sentimentalism in the form of cheap sloppy democracy, I would vote a thousand times for Mussolini. I am a trade unionist and a working man, and I know that under a man like Mussolini you will have protection and law and order and nothing will be taken by the waster from the thrifty section of the community. Therefore, I have no use for what I call this double dealing, this thing of speaking with your tongue in your cheek about Fascism. I fear nothing in laws. The best way to defy the law is to obey the law. As far as I am personally concerned that would be my policy—to obey any law passed by a Government that has been elected by the majority vote of the people. Therefore, I say there is no use in endeavouring to mislead the people of this country in trying to make out that the present fight in Spain is a fight between Fascism and democracy. It is nothing of the sort. Even without relying on the testimony of those who by virtue of the positions they occupy, and whose advice we are bound to take—without relying on that testimony, without even doubting for even one moment their word—I apply the acid test to the Caballero Government. Again I say that without the support of the Spanish people, General Franco could not start his rebellion in that unhappy country.
I would say in conclusion, as an ordinary humble man, that if the great powers that constitute Europe to-day were sincere in their declarations in the cause of peace it is not  these non-intervention Bills they would introduce into their respective legislative assemblies. They would place on a higher plane the cause of humanity, and they would bear in mind the suffering of the unfortunate women and children who have no concern and no responsibility for the present conflict in Spain. If they were sincere, what they would have done long ago would be to come together and issue a note signed by every great power in Europe, a note to the Spanish people, to the warring sections there, and tell them: “It is certain that this will have to stop, or else we will go to Spain and stay there to protect the women and children and the bishops, priests and nuns until such time as the warring sections come down to common sense and elect a Government that will command the respect of the majority of the people of Spain.” That is my view without equivocation and without putting any clauses or qualifications in the matter at all. If the people of these nations were sincere in their declarations of peace, that is what they would do.
The President may not listen to my appeal, but again I say it will not injure him one iota if he accepts the amendment put down on the Order Paper by Deputy O'Sulivan. Rather will it strengthen his position. After all, is it not time? Surely there should be some occasion when a measure such as this or any other measure of the kind should have the unanimous support of all Parties in this House. Are we going to continue eternally this wrangle from one side of this House to the other? Matters which after all are of little material importance to the people of this country are very important to the religious beliefs of the majority of the Irish people. I cannot for the life of me see why the President did not at the outset accept this amendment. If he did he could have his Bill straight away. So far as I can see, there is absolutely no objection to what is outlined in this Bill. The President can have his Bill and get contact with the other 25 nations, and I hope their combined efforts will be successful.  That is all I have to say. They will have the unanimous good wishes of all right-minded people, not alone in this country, but in every country in the world, in helping to bring this unhappy fight in Spain to an end.
Mr. McGilligan: Well, non-intervention is catching on. On Wednesday of this week the President of the Executive Council, in a rather unusual way, proposed to add to the criminal code of this country, and he asked for indulgence in having this measure, as he called it an urgent measure, adopted, and he put himself to a certain extent in the hands of the Opposition Party by his pleas. He met with a willing response, and one would have thought, with the matter developing in that way and the response coming in the circumstances described, that the President would, at any rate, have kept to what he had in fact promised on that occasion. Certainly the House was given to understand that the measure which was introduced would have been in the hands of Deputies that evening. We got the Bill on Thursday morning. A long period passed on Thursday without this measure having been brought before the House by the Government. A measure with regard to the evasion of postage and a measure with regard to the control of imports, neither of which was expressly of any urgency, were dealt with until a late hour on yesterday. At that late hour the President indicated his view that this Bill, which adds effectively and seriously to the criminal code of this country should be passed into law by to-day. Objection being taken to that and some unwillingness expressed, the President agreed to hold over the final stages of this Bill until Wednesday of next week, but  accompanied that by the threat, now carried into effect, that the machine would be brought into operation. There was not going to be any proper time allowed for the consideration of this measure.
General Mulcahy: May I draw attention to the fact that the whole Fianna Fáil Party have cleared out of the House, with the exception of one Minister on the Front Bench; that the whole of the Labour Party has also gone, and that Deputy MacDermot and others in favour of the Bill have gone.
Mr. McGilligan: I indicated the steps the President followed in attempting to inform the House with regard to this measure, the way in which a promise was definitely given to the House in regard to the circulation of the measure and how that promise was broken. Of that, we have had no explanation. I indicated how the business was carried on yesterday until a latish hour when, according to the Irish Times, we had “one of the most effective speeches the President has ever delivered” in which, “the plain facts of the situation were set forth with lucidity and quiet force.” We shall see the gaps in the clarity of expression and in force and enthusiasm which have characterised the whole Fianna Fáil Party in their attitude towards this measure. The debate comes on to-day. One would have thought that, in respect of a measure which is going to add to the criminal code of the country, there might have been some appreciation of the fact that a debate running on such a subject at this time was not the best way to attract people who might be expected to know something about the matter—if, indeed, one can think that consideration is ever given to these matters by the Government. We are faced here, in the circumstances I have described, with a discussion on a measure which has a very serious impact, properly done through the criminal code, and which is really an encroachment upon the personal  liberty of all the citizens. Personal liberty is a thing we set out to guarantee in our Constitution. We have protected it with the ordinary fortifications. We have given the ordinary gap—that it can be broached by passage of law. But one would have expected that when a constitutional right, about which so many countries are so concerned, was going to be impeded in the way this measure will impede it, if it is passed, some better explanation might have been given of what it was all about than that which we heard from the President yesterday.
Under this measure, a variety of offences is created. Moving from one part of this country to another—with an aim—is made an offence. It is even made an offence after this Act expires. A man may be tried and punished for an offence not merely committed but alleged to have been committed during the time the Act was in force. We set out further to give leave to appoint a number of countries to which the Act will apply and, after that, to make it an offence in this country for a national of any of these other countries to move from one part of it to another, if a certain aim or objective is proven in regard to that person. For these and other offences, a person, if convicted, is liable to a fine not exceeding £500 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years. The President yesterday told us with quiet force and with lucidity that
“The Governments represented on the Non-Intervention Committee decided towards the end of September to prohibit the export of arms and ammunition to Spain from their respective countries. It is common knowledge that the prohibition of exports has not been strictly adhered to.”
The first statement we get from the President with regard to this Non-Intervention Committee is that they all solemnly agreed upon something, but did not observe the faith to which they had pledged themselves. The President went on to speak of “the considerable number of volunteers who have  joined the armies of the two Parties in Spain,” and he thought there was “a general desire in this country,” if you please, “to see the present conflict in Spain brought to a speedy conclusion”—irrespective of who wins. I should like to see him parading that as a view to an audience of the public. The general desire of this country is “to see the present conflict in Spain brought to a speedy conclusion.” It can be brought to a speedy conclusion in favour of one Party if we prohibit volunteers from going to the aid of the other Party. The President gets impartial and the phrase “one `ism' against another” issued later to represent the President's delicacy of feeling with regard to the causes of the conflict in Spain. He was careful to preserve silence, even though speaking with great lucidity, as to what his view on the conflict was or whether he had any desire other than to see the conflict “brought to a speedy conclusion.” He then told us: “The presence of foreign volunteers in Spain greatly increased the danger of an international incident which might seriously affect the peace of Europe. The Governments represented on the Non-Intervention Committee, accordingly, agreed that they would prohibit their nationals from taking part in the civil war on either side. They also agreed to assist in the supervision of land and sea frontiers of Spain in order to prevent the exportation of arms and ammunition to that country.” He thought that “the Spanish people must be allowed to work out for themselves the form of government most suited to their own ideals and opinions.”
The President tells us that he is represented on a body which, last September, decided to prohibit the export of arms and ammunition to Spain and who found that that prohibition had not been adhered to. He now proposes, in common with those Governments represented on the Non-Intervention Committee, to agree further that there should be no sending of volunteers to either army in Spain. He does not tell us of any hope that this agreement will be adhered to any more than the last agreement. He does tell us that there  is to be supervision of land and sea frontiers. The framework around that phrase is the President's expression of fear that an international conflict might develop in Europe. Has he anything to say to this House as to his hopes of the manner in which the supervision of the land and sea frontiers of Spain is to be carried out and whether it may not be a very fruitful cause of trouble and, in itself, lead to the emergence of that “international incident” which might very seriously disturb the peace of Europe. Although the President's speech is full of lucidity and quiet force, he has not told us of any of the doings of this committee. We learned, in an incidental remark from him at a later stage, that there were 27 nations represented on this committee. Presumably, we will get, at some stage before this debate closes, a statement of who these nations are. It would not be so interesting to ascertain who are on this committee as to find out who are the absentees. This committee has been meeting at least since August. This House, which is asked after a couple of days' debate to pass this measure enlarging the criminal code of the country, is not given one word of explanation by the President as to anything that happened at the committee —whether any series of questions was submitted to the Governments of Spain or whether any answers were given by them and whether any criticism was made upon these answers if and when they were received. The country might be interested to know whether our representative had to sit dumb during the course of all this discussion or whether he intervened, and with what effect.
The country would also like to know whether the representative of this country followed the lead of the Portuguese representative in expressing, with considerable clarity and great force, his view as to what were the issues at stake, and which of the two sides a preference should be indicated for. As far as I can discover from what has been made public, we are asked to join in a series of suggestions which were put forward at the Non-Intervention Committee, described as the Chairman's Sub-Committee.  Who was on the Chairman's Sub-Committee? When did they present their report? What time for discussion was allowed to the Non-Intervention Committee, generally, to realise what were the proposals? What is the system likely to be effective in the attempt to carry them out? We do know that certain great powers—the United Kingdom, Belgium, Czecho-Slovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Soviet Republics—agreed to recommend a series of resolutions. One was:—
“From midnight, February 20-21, 1937, to extend the Non-Intervention Agreement to cover the recruitment in, the transit through, or the departure from their respective countries of persons of non-Spanish nationality proposing to proceed to Spain or the Spanish Dependencies for the purpose of taking service in the present war.”
They agreed to furnish to the committee particulars regarding the measures which they proposed to take; that from a date they were going to adopt a system of supervision prepared by the technical advisory sub-committee, and that they were going to bring that scheme of supervision into operation as from a date early in March of this year.
What is the scheme of supervision? Remember, we are asked now to impose penalties upon young Irishmen who leave this country not properly armed with passports, having a certain objective. We are doing that because the Non-Intervention Committee agreed to accept certain proposals put forward to it by the sub-committee. We are asked to do that, and the only argument which relates to it is one that shows that the previous agreements of this Non-Intervention Committee were broken. What is the system of supervision that is to be put in force? Again, as far as we can glean from any information allowed to appear in the public Press, it appears to be this. There are two land frontiers to be watched, one on the French side and one through Gibraltar. Both countries have, apparently, agreed to accept some form of international  policing. Portugal, with a long land frontier running alongside Spain, has refused to accept any policing of that frontier by international bodies. The frontier on the French side has been repeatedly crossed. Allegations have been made, and there hardly has been even the trouble taken of denying them, that volunteers in numbers have, with the leave and connivance of the French Government, passed through and crossed the French frontier into Spain. At a date when the export of arms and ammunition was supposed to be a binding covenant on that Government, it is alleged, and there is considerable evidence to show, that arms and ammunition were exported through and across the French frontier. That is now going to be policed.
There is a long seaboard to be guarded, and there again, as far as one can gather from any information that is given in the public Press, there is no agreement as to how control of this is to be effected. There are supposed to be two opposing plans. One is that the coast should be divided into sectors: that the French fleet should guard the sector at one spot, the Italian fleet at another spot, the English boats at another spot, and German ships at another spot. A further proposal with regard to control was that there would be one great mixed fleet of boats of all nationalities. Which is supposed to be the plan, and are other plans to be put up? Is there any guarantee of effective control, seeing that from the mouth of the President we learn that the people who previously agreed not to have arms and ammunition exported allowed arms and ammunition to go through to the rival forces in Spain? Without having any hint given to us as to the likelihood of effective control, we are asked here to make it a punishable offence for Irishmen to proceed with the aim of service in Spain.
I have asked as to whether our representative on this committee made any intervention when a request was sent, I think, in the early stages, on the initiative of the British Government to the two Governments in Spain asking for their approval or for their comments  on the plan put forward. An answer came from General Franco, and in the committee on which we had a representative the Russian representative is stated to have “severely criticised the reply received from General Franco.” He said that to the vast accumulation of the committee's documents General Franco's was one which he (the Russian representative) described as a compound of folly and of insolence. He went on to describe General Franco as “this pocket general,” who was graciously pleased to tell them that he would continue to study the Non-Intervention Committee's communication. The Russian representative asked the committee to be grateful for General Franco's condescension. The General, who was described as a pocket general, had used this phrase. He expressed his indignation at the fact that the British Government did not seem to have grasped the greatness of the national Spanish movement, and continued relations with the so-called Government at Valencia. An obvious point there for an Irish representative if there was any comment to be made as between the two Governments to make it. We do not know that any intervention took place by our representative at that point. General Franco, in December of last year, put forward this as a matter that the committee might have devoted themselves to:—
“Are the Non-Intervention Committee's agents to concern themselves only with the entry of war material into Spain, or are they also to withdraw from the fronts the large stocks of arms bought with gold stolen from the Bank of Spain, and with the proceeds of other robberies from banks and private houses?”
In a later communication to the assembly, General Franco suggested that if there was going to be any supervision of arms and ammunition and any prohibition of volunteers, the committee might also go on to another point: it might pay special attention to aircraft crossing the frontier, and, further, it might also concern itself with finance and propaganda. We confine ourselves to volunteers. We  are not concerned apparently as the financial aid sent to either of these two Governments; we are not concerned with what propaganda is used throughout the world on behalf of one Government against another, and apparently there has been no special attention paid to the very vulnerable point of aircraft. Despite all these imperfections, however, people might be disposed to say that this, because it was at any rate a first step towards keeping out of the conflict, was a valuable step to take. I think, however, that people who would say that—certainly people with the viewpoint of the majority in this country—would add to it an expression of regret that there was no indication from those who are in control here as to whether they think that it is an agreement likely to be honoured or an agreement likely to be broken; whether they think that control will be effective, and whether they think, the control of volunteers and arms being effective, there will be a further attempt to control financial aid and the aid—and a very definite aid it is— of propaganda on one side or the other.
Now, in this connection it is impossible, no matter how much the Government may desire to have it so, to disregard the fact that we are closely connected with a country which has very definite international engagements and which has, very definitely, valuable international possessions in an area which is adjacent to the area of the conflict. This country is very closely related to Great Britain, and if President de Valera were going to say here that, as well as having in the back of his mind this humanitarian idea of stopping the conflict in Spain, he also recognised that British influence in that part of the world was of importance and that British influence in that part of the world might be diminished if this conflict took a certain course, and if he were strong enough to come forward and tell us that, in the interests of the Irish people and in the interests of humanity in general, it was well worth while having British interests in that area upheld, we could listen to his arguments and weigh them up. But we  are following—it may be without advertence, it may not be laid down as a line to be followed—but as a matter of fact we are following a British proposal, and that in itself is not to be criticised; and the reasons why Britain wants a certain line taken in this matter are easy to understand. It is quite easy to excuse, however much the humanitarian may deplore it, that a British viewpoint might be in favour of a particular issue to this conflict in Spain, even though that might be an issue that was dangerous from the outlook of the spread of certain doctrines. Britain has a viewpoint with regard to Gibraltar, and she has a viewpoint with regard to the coast opposite Gibraltar, and also she has a viewpoint with regard to the control of the Mediterranean—one that she must have—and to the emergence into greater power and influence of Germany and Italy in that sphere; and a viewpoint that Britain might hold, in favour of having a Red Government in Spain beaten, might be weakened by the thought that the beating of that Red Government in Spain could only be accomplished by the strengthening of two outside powers who have intervened in Spain and who are trying to put themselves in a more powerful position in the Mediterranean. One can understand their viewpoint just as one can understand the French viewpoint; but, remember, the proposals we are backing are of British and French origin, and we have accepted a certain relationship with Great Britain, and there is a suspicion that the newly-converted are trying to show they are of stronger faith than other people. That is a point that cannot be lost sight of. This country will be definitely paraded before the world, and naturally so paraded, as having a veering towards British policy in regard to this area, not entirely and completely founded upon Irish interests or Irish considerations, and that will loom all the larger in people's minds if there is no explanation of British policy when we stand to accept the policy in this Bill.
The amendment before the House asks that, coincident with this passing, there should be a definite cutting off  of diplomatic relations with what is described as the Government at Valencia. That is being refused Deputy Belton has another amendment to the effect that the two sides in the conflict should be put, at any rate, on a basis of equality to the extent at least that we should have some relation or some attachment towards the Government at Burgos. The President, as usual, stands uncertainly and unsteadily between the two. We have a representative still accredited to Madrid—geographically at St. Jean de Luz, and also at a point geographically nearer to Burgos than to Valencia. That representative, presumably, is going to give aid to any of our unfortunate citizens who happen to find themselves in Spain. The only aid that any representative of ours could render to any nationals of ours who found themselves in Spain during the summer was to get the aid, and the powerful aid, of the British Diplomatic Office and of British gunboats, and whatever influence our representative might have been able to exert in securing the passage of our nationals out from Spain is going to be considerably lessened by the fact that he is now ensconced across the frontier in France and that he is not clearly accredited to one Government or the other—that he is in this halfway house, nearer to Burgos but further from Valencia, but accredited, as far as one can learn from what we have heard in this House, to the Red Government.
For the future, people need not bother themselves about what towns or what villages or what territory General Franco or his opponents occupy. All we have to do is to keep our eye on Mr. Kerney's movements, because, we presume, he will be moved nearer to the Pyrenees according as General Franco goes towards Madrid, shifting, like the Roman legions, backwards and forwards as the legions progress; and if the President's mind continues to move in the particular grove in which it is moving at the moment, we have only to watch Mr. Kerney's progress in order to see how the conflict goes in Spain. The nearer to Burgos the further from Valencia. There is no  manly attitude in that. It may be, of course, that the majority in this country are entirely misled about the issues in Spain. It may be that the clergy, the poor man, the rich man, the educated man, the Hierarchy, are wrong. It may be, as I say, that we are all wrong, generally speaking, in this country in our attitude towards the present conflict in Spain. It may be that we are all the victims of the propaganda used with such effect by General Franco. If that is so, if we are all mistaken, cannot we be disabused of our errors? Is there nobody on the Government side to tell us what is the real issue in Spain? We want no fending off on this question. There is a responsibility on people who put themselves forward for responsible positions, and who secure them, to declare, in their representative capacity, what they know. They have despatches and communications and documents that none of the rest of us have, and surely, in an important matter of this kind, they are bound to put before the representative House of the nation what are the facts in regard to Spain. Instead of that, or of any attempt to do that, what do we find?
Deputy MacDermot intervened in this debate to-day, and, however much I may regret the silence of the Fianna Fáil Party, their silence does them credit in comparison to the uncouthness of Deputy MacDermot in his intervention in this debate. However, we cannot just entirely separate Deputy MacDermot from the Government. I think it is without precedent that a Minister for External Affairs, speaking in this House, should indicate that the correct attitude under international law had been accurately and precisely stated by a Deputy on a question on the preceding day. That is the position the President adopted in regard to Deputy MacDermot. There is a phrase common in America which expresses a man as being the “fall guy” from time to time. Deputy MacDermot, apparently, has become the “fall guy” for the Government. He can be held up as the man who correctly expresses something which they do  not want directly to express themselves. They can adopt him as the sort of person who would paraphrase best all the intricacies of the international law on a particular subject.
The Deputy tells us that this Party in this matter is trying to cash in, electorally, on Christianity. In any event, this Party, over the years when Deputy MacDermot was exhausting his crusading efforts in other directions, were trying to lodge something to their credit in regard to Christianity and they believe that they have something upon which they can now draw in that matter. Deputy MacDermot may feel that any attempt on his part to cash in on that matter may result in the ordinary “return to drawer”. The Deputy knows very little about cashing in on anything in this country. The Deputy has made an attempt to get credit from a variety of sources politically and has failed generally. He has one useful occupation at the moment. He has become, what I can only describe as the sandwich-board man of the Government, a man who can be sent round with their placards, a man who bears round their propaganda and again he gets rather more kicks than halfpence from the Irish Press for it. He thinks fit to intervene in this debate and to characterise this Party —and when he is characterising this Party in this way, remember he is characterising the majority of the people in this matter and characterising the attitude of the Hierarchy in this matter—as trying to cash in on Christianity. We are in good company to start with and we are in even better company since we have been deprived of Deputy MacDermot's services.
The Deputy is accepted by the Government as the man who indicates properly what is the international law on this matter. Can we consider very briefly now what is the reaction of international law at all in this matter? There is no precise point laid down at which a Government may be recognised. The ordinary viewpoint which is held is this, that when, in the mind of an outside Government, the persons purporting to become the Government  have achieved de facto jurisdiction, then they are entitled to be recognised. Can anybody judging the conflict in Spain either by extent of territory held, by numbers, by anything that has to do with the enlargment of sway over the country, say that the odds are not definitely in favour of one side and that not the side to which we are accredited at the moment. Are we to take the test of elections? Are we to look upon one side as folk who have risen in rebellion against the elected Government? That might have been an issue three or four months ago but can anybody say that the people who now hold sway under Caballero have any link or any tie whatever with an election or that could in any way claim to have been set up as a Government as the result of the election machine working? Are not the people who are now in power in Valencia, folk who took over, and took over by strength, from another Government who had succeeded themselves on the weakening of the lot who paraded themselves as the folk emerging from the throes of an election? If the question of an election has to be brought into this, neither party has a title but General Franco has as good a title as the other people have.
We are told, according to the President, that, whatever we may think about this conflict in Spain those who are in Spain recognise it or that, at least, most of them recognise it as a fight of one “ism” as against another. Where does the President get his evidence of that? Can the President quote any person of repute, or any number of persons of repute, who will say that in recent months that is the situation in Spain? Apart from that, we are not passing this Bill on what, the President tells us in a vague way, most of the people engaged in combat in Spain regard the conflict as being for. We are asked to prohibit Irishmen from taking part in a certain fight. Is there any appreciation on the President's part that, though the Irish people may be wrong, the Irish people do not regard the struggle in Spain as, what he thinks lightly, is one ideology against another, one “ism” against  another? If this phrase was an evasion, the usual evasion, one could understand it. If by saying that it was one “ism” against another “ism” he meant that the conflict is recognised as one between religion and irreligion, between God and the absence of God, between atheism and something that appertains to the recognition of God—if that is what he meant by “ism” against “ism,” then it is true, but that is not the way in which the remark was made. It was not to convey that meaning to the people that the phrase was used. It was to convey that this is a squabble between the Russians on one side aided, to some extent, by the French, and the Italians and the Germans on the other side.
The President has tried to suggest that political philosophy was the source of the trouble in Spain, not the viewpoint of Christianity against the negation of Christianity. The President tries to make it out as a struggle of one political philosophy against another political philosophy. Has he ever heard that General Franco has, again and again, expressed himself as vehemently against Fascism as against Communism? I think he is recognised as the leader of one group at the moment and that his personal viewpoint may be of considerable value if his forces emerge victorious. That personal viewpoint has been expressed as being hostile to Fascism equally with Communism. He has not expressed himself in any ambiguous way in regard to any other matters in conflict in Spain. He has definitely said that it is a struggle for religion against irreligion, that it is against atheism, that it is against that side of Communism which expresses itself in the negation of Christianity. There is no doubt whatever about that. Deputy Belton read at much length yesterday extracts from sources at which we cannot sneer or laugh away. These extracts show, beyond any possibility of doubt, that as far as certain of the religious in Spain are concerned, so far as the majority of the religious in Spain are concerned, they do not regard this as a conflict between political philosophies. There is a far  deeper thing at issue, a thing that cuts deeper into the life of the people. These extracts show a very definite appreciation of the fact that one side is fighting for a thing that everybody, who has any belief in any type of religion must value. On the other side there are people who would like to see atheism, the negation of religion, something that is anti-Christian not merely in Spain, but would also like to see that country made a breeding ground, as Russia itself is a breeding ground, from which these doctrines might spread out right through the world.
Now, that is the Spanish viewpoint put up in the casual phrase used by the President here, without one piece of documentation to support it—as far as the people in Spain are concerned, it is one “ism” against another. The extracts that Deputy Belton used in his speech are a definite refutation, until the President brings forward something of a documentary type, not his view, as to what the people in Spain think. The President must answer what Deputy Belton read here at such length, read with such cogency. That document itself, if there was nothing else to be brought into this debate, indicated that in Spain, amongst the combatants, there is not held the view the President here said there was.
Apart from that, have we no viewpoint ourselves? I could give thousands of quotations as to what is thought in this country of the struggle in Spain. Let me go to the highest authority that can be got in this country. His Holiness the Pope addressed a group of Spanish refugees in mid-October of last year. One may say that the language used with regard to this conflict has been exaggerated. One may say that imagination often runs riot and that people even bear testimony to things they have not seen, things that are only the product of their imaginations; but there is no doubt that in these matters the Vatican is very experienced—the Vatican is very experienced in wars and stories of wars. These matters reported to the Vatican are examined and sifted with scrupulous care before  a person in the position of His Holiness would think fit to address a group of people in the way in which he did.
The cynic here and abroad may deride these stories and allude to all the fantastic nonsense that was talked in the Great War—the tales of bestiality that the ordinary newspaper was filled with and most of which were afterwards disproved. But from people who visited the Vatican, fresh from the conflict, the Pope derived certain information and these are the words of a responsible person. He spoke in this way:
“The highest members of the sacred clergy, bishops and priests, consecrated virgins, the laity of every class and condition, venerable grey hairs and fair flowers of youth, sacred and solemn tombs have been assaulted, violated, destroyed in the most ruthless and barbarous ways in an unbridled, unparalleled, confusion of forces so savage and so cruel as to have been thought utterly impossible for human dignity let alone for human nature even the most debased.”
These words we cannot sneer at; we cannot say that is propaganda; we cannot say these words would be casually uttered and that a person in that position would address these refugees, and through them the world, without having weighed every word, every epithet, and there are many in that scarifying address with regard to that situation. If we read that, and read it with understanding and some belief, we must be put on the alert against people who say “Ah, as regards the war in Spain, it is one `ism' against another.”
It is not necessary to tire the House with a multitude of these things. The Cardinal in this country, speaking in September, talked about the vital issues that were at stake in the war in Spain. One of the phrases was “The people's fight for Christianity,” and he criticised, as he was bound to criticise, the attitude of this State in regard to that conflict. In connection with the recent pastorals read in churches here, I think it was correctly phrased in this House last night that the keynote of them all was that Communism  was a menace, not merely abroad, but in this country. The Cardinal, I think it was, who wound up an appeal on that matter to the people by asking them to see that this thing would not be tolerated in our midst.
But, contrary to the views of the hierarchy, all of them, contrary to what the Cardinal says in regard to this country, Deputy MacDermot is of opinion that there is no Communism here and the man responsible for putting it out is the President. If one is inclined, one can go back to a debate here on the introduction of the amending Bill connected with Article 2A of the Constitution, in October, 1931. The President's views, expressed from this side of the House then, was that Communism at that time was a negligible force in the country. The President himself put that on record and adduced as evidence, not evidence that I would regard as very solid, but adduced as evidence the small number of votes polled by people who paraded themselves openly and clearly as Communists. He did not confine himself entirely to that. He delivered in this House in October, 1931, his view that Communism was almost non-existent. Deputy MacDermot thinks it has been completely exorcised from the State since by the beneficent attitude of the President.
The clergy do not think so. They use words that might be pondered a little more closely by Deputy MacDermot. They have said that the worst feature of Communism is its insidiousness; certain people imbibe it without knowing what it is. Their view is surely more acceptable than that of a man who can pass through this country on his infrequent sojourns here and not really understand what is going on, who will not even lend an ear to people who, for their sins, have got to spend their time in the country and who may be affected by whatever vices and virtues spring up here. One could go through a list of statements from people in important positions, but if one can confine one's attention only to the statements made by the clergy, by the bishops, one cannot say that the menace of Communism is  completely absent from this country and one cannot say, if the hierarchy in this country represent the people, that the Spanish conflict is regarded as a matter of one political philosophy against another.
It may be that we are all wrong in that: it may be that we as a body are trying to cash in electorally on Christianity and that the bishops, for some other reason, are trying to befuddle their flocks with exaggerated statements about the menace of Communism in this country, and the menace the Spanish conflict is to Christianity and the world. If there is any information in the President's possession which could put us right, why could not we get it on this Bill?
The only point in a speech of great lucidity and quiet force by the President was that his view, without the slightest bit of documentation, was that whatever we may think about it, the majority of people in Spain regard this as a conflict of one “ism” against another. If that is the viewpoint, not merely is this non-intervention Bill one that we should pass, but it is one that should have been passed when the first proposal was mooted in regard to it. We should have jumped to this; we should have said it was foolish to allow Irishmen who might think they were indulging in a religious crusade to be fooled and we were not going to permit them to become the tools of Moscow or Rome; neither Fascism nor Communism would use these young people.
If the Bill had been introduced earlier, with some documentation by the President to show that men were being deluded, or that they were deluded even by the clergy, that it was more than one political philosophy against another, we should have done what France did and passed this in anticipation and said it will be brought into force when the rest of the European nations give effect to it. We have delayed until we are now rushing at it. We are rushing at it without any viewpoint being expressed by the President other than the one, that as far as the people of Spain are concerned it is one political philosophy against another. Remember, if that was alone the position, one might not  pay so much attention to it, but people have harked back to what the Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Flinn) said at Galway. He had his mind clear in these days. It was Fascism against democracy. I think there can be no doubt as to which side is Fascist after his declaration of Fascist in this controversy. So that democracy means Caballero. That was Deputy Flinn's placing of the positions in the summer-time.
The organ controlled by the Government set out on one occasion to explain the true position in Spain to its readers. Here are the words used: “That country is now divided into two camps in which the most unrestrained passions and the most intense hatreds prevail.” There we have what prevails in that Party. The Government organ can speak of two camps, one blackened equally with the other, and of the prevalence of unrestrained passions and of the most intense hatreds. Deputy Flinn classes Caballero as the democrat opposed by the Fascist Franco. The President tells us that as far as the combatants generally are concerned it is “ism” against “ism.” In these circumstances why should we withdraw the ambassador? There is no reason. But that is not the viewpoint of the Irish people. Deputy Belton, I think, has proved that it is not the viewpoint of the Spanish people. The net point in this is, should we at this moment ask the Irish people, on the evidence we have before us, to accept the viewpoint that it is just a bit of a dog-fight, both in the wrong, something that should be brought to an issue as speedily as possible?
When there was trouble in this country there was an amount of propaganda used to try to get people to understand that the situation developing here was some sort of a dog-fight. Efforts were used here to try to get nations outside to take a clear view of the situation. We would have been horrified and dismayed if in the height of these circumstances the representative of a nation that we had thought to be in favour of freedom of opinion, freedom of political view and freedom of religious view said: “As  far as the conflict between England and Ireland is concerned, it is one party against another.”
Mr. McGilligan: It is not farfetched. Did we think it was one party against another? We did not. Do the Spaniards think it is one political philosophy against another? Are the Irish people not to have a viewpoint as to whether the Spanish people think that? Is it to be the viewpoint put by the President in this phrase? If the Irish people do not accept that as a true statement of the position, is there not some action required when we are intervening in this way? We are going to make it a criminal offence for Irishmen to join either party. We have moved the pawn nearer to Burgos than Valencia. He is still accredited to the Red Government. Anywhere this action of ours is read of, there can be only one construction put on the situation as we leave it, and that is that the President convinced the House, as far as Spain was concerned, that there was no question of religion at stake, there was no question of Catholicity. There was no question of Christianity against all-comers of a non-Christian type; the President convinced his followers that in Spain they were merely fighting out a cruel warfare about an academic distinction as between political philosophies and, in these circumstances, he found it easy to convince the House that there was no necessity to take any action of the type that Deputy Belton wants, the recognition of both Governments, nor a necessity to take any action of the type we want—the denial before the world of any implication there might appear to be from the fact that we still recognise one Government only in Spain. Neither on the ground of international law, accurately phrased by Deputy MacDermot, nor on the ground of basing ourselves on the people, could we be criticised in any country for dropping our representation with the Madrid Government at present. The greatest purist with regard to international law could not  find cause for complaint with that. Against all that there is undoubtedly this immense wave of opinion in this country, which may be wrong, but which prevails at present, that in Spain there is a definite, fundamental conflict going on and there is one Government placed there as being against Christianity and there is one Government placed as for it. We are going to prevent our people fighting there, but we keep our representative with the Government that is not Christian.
Mr. Donnelly: I regret the lines upon which this debate was originally launched, particularly by Deputy Belton. We were treated last night to a discourse of over an hour which was continued to-day and lasted in all something like 2½ hours. I regret to say that it was more or less a bitter harangue directed in a kind of composite way to a personal attack on the President and, not only that, but there was very regrettable use made of documents that should not have been made. Deputy MacDermot pointed out to the House to-day that because my colleague, Deputy Mrs. Concannon and myself—I think it was we who were meant—happened to enjoy some of the efforts of Deputy Belton to get round some Spanish pronunciations, we were immediately daubed with the red brush and called pure firebrand Communists. I do not accept that for a moment from Deputy Belton, and I do not think anybody in this House accepts it. Any little thing helps in the case that Deputy Belton was trying to build up. I am perfectly convinced that there is not to-day, that there never was, and that while Ireland is Ireland, populated by the types of individuals in it at the present moment, there need be no fear or dread of the ills of Communism here. After all, we have struck more or less on evil days. Here is a little country which has suffered for and maintained its faith, if one wants to put it like that, against many and greater difficulties than are likely to ensue in future. To our pride we have had all through the ages guardians who advised us in these matters, men who were ordained  for that purpose, the Hierarchy and the clergy. To-day, according to Deputy Belton who has placed himself at the head of a movement called the Christian Front——
Mr. Donnelly: At any rate something had to be done, and the Deputy made his effort here. No cause and no movement ever gained the slightest advantage by misrepresentation or by false interpretation of any documents. I regret that very much, as I think it occurred here once before, when a church document was read on a famous debate. I regret the introduction of such documents in Parliamentary debates, because I believe that a bishop's pastoral to his flock is a sacred document, addressed to his people; it is a document, above all other things the sanctity of which raises it above the ordinary hurly-burly of politics and political friction. For that reason I regret that it should have been used as it was used here last night, and put into the phraseology that appears in the newspapers, that President de Valera had practically told the Irish people, by the introduction of this Bill, that the pastoral letter of the Cardinal Primate of Spain was a lie. I regret that language of that kind should be used in an Assembly like this. I regret that a document like a bishop's pastoral should be used in such a way or brought up in debate in the manner it was brought up last night. As to any Deputy on this side of the House having the slightest sympathy with some of the things that have occurred in Spain, they have not. No one knows that better than those who spoke from the opposite benches. Instead of Deputy Belton's descriptions being made a laughing stock of, we regret that the clergy had to flee from Madrid. We regret that very much, and we condemn it. If all the information and all the reports from Spain are true, nobody condemns the butcheries and church burnings more than the members of this Party. At the same time, while German volunteers, Italian volunteers, French aid and other countries are taking  different sides in Spain; while aeroplanes and tanks are being used, and bombs being dropped on cities like Madrid and Barcelona; while women and children are being slaughtered, this Bill, in my opinion, is fundamental and is intended to prevent the young men of this country going out there to be made cock-shots of for whatever “ites” or “isms” are involved, because there must be issues in addition to those which were mentioned by Deputy McGilligan and other speakers.
After all, there should be some sense of proportion when an amendment such as Deputy Belton's is moved. He wants recognition of General Franco's Government. I can understand Deputy O'Sullivan's amendment much better, that our ambassador should be withdrawn from Spain or brought home. To some extent that is understandable. The other proposal is less understandable, that this Government should immediately recognise General Franco's Government. It is not definitely established, and for that reason I say there ought to be some sense of proportion and some example from people who introduce subjects of this kind. I have respect certainly for established government. I have respect for a Government elected by the majority of the people, but if I introduced an amendment such as Deputy Belton's, I should not like to leave it in the power of other Deputies to taunt me with this fact, that in my own country, when ordered government was established, I had a record against me of being fined £25 before the Military Tribunal following an attempt to sabotage my own Government by anarchy, chaos, and attacks on State property. There should be a sense of proportion in all these things, and when we hear talk of recognition of General Franco's Government in Spain we should relate that to the sense of respect, the sense of esteem and of obedience that we have for the native Government under which we live in the country that we call our own.
I do not want to discuss in detail the rights and wrongs of matters that  were raised during the debate. One thing in this Bill fundamentally concerns us and that is to see that this country of ours should not, so far as is humanly possible, take any part, or identify itself with the civil war at present being waged in Spain. I see nothing wrong in that. I subscribe to the views that were expressed by another Deputy, who spoke of how the big nations in Europe are arming. Germany is spending every cent she can get her fingers on on guns, armaments and munitions, while a Bill to provide £1,500,000,000 for armaments was introduced recently in the British Parliament. It is the same story in France and everywhere in Europe. What is all the rearmament for? I hope that another war is far off but I am afraid that some day there will be an outburst on the Continent of Europe and if that catastrophe should take place it would end civilisation as we know it. I believe in peace, and it is in the interest of peace I am supporting this Bill. I would not want any other reason for doing so, because we know enough of what happened in the last big war, and how countless numbers of young men who left this and other countries perished. For what? We see the position that has been reached in European politics. If this small contribution of ours will only go one inch towards securing peace in Europe, or contributing to an atmosphere of peace, notwithstanding all the speeches, notwithstanding all the little kudos that may be adopted by those opposing this Bill, I say that the President has done his duty, and that later, when this situation has passed, the President will be able to point to the action he took as one that was in the interests of humanity and, as Deputy McGilligan said, in the interests of establishing peace everywhere. After all the life of man is a short one. I could quite understand anybody reading several of the letters of the bishops that have been published feeling rather acutely on this question. I read many of the bishops' Lenten pastorals. Why should not the state of affairs in Spain be the keynote of these pastorals? Is there one member of the Irish Hierarchy who  would desire that acts should take place that would lead to blood being spilled or that there should be another conflagration like the last war? There is not one.
After all, we must approach this matter as it has been approached by the bishops of every country. The head of a flock approaches not a particular sect or class or individual in that flock. The bishop over a diocese approaches the entire diocese. He approaches them all, and I was always taught and led to believe that the farther away an individual was from the right path the greater the effort which would be made by the guardian of that flock to try to bring him back to the right path again. No matter how great a criminal might be there was always in those pastoral letters— if they were properly interpreted; if they were not interpreted from a political angle, and not interpreted having at the back of our minds the fact that there is a general election coming on —a genuine note of appeal to those who may not be on lines that are right, on lines that are religious, to try and reform and do some good before the time had passed when it was possible to do that good.
I want to refer to an article which appeared in the Sunday Express. I am not going to quote it in this House. Unfortunately I did not think that the debate would have developed on those lines, but if anybody looks up the files of the Sunday Express he will find an article on General Franco, written a short time after the war broke out. I was amazed to read this article, and I carefully followed that paper—there are some interesting articles in the Sunday edition of that paper—to see if there would be any repetition of this. One of the things boasted about the monarchy in Spain was that the King—King Alphonso, who abdicated —deserved better of that country, because he had succeeded in keeping Spain out of the big war. As a result of that, there were people who amassed fortunes, and there was one particular man about whom this article was written who became a multi-millionaire. Early in the conflict he retired to France or some other place. This  multi-millionaire, as far as I could make out from the article, gave a certain amount of the finance which enables General Franco to carry on the present operations. I do not think that this gentleman, who is so described in that article I am referring to, can be pointed out as a pillar of Christianity in Europe or anywhere else. I am only mentioning this by way of putting, as it were, some view of the case that has not yet been put. I do not believe they are all saints in Spain, nor do I believe that they are all sinners in Spain. We are not all saints and we are not all sinners here in Ireland. While human nature is human nature there will be that blend of good and bad in every country in the world, and there will be things done by people who are more or less irresponsible. There is a tendency in the human mind, more highly developed in some people than in others, towards crime. It does take an effort at all times and it does take a strong hand at all times to deal with those people who have those criminal tendencies. Churches were burned in Spain? Of course they were. Bishops were murdered in Spain. Of course they were; everybody knows that now. Nobody regrets that more than we do here, and it has practically been suggested by the mover of the second amendment that we look on and smile and sneer at those things——
Mr. Donnelly: The two of us cannot address the House together. At any rate, I am sorry if that is the view of  the Deputy. If there was any proof I could give which would convince him, I would be only too glad to do so, but if a person has already made up his mind that you are a criminal it would take a very strong perfume and odour of sanctity to make you appear a saint in the eyes of that person. However, much of those matters may be dispensed with. I do want to refer to the document which I referred to in the early part of my remarks—that is, the Cardinal Primate's pastoral. I regret that that was introduced in the way it was introduced last night, and I regret that the words in the Independent of to-day——
Mr. Donnelly: At any rate I do regret that that pastoral was used and I am glad the Deputy is here now. I regret that he put the interpretation on it which he did put on it. To make a speech in this House and to attack the President is one thing. That is justifiable enough in ordinary politics, but when in the daily press the following day, and all the papers have the same report of the speech, the President is made to appear as trying to make the statement in the letter issued by the Cardinal Primate of Spain a lie, it is going a bit too far.
Mr. Donnelly: When we come to that stage, and when we can put no other interpretation on documents of that kind, it is pretty well nearly time  to stop talking about them altogether. These are not ordinary documents at all. They are meant for everybody and not for any particular sect or class or type, and, as I said before, there always is that note of appeal in these documents to the members of the flock to which they are addressed; and there is no member of any hierarchy, no eminent ecclesiastic, who writes a pastoral letter who has not in his mind when penning such a document the fact that it is intended to do good and that it applies to the community as a whole. They will condemn wrong where wrong is done, and try to put right the doing of wrong if they possibly can. That is my interpretation of pastorals; that is my interpretation of letters such as have been quoted in this House. I would certainly take advantage of and use quotations in support of a case in so far as they would help me, but I would refuse, in this House or outside it, to use a letter in the way Deputy Belton used this letter last night.
Mr. Donnelly: I am not saying anything else, but I do object to special personal interpretations put upon these pastoral letters and the analogy made between these letters and the action of the President in bringing in this Bill and characterising his conduct as such that it is giving the lie direct to the Cardinal Primate of Spain.
Mr. Donnelly: The interpretation was given when the Deputy, after reading extracts from the documents, was attempting to sum up. He said that we had arrived at the stage when the President of the Executive Council, the first citizen of the State, was giving the lie direct to the Cardinal Primate of Spain by the introduction of this Bill.
Mr. Donnelly: I have made this point, and I want to make it perfectly clear, that if there was any danger to the Church in this State, if there was any danger to the Faith, if it came to an issue between Christ and anti-Christ, or to a religious issue, where the Faith would be at stake, there is none of the men on these benches who would not be as quick to respond to the call for protection for the Church as Deputy Belton or any other Deputy on that side, and well the Deputy knows it. I know he did fly to the flag on one occasion. I made a slight error here once, and I apologise here for it now. I gave the Deputy credit on one occasion, and he accepted it under false pretences, for fighting for this country in the G.P.O. He was never in it in his life except to post a letter. I apologise for ever having said it, but, forgetting about all that, these are my views in supporting this Bill. It is introduced in the interests of peace.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I wish to congratulate Deputy Donnelly, though I am afraid I must pay him in a way a rather back-hand compliment. He, of all those timid little gentlemen in the Front Bench, who sit dumb and mute during a discussion—the Minister for Justice sitting there as long as he has to-day, with the Minister for Education and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs coming in, and with even the short incursion we had from the Minister for Finance—is the only one who has the courage to address the House on behalf of this Bill. I congratulate Deputy Donnelly. It seems to me that Deputy Donnelly has at least the manliness that the other members of the Fianna Fáil Party, and especially its Front Bench and its Leader, distinctly lack. While I pay that compliment to him, and while I admire his courage in addressing the House in favour of this Bill, I am afraid I cannot be entirely complimentary to him in the remarks I have to make to the House. I wish that when Deputy Donnelly had the courage to address this House, he would have had the courage also to express his own views clearly and definitely, and that, instead of the non-committal speech he made, we  would have had a clear statement from him as to where his sympathies lie in respect of this war in Spain.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: I should have liked to hear from him something which is relevant to the two amendments and I should have liked to hear whether he thinks it right and proper that the Government, showing partiality to one side in this Spanish war, should keep its representative accredited to the Red Government in Spain and have no representative with the anti-Red Government at Burgos. That was a matter upon which Deputy Donnelly was unfortunately very silent, as the Deputy is silent upon most things that count. He did indeed make an attack upon Deputy Belton's speech, and upon him personally, because he had referred to the Pastoral of the Cardinal Archbishop of Burgos, the Primate of Spain, because, he says, these Pastorals are meant entirely for the flock to which they are addressed and that the rest of the world should pass them over with what he would rather regard, I think, as silent contempt, and certainly not use them as sources of information. Where can we get a better source of information? How can we go to any more impartial source, or any source on which we can place greater reliance, than a statement by the Cardinal Primate of Spain?
It is not a mere Pastoral and he is not merely the Primate of Spain, nor is he merely the Archbishop of Burgos. He is more than that. He is a Prince of the Catholic Church because he is a Cardinal, and, more than that, he is the accredited representative of the Vatican with the Burgos Government. He is speaking much more than as a Cardinal or a bishop speaking to his flock. He is the head of the Church in Spain, speaking, not merely to his flock, but telling the whole world the things that are being done in Spain to the Catholics of Spain, and especially to the priests and nuns and religious communities in Spain. It is in that capacity that  the Cardinal Archbishop of Burgos speaks, not merely to his flock, but to the world, and because he is speaking to his flock and to the world, he is taken by Deputy Belton as being the very best authority that we in this country can get. Is Deputy Belton to be told by Deputy Donnelly that it is improper and wrong to cite him? Where are we going to get better authority?
This is a grave matter. This Bill is no trifling Bill and we must consider that it will be looked at from a double angle. It will be looked upon as to how it affects our people abroad, and it will be looked upon and considered by our people at home. The people abroad want to know how the Government stand in this matter. The people at home want to know how the Government stand in this matter. Personally, although it is rather a matter of deduction, I have very little doubt where President de Valera stands, and where the Fianna Fáil Party stands, and I personally have very little doubt as to where the sympathies of President de Valera and the Fianna Fáil Party lie. But I have no respect for the Party, and especially for the Party leader—and even Deputy Donnelly loses a little of the respect I had for him—who will not openly and boldly tell the country where their sympathies lie. I hope Deputy Donnelly is at variance with the bulk of his Party in this matter. I take the statement of the President yesterday and his remarks as to the Spanish people being only interested in “isms.” and as to their regarding the battle between Catholicism and Communism as a mere battle of “isms.” I think I draw a fair conclusion from that when I see repeatedly the attitude taken up by the Irish Press upon this matter. When Deputy Belton, in his, to my mind—and I differ from Deputy Donnelly in this—extremely well documented speech, can produce a photograph of a member of the Executive Council taken with an emissary of the Red Government of Spain sent to this country, and when I see the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance  which has been quoted here already, I find very little difficulty in coming to the conclusion that the sympathies of the Fianna Fáil Party are entirely with the Red Government in Spain.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: If they are not, if their sympathies are with General Franco, let me be put right at once, but it seems to me that there is no reason on God's earth, if their sympathies are against the Red Government and with General Franco and his troops, why the President should dodge and hesitate and shift in the way he has been doing here when questioned on this matter on two consecutive days. I do not see why there cannot be a very plain, simple statement on that fact from the Government Benches. Why should not there have been such a statement? I do not see why Deputy Flinn—the only member of the Government who has spoken clearly and definitely upon this matter, who though he may hold a subordinate office in the Administration is still a member of it—has never been disowned by a member of the Executive Council. Why not? Why not, unless he spoke the voice of the members of the Executive Council? It seems to me, as I have said, abundantly clear that the sympathies of the Fianna Fáil Party and the sympathies of the Executive Council are with the Red Government in Spain, but that they do not let their sympathies be known because they think it impolitic. It is “like the cat in the adage letting I dare not wait upon I will.” The Government know perfectly well that it would be a most impolitic thing for them to announce that their sympathies are with the Reds in Spain. Therefore, they dodge and they prevaricate.
This debate will have done some tremendous good, even though the amendment moved be not carried. It will have done tremendous good by the arguments we have introduced and the strength of the feeling that each and every Party knows this question has aroused in the country. The  Fianna Fáil Party are now forced and compelled to turn their coats and forced and compelled without any real sympathy but a sense of policy to express their lip sympathy with the Government of General Franco. Let them express that sympathy in a practical way, as is suggested in Deputy O'Sullivan's amendment. Remember this is not a small matter. I myself and I suppose every member of this House, is receiving propagandist documents from the Red Government of Spain. I suppose we are all receiving such documents. At any rate, I get them and they are things to me of a most offensive nature. Why is it worth the while of these gentlemen to do this propagandist work? I am sure Deputy Donnelly receives these propagandist notes also. Does he ask himself why is it worth their while to do this propagandist work? It is because they want to attach world opinion to their side. They want to convert the people of this country to their side. They think that world opinion is valuable to them. We all know it is valuable to them. It is on this terrible crash in Spain that the future of Christendom is being fought and it is of the greatest value to the combatants that there should be a clear expression of world opinion behind them. The side with the largest volume of world opinion is more likely to succeed. Though we may be a small country our opinion counts in this matter. I feel inclined to laugh at Deputy Donnelly's argument—though to laugh at it would be wrong—that if this Bill was not passed the peace of Europe would be endangered.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: Well, that is the way I understood the argument. He talked about peace and the stopping of the spilling of blood, and that the passage of this Bill by the Government was going to have that effect.
Mr. Fitzgerald-Kenney: A very small  contribution! Personally, I do not see how it is any at all, big or small. But here you have got the fact that in this State there have been certain steps taken, certain sums of money have been collected in the churches and sent out to one side in Spain. Certain sums of money have been collected outside the churches by the Christian Front, and these moneys have been sent to Spain. A certain number of men have gone out from this country; and more are endeavouring to go out from this country. These men, with very insignificant exceptions, have all gone out to fight for General Franco and the Catholics. All the money that has been collected has been sent out. This Bill stops that.
This Bill is a Bill which may do an injury to General Franco and his cause. It is a Bill which cannot do the slightest harm to the opposing junta. See how the world looks at this matter. How must the people of our own country look at it? You have got an accredited representative with this Red Government. You have got a Bill before this House the object of which, in fact, is to stop recruitment to the patriotic forces of General Franco. That is all that is aimed at. That is all that could be aimed at. How is the world going to look at that? With the indefinite speeches of the members of the Government, and their acts which are not so indefinite, how is the world to look at it except by coming to the conclusion that the present Administration is in favour of what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, Mr. Hugo Flinn, calls the cause of democracy as against the cause which is represented by General Franco and his people. That is an important thing.
We want the Government definitely to make the statement that the sympathies of this State, expressed by official action, are on the side of those who are fighting for the cause of Christianity against anti-Christianity in Spain. There has been a certain amount of suggestion falling from Deputy Donnelly and from the President that this is a civil war in Spain that only concerns the Spaniards engaged in it. Nothing could be more  false. The issue in Spain is, of course, of vital importance to Spain. From the world point of view, that importance is small in comparison with its importance to other countries. There was an election in France immediately after the Spanish election. The result was a Socialist Government in France. Nobody who is aware of the course of European history and who watches what is happening now can have the slightest doubt that if this Communistic or Soviet Parliament—call it by whatever name you choose—is victorious in this war and a Soviet republic is set up successfully in Spain or over any large portion of it, you will have precisely the same thing happening in France within a year. There is no use in living in a fool's paradise. There is no use in shutting your eyes to what is happening. There are people who believe in the Communist doctrine, who support it and who endeavour to spread it. They are a real and serious danger and menace to Christendom and to western civilisation.
Precisely the same issue is being fought out in Spain now to save Christendom as was fought out in the times of the Crusades. What does this Bill do? It is designed to prevent persons from this country going out to fight on behalf of Christendom and on behalf of the continuation of a society based upon Christian principles in Spain and, incidentally, in the world. I said a moment ago that this conflict was as important as any crusade. If I were to take a historical parallel to the present position in Spain, and if I were to compare any character in history with General Franco, I would say that General Franco, fighting round Madrid and elsewhere in Spain, as he is to-day, is fighting to save Christendom just as surely and as certainly as Don John of Austria fought to save Christendom at Lepanto. There the Turks were threatening to overrun Europe. There the great powers were standing by, jealous of one another and afraid to stir. Getting his rather nondescript forces together, Don John defeated the Turks and flung back the menace which their invasion and power were to the existence of Christendom in  Western Europe. There is precisely the same danger now. Christendom and civilisation were not in greater danger from the attacks of the Turks than they are at the present moment from the spread of Bolshevist ideas. In one case, the enemy was outside. In this case, the enemy is inside. The Turks were endeavouring, by force from outside, to crush out Christianity. Communism is endeavouring to destroy Christianity by subtle propaganda from within. The danger is equally great, and it is as necessary that it should be defeated in one case as in the other.
If you read this Bill, and if you could fling back history for a few hundred years, what would be the position? Let me take the time of the First Crusade or the Second Crusade. Suppose the eloquence of Peter the Hermit and St. Bernard de Clairvaux were to ring around this country, stirring up men to go against their own interests or, in spite of their own interests, to fight in a foreign country for the interests of Christianity, what would the answer be? What would the answer be if Peter the Hermit or St. Bernard de Clairvaux visited the Irish Free State and preached the doctrine he preached for the preservation of Christianity? The answer would be a £500 fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years. If another Crusader, St. Louis of France, who was not quite so successful, were to come to this country urging a crusade, because he was not so successful he might be more leniently dealt with and brought under the ban of the Minister for Justice rather than under the ban of the Attorney-General. He might possibly escape with a fine of £50 on summary conviction. There is no difference between the young Irishmen who at present go to fight for Christianity in Spain and the Crusaders who went from all over Europe to fight for Christianity in the Holy Land. There is no getting away from that. These are the plain, simple facts, and I wish the House would bear these facts in mind.
This is a very strange Bill. I do not understand, and never will understand,  the passion which this Government has for retrospective legislation—the punishing of things as crimes which were not crimes at the time they were committed. Here you have wantonly drawn into this Bill a complete bit of retrospective legislation. At the present moment, nobody who goes from this country to fight in Spain is breaking the law. Let this Bill pass and nobody who goes from this country to fight in Spain will break the law of this country because this Bill does not become law until there is a proclamation or an order made by the Executive Council bringing it into force. It may never come into force. This great measure on which the peace of the world depends may never come into force. Whether the Bill will come into operation or not will depend on an order of the Executive Council. But between the period at which this Bill passes the House and the period at which it is brought into force by the Executive Council it will be perfectly lawful, for anybody who likes to do so, to leave this State and go to Spain for the purpose of assisting General Franco's troops. The President, who introduced this Bill, visualised a delay of 12 months at least. Paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 5 says “that it shall not be lawful:
“for any person who is a citizen of Saorstát Eireann and is not, at the passing of this Act, a member of the military forces of a belligerent to accept or to obtain or attempt to obtain any commission or engagement in or otherwise to join or become a member of or attempt to join or become a member of the military forces of a belligerent.”
The House will notice nothing there about when the Act comes into force, when it shall become operative as a statute. There is the reference to the passing of the Act by this House. Therefore, a person may do something that is perfectly lawful and not become liable to the penalties laid down. He may go out to Spain and it will be perfectly lawful for him to do so, but when he has been there for six or nine months he may suddenly discover that the Act  has been put into operation. It is then that this retrospective clause comes into force. I hope, if anybody on the Government side imitates the reckless courage of Deputy Donnelly and dares to get on his feet and address the House on this Bill on behalf of Fianna Fáil, that he will explain to us the reason for this retrospective clause. What is the reason for their love of this retrospective legislation? Everyone denounces retrospective legislation. Every jurist denounces it. In criminal matters, it is obviously unjust and yet here in the most wanton manner, as it seems to me, the Government introduce this piece of retrospective legislation in this Bill.
I submit to the judgment of the House that if this Bill becomes law, without the acceptance of Deputy O'Sullivan's amendment, the position of this country will be entirely misunderstood. It will be clear to the world that the sympathies of this State are with the Red Government and not with the Government that our sympathies ought to be, and, in fact, are. The Government are not impartial. They are not even standing fairly between the two Governments in Spain. They have a representative with one Government and not with the other. The Government here have definitely and clearly selected for their sympathy and moral support the Government in Spain which is fighting against the forces of Christianity. If this amendment is accepted the Government will have little trouble with their Bill. I do not like the Bill, but I can see that something can be said in its favour if this amendment is accepted. By passing it without the amendment the Government are doing a wrong to the people of this country. They are misrepresenting them to the world at large.
Minister for Education (Mr. Derrig): Listening to Deputy McGilligan, a former Minister for External Affairs, I was rather surprised to see that he had no reasons to give the House in support of this amendment which the chief Opposition Party have placed on the Order Paper. One would expect  that in matters of foreign policy, where it is considered that the Government are in error, an ex-Minister of Deputy McGilligan's experience and capabilities would at least tell this House and the Irish people the reasons which prompt him to suggest to us that we should break off relations with the present Government at the same time as we propose bringing this Bill into law. I think that as an ex-Minister for External Affairs the Deputy has not been quite frank with the House, nor has he given the country the advice to which it is entitled in an important matter of this kind.
The Deputy knows that in international affairs there are well-recognised lines of procedure to be followed. The mere fact that the Irish Free State should itself set up a special standard for its representatives, or for its Government, in international affairs does not mean, even if we should make the effort, that we are going to succeed. For example, when it was bruited abroad that the President of the Executive Council should have taken advantage of his presence at the League of Nations Assembly in Geneva to refer specifically to Irish domestic matters he pointed out, I think, with reason—I cannot see how anybody who has any real familiarity with these matters or is sincerely interested in them can contest his statement—that it would have been impossible in the circumstances then existing to raise that question. The League of Nations had assembled for a particular purpose. The big nations of Europe were interested in a very special matter, and to suggest that the President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State could suddenly jump up and attempt to divert the attention of that Assembly from the great international problems that faced it to call attention to the specific problems of his own State, or to the adjoining part of this country, was simply absurd.
Mr. Derrig: It has got to do with the statement of Deputy McGilligan that our representative at the Non-Intervention Committee should have  got up there in front of the representatives of Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, England and the 20 other nations represented and asked questions, demanded that certain things be done and, presumably, be satisfied in the name of the Irish Free State Government before he gave his consent to the proposals submitted. The Deputy was not present when Deputy McGilligan was speaking.
Mr. Derrig: Then the Deputy must have not heard Deputy McGilligan's point which was adumbrated at great length that we did not know enough about this Non-Intervention Committee. True, it is an unsatisfactory body from more points of view than one, but, if we are to believe some people who are criticising the present Government, the League of Nations with all that it means to the future of the world and the peace of the world, is not worth considering, for if a European State should suddenly determine to break its obligations to the Covenant and declare war on another party to it, the Irish Free State should stand aside. Again, if it seemed to be good from the political point of view at the moment to do so, I question very much whether in that matter, or in the non-intervention matter, it would be good policy for us in the long run, having regard to our interests as a small State, somewhat isolated in the West of Europe, to take up an entirely independent attitude in these matters.
We must have regard to the policies of other countries. We must have regard to the possibilities that the future holds in store, and we have to guide our steps carefully. The world may be, for all we know, on the eve of tremendous events, and is it suggested that the Irish Free State should rush in and proclaim itself as a crusading nation for this, that, or the other purpose? At the time of the Abyssinian question we were told that we should have stood out and adopted an independent attitude when 58 nations took up, deliberately and in the most solemn  manner, a particular policy, and carried it out. It was suggested that we should not have toed the line in that way, that we should have run away, that we should not have had the moral courage to stand up and say that this policy was the better policy for this nation in the long run. We believe in this policy of non-intervention, and the Opposition, in their rather contradictory speeches, have at least that in common with us, that they recognise it as a good policy, and in fact, the only policy. I presume that they have in their minds that at some time in the future this country may be confronted with having to make some such choice as they would have us make now, and that we should suddenly precipitate ourselves into making that choice as for one “ism” against another. We decline to be put in the position of committing our people unnecessarily. We decline to be put in the position of committing this nation to foreign engagements except where it is absolutely in the interests of our people. Our general aim is to keep as far apart as we can from these disputes, and I think that the policy of the Irish people and their inner feeling in the matter, however they may regard disputes from a particular point of view, will be that that is the right policy and that, as a country, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose by standing apart in these matters.
Accordingly, I think it must be with a feeling of disappointment that those who considered the Opposition were going to put some policy before the country, will read Deputy McGilligan's speech, because, although he asks us to take an independent line of action, to act differently from the other 28 nations on the Non-Intervention Committee, and to stand apart even when the two groups of divided nations—the group represented, let us say, by Great Britain and France, and the group represented by Italy and Germany—have come together in this matter, and that they apparently consider that, in their respective interests and for the peace of Europe, it is better that they should all act together in this matter, apparently, we  in the Irish Free State, should bravely go forth shouting “Excelsior.”
I would remind Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, when he talks about the Crusades, that no doubt very many fine and splendid knights went to the Crusades, but that a great many of them began to fight for other things before they came back again, and a great many of them forgot the reasons for which they went there in the first instance. The Deputy has to go back a very long way in history. Surely there must be some period nearer than the Crusades to which he can point as an example of what would be the right thing for a small nation like ours to do in the present emergency. When the Opposition Party take on themselves the cloak of Christianity, and when Deputy McGilligan tells us that he speaks for the Irish Hierarchy, I am tempted to remind him that, during the Great War, one of the great nations which have now declared war on Communism, and which apparently is exercising its powers to the fullest possible extent to destroy Communism, not only within its own frontiers but wherever it may exist, permitted Lenin and Trotsky, the two apostles of Communism, to enter Russia, and they subsequently created that State. The illustration may be of use in recalling to the House the fact that when great nations go to war, though they may hold the banner of Christianity very high, as they did in 1914, when some of the Irish newspapers that are telling us now what our duty is, on the ground of Christianity, were telling Irishmen and were largely responsible for Irishmen going out in thousands to fight for Christianity, for Catholic Belgium and the rest of it—am I not right, Sir, in recalling to the House and to the country that these great nations who talk a great deal, or who allow others to talk for them, when they are at war, about how they are out for Christianity, are a great deal apart from Christianity and that very little Christianity is in their ideas? They are out simply and solely for their own political interests, for the expansion of their territories, for the increase of their influence, and, generally speaking, getting their place in the sun.
 I think that there is a danger, if this conflict in Spain were to continue as it has been continuing, that the two camps in Europe would very soon come into grips and that war would be absolutely inevitable. In these circumstances, were we to assume that this country of ours was bound to either one side or the other in these two opposing camps? We as a Government, having regard to our responsibilities to the Irish people, are not prepared to make a choice as between Communism and Fascism. In the matter of international affairs, generally speaking, I think I will be correct in stating that both under the last Government and under the present Government our position with regard to international affairs—co-operation in the League of Nations, for example— has been that we took our stand with the free democracies of Europe, the Scandinavian democracies in particular. That was our general feeling, and when newspapers tell us that we are standing in with Russia or with France, or with Imperial Britain, in this matter, I say that they know a great deal more about Imperial Britain and a great deal more about recruiting for Imperial Britain, and about getting 50,000 Irishmen to leave their bones in Flanders, than we do.
We have always stood for the interests of Irishmen. We have stood for Irishmen fighting for their own interests in this country, and against their going outside this country for anybody else, if we can possibly avoid it. That is our position, and I should like to know, since when have these newspapers the right to question us when we speak for the Irish people? I say that it is not because of Russia or France or England or anybody else, but because we believe it is in our own true interest, and because we believe it is in the permanent interests of this country to take the action we are now taking, that we recommend it. In any case, besides these great nations, of which, according to our critics, we are only the rag-tag and bobtail—a mere tail—is no regard to be taken of the other nations like Poland and Belgium? Poland early decided, as we read in the newspapers, that she was not going to have volunteers  going to Spain. She put a ban on volunteers going to Spain and laid down certain penalties, such as, I think, loss of citizenship. We also know the attitude of Belgium in this matter. Then there is a large number of other States—Holland, Sweden, Norway, all peace-loving countries whose great interest and desire is to preserve the peace of Europe and have friendly relations between all peoples. We, however, for no stated reason, are to suddenly strike out on a path of our own. I think that in a matter of this kind, where there is no loss of national liberty or no injury to national interests, we should fall in, wherever we can, with the concert of Europe, that we should co-operate with European nations, particularly when we know that the aim and object is to bring about better relations between them all and to try to lay the foundations of peace in Europe.
This action, it has been admitted even by the critics of the Bill, is not going, even from the narrowest point of view, to deprive General Franco of any support that he can get in Spain. It is not going even to hinder him in certain other directions. It is going to mean that those nations in Europe that seemed to be divided, and which were gradually being forced into a war position, can come together on a basis of co-operation. That is a tremendously important factor in connection with non-intervention. It may also lead to an end of the conflict in Spain if these nations can, between themselves, work out an arrangement by which, without any further bloodshed or destruction, some machinery can be created by which the Spanish people themselves will select a Government according to their own ideas. They might be able, possibly, to speed that Government on its way and again bring about peaceful conditions in Spain. At any rate, even from the point of view of the Spanish people themselves, was it to their advantage that these two groups of nations were helping one side or the other? We were told that volunteers were going into Spain in large numbers. At any rate, this non-intervention machinery will do a great deal to stop that. I question very much whether if, by a  policy of intervention, either party succeeded in setting up a Government by force of foreign arms, that party could always maintain its position. In the long run a Government has to get its strength from the people. It is a matter for the Spanish people themselves in the long run, and the sooner the position can be reached when the Spanish people themselves will freely and peacefully be able to decide on, and to legitimatise a Government by their votes in the usual way, the sooner will the dangers of war in Europe and the dangers of the international situation be removed.
No basis whatever, in my opinion, has been put forward by Deputy McGilligan for the suggestion that we should have adopted an independent attitude in this matter. He could scarcely have done so, in view of the fact that most of the prominent speakers on the Opposition Benches have expressed their sympathy with the principle of this Bill. We decline to recognise the right of Deputy McGilligan, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney or anybody else, to extract from us a confession of faith as to our beliefs in regard to this matter. We refused that before. The President stated in this House, and I repeat what he then said as far as I can remember it, that it would be a very bad day indeed if political Parties in this country could put themselves into the position in which they could say that they were the guardians or the protectors, one political Party above another, of religious interests in this country. Political Parties have to take cognisance of religious interests. The Government of this country take cognisance of these interests, and it would be a very sorry day for this State if we had one Party claiming that they were the only Party standing as the defenders of Christianity, and trying to force a position so that the Irish people might be induced to believe—because that is what is sought to be done here—that the Party in office are in some way lacking and wanting in their duties as a Christian Government.
I have questioned the basis on which the alternative action recommended is suggested. We are told  that there is something extraordinary about our having sent a diplomatic representative to the Government of Spain. It is even pretended that the representative, who is now on the borders of Spain, is accredited specifically to the Caballero Government. The experts in international procedure and international law, naturally, would not like that the country should be made to realise that our ambassador was sent in the first instance to the Government at Madrid in 1935. Is it the position that, every time there is a change of Government, the ambassador has to be withdrawn? The only possible position is the position to which the President has already agreed, the position mentioned by Deputy MacDermot, that when an insurgent party are undisputably in control of the greater part of the territory of the country, have the support of the inhabitants, and are endeavouring to function as a Government in the usual manner, then the question of their recognition comes up. The precise moment may be a matter of opinion but, at any rate, international procedure, the procedure of diplomacy, is well recognised in this matter. That has always been the principle. None of the 27 nations represented on the Non-Intervention Committee have withdrawn their diplomatic representatives.
Mr. Derrig: The mere fact that Germany and Italy have recognised that Government is no reason why we should recognise it. The question of whether we should recognise that Government is entirely a matter for ourselves.
Mr. Derrig: It is not determined by any consideration except what is best in the interests of the Irish people. The fact that particular Governments recognise or do not recognise General Franco does not affect us. That is not in itself a reason why we should take similar action, but if a large body of nations, acting together, feel that certain action is necessary and advisable in the interests of peace in Europe, I question myself whether we should stand out and take an independent attitude, as if we were a big power capable of carrying into effect in some way the policy which our independent attitude indicates. It is very well known that we cannot very often take up an independent attitude in these matters, no matter how much we might desire it. We would find ourselves incapable very often of carrying our wishes into effect.
In these matters of diplomacy there are well-recognised practices. There is caution and care and observation of all the circumstances of the situation, and we are certainly not going to take any action until we are fully satisfied that it is necessary and proper to take in our own interest.
Deputy MacDermot pointed out that representation at a foreign government does not mean any agreement whatever with the policy of that government; it gives no certificate of approval of that government's actions. The representative is accredited to the country rather than to the particular government which may be in office at  the moment. Besides, the representative is there for a specific purpose, to look after the interests of his country, and of the nationals of his country who may be there. Our representative at the present time is, as far as he can under the circumstances, looking after the interests of any of our nationals who may be there, and observing the position generally as it may affect our interests. He may also be of some use, I hope he may be and will be, in helping to bring the conflict to an end. If at any time any joint action is taken, if the different countries interested would take such action through their diplomatic representatives, it would be only natural and proper that, so far as he can do so, our representative should play as big a part as possible in such negotiations.
Deputy McGilligan quoted an important statement from His Holiness the Pope with reference to the situation in Spain. The Deputy went to great length to try and prove that in a matter in which our Irish Catholic people have strong views and in which their sympathies, as has been explained and as has been agreed in the House, are in a particular direction, it is only natural for us to listen with the greatest care and the closest attention to what the Holy Father has to say. But it is very significant that Deputy McGilligan, while reading the Holy Father's pronouncement, took care not to mention that amongst the States which have not withdrawn recognition from the Government in Valencia is the Vatican State. According to some of the critics, we should not wait for the Vatican; we should be more Catholic than the Pope and more Irish than I do not know whom——
Mr. Derrig: I do not know what standard it is proposed to set up in that connection. It is presumed that a great number of people in this country have a great deal of knowledge of the situation in Spain. I am no expert in regard to that situation. I simply consider that there is a good deal of truth in a statement which I read recently, that a civil war of this  barbarous nature is far worse for a nation than any type of international warfare in which it might be engaged. It is bound to have terrible effects, effects which will not be healed for many a long day. When to the civil war are added acute and fundamental religious differences, it must be obvious that the conflict is of a nature. a bitterness and a depth that ordinary wars cannot have. And it is because we realise that that war is so painful, so agonising and so terrible in its effects on the great Spanish people, that we would like to see its early termination.
It seems to be questioned in this House whether we are justified in expressing a wish that that conflict should be brought to a sudden end. If by taking the action that the Opposition suggest, the Government could help to bring this conflict to an end, I am sure they would consider the matter very carefully indeed. But they know that the Opposition are faced with a general election; they have not any policy worth speaking of to put before the people; they see before them the framework of a movement which might be of use to them in trying to build up their shattered political fortunes; and what could be more natural than that they should take advantage of the opportunity which now offers to hold themselves out as the great crusaders of Christianity in this country, and the Government in office, of course, as a Government failing to do their plain, simple and honest duty in defence of Christianity.
I hope that before the debate closes the Opposition will be able to show us how the mere recognition or non-recognition by the Irish Free State of a particular Government, or the mere withdrawal or otherwise of our representative in Spain, is going to affect the situation. We know there are tremendous factors and forces at work and we should not make the mistake of assuming that as regards those who are interested, who are making themselves interested in this war in Spain and who have taken great trouble with men and machines and material to force their point of view, it is the ideals of Christianity, as we understand them  in this country, that are prompting them, in the first instance. Very far from it, I suggest. I hope that we shall not reach the position in this country when the sincerity of Deputies, their belief in their religion, their adherence to its principles, are going to be measured by fulsome statements in the Dáil or outside it as to how strongly they feel in matters of this kind, and what they are or are not prepared to do in the interests of Christianity in other countries.
We are in an entirely different position to the critics in the daily newspapers, who have no purpose in view except to get a whack at the Government wherever they can, to try to sell their newspapers, to have some doctrine or other prominently headed and leaded that will work up a certain amount of feeling and will associate their particular organ with the point of view which they hope is a very popular point of view and the view of the great majority at the time. Nor are we in the position of our friends in the Opposition, whose sole duty in this debate is to criticise the Government as best they can—with quite contradictory and inconsistent arguments at times.
We have our responsibility to the people and we are prepared to stand over our action in this matter. We are prepared, when the time comes, to explain fully to the people, as we have tried to explain to the Dáil, that it is not always advisable, nor is it feasible as a general rule, for this little State of ours to take up independent attitudes, manly attitudes, as Deputy McGilligan would have us do. To the best of our ability, when the opportunity offers, when we feel it is a vital matter and that we shall not have to retreat in any way from the position that we have taken up and, when we are satisfied it is in the best interests of our country to do it, we shall not be in any way slow in taking up a manly and independent attitude.
Mr. Fitzgerald: Before the Minister spoke, I had a certain idea which I was rather hesitant to put forward because, although I was quite certain it was sound, I felt it was not quite  provable. It is clear to me since the present Government came into power that their policy in external affairs has been, roughly, to be dragged at the tail of what I would call the pink liberalism of Europe. The Minister who has just spoken has said how absurd it is for us to expect the Government to take up an independent attitude, to ask questions, to raise points even on the Non-Intervention Committee. What actually happened with regard to the Non-Intervention Committee was that on February 15th the sub-committee met and on it we were not represented. The sub-committee at that meeting came to an agreement as to the ban on volunteers and as to the scheme for providing the naval cordon around Spain. We had no representative on that sub-committee, but the Press liaison officer of the sub-committee was able to tell the Press that the whole committee would agree to it. “The full committee will consider the recommendations to-day,” says Reuter. “Their acceptance is a foregone conclusion.”
We are sitting in this Dáil to-day, not because our Government, acting as our Government, decided that we should; not because our Government, represented on the Non-Intervention Committee, agreed to a certain thing. We are sitting here because the sub-committee, upon which we were not represented, came to certain decisions and decided for us, possibly having been given a blank cheque by our Government's abdicating its own rights in the matter. The committee, on which this country was not even represented, decided that this Dáil should sit to-day and pass this Bill. That committee, through its spokesman, announced beforehand that, as far as the Irish Free State was concerned as a member of the main body, of the exterior body, of this Non-Intervention Committee, we would agree, either because it was decided we should, or because they had been given a blank cheque beforehand. The Minister for Education indicated a doctrine which to me is appalling and nationally disgraceful. Towards the  end he said that we are speaking on this matter, and taking the line we are taking on it, because a general election is coming on; that we have no policy and want to appear as the champions of Christianity.
Mr. Fitzgerald: That is a dastardly and blackguardly statement and I will say nothing more about it. When we were the Government for ten years, never at any time in any statement to the world did we suggest that we as a Government represented Christianity, solely represented it, and that the opposition to us was opposition to Christianity or to Catholicism. That was never done. When this Government came into power, one of its first acts was that President de Valera got on the end of a wireless to announce to the whole world that now in this country we had a Christian Government set out to create a Christian order, meaning that the Government which had gone out of office had not been such a Government, but that his was. That, of course, was a despicable thing to do. It was a subordination to ends, in that it was clearly, maliciously, without any charity, and with dishonesty, purporting to tell the world that it was encumbent upon a Catholic to support his Party, his venal Party, and that failure to give it support was itself something contrary to Catholicism.
This is a matter on which I personally feel very strongly—I do not care tuppence what my Party think on it— but although it was one of the supreme issues in the world, and in the Irish nation, we did not raise it at all. We left it to the Government to take appropriate action and only raised it when the Government was proposing the adjournment of the Dáil over a number of months. We left it to the last moment to do that. A movement has been started called the Christian Front. I will speak perfectly frankly. I think that what should have been done, but the attitude of the Government made it difficult, was that President de Valera and Deputy Cosgrave, representing the two big Parties in this country, should have been invited to  participate in that. Because that was not done, I personally have had nothing to do with the Christian Front because I felt that, as the official Government organ has declared war on that organisation——
Mr. Fitzgerald: I was not aware you had done so. What I am trying to do is to point out the absolute injustice of the remark made by the Minister who has just spoken. I merely wanted to point out that against one's own inclinations, rather than that there should be any suggestion that we were trying to subordinate the religious to the political motive, we have kept aloof. We only brought up the matter when this Dáil was being adjourned for a number of months, and we have not brought up the matter now. This is brought in by the Government to-day because a sub-committee of the Non-Intervention Committee decided on a certain policy and announced that those who were not on the sub-committee were to or must take certain action, and we are now taking action as decided by that committee on which we were not represented.
The doctrine of the Minister for Education is that we are like a sort of poor relation at a feast; that at the League of Nations or at any international committee our business is to go there and to keep our mouths shut; to be very thankful that we are given that very artificial honour of being there, to have no feelings in the matter, and to say “Yes” when the socialistic, pinkish, liberalistic statesmen of Europe decide what suits their interest. I remember that some time ago President de Valera made a speech which was applauded by all the Communistic, liberal, pinkish papers in Europe. If I remember rightly, he actually implied criticism of the Nazi Government in Germany and their treatment of Jews. In so far as the action of the Nazi Government in Germany towards Jews is unjust, I disclaim it and approve of what President de Valera said. But just notice. When it was a matter on that occasion of the pink liberals and  Communists in Europe wanting an opportunity of hitting at Germany, they all applauded President de Valera and President de Valera was very quick to give what was required. In the case of Abyssinia there was the same position. A terrible Fascist enemy had to be denounced, and President de Valera was not merely a tacit assenter to the doctrine of sanctions, but he was an active advocate of it. It was not a question of tacit assent. Now, in this case I have not heard—do not think I am in any way trying to justify or to draw the veil over any injustices that may have happened in Germany or making any plea for them—but I have not heard of the murder of any rabbi or the burning of any synagogue. I am not saying that the absence of these things means that justice was not outraged. On that occasion President de Valera felt it his duty—his soul could not keep quiet—to denounce what was happening in Germany. As far as Spain is concerned we have no such action.
The Minister asked how our proposal that a Minister be no longer accredited to the anarcho-Communist Government in a certain portion of Spain affects the situation. I shall give two instances. A short time ago Mr. Vogt, speaking on the B.B.C., was rather combating the suggestion that the B.B.C. showed a Red bias in the Spanish matter. He said the B.B.C. was criticised for referring to the Catholic side in Spain as rebels and to the anarcho-Communist side as the Government. He said:—
“Our Government has accredited a representative to one side and, consequently, I am bound to call those who are at war against them rebels, and bound to call those to whom we have sent an accredited representative as the Government.”
“If our Government withdraws its accredited representative from the Valencia Government, and accredits an ambassador to Burgos, then I will speak of General Franco's Government as such and of Caballero's as the rebels.”
 Some years ago, at a time when in China there were at least seven Governments of different Parties purporting to exercise authority there, the Chinese representative of the League of Nations made speeches which were rather annoying to the big Powers. One of the representatives of the big Powers, in order to shut him up, said to him:—
When we accredit a representative to a Government the Minister for Education says that that in no way implies that we approve of the policy of that Government. That is quite true. However, it implies one thing —it means that we recognise the Government as the moral person of that State; that we recognise that that Government exercises authority received from God which is binding on the conscience of the people of that country. That is what we are doing by sending an accredited representative to the Caballero gang in Spain. What do we ask? We ask that we should cease to have an accredited representative there. As for the talk about his function being to assist our nationals there, he has not been in Spain, and does not propose going there, since it was dangerous to be there. I think he had left on holidays beforehand, but there was some member of the staff there who got out as quickly as possible. I cannot say if it was with the assistance of the British Government or not. Since that time the British representation that remained there, and that was not in such a hurry out of the place, has acted for our nationals.
Consequently, I feel about the situation in Spain that it is an absolute scandal that we should have continued to have a representative with the so-called Government there. I cannot see any grounds why he should  be there. That Government does not control the major part of Spain; it controls the smaller part, and it is not an elected Government—not that I put the enormous value on “elected” that the Government Party does. That Government does not exist for the promotion of the common good of the people in Spain. All intelligent judgment indicates clearly that if that side should win in Spain, instead of promoting good human life for the people it would institute an order or disorder which is absolutely contrary to what good human life requires. Therefore, on no ground whatever should we maintain a representative with that Government, or recognise it as an authority with binding force over the consciences of the Spanish people.
This Bill proposes to extend the operation of the criminal code. It is a serious matter. To do that it requires to be justified. There has been no attempt to justify it. I am not misrepresenting the President, but he purports to know the secrets and the hearts of those gallant young men in Spain who are fighting for order, for a noble and an ancient Spanish tradition, who have risen up in arms in defence of that tradition; these splendid young men who wish to maintain the historic and the true religion of Spain, knowing that defeat means its overthrow. The President says that with most of those fighting in Spain it is only a matter of one “ism” against another “ism.” We have said that that is not true. If you like, it is the fight of Catholicism or Christianism against Atheism. The word “ism” means a sort of creed which is contrary to right reason. When the President said that most of those fighting in Spain are fighting for one ideology that is contrary to right reason against another ideology that is contrary to right, he is perpetrating a diabolical libel on splendid young men who have risen to fight for things they hold dear. That is a thing I resent. Some of my own friends, distinguished Spaniards, have been killed or brutally murdered for standing for all that is admirable in the history of Spain. The President purports to know that they are only fighting for some “ism.”
 The President says that the all-important thing is that this war in Spain should end quickly. That is not the all-important thing to me. The all-important thing to me is that the right side should win in Spain. I admit that in considering this we have to take into account contingent circumstances, and the argument that intervention brings the danger of the fight in Spain extending to Europe. One might argue as to whether it would be better to have the right side beaten in Spain rather than have the war spread to Europe. Personally, as one who recognises war in itself as an essential evil, knowing also that in certain circumstances there comes greater good from the right to resort to war, and knowing that on no account should we assist in the overthrow of religion, or the overthrow of truly human order, to be supplanted by order that is contrary to humanity, it seems to me that an argument could be put up that, even if it meant the war extending beyond the realm of Spain, we might take certain action to bring about victory on the right side there. That is an argument to put up. What are the facts of the matter? The facts are that there was a movement to make Spain Communistic or Anarchist, and that that brought about the present situation. Immediately that took place, as one has seen from letters published in the Italian newspapers from one of the representatives of Spain to one of the French Government's who interviewed four Ministers—and the account of the interview was not refuted—and certain British statesmen indicated, that amongst the volunteers fighting on the various sides in Spain possibly the largest number are French—there was an organised and steady flow of French recruits and French arms to Spain to support the Red side. We know that the only producer and the only trader and exporter in the Union of the Soviet Republics is the Russian Government. For everything produced and sold there is only one dealer and one manufacturer, and that is the Russian Government. We know that in Spain there are Russian tanks, Russian arms and equipment of all  kinds. Consequently, we know that these things have not come from private traders or from private exporters but from the Russian Government.
As far as I can follow it these people were trying to ensure the overthrow of order in Spain and to establish a nonhuman order, and it was as a counter act against that and not for some advantage that assistance was lent to what I call the right side in Spain. When it appeared that their assistance was going to be more effective than the surreptitious assistance of the other countries, then there was a proposal of non-intervention. They raised then the point that there was danger of a European war. And why? Because there are certain interests involved.
The present British Minister for Foreign Affairs just a short time ago made, to my mind, the worst speech of any British Foreign Minister since the War. Since the War Great Britain has been in the remarkably favourable position that its very circumstances made it always on the side of the angels. It was satisfied with things as they were. It was not seeking for any particular gain in any place. It wanted peace. It stood for disarmament and for everything we applaud. But a short time ago the British Foreign Minister warned the world that any probability or any act which put a great Power in force in the Iberian peninsula was a matter of immediate interest to the British Government, and not to be tolerated by them. There was a fear that, if Italy or Germany were assisting the one side in Spain, they were doing that for their own interests and that as a result Italy or Germany would receive territory or power in the Iberian peninsula which would be dangerous to France or dangerous to Great Britain. On the other hand, one can well understand that Italy and Germany might feel that they also could not tolerate a Red Government in Spain, in very close alliance or subordination to the Government of Russia or of France. It was in that that the danger of war lay. If the Italians sent over 500,000 men, and if those lies put out by the Soviet Government forced from Spain the Balearic  Islands or other parts, there would be danger to France, which France would not tolerate, and danger of a European war.
But the truth is that there is no fear that any number of men that comes from Ireland are likely to lead to the handing over of any part of Spain as additional territory to the Irish Free State. No country in Europe has any fear whatever of that. No country in Europe has any fear that by our getting into the very closest alliance with Spain our power there will be such as to endanger British shipping or endanger communications between France and Morocco. We could send 50,000 men over to Spain, and there would not be any possibility of war from that; that is to say, it would not increase the fear that the great countries in Europe have—and particularly those interested in the Mediterranean —that some rival Power will get into position and possibly control or prevent their action. The only danger of war arising out of our volunteers going out to fight in Spain is this, that by going and supporting the Franco side they might make it victorious, and that Russia or another Communist State might feel so determined to establish Communism in Spain that they would ensure this actively rather than let Caballero and his gang be beaten. That is the only significance of our action there. That is the only danger of war that our action there brings about. If that is so, if Russia is determined at any cost —even at the cost of endangering European peace—that Franco shall be beaten, then I feel it is more than ever our duty to let our recruits, if they want to, go out there and fight on the Franco side.
It is a regrettable thing that in this country there has been, for years past, a general tendency to wander away after what I call the socialistic, liberal pink propaganda of Europe. When Adolph Dolfuss, as the legitimate authority in Austria, doing his duty by his people, took action against the machine-gun emplacements in Vienna, and manned by the Socialists, I remember words in this House, from the Labour Party, I think, indicating strong disapproval of the crime of  Dolfuss in governing and in putting down organised crime in his own country. A couple of years ago when the miners in the Asturias—because Catholics became members of the Spanish Government—rose up and dynamited and burned churches, the whole liberal Press of Europe made an outcry against the crime of the Spanish Government in taking action against those gentle dynamiters and murderers. But now, when those Asturians and their allies have done acts in Spain that really one can hardly bear to contemplate, when they have murdered, destroyed and outraged all over the country, we find there is not a word to be said against it. Every excuse that can be brought forward is made for them. Yet our own Government and our own President indicated strong disapproval of what was happening in Germany. As I say, I am not for one moment going to defend injustice in Germany or anywhere else. It was quite all right at that time to indicate disapproval, but now the best interests of our diplomacy require that he should pretend to be unaware of what is happening in Spain.
We have the Minister for Education saying that when we are in the League of Nations or in international committees our business is to keep our mouths shut and let the big fellows have just what they want. I am not saying that in the Non-intervention Committee or in the League of Nations we, in isolation, could achieve anything. I am not saying we could, but I do say that this country does stand for something. It has stood up and denounced the action of Italy in Abyssinia. I remember a couple of years ago at a meeting in Trinity College, there was Lord Cecil, President de Valera, and I. Lord Cecil and President de Valera indicated strong disapproval of the League of Nations because it had allowed Japan to operate in Manchukuo. The only way the League of Nations could have pre vented that would have been by sending an army out there. I must say I had to laugh when I heard President de Valera getting up and saying how he was disgusted and disheartened by the League of Nations having allowed the Japanese to enter into Manchukuo  when I knew perfectly well if they had said, “We are not going to let Japan into Manchukuo. Everybody must come forward now, and shouder the burden of putting them out and keeping them out. Mr. de Valera, how many men are you going to send out, and how many millions of money are you prepared to contribute?” he would have said, “There is nothing doing.”
He loves to get up and make high-sounding speeches when they will win applause from the officials of the League of Nations Secretariat, from every socialistic pink Liberal in Geneva. He can always make a speech to win their applause, but at the present moment when the Irish people, by their sort of splendid intuition, realise that one of the greatest struggles in history is being fought out in Spain—it is not a matter of their sympathy; it is not a matter of mere “feeling with” as the word “sympathy” means; it is much more than that; the Irish people know in their hearts that all they regard as holy and noble is in travail in Spain at the moment and struggling against its most diabolical enemy—we are told that that is a fight between one “ism” and another in Spain. I object strongly to this Bill. I am quite satisfied that we are right in desiring, and desiring very strongly, and being prepared to go some distance to make a sacrifice in order to win the victory of the one side in Spain. I am quite satisfied also that if we refused to pass this Bill, it would not have any effect whatever towards bringing the danger of war nearer. It would have no effect whatever on that matter, because nobody is afraid that the Irish Free State, in doing so, is trying to establish a footing in Spain to exercise a position there detrimental to the interests of the great Powers. The British Foreign Minister indicated that the Spanish Peninsula must be occupied only by a weak Power, and even if the Irish Free State took it over altogether, I do not think he would feel he had much to worry about.
This Bill is brought in, as I say, because a Committee on which we  were not represented came to a certain agreement and decided that we and twenty odd others would automatically, by reason of their decision, bring in such legislation. I object to the continuance of the accredited representative to the so-called Valentia Government for the reasons I have indicated. If it means anything, it means that we recognise these bloodstained men as the moral persons of Spain, able to make laws binding upon the consciences of the people of Spain, that we recognise that they are the legitimate Government of Spain and able to speak as the international person, Spain. I deny that. By maintaining that representation there, to go back to the Chinese analogy, we recognise that they are the only legitimate government, and, as Mr. Vogt pointed out, as long as we maintain that representation, we must denounce Franco as a rebel and hail Caballero as leader of the legitimate Government, and I deny both.
Also, I think the very person we are sending, by reason of his activities, to which I have referred before, is the wrong man to send. I have pointed out here before, and President de Valera took his usual shelter of drawing on his unlimited resources of virtuous indignation to dodge meeting the point, that there is every reason to believe that the man we are sending there has himself acted as a go-between in order to get assistance from the Russian Government through Russian agents in Italy. That is the man we are choosing, most appropriately, as one might say, to represent us to the so-called Government in Valentia.
I think it is a perfect scandal that this thing should be brought in, and I think it is indicative of this, if I might repeat myself, that ever since President de Valera came in I know myself—and I saw it in the officials, and I knew it in myself—that when you go into these international assemblies where these Liberal-Socialist-Communist pinks and reds are always ready to applaud splendid Christian sentiment—hatred of war, love of disarmament, objection to aggression and all the rest of it—a man who is guided  solely by personal vanity will always try to win the applause of that crowd. For myself, I have nothing but contempt for it. I quite agree that what I stand for and what the Irish people stand for is something which is discordant with the general view of European statesmen, with the general point of view of the European Press, and, if you like, with the general point of view of the modern mind, but if this country has anything to distinguish it from other countries, it is only that it has inherited a tradition which has something of the eternal in it, that it does stand for things that transcend the mere superficial matters that occupy the minds of modern statesmen, that we have an order of values and that we recognise certain values as transcending infinitely other considerations.
In this matter whether or not there is going to be in Spain an order which is a human order, which facilitates man in securing the destiny for which he was created, or an order which is designed solely to destroy everything that is noble and everything that is moral in him, I feel that all our national traditions, all that we hold as holy and all we know to be true leaves us no option but to declare that we are on one side and whole-heartedly and unmistakably on one side. What our Government does then is blatantly to misrepresent us in the eyes of the world, to give us a certain sense of shame in the action of our own country, and it does that without any excuse. I know that people like my friend Deputy Thrift have an honest concern about the danger threatening Europe of a European war. This Bill brought in here, the Bill in France, the Bill in Italy and the Bill in England have some significance in the matter, but as far as this country is concerned, it has no relationship whatever and it has no reaction whatever on the danger or immunity to European war. It is brought in here in the most contemptible way, and we have the little dishonest methods of President de Valera, who had not the guts to say: “Yes, we are sending our representative to Valencia and there is none at Burgos.” He said: “He is going to St. Jean de Luz, and you know the geographical position of St. Jean de Luz. It is  nearer Burgos than Valencia.” One can have some respect for the man who will get up and tell a decent honest lie, but the man who will quibble and twist is beneath contempt.
That is the position as I see it. I feel that it was a scandal to bring in this Bill, and that every attempt to defend it has been based on misrepresentation and dishonesty. It is brought in, not as a Government Act, and not as a result of a formal commitment that our Government entered into in conference. It is brought in by the decision of a sub-committee of the Non-Intervention Committee on which we had no representation, but President de Valera, who wants Ireland to have some sort of freedom that belongs to no human institution whatever, is ready to accept his orders from anybody except the Irish people or anybody who might legitimately give orders to him.
Mr. Roddy: Deputy Donnelly in the course of his speech said he personally and members of his Party condemned the butcheries, the burnings and the atrocities committed by the Caballero Government or junta in Spain. If that is Deputy Donnelly's attitude, I suggest to him that the only effective way of answering that Government and the only effective form of condemnation of their actions is to support the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Sullivan. I must confess that, from Deputy Donnelly's traditions, I did expect that he was one member of the Fianna Fáil Party who would stand out by himself on this particular issue, and I certainly was under the impression that he would, to put it mildly, find it very difficult to oppose the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Sullivan. Deputy Donnelly, however, has ranged himself beside his leader, and I assume that his leader's attitude will be taken as typical of the attitude of all the other members of the Party on this subject.
The Minister for Education said that, so far as possible, the policy of the present Government was to keep as far away from international disputes as they conveniently could. I certainly think that is a very wise  policy because I do not think the Free State Government have cut a very dignified figure in their association with the big international disputes up to the present, and I do not think their attitude in connection with certain international disputes has added either to their reputation or to the reputation of this State. I do think that the proceedings here, for part of yesterday and the whole of this day, to a certain extent lack a sense of dignity. After all, here we are discussing a Bill introduced at the behest of Great Britain, or, at least, at the behest of the great Powers. Obviously the members of the Government themselves do not clearly understand the Bill. It is certain that they do not understand its implications. It is a Bill the implications of which no Deputy in this House understands. We were told that this is a Bill to give effect to certain agreements reached by the Non-Intervention Committee in London. How do we know how the arrangements or agreements reached in London are going to be made effective? We do not understand the first thing about the non-intervention machinery. We do not know what form or type that machinery will be. Even yet the members of those Governments cannot agree amongst themselves on the particular form and type of machinery which is to be set up for giving effect to the non-intervention proposals, and if we are to judge by this day's Press, not all of these Governments are in agreement on that particular question. Yet we have spent all this day and part of yesterday discussing a Bill which apparently the President and the members of the Government do not understand. At all events, it is a Bill about which, if they do understand it, they are strangely silent. It is certain that no Deputy in the House understands it. The whole trend of the discussion on the part of the Deputies who have spoken to-day centred on seeking information about the Bill, about how it is to work and what its effect in this country is to be. The question arose about its urgency or why we should bother our heads about it at all—what interest is  it of ours. The Minister for Education told us that he doubted very much if the men fighting in Spain were inspired by Christian motives, handling, as they are, the frightful instruments of war utilised by both sides in this dispute.
The Minister for Education obviously in that respect has made a peculiar statement. Is he not prepared to accept the evidence tendered to him by high Christian authorities? Is he prepared to dispute the evidence submitted by the Holy Father, by the representative of the Holy See, the Cardinal Primate of Spain? His attitude is typical of the attitude of his leader, who said yesterday that this is a war of “isms,” presumably meaning that it is a war between Communism on the one side and Fascism on the other side. Surely we have had sufficient evidence at our disposal to arrive at a decision as to the real nature of the civil war in Spain? Surely anybody who has read the evidence over a long period of years relative to the activities of the Russian Communists in Spain must come to the conclusion that their one and only object was to get a grip on the Government in Spain. Anybody who understands the doctrines of Communism cannot but realise that its central idea is to destroy religion and all belief in God. Having spent so much time and devoted so much money to propaganda in Spain, is it not natural to assume, from what has happened since the outbreak of the civil war, that they are inspired with this idea of anti-God and anti-Christ? It is well to bear in mind that many atrocities and butcherings took place before the outbreak of the civil war at all. These atrocities have since taken place on a huge scale. Does anybody who studies or observes the position, and looks at it impartially, conclude that these things could have happened through any other motive except that of destroying all traces of religion in Spain?
It is an extraordinary thing that the Minister for Education should have made the statement he made here to-day. I cannot understand the  attitude of the members of the Government on this whole question. Deputy Anthony to-day said that it should be the first duty of the Government on a question of this character to make it absolutely clear to the peoples of the world that we in this country are a Christian people and that our sympathies are entirely with the side in Spain who are fighting for Christian principles. I think the Minister for Education made no effort whatsoever to reply to the speech of Deputy Anthony. When introducing the Bill yesterday the President made no effort to justify or explain the attitude of the Government in regard to this Bill, and neither did Deputy Donnelly. Neither they nor anyone on the Government side made any effort to explain their attitude to the Government in Spain led by General Franco.
The President stated that one of the objects of the Bill was to bring the present conflict in Spain to a speedy conclusion. I would be interested to know what sort of a speedy conclusion he had in mind. The overwhelming majority of the people of this country, at all events, want the war to conclude in one way. I wonder if the President has any regard for the wishes of the overwhelming majority in this country in that respect. It seems to me that if this war does not conclude in one particular way, there is no future for Spain and no future for Europe. Because, if the Reds win, Spain will be made the jumping-off ground for the purpose of enabling Communism to make an onslaught on the other European countries.
There is one extraordinary section of the Bill which requires a great deal of explanation. That is the last section—Section 11—of the Bill. That section imposes a penalty of £500 or, at the discretion of the court, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both such fine and imprisonment. For any infringement of the Bill these penalties can be imposed for five years even after the Bill itself has expired. To me, at all events, that is an amazing section. I have never read or heard of such a penalty being imposed in the past by any legislation introduced in this  or any other country. It would be very interesting to know if Bills similar to this are being introduced and passed by the other countries concerned in the Non-Intervention Convention in London. Are similar drastic arrangements to be imposed by other Governments on their own nationals who come within the scope of such legislation?
There is no question about it that the sending of an ambassador to the Caballero Government simultaneously with the introduction of this Bill has given the impression down the country that the present Free State Government have ranged themselves on the side of the Caballero junta in Spain. That may have been an unfortunate coincidence, but, certainly, one can quite understand how the impression is being created that our Government are anxious to uphold the Caballero junta in Spain. Evidence of that is to be found in the fact that a few days ago this Government sent their representative to the nearest point convenient to the city or town in which the Caballero Government is functioning at the moment. The Minister for Education said that one of the ambassador's functions there is to protect our nationals. That is a very desirable and necessary function. But does that mean that he only protects our nationals on the one side? What about our nationals on the other side —our nationals who were fighting on the side of Franco? Irish citizens who are fighting on the side of the Red Government in Spain are presumably to receive special treatment from the Free State ambassador. Are the interests of Irish nationals who are fighting on the side of Franco to be completely ignored?
Personally I cannot see that there was any necessity whatsoever to send any representatives to the so-called Government of Caballero in Spain. After all, whatever his functions may be, they must, of necessity, be very, very small. Certainly his presence there cannot be justified. The mere fact that we are sending some few hundredweights of eggs to Spain and selling them at a price less than the price of Chinese eggs in the British market is no argument for sending an  ambassador to the Red junta in Spain. The Government are being placed, to a certain extent, in a very undignified position by the fact that a Bill of this character has been introduced and that an effort has been made to rush it through without giving the House an opportunity of discussing it properly or the country an opportunity of becoming acquainted with its contents. After all, we understood that the President was out for the complete and absolute independence of the country. Yet, in a matter of this kind, he has allowed himself to be dragged at the tail of one of the big nations. Surely that is not a very dignified position or a position which reflects credit on either the Executive Council or the State.
Mr. Brennan: Great will be the disappointment in the Saorstát when the people realise that the London talks with the Dominions Secretary have brought forth nothing but this Bill. The hopes of the Irish people were raised when the President met the Dominions Secretary in London. They thought that there was going to be a settlement of the economic dispute.
Mr. Brennan: Even at that time, I heard prophecies that this would be the result. I did not think it was so, but it shows that there were some sane people in the country at the time. I am sure the people will be thoroughly disgusted to find that the only thing that happened at the London talks was that the President was convinced that he ought to put a stop to volunteers going out to help General Franco in Spain. When Deputy Donnelly was speaking, he reminded me forcibly of an incident which happened to myself at one time. It is rather a good story. I was coming from the opening of a Catholic mission at which there was a good sermon preached. I chanced to say to another person: “That was a very good sermon.” His reply was: “It certainly was for anybody who wanted it.” Deputy Donnelly told us that the Bishops' Pastorals made marvellous reading and that it could not be denied that they were great  stuff. They were written deliberately and for a purpose but, apparently, they were not applicable to Deputy Donnelly or, as a matter of fact, to members of this House. We are exempt; we are above that. Deputy Donnelly I regard as a very honest man. I lay emphasis on “very.” I am really sorry that he finds himself in the position in which he is, and I am likewise sorry for many of the other Fianna Fáil Deputies. I know they do not like the position in which they are —and no wonder. Deputy Donnelly tells us that the pastoral of the Cardinal which was quoted by Deputy Belton was a very admirable document, but was not applicable to the members of this House and should not be brought up here. Is the Deputy not very inconsistent in taking up that line? Take the people in the lanes and roads of the country. They read the Bishops' pastorals. Deputy Donnelly believes and feels they should be influenced by them. How much more ought the legislators be influenced by them, if they apply to them? I am sorry for Deputy Donnelly and I do not wonder at the mixed feelings there are in the Fianna Fáil Party about the Spanish war when we find that a well-informed Deputy, like Deputy Donnelly, has nothing to rely upon but an article from the Sunday Express. To me, that seems extraordinary in the case of Deputy Donnelly. If there is anybody in the House who ought not to take the British Press as the basis of truth so far as Catholicity is concerned, it ought to be Deputy Donnelly.
Mr. Brennan: What I propose to quote now is not a pastoral letter, but it is a communication from a high Church dignitary of whom Deputy Donnelly has a very good opinion— Most Rev. Dr. Mannix. According to the Irish Independent of the 18/11/36 this is what Doctor Mannix said about the British Press and the situation in Spain:—
“I have never known any instance in which the British Press has taken our side and, in the troubles in Spain, the sympathies of the British Press are on the same side. The Press has been very consistent in its sympathies. It might be thought that the Press would be ashamed of what is happening in Spain but nothing will change it.”
That is the opinion of Doctor Mannix on the Press from which Deputy Donnelly quoted to-day—the British Press. I advise Deputy Donnelly that, when he wants information regarding the Church or Catholicity or anything of that sort, he ought not to go to the British Press for it. We in this country have better traditions than the British Press has. The statement by the Minister for Education—it may have been a slip on his part—that this country had a perfect right, if it desired to do so, to take individual action was worth making. We had a perfect right to take individual action. The President, Deputy Thrift and Deputy MacDermot appeared to think that if this country did not take material action in this way, it would possibly lead to an outbreak of war. Does anybody seriously think that any material action we can take would have any effect, good, bad or indifferent, on the European situation? It will have no effect whatever and nobody believes that it will. Will any action of ours have a moral effect on the civil war in Spain? I say “yes.” I say that action of ours on the moral side may have a very important effect in assisting the right side to win in Spain. We are afraid to take such action. That is the whole story. What appears to me to be really wrong in this matter is that the Government is not able to make up its mind. This country has been a great Christian country. So far as world affairs are concerned, outside Christianity we have never counted for anything and let nobody think we have. At the moment, we do not count for anything. So far as Christianity is concerned, we have counted for more than any other country. If you take any part of the world to-day and enumerate the people there on behalf of Christianity, you will find the Irish  nation first. Are we ashamed of that?
We have been a great Catholic nation, and we are not ashamed of our traditions. Unfortunately, we have in this country at the moment two Parliament functioning. One Parliament has said that it is a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people. I would not say that we here are a Catholic Parliament for a Catholic people. If you like, we are a Catholic Parliament for everybody, and to all we have shown fair play and equality. But we are not ashamed or afraid to say that the majority in this country are Catholics, and always have been Catholics. The unfortunate thing about Fianna Fáil is that they cannot make up their minds as to what is the right thing for the Government of this country to do. First of all, they ought to decide what effective action, if any, we can take, and what the effect of non-action would be as far as the Spanish war is concerned. The Minister for Education this evening repeated the President's statement last night. That statement was to the effect that the Government appeared to think that the war in Spain is a war between political-isms. If Deputy Donnelly and the people who sit with him have the respect for the Bishops' pastorals that the Deputy gave us to understand that he has, I think they should be convinced that it is not a matter of political-isms so far as Spain is concerned.
As Catholics, we must and do regard the Catholic Church as the greatest organisation in the world. When it speaks from the top it speaks with authority and with knowledge, and it does not speak without both. If the Cardinal Primate of Spain and the bishops of this country tell us that there is a certain position in Spain we know, at least, that they have knowledge of what they are talking about, and, speaking for myself, I do not want to go beyond that authority for conviction. In the first place, I have not the means of finding out the truth on these matters such as they have. If the Government here are able to convince themselves, or if they can be convinced by anybody, that the war in Spain is what the Pope, the Cardinal Primate of Spain and the  bishops of this country have represented it to be, namely, a war against Christ by anti-Christ, what should their actions be, if they are convinced of that? As Deputy McGilligan pointed out, if they are not convinced of that, if they have some evidence which convinces them otherwise, then this House is entitled to get that evidence, and it is not fair to allow the people of this country to go astray while the Government have some evidence to offer which would put them on the right path. Deputy Jordan laughs, but I do not think it is a laughing matter.
Mr. Brennan: Deputy Jordan has his own Press at his disposal. I am sure it would be only too delighted to take his signature to a letter of any extent that he might wish to send to it, informing the bishops of this country where they are wrong, a letter which would convince us if it was able to convince the bishops. The Government must make up their minds as to whether or not this war is what it is represented to be. Apparently, they have not been able to do that. The Minister for Education said that the Government declines to commit the people of this country unnecessarily. If there is a war of anti-God against God, would the Irish people be unnecessarily committed on the side of God? Does anyone in this country, no matter what his religion, maintain that they would? Has it not always been a tradition with us in this country that we have always fought on the side of God, and that our ancestors have been martyred on that side? There is no country in the world that has suffered more for the Christian faith than this. With all that evidence, I wonder why it is that Fianna Fáil cannot make up their minds on this matter. I am perplexed and puzzled to know why they cannot.
The Minister for Education said that it was not desirable for the Irish representatives in the Non-Intervention Committee to take independent action. I wonder why. He said there was nothing to prevent them doing it.  Suppose that the Irish representatives gave expression to the traditions of this Christian country and said they would withdraw our representative from Spain, a thing which they were quite entitled to do, what effect, I wonder, would that have on the other 26 nations represented there to which the Minister referred. The worst feature in all this was the statement of the President when moving the Second Reading of this Bill. He said that the people with whom he was connected on this Non-Intervention Committee previously were—he as much as told us this—people of bad faith who had already refused to carry out their obligations. We have no evidence that they are going to carry them out now either.
As far as geographical boundaries are concerned, we all know what the relations are between Spain and her neighbours. We know, too, what the relationship is between the Spanish Government and some of its neighbouring Governments, that is as far as the Spanish Government's inclinations are concerned. If we are going to prevent volunteers going from this country to fight for Spain, we ought to have some guarantee, beyond the word of people who have already let us down, that there will be an enforcement of obligations entered into on their part. There are times when people feel that the pride of race and ancestry and all that is simply hollow, and that the things we learned to be characteristic of those who went before us seem far away. This is one of the times when the Irish nation that had been so long struggling for its freedom, that thought it had found its feet, and that had found its feet, and that on the word of the President and the word of the Minister for Education had a perfect right to act individually, take its own action, and do anything it liked in this matter— this is the time when it had not the courage to do that and to do it in the cause for which our ancestors were martyred.
Now, I am convinced that the difference between the people on the far side of the House and the people on this side of the House is that we are  convinced that the war in Spain is all that the Catholic authorities say it is. That is the difference. Believing that, we feel that the action that this House is taking to-day, in bringing in this Bill to prevent volunteers going to Spain while, at the same time, we have an accredited representative to the Red Government in Spain, is bringing disgrace on a great tradition that was in this country. When the Minister for Education said that no case had been made for the amendments, I do not think he really meant that, because every speaker who spoke on our side drew attention to the fact—and it wants no pushing beyond the mere mention of the fact— that we are convinced, and the majority of the people of this country are convinced, that the war in Spain is a war between the forces of God and the anti-God forces, and that we ought not to have a representative on the anti-God side. Now, if the President would simply think over what we might do in this country and what effect our actions on behalf of Christianity and the Christian forces fighting in Spain might have—what moral effect our actions might have on the world—because, mind you, we have had and still have considerable influence on the Christian world, though from a material point of view we are very small indeed—if he and his Party would consider what effect a decision of ours might have morally, and, perhaps, by reaction and repercussions, on the material end of the war in Spain, he would probably take a different line of action altogether.
The Minister for Education, of course, told us that Deputy MacDermot had certain views on this particular matter. Deputy MacDermot appears to be a godsend to the Fianna Fáil Party when they are in a hole. It does seem rather peculiar, however, that Deputy MacDermot should endeavour to set himself up in this House to tell the people of this country that there is no Communism in this country and that the tide of Communism is on the wane. I am sure Deputy Donnelly and myself are at one to this extent at least, that when we do want spiritual teaching we will not go to Deputy MacDermot.  After all, I should much prefer taking into the House—which Deputy Donnelly objects to—even the Bishops' pastorals, and leaning on them for spiritual guidance rather than on Deputy MacDermot. Of course, Deputy MacDermot has a different opinion on Communism from what I have. His opinion is that Communism is entitled to be put forward freely on platforms all over the country. I do not agree with him at all on that. I never did agree with it. He, however, evidently thinks that that is right, and he evidently also thinks that Communism is on the wane, but the Catholic authorities do not think so, and I think that the greatest danger this country is in at the moment is to think that. We have not any guarantee whatever that in the future we will be free from the inroads of Communism, and particularly would we want to be afraid of that when we see how successful the propaganda has been even on the Government of the Irish Free State, because it has been. Either the Government of the Irish Free State, —the Fianna Fáil Party, if you like— believe that the war in Spain is what it is represented to be—that is, a religious war—or they do not believe it. If they do not believe that, they believe the Red propaganda. When it comes to the stage that people like the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, and the President, and Deputy Donnelly and all those other people are being got at by Red propaganda in that way, it looks very dangerous.
Mr. Brennan: There are times, however, when one would feel proud to be the successor of those that went before us, and there are times when one does not, and I am afraid that when the history of this country comes to be written in future years, the present period and the present incidents will not shine out on the records of Irish history and will not be creditable to Deputy Donnelly and the people who are taking up that attitude.
Dr. Rowlette: It seems to me, Sir, that there is one consideration which, in this legislative assembly or in any other legislative assembly in Europe,  when one is called upon to consider anything relating to foreign politics to-day, should outweigh every other consideration, however important such might be in ordinary conditions, and that is the consideration of the preservation of peace in Europe. It is from that point of view that I should like to come to the consideration of the Bill and the amendments before the House, and I ask myself is the Bill likely to put any weight, however small, on the scale in favour of peace, or is it likely to put some weight on the scale, which endangers peace? I would ask the same questions as regards the two amendments. I notice that the members of the Opposition who have criticised the Bill, and supported one or other amendment, have not, as far as I could see, argued anything at all against the policy of the Government in regard to non-intervention. I take it, therefore, that their policy in that respect, in favour of non-intervention, is the same as it was two months ago when a somewhat similar issue was debated here. On that occasion, the Leader of the Opposition made this important statement (column 1197, Vol. 64):—
Although there were some observations made from the Front Opposition Bench to-day and yesterday which might seem to very a little from that statement, I do not think any definite change of policy has been announced in that regard, and so we may take it that the policy of the Opposition and the policy of the Government in regard to non-intervention are identical. The main question that concerns the House is whether that non-intervention should be made more effective or left in the admittedly rather ineffective way in which it has been left for months past.
Dr. Rowlette: I will come to that. I am not losing sight of it at all. The Government has proposed a Bill which, in agreement with the great majority of the Governments of Europe—I think, almost unanimously in agreement with the Governments of Europe—is  believed to make the policy of non-intervention somewhat more effective. Admitting possible evasion, and admitting evasions that may have occurred in the past, the Opposition and Deputy Belton have put forward amendments which would tend to make that greater effectiveness, if it is to be greater effectiveness, conditional on certain actions which they press the Government to undertake. Taking the question, first, as to whether the Bill will make non-intervention more effective, one can only hope in that respect, and accept, as far as one may, the fact that a number of very competent people, with certain information not at the disposal of ordinary Deputies, like myself, have formed the deliberate opinion, after months of consideration, that such action as they propose would be more effective. It has been said that it does not make any difference whether this country joins in that action or not, that we are of no importance. On the other hand, it has been maintained that our moral example would be of great importance to the world.
I suggest that any falling away from unanimity amongst the nations in regard to non-intervention would weaken that policy and that, though our own action in the matter of the number of volunteers that would go from this country is not likely to make any great difference in the fortunes of war in Spain, the fact that there is any falling away, any schism in this unanimous opinion amongst the States of Europe, would weaken that policy and would provide a precedent for other countries which might be hesitating or thinking of falling away also. Instead of having a united policy which has hopes of being effective to some extent, we would have a policy of dissension and opposition amongst the nations of Europe in the next week or two. Small as our influence may be, the fact that we were dissidents might be a precedent for other nations to become dissidents also.
The curious suggestion has been put forward that we are so unimportant that we might do anything that no other nation dare not do, that our reputation for honesty and our dislike  of buccaneering were such that we could send an expedition to Spain without in any way involving us in a suspicion of a desire to seize other people's territory. That has been put forward by Deputy Fitzgerald quite seriously a short time ago. The important consideration is not that the expedition we might send might do no great harm, but the fact that we were able to send an expedition might induce other countries, with far greater resources in men and arms, to follow our example. Our power is small and our influence may be small, but that does not take away from the responsibility of the judgment we have to form on behalf of the State here to-day.
I have been puzzled a good deal during the debate these last two days by various things, by a great deal of the discussion which seemed to me to be irrelevant to the issues raised either by the Bill or the amendment, but what has puzzled me more than anything else is the attitude, which at first was amazing to me, that the official Opposition has taken up in regard to this question of the Spanish war. I was puzzled first on the debate here on the adjournment a few months ago, and I have been more puzzled now to account for the determined policy they have adopted. They have adopted the theory that the present contest in Spain is a contest between Fascism and Communism. It seems to me that it is possible that there is no democracy on either side, but according to his own declared policy, General Franco is the declared enemy of democracy. The main line of his whole policy is to suppress democracy, a declaration that when he is in power over Spain there will be no democracy in that country for the next five years. There will be an absolute military dictatorship. It has puzzled me that members of the Opposition Front Bench should throw their weight on the side of a political leader in any country who adopts that line of policy. This country owes much to members of the Opposition, some who are with us and some who are gone, for establishing this country on a democratic basis at a time when the principles of democracy were being challenged by those who now rightly base their claim  to exercise authority on the principles of democracy, but I cannot understand why members of the Opposition should have taken the line they have adopted on this particular question.
I agree with what has been said, and said forcibly by Deputy MacDermot this morning—that the question of the rights and wrongs of the dispute in Spain is not one on which this House is called to make up its mind. It is not one on which the Government has to make up its mind, or the President has to make up his mind. Every member of the House, every member of the community, is at liberty to form what opinion he thinks right as to the rights and wrongs of the dispute; but it is quite a different thing to suggest that it is the duty of the Government to represent the sum of the private opinions of the various members of the community in a matter which does not concern this community as a community or this State as a State. It seems to me that nothing can be more mischievous to the cause of peace at the present moment than that different States should follow the invitation given to this State to-day to ally itself on one side or another in the present dispute. If that invitation were accepted by this Government and by the Governments of other States, so that we should know what countries were backing each side in Spain, the peace of Europe would be seriously endangered.
I am not concerned, Sir, to express an opinion in favour of either of the contesting parties in Spain, or to express my sympathy with aims or objects of either party. If I confess freely that I do not know enough about the facts, I recognise that a number of perfectly honest and sincere statements have been made by people who have viewed the struggle from different sides and have formed definite opinions about it. Statements have been made which may be perfectly accurate. I am not in a position to question them. We have such statements made both by those who represent the Government in Spain and by those who represent the forces and the opinions marshalled behind General Franco. I do think it worth  while, however, to draw attention to a number of assumptions, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings which appear in much of the arguments to-day. A great deal of these assumptions and misrepresentations have been linked with the use of nicknames, such as “Reds” and “Communists.” General Franco was held up to us to-day by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney as a follower of Don John of Austria. We know that Don John fought the infidel, but General Franco has gone further and has brought in the infidel as an ally. I am not suggesting that General Franco is wrong; I am arguing against the suggestion that we should take any sides in this dispute. I am not prepared to take any sides and I do not, either in theory or practice. I am concerned that the House should not be misled by the use of nicknames which have no basis behind them. It seemed to me that misunderstanding, gross misunderstanding, has underlain a great deal of the argument to-day. We have been told that the war in Spain is a fight between Christianity and Communism. We have been told that it is a fight against the Reds, against Communism, and of theism against atheism. Deputy Dillon mentioned theism apparently to include the Moors, because he thought that all General Franco's followers could not be included under the Christian banner. Surely it must be patent to anybody that if this is a conflict between Christianity and Communism, between theism and atheism, it is not going to be settled by sword and bomb, it is a conflict that must be settled by human thought and human reason, and that so far from advancing any of these causes by taking up swords and bombs one is preventing any real solution of any of the problems involved.
We listened with great interest to most of the quotations read to us by Deputy Belton last night. In these documents, and in documents that we have been reading in the daily Press during the last few weeks, we are given the right advice as to how Communism should be combated, where it has to be combated—by taking away the abuses which were responsible for the  growth of Communism and by meeting Communism fairly, reasonably, honestly and charitably in that way. The assumption that is underlying much of the arguments we have heard to-day, that taking up the sword or dropping the bomb is advancing the cause of Christianity or Communism, or for that matter any other cause such as theism or atheism, is absurd. These things have to be fought out with human reason and not by methods of murder and massacre.
There are only a couple of points in regard to this conflict in Spain that I would like to add to what I have already said. There are certain facts which stand out, which make it difficult for one to accept the ready labels which have been attached in the various discussions that have taken place. It is a fact that, somewhere about a year ago, a Government was constitutionally elected on democratic principles in Spain. It is a fact that in the Parliament so elected there were only 15 Communists out of a Parliament of 475. It is stated, and I think with truth, that that Government was not very effective in controlling abuses, that atrocities took place which it was not able to control. The fact is that there was a Government there appointed to carry out its duties, and I think it is for the people of Spain, and not for the people of this country, or any other country, to decide whether that Government carried out its duties or not.
The second fact is that that Government was attacked by an aristocratic junta. They may have been right. I do not question the right of people to go into rebellion if abuses are connived at by the existing Government. But the composition of the forces that constitute the insurgents, the composition of the forces that are behind General Franco, certainly raises one question. The occasion of his action raises another question. It has been said that the rebellion in Spain was undertaken because of the grave abuses that existed under what is nicknamed “the Red Government,” a Government that contained no Communists. The fact, of course, is that the revolt began when  that popular Government proceeded to make certain land reforms, proceeded to bring in an Act to distribute uncultivated land in order that it might be cultivated by the peasants. That aroused the anger of the landed proprietors, as it has aroused the anger of landed proprietors in other countries with which we are, perhaps, more familiar. That was the cause; it was not the burning of churches, the assaults on religious—not abuses of that sort, but interference with the property of the aristocrats. That is what started the trouble.
I would like to read a few extracts from a statement made by a very independent observer of high standing, one who probably is as familiar with the affairs of Europe as any man in Europe, Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, a man who certainly could not be suspected by anyone of sympathy with Communism or Bolshevism or even with the pink variety that Deputy Fitzgerald talks about. He is, moreover, a man who certainly could not be regarded as sympathetic with a deliberate attack on any recognised Church. Speaking in the House of Lords on the 26th November, the day before a debate on the same topic here, he used these words—they are taken from the Official Report of the Debates in the House of Lords—referring to the composition of the insurgent forces:—
“...there is at any rate the remarkable fact that the forces which seem to be fighting are not Spanish forces except in a very small degree. There is a very small section of Fascists fighting on behalf of General Franco, and the old Carlists are fighting. Those, as far as I can learn, are the only Spanish forces that he has at his command; the rest are the Foreign Legion and the Moors. That is what I am assured, and that if there are any other troops they are, at any rate, of such limited enthusiasm that they have not been put in the front line.”
Dr. Rowlette: If Deputy Rice is suggesting that Lord Cecil is likely to be in sympathy with the Russians, he is suggesting something that will come as a surprise to Lord Cecil, if he reads it. I chose the words of Lord Cecil because I thought no more independent or well-founded observer could be chosen.
It seems to me that this House is not in a position to form any opinion as between the rights of the contesting parties in Spain. It seems to me, further, that even if it were in such a position, it would be a highly improper thing for it to do. I suggest we have no right to interfere in the domestic politics of any other country; that, however small our influence may be, we are endangering peace by any such meddling. Holding those views, I have no hesitation in supporting the Bill and voting against the two amendments. I thought it right to give my opinion and not to content myself with a silent vote on a matter on which every member of the House should form an independent opinion and should not allow himself to be led away by false nicknames, misrepresentation and misunderstanding.
General MacEoin: I have very great admiration for Deputy Rowlette's sincerity and for his ability, but surely he cannot be serious when he suggests that this learned English lord is an authority upon events in Spain, or the composition of the forces and that he is unbiassed and unprejudiced when he sets out to give a description of the forces engaged on both sides and he merely gives a description of one? With all due respect to the Deputy, we have had authorities quoted here to-day which I am prepared to accept before the learned lord. I would much rather accept the view of the Cardinal Primate of Spain as being impartial than any other person who has yet been quoted—and I am accepting that view. I do not wish to say much on this Bill, but it surprises me in many ways. Some years ago the present Government, when in Opposition, were shocked at the rushing through of a Bill that they said was going to infringe the rights of certain people in this country. But that Bill had to pass through two Houses. We are now  going to put one through which gives just as much if not more far-reaching powers than even that Bill gave because it is not only retrospective, but even after it has ceased to be in force people can still be punished for something that took place either before or while it was in operation.
The President, in introducing the Bill, was hardly fair to himself or to the Irish people. He said that the main object of the Bill was to end the war quickly—that the Irish people had no regard to how it ends. That is not so. We are deeply interested as to how it is going to end. I believe that the President also is interested in how it is going to end. I do not charge him with being anxious that the Red Government in Spain should succeed. Deputy Rowlette told us that Deputies on these benches had done much for democracy and that democracy is a very high ideal—that it is the highest ideal. That is untrue. It is not the highest ideal. It is true that it is a very high ideal, but there is one higher, and considerably higher. I repudiate the right of any Government to deny me the right of freedom of conscience, whether that Government be the most democratic that can be elected or not. As far as I am concerned, as an ordinary plain Irishman, not much of a Catholic perhaps, but the best I can be, I will resist by every means at my disposal any attempt to interfere with my right to exercise freedom of conscience and to exercise the creed in which I believe.
The people of this country have shown in no uncertain way where their sympathies lie. Deputies may sneer at Deputy Belton and at the Christian Front movement as they like, but this is true, that the people of the country flocked to it and are flocking to it simply because it has as its object the helping of the wounded in Spain on one particular side and the maintenance or strengthening of Christianity in this country and, as far as it could, all over the world.
Under this Bill, the simple virtue of charity cannot be exercised by sending ambulances with certain first-aid units to Spain except under licence from the Minister for Justice. It is in keeping with the whole Fianna Fáil  policy of interference with everything that they should not interfere in. To come down to ordinary mundane matters, you cannot get a half-stone of Indian meal without a licence. That is their whole mentality, their whole policy. Why should Red Cross units not be excluded from this Bill? Why has the Minister for Justice to be brought in to allow people to perform an act of charity? There is no question, as I have said, that the overwhelming majority of the Irish people, whether Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour, regard General Franco as the defender of Christianity and Catholicism in Spain, even though he has Moors to assist him. When Queen Elizabeth's hordes were cutting off the heads of our people here, if Moors or anybody else could have been got to assist this country at that time they would have been welcomed. During the civil war period, when we were in a certain position we were told we must be wrong because we had ex-British soldiers, ex-Unionists, or some people like that, to help us. The very fact that we had them to help us meant that we were wrong! That is nonsense. If men are prepared to give their lives for any cause we should give them the benefit of the doubt—give them the credit of doing what they think is right at any rate.
I do not think I should let this opportunity pass without saying something in reply to Deputy MacDermot's references to General O'Duffy. I hold no brief for General O'Duffy but I will say this: that when this country needed the services of General O'Duffy he did a man's part. If people like Deputy MacDermot sneer at what he did then or now I think that it ill-becomes Deputies to let it pass, no matter on which side of the House they sit.
Whether we approve of General O'Duffy's actions or not, we must recognise that he has organised and succeeded in getting to Spain a certain number of Irishmen. Personally, I thought he would not be able to do it. We must pay tribute to the fact that he has done it and that he has organised it well. The least we can  say of his brigade is: “May it uphold the glories and honours of this country while it is in Spain.” Deputy MacDermot says that if General O'Duffy's military abilities are only equal to his statesmanship as a politician, he does not hope for much results. I think I can leave that alone. It hardly requires any comment. But I think it was insolent and cheeky on the part of Deputy MacDermot to make a statement like that about General O'Duffy and men of his type in the Parliament of the Irish nation that they helped to establish.
We are told that the amendment does not make any difference, that the appointment of an ambassador or a Minister to a Government does not give recognition to that Government or show that we support it. I should like to ask members of the Fianna Fáil Party, and particularly those in the Government, when the first Minister was appointed to the Irish Free State, what resolution was passed by them? What telegrams did they send to the American Minister when he arrived here? What were their views as to the recognition of the Cosgrave administration, as they called it, then? Why have they changed so rapidly in their opinion about what sending a Minister to a Government means? At that particular time they were very clear and definite about it. Now it does not mean anything. It does not mean recognition of that Government; it only means recognition of that people. Did they not see that then, or has there been a conversion?
If we have committed ourselves to the policy of non-intervention, while I do not say that we should go back on our word, I submit that the sending of a representative or a Minister back to Spain recently, even though he is a distance away from it, is giving a wrong impression not only of the people but, in my opinion, of the Government. The Government is not fair to itself when it does that, and in accepting the amendment they will be doing something which will make the matter clear beyond all doubt. I am sure that the President does not wish Communism to succeed. I am sure he admits that General Franco should not be denied support because he  happens to have Moors and others amongst his forces. The best way to show his own, and the Irish people's place in this struggle, is for the President to accept the amendment. I do not want to make any political capital out of this matter, and I am perfectly satisfied that no member of my Party wants to do so.
That brings me again to protest— although I hardly think a protest is necessary—against Deputy MacDermot's phrase, “cashing in on Christianity.” I know thoroughly well that Fianna Fáil would prefer if Deputy MacDermot were on this side of the House when he talks in that way, because I see the pleasure Fianna Fáil would have if the Deputy used such phrases from these benches. That would be certainly something they would “cash in” on. I would not blame them if they did. In my opinion, this is a situation in which there should be no political “cashing in”; it is one in which we should do what we think is the right thing. I believe firmly in my heart that if we pass this Bill without the amendment, it will show to the world that we are more in favour of the Caballero Junta than the other side: that we accept the point of view put forward here this evening by Deputy MacDermot, Deputy Rowlette and people who think like them, as against the information conveyed to this country by the Cardinal Primate of Spain. I will not do that. I am going to accept the statement of the Cardinal as against anybody else, and I ask the Dáil to agree with me.
Mr. McGuire: We heard from Deputy Rowlette, who represents Dublin University, a very extraordinary speech. I may say that extraordinary as that speech was, there is this much to be said about Deputy Rowlette that, at least, he had the decency and the manhood to get up in this House and tell it what way he was going to vote on this measure, and on the amendments. This debate began at 8.30 p.m. last night, was resumed at 10.30 this morning and has been in progress all day, yet, apart from  the cursory opening by the President, one short speech from a back-bencher, and a contribution later in the day from the Minister for Education, we have had no assistance, good, bad or indifferent, as to what view the Government really takes of Deputy O'Sullivan's amendment as a condition for giving the Bill a Second Reading. Deputy Rowlette had the decency to tell us what his views were. He said that he had not fully gone into the facts of the case, and that he had not studied them sufficiently to be able to come to a conclusion as to which side in the conflict in Spain was right or wrong.
I do not believe that the Deputy meant that, because it was clear as he proceeded that he had extraordinarily definite views on the question as to who was right in the Spanish conflict. There was absolutely no doubt that the Deputy had made up his mind that he was anti-Franco, whatever else he was. That emerged clearly from his speech. I should like to ask the President if it is his intention to reply at all on this debate, or to make any further contribution to it.
Mr. McGuire: Then I will not be responsible for the President not having time to reply. When he is replying I should like him to tell the House where Fianna Fáil really stands on this question, and what opinion they hold about the conflict raging in Spain. In his opening statement the President said that he had no doubt at all about where the sympathies of the Irish people lay, but not many weeks ago we had it from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, that there was a fight going on in Spain between the forces of democracy and Fascism, and that Fianna Fáil had no use for Fascism. Is that the President's view or is it the view of the Fianna Fáil Party?
Mr. McGuire: I will give the Deputy a full opportunity of making his points in a few moments. He will have the opportunity of making them in an orderly way, and of behaving himself. I would like to find out from the President, who is the proper person to inform the House on a matter of this kind, what the views of the Fianna Fáil Party are about this Spanish conflict.
Is he of opinion that the majority of the Irish people believe—as I think they do believe—that the Franco forces are the forces of Christianity, and that the forces opposed to them are the forces of Communism and irreligionism? Does the President take the view that the forces of Franco are forces which should be supported by the majority of the people of this country? Is he of the view that they are, in fact, supported by the majority of the people of this country? If he is, why is he hiding behind a smoke-screen which he himself has created for the purpose of evading an answer to that question? Where does the Fianna Fáil Party stand in this matter? We have had no reference, good, bad or indifferent, either from Deputy Donnelly or from the Minister for Education, as to why they will not accept the amendment proposed by Deputy Professor O'Sullivan. We are discussing here three things at the moment. We are, first of all, discussing the Non-Intervention Bill. Of course, that has the support, I take it, of the whole House, except, perhaps, that of Deputy Belton. I take it that we are all agreed that there should be non-intervention in the Spanish civil war. Deputy Professor O'Sullivan put forward an amendment that before giving  this Bill a Second Reading we should break off relations with the Madrid Government. Now, what does that mean? It means simply this, that the majority of the people of this country have made up their minds that the Madrid Government represents the forces of Communism, of Bolshevism and of anti-Godism, and that this country as a Catholic and Christian country—do not call it a Catholic country if you do not like; call it a pro-God country—will not any longer have any relations with that Government of Spain constituted as it is at present. That is the simple issue raised by the amendment put forward by Deputy Professor O'Sullivan.
What is the President's view on that? He is apparently of opinion, in view of his intended rejection of this amendment, that we should go on recognising this Government; that, notwithstanding the fact that the majority of the people of this country have made up their minds long ago as to the merits of the dispute that is going on in Spain, we should continue to give recognition to this anti-God Government. That is the only meaning that I can see which can possibly be given to the Government's attitude on this amendment of Deputy Professor O'Sullivan. Will the President tell us, when he is replying, whether in fact it is his view that the conflict which is at present going on in Spain is simply a conflict, as he himself said, between “isms.”
Mr. McGuire: I am reminded by the President's interruption of a point which the Vice-President made here a short time ago. I think you, Sir, will allow me to make this point by way of analogy. We on this side of the House were referring to the fact that the Government had promised full de-rating to the farmers of this country. That point had been made several times on this side of the House and the Vice-President had shaken his head. When he stood up to reply he made this point; he said, “When we went to the country we told them that £2,000,000 would be available for de-rating. We only said it would be available; we did not say it would be availed of.” That was the point which the Vice-President wanted to make, and about which he was shaking his head. I think the President's point now about his “isms” and the way in which he put it, is precisely on all fours with that point. The President made it perfectly clear here last night that his view was that this was merely a war between Fascism and democracy.
Mr. McGuire: I depend on my own hearing for having got the substance of it at least. I may not be right in the actual words I used, but the President made the point that the conflict at present going on in Spain was a conflict  between one “ism” and the other.
Mr. McGuire: I am not going to make any prophecies about the President. I should be a very rash man to do that. If I were to prophecy that he would adhere to the proposition that two and two make four I would be an extremely rash man, having on several occasions witnessed his efforts to make it five.
Mr. McGuire: The President is always speaking of the aspirations of the Irish people. We are always being told by the President—that is, of course, since 1926—that what the majority of the people want is something which they must get. He told us here in the Dáil last night that there is no doubt whatever as to where the sympathy of the majority of the Irish people is at present. Now, I would ask the President to clarify this point at least? Of course, if I make a statement now that when he said that he meant that the sympathy of the majority of the Irish people is with General Franco, I may be met with an immediate rebuttal; so I will not say that. I will simply ask the President to tell us where he thinks the sympathy of the majority of the Irish people is. But merely assuming, for the purpose of argument, that when he said that he meant that their sympathy was with General Franco in the conflict which is at present going on,  why does he not do what the majority of the Irish people must want as a corollary to that, namely, the breaking off of relations with the Government which is opposed to General Franco?
I will tell you now, as a last word, what I think is the true reason for all this obstinacy in this matter. It is something, of course, over which the President will develop a broad grin when I say it, but it is really at the root of this matter. Our paths have undoubtedly parted at some point. There are people on that side of the House at the moment who take the view that relations with Spain should not be broken off. I have seen them laugh several times during the course of the day when it was suggested that their sympathies were anywhere except with General Franco. For instance, when Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney suggested that their sympathies were with the Reds there was loud laughter. I take it that that was laughter of derision. Perhaps I am wrong in that again, but I assume that for the moment to save myself from further interruption. I was saying that our paths have undoubtedly parted. We take the view that relations should be broken off. We have always adhered to that view. The Fianna Fáil Party, apparently, takes the view that relations should not be broken off. If you go back along the line from the points at which we now find ourselves, and try to find where the pathways did part, it is extremely difficult to find it, because you have got to go back almost to the outbreak of the Spanish civil war. I will tell you where you will find it. You will find it is the attitude of the Irish Independent towards this civil war. They took the view that Franco was right, and immediately the Irish Press, true to form, took the opposite view. That is the only real explanation of the antagonism of the Government to the forces of Franco at the moment.
Mr. V. Rice: I agree with the observations  made by Deputy MacEoin as to Deputy Rowlette's speeches in this House. I have listened to him on a number of occasions, and I have listened to him with great pleasure. I was amazed, as Deputy MacEoin was, in listening to his speech this evening. I have heard him make speeches before, and express views with which I disagreed, but that did not prevent me from admiring the speeches he made, but, as I say, I was amazed at the speech he made this evening. He told us that we should not make up our minds as between one side and the other in this Spanish struggle, and if there was one thing apparent in Deputy Rowlette's speech, it was that not only had he made up his mind, but that he had made up his mind with a blind prejudice in favour of one side against the other. He asked us if this Bill, or these amendments, were likely to bring any weight into the scale in favour of peace, and he said he did not think they were. I do not think they are either, but there is a spiritual value in things which this nation has always had regard to, and the spiritual value in this case is, whether we are able to help or whether we are not, that we, the Irish people, should be on the side of religion, Christianity and justice, as against Communism and the policy of the Reds in Spain and in Europe.
Deputy Rowlette quoted that very eminent gentleman, Lord Cecil, and if I were not speaking in the Parliament of the Irish people I might express in plain English my opinion of that eminent member of the House of Lords. I am not going to do so. He quoted him as saying that it was very difficult to test the composition of the Franco forces—that there was a very small section of Fascists and Carlists among them, and that the others were foreign legionaries and Moors. In answer to a question from me, he informed me that the statement as to the composition of the Franco forces made by Lord Cecil was not accompanied by any statement as to the composition of the forces on the other side. He told the House that General Franco has brought in the infidel as his ally. He is referring, of course, to the Moors.
 I should like to know if Deputy Rowlette was given the choice of associating with a Moor, who believes in God and worships God, or associating with the Russian Reds, what would be his choice. I should like the Deputy to tell us what his choice would be. Would he associate with the Russian Bolshevists, who not only have no religion themselves, but refuse to allow their fellow-citizens to have any religion, and who refuse to allow the children in their country to worship God? Would the Deputy prefer association with these gentlemen to association with the Moors, who say there is no God but God, and Mohammed is his prophet? They worship the same God as we do and they believe that the great prophet of God was Mohammed. The Irish people believe in Christ, but the Moors worship the same God as we do. The Russian Bolshevist, whom Deputy Rowlette passes over with charitable silence this evening, worships no God at all.
Deputy Rowlette has told us that we should not make up our minds between the two sides. I think there is a great deal of force in that argument, and, personally, I must say that for a very considerable time after this struggle in Spain began, I refrained, on reading the propaganda of both sides, from making up my mind until something definite happened that enabled me to make up my mind. I am aware, and we are all here aware, that it is a tradition of the leaders of our Church to be extremely conservative in expressing opinions on events that happen. They do not take sides unless they feel they are compelled to express opinions, and they certainly do not issue statements without having verified them to the fullest extent. I was able, then, to make up my mind when the Cardinal Primate of Spain and other Church authorities expressed views on this subject, because I was satisfied that these eminent dignitaries would not express an opinion without having completely satisfied themselves as to the facts on which their information was based. I see on the other side a statement quoted by reputable authorities, news agencies, as to the views of President Caballero, and  President Caballero certainly has a very nice dislike for clerics of every description and has certainly shown a firm determination that he is going to have nothing to do with them, and that Spain is going to have nothing further to do with them, if he wins in this struggle.
I would have thought, too, that Deputy Rowlette, before he formed his views on this subject, and before he took sides in such a definite and partisan way with the Reds, might have been influenced by the opinion, for instance, of people around him. I have the honour of knowing as personal friends a very large number of our people who are co-religionists of Deputy Rowlette. I have not found a single one of them to express the views I have heard him express here to-night on this subject.
I would have thought too, that Deputy Rowlette might have been influenced in forming an opinion as to the rights and wrongs of this struggle in Spain by considering the kind of people who went out there from our own community to fight for the Reds. Who were they who did go there to fight for the Reds? A number of people who are known in this country as notorious Communists went out to fight and are fighting on the side of the Reds in Spain. Was it hatred of the Moors that brought them there? Was it love for democracy that brought them there? They are there anyway, and Deputy Rowlette might have taken that fact into account before he made up his mind. The Deputy told us that the struggle in Spain is caused by the division or the proposal to divide uncultivated land. Now that is a very nice expression, and I must say that Deputy Rowlette is very innocent when he uses such an expression. I am not doubting his sincerity. But when he quotes for us a statement that the civil war in Spain was caused because the Government that contained only ten Communists proposed to divide the uncultivated land, I suggest to him that any person who swallows that story is indeed a very innocent person.
Mr. Rice: I am not good at logic, but I must confess that I see small distinction and little difference between the two statements. Whether you call it the cause of the outbreak or the occasion of the outbreak of the civil war in Spain does not make very much difference. I think the ordinary man in the street will not quibble very much as to whether you call it the cause or the occasion of the civil war. I think the ordinary man in the street, on hearing what the Deputy has said, would say that Deputy Rowlette had said that the war was started by the proposal to divide uncultivated land. I agree with the view that I think Deputy Rowlette was putting forward when he said that the passing of this Bill or adopting this amendment, is not going to weigh down the scales on either side in Spain very greatly in either direction. But I do think that that is not the consideration that ought to weigh with us in determining what our attitude on this question should be.
I doubt very much if the members of the Government Party would maintain that the great majority of the people of this country are not in favour of the view that we on this side of the House are taking. Non-intervention, of course, is highly desirable. Non-intervention means neutrality. Are we showing complete neutrality and impartiality, as between the two parties who are contending in Spain, when we recognise the Bolshevic Government which is carrying on the anti-Christian war in Spain? We recognise that Government by having our representative there. There is no use in drawing distinctions that it is the Spanish people we are recognising. We are not recognising the Spanish people, because three-fourths of the territory of Spain at the present time is under the occupation of General Franco's forces and supporters.
I do not want to fall into the error that Deputy Rowlette has fallen into of accepting everything I read from the news agencies, but there is some reason for the belief, at all  events, that if it were not for the highly efficient, up-to-date equipment furnished to the Bolshevic Government in Spain by Russia, that struggle in Spain would have been over long ago. But we, by our recognition of the Red Government, take sides against General Franco and the people of Spain who are behind him. Dr. Rowlette has told us that General Franco is going to do away with democracy in Spain for a period of five years. He is going to do away with democracy in Spain, not only for five years, but for ever, so long as you define “democracy” as the Red Government and their present supporters in Spain. There is no use in attaching labels to people and calling them democrats and calling other people something else. The Red Government in Spain and their Party and supporters describe themselves as democrats. Therefore, when General Franco says he is going to get rid of these fellows, Deputy Rowlette tells us that he is going to get rid of democracy.
Mr. Rice: I know the Deputy did. General Franco is going to get rid of the kind of democracy they have at the present moment in that part of Spain that he is not occupying. As General MacEoin said here this evening, this is a matter out of which no political capital should be made. I think the Government and the Opposition ought to rise to something better than that. I think we ought to remember the traditions of this people as a Christian nation—I refuse to accept the more limited word Catholic. We ought to remember our traditions, and if we do remember our traditions there is only one thing we can do and that is to dissociate ourselves from the rabble who are ruling the eastern part of Spain under the name of a Government.
Mr. McMenamin: I, for one, approach this matter with very considerable diffidence. There has been a number of things said here to which it is imperative we should give our  personal reprobation. To these some things said here to-day I wish to give a flat and absolute denial. They are things that have nothing at all to do with the Bill before the House. I sat here—and to my amazement I heard Deputy MacDermot charge the Party to which I belong—and this is one of the reasons why I intervene in this debate—with cashing in on Christianity. For myself, at all events, since the very first day of this unfortunate conflict in Spain I have never had such a thought in my mind and I treat the statement of the Deputy with the most absolute contempt. I believe that there is nothing more tragic than civil war in any country. I think outside people should scrupulously avoid any interference. I again characterise the charge made by Deputy MacDermot, against myself, for example, of cashing in on Christianity, as a gross lie. I resent that charge and I resent it so much that I cannot find language adequate to give expression to that resentment.
I was astonished at the amazing statement made by Deputy Rowlette that this is a fight between democracy on the one hand and Fascism on the other hand, implying thereby that the Party to which I belong has ceased to be democratic. I wish to tell Deputy Rowlette and anybody who thinks with him that, so far as I am concerned, this Party is entirely democratic. But I would a thousand times prefer to see the Party to which I belong entirely abolished and driven out of public life than to think for one moment I would be associated with or give countenance in any way to a Party that was attempting to cash in on Christianity. Deputy Rowlette has, I am sure, gone much more deeply into this question than his speech would lead one to believe. If this were a question merely of democracy versus Fascism, I should not trouble about it. That would be a domestic matter for the people of Spain. But the issue in Spain is not democracy versus Fascism. Whether the camarilla in authority is called Fascist or democratic, I am not concerned to inquire. I do not mind what political labels parties or individuals attach to one another in Spain. A few days ago I opposed in this House  action by this Government by which we would be bound by an international agreement which the other parties could ignore when it suited them. Is this Bill going to be enforced? It is farcical to suggest that, when this Bill becomes law, we can enforce it. It is just as farcical as was the position in regard to the Bill I opposed last week. Whatever Government is concerned it will not be able to enforce this Bill. There is nothing more scandalous, in my opinion, in the record of international politics than the behaviour of the parties to the international agreement which was arrived at by the Non-Intervention Committee.
This Government honestly and bona fide entered into that pact and observed it. Having regard to the behaviour of the other parties to that pact, the Government should tell them that they can take what action they like but that they will not fool them any more. That non-intervention pact was religiously observed by us but it would be a waste of time to comment on the manner in which it was treated by the other signatories.
My action on this Bill is not influenced by the alleged issue of Fascism versus democracy; it is dictated by quite another consideration. There is only one issue involved in Spain and that is Christianity or Atheism, by which I describe Communism. It is known that our representative in Spain was recalled. I understand that he has been here for some months. Knowing what has happened, one would expect that when he was here he would have been kept here. When he was in Spain, I admit it was rather difficult to recall him but if I were head of a Government I would recall him. If he were here, and if I had his reports before me, I certainly would have kept him here. But he has been sent back. Where and to whom? It would take a long time to trace the philosophy which brought about the present position of affairs in Spain. Deputy Rowlette tells the House that the raison d'être of the conflict in Spain is the division of land. How innocent. It reminds me of the attitude of the British Government. They say: “feed both  sides of the conflict with food, arms, money and ammunition and let them fight there but do not let them come near England.” I feel rather cynical about the speech of Deputy Rowlette. Deputy MacDermot held up Lord Robert Cecil as a model to this House. The Cecil family are amongst the chief families who have kept the peoples of the world at one another's throats for England's purposes. The Cecils are the mainspring of British foreign policy. They are the chief influence in British foreign policy, the Church of England and the Government of England. Down through the ages, Lord Robert Cecil's ancestors have gathered and turned hordes of savages upon the Christian peoples of the world. I was surprised to hear a learned gentleman like Deputy MacDermot quoting Lord Robert Cecil as a model for this House. Deputy Rowlette is shocked at the idea of the Moors fighting anywhere. I wonder would he be shocked if the Moors were fighting on the side of Caballero. Did he inquire as to the antecedents of the persons against whom the Moors are fighting? There would be easy proof as regards the antecedents of this band of gentlemen which calls itself a government and at whose court our representative is to appear. Have the Government made any inquiry as to the composition of this camarilla? One gentleman and 14 of his supporters have been Cabinet Ministers in Spain since the inauguration of the civil war. It is solely due to the revolutionary power that he exercises that 14 of his nominees have been Cabinet Ministers. This gentleman operated as a croupier in a gambling house. I do not know much about gambling houses but I think that the croupier is the type of gentleman who puts the pea under the thimbles. He lost that position. But, apparently, he lost that position and had to become knocker-out of this gambling house.
Mr. McMenamin: When I state that, Deputies will appreciate how bad his reputation had become. In Spain he fought, I think, seven duels, but so  bad did his reputation become in Spain that the Spanish people, or a considerable portion of them, turned against this gentleman and he had to get away to South America. After some considerable time there he returned and settled in Catalonia. He got a broad-rimmed hat for himself with some ribbons indicating what the national colours in Spain are. He got a huge wide pair of pants which he had striped with the national colours. I want to give Deputies a full description of this gentleman. He also grew a very pronounced moustache.
Mr. McMenamin: He then burst forth as a leader, as a Spanish patriot in Catalonia. He had all the elements to play on that go to the making of a demagogue. Apparently he was an astute enough psychologist to know that he was stepping into the midst of a spirit that was abroad, plus the activities and propaganda and the vast sums of money spread by Russia. He had the ground well prepared for him. The waves were, so to speak, coming in behind him, until in the end he became a hero. This was the gentleman who was a croupier in a gambling house. Having lost that position he became the knocker-out in it, and afterwards became notorious fighting duels. So bad was his reputation that he had to flee from Spain to South America, from which he returned after some considerable time. I have given the House his history. On his return to Spain he became a member of the Cabinet, and so great was his power, apparently, in the country that fourteen of his nominees became Cabinet Ministers.
If the war in Spain was a domestic matter it would not annoy me very much, but I submit to the House that  it is not. It was this gentleman and about half a dozen others who brought about the present condition of affairs in Spain. I say emphatically that the real cause of the civil war in Spain, despite all that Deputy Rowlette has said, did not arise in Spain. The civil war in Spain is mainly and directly due to Russia. We had Lord Robert Cecil quoted to us by Deputy McDermot. I do not know of anything more debasing than the conduct and history of the Cecils in foreign affairs. It is almost impossible to conceive anything more contemptible than their conduct in that sphere. I think that any Irishman who has any respect either for himself or the past history of his country should not mention the name of Cecil in this House.
The Cecils belong to a nation which, 20 years ago, gathered up all the blacks and yellows and greens in the shape of human beings that they could find all over the world and brought them to France to fight in the name of small nationalities. The Cecils and the nation they belong to did their best to throttle this country when striving for the achievement of her national aspirations. In spite of all that we had Deputy MacDermot quoting the Cecils as models for us. He wants us to approve of the Cecils, while making an attack on General O'Duffy. I think that all the members of this House, irrespective of what side they sit on, are well aware of the national record of General O'Duffy. He was a man that I did not know until he joined this Party. I did not know him in the way that I have known Deputy Donnelly. I know him for the last 20 or 25 years, but I did not get to know General O'Duffy until long after he had joined this Party. But this has been a principle with me in my private and public life: that if I know a man, irrespective of the country or Party he belongs to, and particularly if he is a brother Irishman, I will not allow anybody to traduce him or defame him. If, for instance, Deputy MacDermot were to make an attack on an opposing Deputy I would not allow him to do it if I could prevent him. We have the Cecils paraded before us for our admiration. It can be said of General O'Duffy that with men sitting on both  sides of this House he did his part in winning national freedom for the country, and he and they did that in spite of the Cecils.
Deputy MacDermot says that we are cashing in on Christianity and asks us why we do not take our philosophy from the Cecils. There is one thing that I do want to tell the President, and it is this: that the country expects the Government to cut adrift from the Spanish junta. I am speaking in this debate lest my silence might be misunderstood in my constituency. There is no thinking man in the country, lay or clerical, who has any doubt as to the issue involved in this war in Spain. I want to pay this compliment to the Caballero junta that what is going on in Spain to-day is not really due to them but to Moscow. Moscow got its propaganda across, and when this war broke out everyone was shocked and horror-stricken and sympathised with Spain, that great old nation which was being rent and ravaged by a civil war, but everybody could see what was involved then. On the world side, if you like, it was an anarchist junta that got hold of the Government and overthrew the constitutional Government there, and the present Government there is no more a representative or elected Government of Spain than I am the Government of Spain.
The world saw that it was a revolutionary junta there that got control, and world opinion, in the main, was against that junta; but then the junta in Spain, assisted by the Russian Ambassador there, plus the assistance they got from Russia, with the active assistance of their propaganda, enabled them successfully to put it across the world that the issue now is the issue that Deputy Rowlette and Deputy MacDermot would ask this House to believe, and that is that it is Fascism on the one side and democracy on the other. Let me repeat to this House that that is not the issue in Spain. I want to see General Franco win.
Mr. MacDermot: If the Deputy would allow me to correct him, I want to remove altogether from his mind the idea that I suggested that the issue in Spain was between Fascism and  democracy, or even between Fascism and Communism.
Mr. McMenamin: Is it not clear what issue is being fought out in Spain? Is it not easy to see why the outbreak occurred in Spain and why it occurred at the particular time it did? Had the outbreak succeeded in Spain, what would be the position in Western Europe to-day? The magazine was quite ready to be fired in France. It would be absolutely impossible to pre vent it spreading to Portugal, and the whole of Western Europe would now be caught in the meshes of a civil war. So far as this conflict has been confined to the borders of Spain, I am very glad, and if our participation in this pact has rendered any assistance in the confining of the conflict to the borders of Spain, I am very glad, but I say that we add nothing material to it. I say that the way in which these Powers, having got the head of this Government to join them in a pact, have behaved since, is a scandal. They openly, barefacedly, and unabashedly, threw all their forces from one side to the other. How does the President mean to suggest to this House that, so far as he is concerned or in so far as the citizens of this State are concerned, that pact will be enforced or the agree ment will be enforced? Does anybody think that France and Russia, on the one hand, will not continue to put, down through Portugal or otherwise, all the resources at their command to assist the Red Government, or, on the other hand, does anybody deceive themselves to the extent of believing that Hitler and Mussolini will not throw all the resources at their command on to the side of General Franco?
This Bill is rather vague, so far  as the definition clauses in it are concerned, and so far as doing anything outside this country is concerned. It is quite possible that I would not have intervened in this debate at all had it not been for a sectional clause here. Whether it was meant or not, or whether it was put in by an oversight—and I expect that the President, as Minister for External Affairs, is better informed on this matter than the House is, and certainly better informed on the matter than I am—it is clearly admitted or implied in this definition section that there are two Governments in Spain. The clause I refer to says that the word “belligerent” means one of the Governments, or organisations in the nature of Governments, between whom the war is being waged. The clear implications of that are that there are two Governments in Spain. As I say, I do not know whether that was meant or not, or whether it is the intention to permit it to remain in the Bill, but I certainly think that if the President is going to allow our representative to remain there as representative of anybody, and certainly accredited to some Government, the singular should be used there and not the plural, because I think that, if there are two Governments there, we should send representatives to both or to neither of them. I do not think we can logically justify ourselves there, while the Government at the same time claims it is non-partisan in this matter.
The whole philosophy of Communism is being fought in Spain. The question of the land, the division of land, the ownership of property, has passed completely out of the matter. I felt rather stung by the insinuation or the implication in Dr. Rowlette's statement when he referred to the division of land and the question of the ownership of property. He did not go far enough to explain it, although I felt I could draw the implication that he intended; but for the reason that he did not go far enough, I shall let it pass. There is, however, an implication in his statement arising out of the propaganda that is being used against  Catholic organisations in Spain. That is the propaganda that is being used and sent forth by the Communists and all these Communistic elements that back them up. However, as I say, since Dr. Rowlette did not proceed with that, I shall just let the matter remain at that. If I felt that it was necessary for me to deal with it, I would do so.
As I was saying, the whole issue in Spain is not that they are against Catholics—they could not be, of course, because there are Catholics on both sides—but the real issue and the one enemy in Spain is clerics and clergymen and all these Catholic organisations. It is not land or property or wealth or the distribution of wealth. It is a war, on the one side, to do away with anything that represents religion—clergymen, churches, crucifixes, or anything else connected with religion. That is the issue. The pretext at the beginning was the priests and the nuns. They glorified in the fact that they were eliminating them from Spain. At whose behest was that? I am not going to go so far as to charge that against Caballero and his colleagues. I submit that that came directly from Russia. I have studied the lives of these men who were in charge, so far as they are Spanish, and in regard to one of these gentlemen I must say that at one time I could not make him out, from what he was saying, as anything but a pure anarchist. With regard to the others, so far as their past lives are concerned, I could not go so far as to say that, but I do say that the philosophy of the Kremlin has got an absolute grip on Spain. So far as the Kremlin is concerned, the idea is that nothing will remain in Spain in the shape of clergymen, nuns, crucifixes, or anything else religious. That is the issue.
This Bill says that there are two Governments in Spain. One of those Governments represents the Cross. You have the emancipation and the salvation of the human race on the one side; on the other side is annihilation and destruction. No matter what may be said in this House, let that be said, because that is the issue. After all this heat has passed away,  after all this flow of language and oratory have passed away, when the historian comes to deal with the facts coldly in the future he will write down that alone as the issue in Spain, no matter how this House votes. Let it be clear that these are the issues involved.
I am rather diffident even to cast a vote on any side in this matter in so far as it is a Party issue, or so far as Franco and Caballero represent Parties. I am not going to cast my vote on that aspect of the matter. I am not voting for the amendment or for General Franco as a Fascist. If I were asked to do that, I would vote against it. The fact that he may be a Fascist is accidental. Circumstances have thrown him into a position which indicates that that is the political form of Government he now represents, but remember that crises of this kind do not wait for labels or do not mind about labels. Things so direct themselves, so rush forward, that men are created and rise, as it were, automatically, to step in to fill certain breaches. That is why Franco is here. He is not here as a Fascist. It might have been somebody else faced with the same circumstances. It might have been any one of us, but it so happens that it is General Franco.
Will anybody tell me that anybody could say before the rise of Napoleon that that particular individual, Bonaparte, would rise to control France? Not at all, but a great Irishman had prophesied the rise of this man and he was jeered at when he did it. He said: “Out of this ruin, the circumstances existing will of themselves send up an individual to take charge of events, to sweep away all this chaos, this anarchy, disorder and bloodshed.” Edmund Burke thundered that to the English nation, the Irish nation and the world. If somebody 12 months ago had foreshadowed the rise of General Franco of course he would have been jeered at. It is circumstances, not Fascism, that created General Franco. So long as these circumstances existed, some man would have to come capable of dealing with them. The thing was as certain as that night follows day.
 Nature revolts against disorder. In crises such as that you will always find some individual to take charge of the helm and put it down. We will follow such a man no matter who he is. Come the individual will and the nation will follow him. Human nature abhors a revolt against order. Order is the first law of heaven and earth cannot long remain or exist without it. Caballero created this anarchy and overthrew not only social order, not only the existing institutions of State, but the images that were erected in honour of the God they represent. Caballero had enunciated that doctrine in Catalonia before, his intention to overthrow everything that stood for constituted order and religious beliefs. Let us not come here bandying about the name of General Franco as a Fascist. That has nothing to do with the issue. You can call him a Fascist if you will, but it is a mere waste of time. History will justify him and put his rise on an exact parallel with the rise of Napoleon. You had anarchy, chaos, bloodshed and ruin after the French Revolution. Human nature revolted against that, a man arose to put an end to it and the nation followed him. Caballero and his colleagues brought about the same state of affairs in Spain. That existed for a while but human nature revolted and, on that melting mass of anarchy, arose General Franco. In that sense he is a political entity. Call him Fascist if you like, but he is there representing the forces of law and civilisation. He is representing, over and above that, Christianity and he is fighting for it. So far as he represents that, I am prepared to vote against our Consul being accredited to the Red Government in Spain. I want to put on record that neither by thought, word or deed will I have any hand, act or part in giving approval or recognition to that coterie which has been mobilised in Spain, with the assistance of forces from Russia, to overthrow everything that the Irish people have sacrificed everything, and are prepared to sacrifice everything, to uphold.
I think it is unfortunate that the  Government before introducing this Bill did not consider it more seriously and tell the other Governments that were a party to this non-intervention agreement that they had behaved in such a manner that they could not enter into any further engagements with them. That was an excellent opportunity for them. We could have dropped quietly out of this whole thing. Apparently the Consul was here in Ireland. He could have been kept quite easily at home and the President, as Minister for External Affairs, could have told the heads of the other nations: “Very well, I signed a Pact with you. I have honoured that Pact in the letter and the spirit, but you have disregarded it in every way.” Of course they have never done anything in history but that, they have broken everything, the little treaties and agreements into which they entered with this country down through history. I do not want to say this in any sort of offensive or cruel way, but I think it is a sad mistake that we are taking any part in this arrangement at all. I think it is a highly unfortunate thing.
Another matter we dealt with before the adjournment was more unfortunate than that. However, it was done. The Government did it, as representing the nation. Let us hope it was for the best, but I think there was a serious mistake made from the nationalist point of view. However, it is done. Having made that mistake from a nationalist point of view, I think they should have probed their minds well and long. They might consider the excellent position in which they were. In some quarters it might be said of the Government, “You are a disgraceful, dishonourable, treaty-breaking crowd, and we will have nothing further to do with you.” It is all very unfortunate, and all we can do is to hope for the best.
I am not afraid to prophesy. Let there be no mistake about it, Franco is going to win in Spain. I will go so far as to say he has won in Spain. The cause he represents cannot perish, and it will not perish. Let there be trimming here about Fascism or anything else you like, Franco represents a  cause that has withstood all attacks down through the ages. The institutions that Franco represents have withstood all the shocks of history. Even a biassed Protestant historian like Lord Macaulay in his day was obliged to pay a tribute to the Catholic Church, which, he said, was great and powerful. He tells us of the New Zealander standing on London Bridge, viewing the ruins of St. Paul's. At that time he believed that Rome would be as triumphant as ever. That is the philosophy that animates the party fighting behind Franco. That unquenchable spirit will ultimately defeat Caballero and his crowd.
Mr. MacDermot: Would I be allowed to clear up definitely a misunderstanding, that I apparently created in the mind of Deputy McMenamin, by reading one sentence from the report of my speech this afternoon?
Mr. MacDermot: The sentence is:—“I have felt all along that there could be no doubt that those who stood, not merely for Christianity, but for order, decency, civilisation and ancient culture as against barbarism and cruelty, could have no choice but to range themselves in sympathy with the Franco Government.”
Mr. McGovern: I desire strongly to support the amendment moved by Deputy O'Sullivan. It is a very reasonable amendment, one that would be supported, I believe, by the majority of the Irish people. We have been kept here all day when we could have been at home in the ordinary course, all for the purpose of carrying on this debate simply because the President refuses to accept this amendment and to give expression to the will of the Irish people. There is no  question about it being the wish of the Irish people to break the connection with the Gaballero Government, the Government of the Reds in Spain, the Government that is out for the destruction of everything we hold dear in this world.
I am prepared to give the President credit for having no sympathy with the Caballero Government, but then, why should he give the impression to the world that the Irish people are sympathetic with that Government? He is the spokesman of the Irish people; he is our President, and what opinion can the world have of the attitude of the Irish people towards this question only to come to the conclusion that this country sympathises with the Red Government because we send to Spain an accredited representative? The object of this Bill is to prevent any support going to either side. The fact that we have a representative in Spain rather conveys to the world that the Irish people are sympathetic with the representatives of anti-Christ.
This amendment is put forward so as to enable the Government to save the Irish people from the misrepresentation they are liable to incur under this Bill. There is one remarkable feature appearing out of this debate. Some Deputies have spoken as if the object of the Opposition were to defeat this Bill. Anyone who reads the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Sullivan can see that there is nothing of the sort. We are not opposing this Bill. Why, then, is the whole burden of the speeches made by those who favour the Government attitude directed to the argument that the Opposition are opposing the Bill? Non-intervention is an agreed matter on all sides, but before this measure is passed it should be made clear to the world what is the attitude of the Irish people with regard to the Spanish conflict.
Even President de Valera has said that there is no doubt where the sympathies of the Irish people are. There is certainly no doubt in the country as to where the sympathies of the people are; but there is doubt about where the sympathies of the Government are, and the speeches of members of the Government are responsible for that. There is also a doubt in other countries  about the sympathies of the Irish people and that doubt should be promptly removed by the Government.
I hope the President will make it clear why he is not prepared to accept this amendment, and why he will not break contact with the Reds in Spain. Perhaps he will explain to us why he is keeping a representative there? Is he a trade representative? The Minister for Education told us that our representative was there to safeguard the interests of citizens in that small section of Spain controlled by the Caballero Government. I doubt if that is the only purpose for which that Minister is there. It is only a short time ago since I read of shiploads of cattle and other things being sent to that Government. Under Section 10 of this Bill, power is taken to prevent the sending of any war material or anything else to the belligerents in Spain. What is food only one of the sinews of war? Why should we keep an agent there for the purpose of carrying on trade between this country and the Red section there and, at the same time, send no representative to the other Government? Why should we not trade with both alike. By accepting the amendment, withdrawing our representative and refusing to recognise the Caballero Government any further, we should be treating both Governments alike. That certainly is a very reasonable thing to ask.
Deputy O'Sullivan's amendment did not go so far as to ask the President to recognise the other Government, although the majority of the Irish people would favour that, I believe. He kept to what he believed the President could and should accept. That does not conflict with the international views which the President seems to be so anxious to uphold in order to perform his share in the international agreement. It does not conflict with that at all. Therefore, this House and the country are entitled to know why the President does not accept this amendment, which is in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people. It is only a short time ago since a Bill was brought into this House to remove doubts about so-and-so. If the President  accepts this amendment he will remove grave doubts about his sympathies and the sympathies of the Irish people on this question. It is quite a reasonable proposal and I cannot understand why the House has been kept debating this all day when the matter could have been disposed of in an hour or two this morning, if the President accepted the amendment. There are doubts. Indeed, speeches made from those benches and through the country give reason for doubt. The speech of Deputy Hugo Flinn, which I heard quoted here yesterday, and which has not been contradicted, does give serious reason for doubt. Even the speech of the President himself, when he said that it was held by people, either in Spain or elsewhere, that it was a fight between two “isms” does give reason for a certain amount of doubt. Deputy Hugo Flinn made it much clearer when, speaking on this very question of the war in Spain, he represented that it was a question between Fascism and democracy. He did not say they had no use for Communism. Therefore, the only meaning that can be taken out of Deputy Flinn's speech is that his sympathy at least was with the Caballero Government. Does the President's sympathy differ from that of Deputy Hugo Flinn? Would it not be well for the President to make that clear! I hope he will. I do not believe he has any sympathy with that Government. Then, why should he hold up the Irish people to the world as sympathising with that Government?
Speaking for myself, I agree with Deputy Flinn and everybody else who says we have no use for Fascism. I have no use for Fascism. But, if we are in earnest in desiring to keep Fascism down, the remedy is to prevent Communism, because Fascism never precedes Communism. It follows Communism. It is the antidote to Communism. The first antidote to Communism is a Christian philosophy. If that fails, the only antidote is Fascism. That has been proved whereever Communism has got a foothold. Communism has got a foothold in Spain, and there is a life and death  battle there between Communism and Christianity. There is no need to stress the point because it has been stressed sufficiently for the last few days by people who went to great pains in quoting the various authorities that are worthy of credit upon this point. So that there can be no doubt at all upon it that the issue is between Communism and Christianity. As I said, if we want to obviate the necessity for Fascism, let us deal with Communism and the only way to deal with Communism at home is to show to the world that we do not sympathise with it in Spain. No matter what country may sympathise with it in Spain, let the Irish people not sympathise with it. I am favourable to the Non-Intervention Bill, but this amendment does not interfere with the President in carrying out his policy.
Deputy Donnelly dealt with a number of points. I do not propose to go over all of them, but I should like to deal with one or two. He advised Deputies on this side of the House to leave Communism to the Church—that the Church is the proper body to deal with that. I quite agree. But the Church has spoken. All the Catholic Bishops of Ireland and the Archbishops and Bishops of Spain have spoken. What is the use of their speaking if we, the Catholic section of this country, are not prepared to accept their teaching. If we question their word, and if we take the word of Deputies, who have spoken in this House in contradiction to the teaching of the Cardinal, in preference to the Cardinal's, then the Cardinal and the Bishops may stop. I agree with Deputy Donnelly that we should respect their word and listen to it, but there is no use listening to it if we do not act upon it. He also told us that they regretted the murders in Spain. I do not question that. I am sure that everybody in this House regrets them as much as we do. But then why not condemn the murderers? Why continue to feed the murderers? Why continue to recognise them and to hold this country up to the world as supporting those murderers? That is the  effective way to do it, and I hope it will be done. He also told us that the Caballero Government was elected by the majority of the Spanish people. I deny that. That Government represents the minority of the Spanish people. I can refer the Deputy to proof of that statement, which was made not so much in support of General Franco but by a man who is against him. I have not got the statement here, but if it is questioned I guarantee to produce it to anyone who wants to see it. There is no question but that the Caballero Government was elected by a minority.
Mr. McGovern: Deputy Donnelly also stated that the Opposition were opposing this Bill. I deny that. We are not opposing it. All the talk about opposition to the Bill is to draw the mind of the public away from the real issue dealt with in the amendment, so that the Irish Press can come out with columns of stuff saying that the Opposition were opposing the Bill. The amendment speaks for itself, and simply seeks to cut the connection with the Caballero Government before the Bill is passed. If the President had consented to that this morning, the Bill could have been passed and it would not be at 10.30 to-night it would be going through.
Deputy Donnelly also stated that whatever the Cardinal Primate of Spain said was a matter for the people of Spain. To a certain extent that is so, but when his Eminence gives certain information, and as Deputy Belton stated, autographed a special copy of his pastoral and sent it to Ireland, his intention was that it should apply to the Irish people. Whether he is a Cardinal in Spain, in Rome or in Ireland, his words deserve respect, and  when he sent a special copy of his pastoral and autographed it, he knew that the Irish people would respect what he says. At this stage I hope that the President will accept the amendment, or if he cannot do that now, that he will at least give the House an assurance, before the Bill is passed into law, that he will give effect to what it proposes.
The President: Questions were addressed to me, and, as it will be necessary to make arrangements for the completion of the Committee Stage on Wednesday, I am taking this occasion to begin perhaps earlier than I would otherwise do. If there is anything more than another that is disappointing in this House it is that when a serious matter arises, on which there could be legitimate differences of opinion, instead of dealing with it on the merits, and dealing with it honestly, we find an effort made all the time to misrepresent. We had several examples of that. In fact, I might say that the majority of the speeches made in this debate have been made on the basis of deliberate and persistent misrepresentation; so much so that the attention of speakers was called to the fact that they were misrepresenting in the statements they were making.
Before I get into this matter, perhaps I should deal with a few things connected with the introduction of the measure. We made it known very early that we regarded the policy of non-intervention as being the best policy, in our opinion, for Spain, in the interests of the people of Spain; and the best policy for Europe, as well as being the best policy for our own people. There could be no doubt in the mind of anyone in the country about that being our policy, and more than that, the Opposition formally approved of that policy as a policy. Back in November, Deputy Cosgrave, in very explicit terms, made it clear that he agreed with that policy. Anybody who wants to get the exact words will find them in column 1197 of the Dáil Debates of November 27th, 1936. Our whole efforts, as a member of the Non-Intervention Committee, have been to try to get that policy of non-intervention  accepted by all the States. Everything that our representative was instructed to do was with that aim, and, accordingly, we were very glad when, despite all our fears, agreement was reached, in the first place, not to import war materials into Spain on either side, and later when it was agreed that there were to be no volunteers sent from any other country into Spain.
With the words of the Leader of the Opposition in my mind, I thought that we could get this measure in time to make it effective by midnight on Saturday. It was very important, from the general point of view of Europe, that that agreement should be made effective at once. The moment we got word that agreement was reached on Tuesday night we took measures to have a Bill drafted. It is true that the First Reading was not on the Order Paper, but we tried to have the Bill drafted as quickly as possible, and on Wednesday when I indicated to the House that I wished to have the First Reading of the measure, I was met at the time—as I expected, indeed, from the attitude which the Opposition had taken up— with the statement that they were prepared to facilitate me in that regard in taking the Second Reading. I did that, believing that I represented not merely the Government point of view, in giving the undertaking that it would be made effective, but that I represented practically every member of this House. But, apparently new policies were introduced into the Opposition. They thought they could do something better, the whole attitude changed over-night, and we have presented to us two amendments which have no relation on earth to the Bill— no relation good, bad or indifferent to the policy which is in this Bill, which we were led to understand was the policy accepted, not merely by the Government but by other members of the House, because there was not a single dissentient voice to that policy. It is a policy I believe that is accepted by the vast majority of the Irish people. I have no doubt whatever that the Irish people are as convinced as the Government is convinced that the best thing that could be done in the  interests of the Spanish, and in the interest of the thing we hold dear, would be to let the Spanish people settle this matter for themselves. I, for one, have no doubt in what way they will settle it for themselves—none whatever. If I were a Spaniard speaking in Spain I would wish to see every single foreigner out of my country, because foreigners, when they come into a country as representatives of big Powers, have, as we know to our cost in this country, a knack of trying to stay there. I believe, therefore, that the best thing that could be done in the interests of Spain is to keep the foreigners out. When you read what the Cardinal Primate of Spain said about the origin of that war, and the immediate causes of it, you find that he talks of the foreign tyranny, because he is a Spaniard and he does not want the foreign tyranny there. I have no doubt whatever that if the Spanish people are left to themselves they will settle this question in the right way. It is for that reason that I am strongly in favour of the non-intervention policy, as I am also in favour of it from the point of view of what is the proper attitude for our country, considering that what we do other nations will do, and that the amount of assistance we can give is relatively small while the harm that could be done by the other countries is relatively great. Consequently, I think that our going into this matter would be bad for ourselves, bad for Europe and bad for Spain.
Again, as I have said, I thought that everybody in this House agreed with that policy and with what is in this Bill to give effect to that policy. The States of Europe, undoubtedly, are on both sides. You have Russia in it; you have France in it; you have Italy in it; you have Germany in it, and we ought to be grateful for our own sakes, grateful for the sakes of the people in Spain, and grateful for the sake of Europe, that an agreement of this sort has been reached. We want to give it effect, and what do we find? We find that the Opposition, because they cannot oppose this particular Bill in view of their previous statements, come along and  bring up an issue which is not germane to it. They could raise at any time the question of the recognition or the continued recognition of any of the Governments in Spain. That is an issue which could be raised in this House at any time, and it was brought up in this way in order to cause delay and prevent us from meeting engagements which were entered into in the full belief that this Parliament would support us in getting the Bill through in proper time.
There has been an attempt to get rid of this and to make an excuse for causing this delay by pretending that we had not put it on the Order Paper. The decision was reached on Tuesday night. We had to have a Bill ready. On the next day I brought this matter before the House and pointed out that it was necessary to put it through so as to enable it to be effective before Saturday. Then we get the excuse that they had to delay us because we did not put it on the Order Paper; because I did not give the House sufficient notice. I gave them notice practically as soon as I got it myself. We are told also that there must be time for amending in detail. If there was a desire on the part of the Opposition to facilitate us in keeping this international engagement, it would be very easy to arrange for detailed consideration of the various parts to-day, and we could get it through on Saturday, but obviously it was not that which the Opposition wanted. They wanted to make a parade of this matter, and to try and misrepresent the Government. They wanted, without a single fact on which they could rely, to try to make it appear that this Government had sympathies with the Communist Government in Spain. They cannot point to a single thing which would indicate that there is any truth in that suggestion.
The President: They would like to have headings like this in the evening papers: “The Government Accused of Sympathising with the Reds.” They pretend to be anxious about the honour of our country, and the effect  that our attitude will have on other peoples; and yet they have constantly, for two days now, tried to herald it to the world that this Government are Communist or in sympathy with Communists. They tried it before internally in this country; the Irish people saw through them, and the Irish people will see through them to-day as they saw through them then.
The President: I am asked what are my views. Where have I at any time, in any place, in public or in private, expressed any sympathy whatever with Communism? I have said in public that I detest Communism because I believe that it means the breaking up of the social order as we understand it. I have always said that I believe Communism did not accord with the nature of man—with man's ideals. I expressed those views years ago. I did not have to wait to express them now. I expressed those views then and now, and I believe in them. I also believe that Fascism, even if not equally bad, is bad. It is, perhaps, not equally bad, but it is a desperate alternative, and I hope that this country will be saved from having those alternatives as a choice. Everything we have done as a Government has been directed to seeing that this country would not have such a choice. Thank God that, so far, anyhow, we have been successful, and I believe that if the policy we stand for is continued there will be no stage at which this country will be faced with the alternatives that they have in Spain at the present moment.
We have been honest in this matter. There has been nothing that the Government has done that it could not stand over everywhere. As members of the Non-Intervention Committee, anxious to get non-intervention adopted by all the States, we naturally had to do our utmost to take up a position which would enable us to be genuine advocates of non-intervention. If we start intervening, obviously there is no use in our asking other people not to intervene. When the volunteers  were going out from here I, for one, felt that it did to a certain extent damage our influence in getting the policy of non-intervention adopted. But other nations were doing it, and the agreement at that stage had not reached to volunteers. The agreement had only reached to war material. It is said, and I admit, that the agreement with regard to war material was not fully kept. To the extent to which it was not, we regret it. Any effort of ours was directed to press that it would be kept, and, in regard to this agreement in so far as volunteers are concerned, everything that we can do to see that it is kept we will do. One of the things that we must do, if we are going to press on other people to keep it, is to keep it ourselves, and that has been our attitude in regard to the position in the past. This matter has not been argued on its merits. If we were about to argue it on its merits the first thing the House would have done would have been to give us this Bill, on the understanding that we would give a day for the discussion of the question of the recognition or non-recognition of one of the Spanish Governments, or organisations—as is in the Bill—that claim to be Governments. That would have been a reasonable line. We could have understood it if any member of the Opposition had stood up and said. “We agree with your policy of non-intervention. We indicated our agreement months ago. We agree that it is in the general interests that this should be entered into at once. We will give you this Bill, but we do not agree with your policy in some other respects and we would like that time would be arranged so that we can discuss this whole question.” I would have given it, of course, gladly. It would be the right of the House to have it. I do not say it would have been wise or anything like that, but I should have felt in duty bound to grant the time for this discussion; but to bring it in as an amendment to this Bill, to try to get an excuse for voting against a policy which they accepted seems to me to be unworthy of any official Opposition.
I will take a few of the misrepresentations. The first was by Deputy  Belton—that we had orders from the Committee. He is the Deputy who took upon himself the responsibility of moving a reasoned amendment to the motion for the Second Reading, and he did not even inform himself as to what was the nature of this Committee, who were the representatives on it, or anything else. He came in here, and when he spoke he showed quite clearly that he did not understand that we ourselves were members of that Committee. It is cheap and easy to say, “Taking your orders from somebody.” We did not take orders except that we agreed with others in accordance with the policy which was announced—and we were very glad to get the others to agree because we believed it was the best policy—that this should be done, and surely there is no question of taking orders when you set out to get a certain result and your aims have been realised to the extent of getting the policy adopted.
Then, again, we see the sincerity in debate, the sincerity of conviction, when a jocose remark is made by one of our Deputies at Deputy Belton's apparent difficulty with the pronunciation of the Spanish Primate's name. It was not a question that anybody need sneer at. It was merely that he had obvious difficulty, and the jocose remark was made. How was that turned? That it was a sneer at relition, at the Spanish Primate. If it was a sneer, and I do not believe it was, it could only be interpreted as a sneer at the Deputy's inability to pronounce the Spanish name. It was not a sneer at all—it was a good-humoured remark, and nothing more. But, in order to give a false complexion to this whole question, it was necessary for Deputy Belton to pretend that that jocose remark was intended as a sneer on religion. As we are talking about religion, perhaps we might be a little bit frank about it. So far as religion is concerned, there is very little, if anything, to choose between them, and if you were going to select either the sheep or the goats in this House, and if they were coming in that door, you would find it very difficult to know whether to turn to the right or to the left to find the sheep quickly, if you wanted sheep, or  to find the goats quickly, if you wanted goats. The fact is, and the Irish people know it full well, that any differences between these two Parties are not differences based on religious beliefs or religious conviction. It is vain for gentlemen on the opposite benches to try to suggest otherwise, because the Irish people will not believe them.
That was the first matter of misrepresentation. The next is a statement of my own, and what was going to be done with it was clear the moment I had made it. Deputy Belton's remark make it quite clear what he was up to, just as it was clear what he was up to when he tried to have Deputy Donnelly's jocose remark interpreted as a sneer at religion. I was speaking of the non-intervention policy, and I said:—
“All the nations of Europe are represented on this Non-Intervention Committee. I am anxious that we should play our part in trying to shorten this conflict in Spain by preventing the export of arms to the combatants, and also by preventing recruitment to the various sides who are fighting out in Spain, a fight which, for most of them, at any rate, is not the sort of fight that we think it is, but is a fight for one `ism' against another.”
Is there any Deputy so dull as to equate that statement to the statement which has been repeated here despite the fact that last night, the first moment it was uttered by a responsible Deputy on those benches opposite, Deputy O'Sullivan, when he tried to misrepresent this, I immediately said that what he said was not what I said. The first thing I did was to ask for the report. Here it is as it came in, and last night I read out that statement as I have read it out now. Yet, because it was good in order to misrepresent the attitude of the Government, it was used continually through to-day's debate. It was first used to show that it was my view that the fight in Spain was a fight for one “ism” against another, and that was all there was to it. Later, it was used by Deputy Fitzgerald—I was not in the House, but I was told it was used by him—to suggest that I thought  the people who were fighting in Spain were fighting for one “ism” against another. The plain meaning of that is opposed to either of these two views. It is clear to be seen that what I was referring to was the people whose recruitment from outside Spain was taking place—the people who come from Italy, the people who come from Germany, the people who come from Russia, and the people who come from France. Is there anybody in this House who denies that I was right when I said that if these people go into Spain, it is for “isms” they go in, and there are very few of them who are going in, in my opinion, simply because it is a question of Christianity. I believe, and I do not care who contradicts me, that the majority of the recruits who went into Spain, whether they went from Italy, from Germany, from Russia, or from France, went in there to fight out a fight between Communism and Fascism.
The President: I spoke of those who went there, and I said they were making a cockpit of Spain to fight this battle out, and, because I said that, which is true beyond contradiction, we have people here who want to misrepresent that clear and explicit statement into a suggestion that this Government at the present day, seeing the position as it is in Spain, took the view that it was tweedledum and tweedledee, a fight between one “ism” and another. Now, I call that dishonesty. And I say that any Party that hopes to build up a programme or a reputation on that sort of thing is doomed  to be disappointed, because the Irish people, in the long run, are not fools.
The President: When we went to the Irish people the last time, after being 12 months in office, the Irish people put us back again and, please God, they will do the same again as long as they are true to their own interests.
The President: Deep down in our hearts we are interested in seeing that right principles will prevail here as in Spain, and we are as interested in that as anybody in this House. The difference is that we have responsibilities;  and in regard to these things we have to do what is right and proper as representing this nation. The ugliest thing about this whole debate, the feeling I have anyway, is that if those Deputies who are attacking us for doing this, happened to be seated on these benches they would pursue exactly the same policy that we are pursuing because, in fact, any other policy would be extremely difficult, improper and dangerous. We, first of all, entered into diplomatic relations—it was our general policy, as I understand it was the general policy of our predecessors, to enter into diplomatic relations with the principal European powers and with the principal countries of the world. We had diplomatic relations with the United States, Germany, France, the Vatican City, that is with the Holy Father, and other States.
Back in 1935, long before the general election in Spain and the subsequent happenings which brought about the present civil war, it was proposed to us to enter into diplomatic relations, and we entered into diplomatic relations with the Spanish people, with the Spanish State, with the Spanish Republic. At that time the President, I think, was President Zamora. Everybody who has paid any attention to these matters and certainly anybody who has been Minister at any time knows, full well, that when diplomatic relations are entered into between two States, these diplomatic relations continue with changes of Government —sometimes even with changes of régime. These relations continue with no new accreditation whatever.
What is the fundamental nature of these diplomatic relations between States? What do they mean? Does it not mean this—that in order to get closer and better opportunities for promoting the interests between one country and another, safeguarding the interests of one country and another, such as the interests of the nationals of one country that might be situated in the other country, certain organs are set up. Their purpose is, as I have said, to further the interests of both countries, and it is merely accidental that the question of Government comes in, or whether the people  were in sympathy with another Government or not. It is seldom these matters enter into the question. If they did I am afraid there would be very few of the diplomatic relations that exist left, because successive Governments are not always equally favoured by outside countries. Are we going to assume that the existence of diplomatic relations between ourselves and other countries implies that we sympathise with that Government of an outside country—that we sympathise with its policy? Nothing of the kind. Everybody knows that that is not true. Everybody knows that it does not imply any such commendation or approval on the part of one Government of the policy of another Government. All you do is this—if a State has a Government that is able and willing to perform services for you that are implied in these relations, you avail of that Government, and if another Government comes along that is in a position to do it, you deal with that other Government.
What is the position of the States of Europe to-day with regard to Spain? The fact is that they continue as we are continuing our diplomatic relations with the Spanish State, with the Spanish people. That means when a State is in a state of flux, and you are not sure where you are, you deal with the Party in power who can deal with your citizens. Practically all the States of Europe, with the exception of Germany and Italy, have followed that rule. At least that was the case up to lately. There have been a few changes but, until recently, that was the position that was continued by all the States of Europe except Germany and Italy.
The President: Is anybody going to tell me that Germany or Italy changed except directly because of the fact that they wanted to have in Spain a régime that corresponded with their own? If we are going to do our best to get the policy of non-intervention accepted it is quite clear that we ought not to put ourselves out of court, so to speak, in advocating that course by taking a step of that kind. That is my answer in connection with our  steps about the Non-Intervention Agreement.
What have other States done? There are some exceptions. There are States who have representatives at the seat of government in Valencia, but the majority of the States in Europe have their diplomatic representatives at Hendaye in France, a place on French soil and in close proximity to the Spanish Border. They have their representatives there because of the fact that they wanted to be able to be in touch with the two Parties in Spain in order to safeguard whatever interests they had in that country—to safeguard any interests of their own nationals or any other interests they might have. Now what is the position of our representative? Our representative was in Spain and got ill there some time about, I think, the 7th July. The revolution did not break out until about the 18th July. Our representative got seriously ill, and it is very mean for an ex-Minister for External Affairs to suggest that a man who is in that responsible position left that position in Madrid through cowardice. I was not here when that statement was indicated and I make full apologies to the ex-Minister for External Affairs if I am wrong, but it was suggested, I am told, that this representative of ours left his position in Madrid through cowardice. He had been ill and he left Madrid, because of illness, actually before the revolution broke out.
The President: I had not time to look the matter up. If I am wrong, I shall withdraw, but I want, as Minister for External Affairs, responsible  for the Department, to say that no member of our Department was guilty of any such misconduct. As a matter of fact, our representative was extremely ill. He had to stay for a considerable time in Spain before he could be removed. He came to convalesce in this country and he was here from August. The office in Madrid was kept open to serve our nationals long after the time which we here thought was safe. It was kept open so long as it was at all possible to help our nationals. A short time ago, having convalesced— I think it was on the 29th January —our Minister left here. For what purpose? Because, in the Department of External Affairs, we got letters from heartbroken parents telling us that their children, who were under age, had left without their knowledge or consent to fight in Spain—some on one side and some on the other. They asked us if we could do anything to bring these people back. We sent our Minister to join the other representatives—in this case at St. Jean de Luz, as I told the House —to see whether he could not establish contact with both sides and ascertain what could be done to bring those people, who were under age, back and get them released from any obligations they had entered into there.
That is the “recognition” and that is the act that has been misrepresented without a single question as to why it was done. An inquiry could have been made. A simple question could have been put to me as Minister for External Affairs any day as to why the Minister for Spain had gone back or if there was any reason why he should be going back at this time. He left this country on the 29th January —long before this agreement to prohibit recruiting was arrived at. When he was well and able to perform this work for our people, he was sent there to establish contact with the two sides.
Deputies on the opposite bench know as well as I do what the usual procedure is and what the meaning is of representation and accreditation. Yet, they come along and deliberately misrepresent this action as a step by us, at this particular time, to indicate to  the world and to the Communist Government of Spain that we, the Irish Government, support them. If they have any cause at heart, it is very hard for that cause to be aided by such tactics. Everybody knows that there is no such thing as direct accrediting to the present Caballero Government. It is a choice, when you come to a certain stage, of what instrument or what organ of a particular country you can use in order to safeguard the interests which you may have in that particular country. That is why, as a rule, it is de facto Governments that are recognised. It is only de facto Governments that can do the work. It is only to de facto Governments you can appeal to do things. Governments that are not de facto Governments are unable to do these things and, if recognised, it is always a gesture—a gesture of partisanship. Whatever might be our views on the matter, I considered that if we were to be effective in that Non-Intervention Committee, it was our duty, so far as we could, not to take up a position of partisanship. Does that mean that we do not understand what way the Irish people feel about this matter? I have indicated long ago that we do. I have no doubt about it. I am perfectly certain that, once it became clear, as I think it is now, that the triumph of one side meant the furtherance of Communism in Europe, it was impossible for the Irish people to have views except in one direction.
The President: That is the position with regard to our representative in Spain. He is in touch, so far as he can be, with both sides in order to serve the interests of our people who are there on both sides. The statement of Hugo Flinn has been brought in here——
The President: The statement of the Parliamentary Secretary has been brought in to try to make it appear that, from an early date, our sympathies were altogether with one side in Spain. I asked one of the speakers to-day if he would give me the date of that statement. I was anxious about the date because I was aware that most people here—whatever side they were on—were, at the very beginning, as confused about the happenings in Spain and what was really the issue there as I was. I confess I was confused about the situation because, so far as I knew up to that time, there had been a Government elected in Spain and there was a revolt. That is as it seemed to me, and that is as it appeared, I think, to most people. What was behind the revolt, what were the causes that led to the revolt, I did not know. I tried to find out as soon as I could. It was not unreasonable that anybody, in the early stages of the trouble, should have thought that, in Spain, it was a fighting-out of the fight which was fought elsewhere—a fight between Fascism and Communism. Therefore, I asked when this statement was made. I was told it was made in August and that the report was taken from the Irish Press. I thought that it might be worth while to read the report to see exactly what the context was and what the Deputy was talking about when he made this speech. This is, I think, the paragraph that is referred to:
“Systems of government in parts of Europe were in a state of flux. They had dictatorships in Russia, Italy and Germany, and, at the present time, in Spain. The struggle was concerned with an attempt to change the system of government. There was a struggle going on between Fascism and democracy.”
The President: I think I can interpret just as well as most other people. I am not out to try to misrepresent.  I say that in the context that is what the Deputy wanted to say. That was on August 3rd, and the revolution broke out some time about the middle of July. “Fianna Fáil had no use for Fascism.” Fianna Fáil has no use for Fascism, and it is perfectly true to say that Fianna Fáil has neither any use for Communism, and Deputy Flinn did not say so because he would know perfectly well that if he did say so he would be telling something which was not true.
The President: It is much easier for the Deputies opposite to take phrases and use them than to use proper argument, and that is what the Deputies on the opposite benches have been trying to live on. Because, having nothing but phrases like that to live on, they are where they are, and they are likely to remain where they are.
Now, the Irish people at the beginning of the trouble were confused, as many other people were confused, as to what the issues were. Deputy Belton read for us a considerable amount from the translation of the Cardinal Primate's pastoral. The people in Ireland, whether they were here on these benches or throughout the country, found it very difficult, in view of the statements that were made and the publicity given to them, to know exactly what was happening in Spain, and why. Deputy Belton has read a large portion of this pastoral, but there is a section of it which I think it would be very well for our people to read, because of its lessons, and I hope they will read it all.
The President: I very sincerely hope that they will. There is a part of it which I would like to read, because it conveys to us very important lessons, and it is well for us and for every other country to take stock and to heed the warnings that are contained in this pastoral. The section that I propose to read is headed “Causes of the Present Disaster.” The greater part of this has to deal with the principal cause, namely, that of Communistic  propaganda, and the foreign tyranny which the Cardinal pointed out Spain was at that time suffering from. In this part the Cardinal says:
“We must now be brief. When we denounced the principal factor, which—to our knowledge—has been instrumental in producing the present Spanish conflagration, we did not intend to point out those national defects which by a gradual process have made our land an easy prey to Communism. No one becomes suddenly good or wicked. Constitutional weakness or a slow disease will sooner or later lead to ruin and death. To point out such weaknesses in our race and customs is not our object here. Our only desire is to judge the immediate causes of the present disaster. We can enumerate the following: forgetfulness of our tradition and history, the insatiable desire during the last two centuries to copy slavishly the things of other lands in literature, laws and customs; the lack of comprehension of the problems of the moment, our inconsistency in political affairs, the undignified character of our democracy, the dishonesty of our Parliamentary and electoral systems, the lack of formation of a national conscience, and the confusion of our international relationships; selfishness and want of scruples in political matters, the curse of extreme regionalism, and of its opposite, the too rigid state that takes no account of regional peculiarities and aspirations. Each one of these causes could provide matter for the chapters of a book tracing our national decadence.
“To these we can add our present rigid economic system, which has refused to yield to the just demands of a working class, whose standard of living is far below the level of that of the rest of Europe, thus making the workers an easy prey to false propaganda. Other defects are to be found in the slowness of the clergy to adapt themselves to changed conditions, and in their failure to apply new methods in their priestly apostolate; in the appalling corruption of morals and, what is worse, in the  corruption of minds owing to the excessive liberty of expression to be found in the university, on the platform and in the Press.”
Now, I have read that because it is only fair that when you are quoting from a document of this kind you should give the whole picture and not a part of it. I would say that if we ponder on some of these paragraphs we will ask ourselves many a question, and if we answer them rightly I believe that we can save this country from ever having to face the torments which Spain is at present facing. It was precisely because I believed fundamentally in these ideals, in the fact that at the time there was no realisation on the part of those who were well-off of the conditions of the working people, that I for one did not want to see Communism getting in this country allies which it need never have. The whole policy, to which I objected when on the opposite benches in 1931, was to force into the ranks as allies, even if they did not accept the general principle, to force into the ranks supporting Communism with which they had no interest, but supporting it because they were open to the same attack as the Communists were open to, those who had only one idea, that is, national aspirations. An attempt was being made to drive them in as allies of the Communists. The same thing was done by those who were not ready to listen and to give full weight to the legitimate demands of the working people who were looking for proper conditions.
I opposed the attitude which at that time was being pursued by the previous Government. I said “you are going to do a damnable thing when you do that, to drive in as allies to them and for something for which they have no immediate concern, those who have objectives of a national character, or those who have objectives of a legitimate social character. If I had read out at that time, without saying where I got it, some of the passages either from Rerum Novarum or Quadragesimo Anno, it would have been said that I was sympathetic with Communism. What we were trying to do was to get those people to realise that human beings  have a right to get the opportunities to live a decent life.
The President: I believe, if the Previous Government had been in power for the last five years that, instead of having the position we have, thank God, to-day—and I have been following it closely—I have been getting the police reports upon it and I know the position——
The President: I know the position of Communism, properly called. I know well the position, and whatever we are trying to do, at any rate, we are trying to remedy these evils and not to turn a blind eye to them, or to try by force to make the pretence that those who are looking for their legitimate rights and legitimate liberties are necessarily Atheistic and Communistic. Now, A Chinn Comhairle, we stand here with this policy before this Parliament—a policy that has been approved—the policy of non-intervention. The object of this Bill is to give effect to it as far as we are concerned. No matter how much you may try to bring in this other question of recognition or not, the question is: Are you going to support the policy of non-intervention or not? There is going to be a vote on that issue.
The President: I have tried to prevent the misrepresentation of our people and the misrepresentation of our Government in this matter. I have been given here a paper— the Irish Catholic—and its policy, apparently, is to suggest that the 204,000 affiliated members of the Irish Trades Union Congress are tacit supporters of Communism. Is there anyone here, or anybody in the country, who is going to believe that? Yet it is that that is being taken abroad and reprinted in the Osservatore Romano for its readers to judge from it as to what is the position of the Irish people in regard to Communism —that the workers in the Irish Trade Union Congress, if you please, are Communistic. Is there anybody here who believes that? In 1931 the Deputies on the opposite benches, when they were here, went out on a programme to try to get re-elected on the basis of the necessity of combating Communism, and there were reports taken around in private; but when we got into office and got hold of those reports and brought them in here, I exposed these reports in order to show that they themselves bore evidence that there was no serious threat of Communism in the country at the time. Of course, however, if you are going, for Party reasons or for other reasons, to try to drive in and class as Communists the 204,000 members of the Irish Trades Union Congress, and if you are going to class as Communists those who do not agree with your particular views about the national position, then, of course, you can very rapidly increase the number of Communists—and I would suggest that it is a very dangerous thing to do.
Mr. Morrissey: I think, Sir, that I might be allowed to claim at least a little bit of liberty as well as the President; nobody from this side ever suggested that the members of the Trades Union Congress were Communists——
The President: I pointed out the heading in the paper this evening, and I say that that is the whole purpose of the manoeuvring in this connection as far as the speakers on the opposite side are concerned.
The President: I shall not deal with it now, but I shall deal with the Bill before you, which you should vote for if you are going to be consistent on the question of non-intervention. The amendment will not be accepted now. The real question at issue is the question of non-intervention, and the question of when exactly we shall withdraw from one side completely will be determined by us from the knowledge of the facts and when we think it will be in the best interests both of Spain and of Europe to do so, and, so far as we are concerned, it will not be done one minute before.
The President: As far as my view of religion, in this House, is concerned, I say that we are pretty well on a par on both sides of the House, and that, in all probability, if you were to take a census of differences of opinion on this side of the House as well as on the other side, it would be found that, if there are differences of opinion, or if there should be differences of opinion on this side of the House, you will find them balanced by differences of opinion on the other side.
The President: It is quite clear, for instance, from the attitude of Deputy Dillon and Deputy Cosgrave, when they spoke before, and from their attitude here for the last two days, that there is a difference of opinion over there. Otherwise, could you refuse to give me that Bill to-night, and to-morrow if necessary, in order that we might fulfil our obligations? But no, you wanted to force me into the position of appearing to rush this Bill through by guillotine methods,  although you knew that if we were to keep strictly to our international obligations we would put this Bill through all its stages before this time to-morrow night. That is actually what our duty is, but I do not want this matter to be misrepresented. I want the Irish people to have full opportunity to understand what we are doing in their name, and I have no doubt whatever that the Irish people approve of this policy, and with regard to the question of its being in the best interests of Spain to allow the Spaniards to settle this matter by themselves, I could prove to anybody with an ounce of sense that it was the right and the best thing to do.
I have already suggested that when foreigners, representatives of the big Powers particularly, come into any country, you will find that they generally come there with some ulterior motive, and that it is much easier to get them in than to get them out. They are trying their new machines; they are trying their latest methods, and I, for one, wishing well to the Spanish people, and desiring to see Spanish independence continued, would like to see every one of them outside the territory of Spain. If somebody says to me: “It is not the end of the conflict we want to see, but to have it settled in the right way,” I say it will be settled as the Spanish people want it settled or it will not be settled at all, because if you put in a Government by foreign aid, although it may be established for a time in Spain, do you think that if it does not correspond with the feelings of the Spanish people it is going to last? Do you not know perfectly well that it is the will of the Spanish people that is ultimately going to determine what form the Government is going to take? It may, of course, take some time. Foreign forces may enable a certain group or clique to hold sway in Spain for a while, but is there anybody here who thinks that such a Government is going to last? Having confidence, as I have, in the national spirit of the Spanish people, in the ideals—and the religious ideals at that —inspiring the Spanish people, I have no doubt, for one, how this contest is going to be ultimately finished by  the Spanish people. As I say, it will be the Spanish people, if they are going to remain independent, unless they are going to be completely subjected by an outside Power, who will settle this trouble themselves. If I were a Spaniard, I would hate even to get my freedom with foreign aid, because I would hate to have it in the mouths of that part of my nation which I wished to have loyal to me afterwards, “Oh, you are the creation of some foreign people.”
Somebody has said that, at any rate, they should be glad to get help. We are all glad to get help. Unfortunately, we accept help very often too willingly from outsiders. When we get bitterly into a fight, we are very willing to accept aid from outside. We jump into the pit and we do not always think of how we are going to get out of it. There is no doubt in my mind —whatever might be said about getting equipment and arms from outside—that the Spanish people will be better served if they can be liberated and are allowed to establish a stable Government by their own arms and their own votes.
In so far as we can do it, our aim in dealing with other nations will be to allow these nations to settle their problems for themselves, even though we may have an interest in them. Let me say that I am not uninterested or that I am not indifferent to the conflict in Spain. So far from being indifferent, I am very interested. My views may not be the same as other people's views. I hold these views, however, and I do believe, holding these views and wishing that one side definitely should triumph, and wishing to see a stable Government established in Spain, that the best contribution we can make is to get outsiders to take their hands off the Spanish conflict. That is the policy I stand for. I have no doubt whatever the Irish people will agree with me notwithstanding all that may be said to misrepresent the position of our representative in Spain at the present time. The Irish people are content to allow this Government in accordance with the general policy of non-intervention,  to choose the time when intervention on our part will be legitimate and effective.
However, we have to forget some of the aspects of Irish traditionalism that we should like to discuss here, as we have to forget some of the President's cures for Communism in this country upon which he touched. What we are concerned about here is that the President brings a Bill before the House to prevent intervention in a military sense in Spain. This is done at a time when a Minister accredited from this country to Spain, having left it at the time of the outbreak—whether he left it before the actual military rising or not we do not know—practically simultaneously with the adoption of the non-intervention policy as regards enlistment, has gone back to Spain accredited only to the Caballero Government. The President speaks, and speaks at a rather late stage in this discussion, of the fathers and mothers who have appealed to him to try to get the Government to intervene to rescue some of their children from the position in which, without their parents' consent, they find themselves in Spain. It is a pity the President was not concerned about that somewhat earlier. What he offers to these parents now is to leave their children—because most of their children have gone to fight for Franco and the cause which, in their eyes, Franco represents— fighting under an interdict, as it were, of this Government against their action. The putting up of a proposition of this kind is a criticism and a condemnation of their action in the past and that at a time when this State is accredited only to the so-called Government against which they are fighting.
What we are discussing now is not the merits or demerits of non-intervention  but why, when the policy of non-intervention is being laid down subject to drastic penalties the President does not reconsider the position in which this nation stands before the world—a Catholic nation with all the Christian ideals about which the President has so often spoken, which is now ready to swallow all these professions and still permits itself to be accredited to the Government that is responsible for the position brought about in Spain. We asked the President to withdraw the representative of this State from the Caballero Government at a time when he joins with other nations to prevent intervention of a military kind in Spain. He talks about a policy of allowing Spaniards to settle their own differences and he has been joined by some of the queerest forces in this country in an effort to misrepresent the position of the Franco Government. He has had the Irish Times to his help and now, in a most unexpected way, he has Deputy Rowlette getting up and complimenting the people on the Opposition Benches who, he said, made a contribution to democratic government in this country, a very definite contribution to democratic government. He expressed amazement that it is possible for them to take up the position they are taking up with regard to the rival “isms” in Spain. He likes to picture the Franco Government as being a group of people who rose in rebellion against a democratically elected government because that government started land division.
Does the President stand for that type of misrepresentation of the position? Does the President take up the attitude that the men who have gone to Spain, stirred by an instinct that is very strong in the hearts and minds of our people, and the strength of which has been manifested by the movement that took these hundreds of men to Spain—does he think that this House can accept it that they have gone to fight a democratically elected government because that government started to divide land, started to do the things which the President and his Party would allege that they were  practically the first people in this country to do?
General Mulcahy: The President has a different opinion on that. I want to put before the President some of the facts that, within his knowledge, he has withheld from the people of this country when dealing with this matter, and I challenge the President to say that the Government in Spain, to which his Minister is accredited, is a Government that is elected by the majority votes of the people.
The President: I have said that I did not say that the present Government in Spain was a Government that was democratically elected. It has gone beyond that stage long ago. Secondly, I repeat that we are in diplomatic relations with Spain, that it was with Spain our diplomatic relations were originally established. There is no Spanish representative here and our representative is not at the seat of government. We have not broken off relations.
General Mulcahy: We send a representative from this country, for whatever reason, to a popularly elected Government in Spain. The representative we sent as a Minister was sent as the representative of the popularly elected Government of this country to the popularly elected Government in Spain.
The President: We entered into diplomatic relations with the Spanish Republic. It was the de facto, the only Government, in Spain at the time. Whether it was democratically elected or otherwise, it was the de facto Government and it was as such that our representative was sent there. That is the position.
General Mulcahy: The House could very well be informed, officially and formally, by the President as to what the position in Spain is. I want to give a certain amount of information. First and foremost, there was an election in Spain in the early part of this year. Votes to the number of 4,356,000 were cast in favour of the Left, votes to the number of 4,570,000 were cast in favour of the Right, and there were 340,000 votes cast for the Centre Party. The Parliament consisted of 256 Deputies of the Left and 197 of the Right. The first thing that was done a state of alarm was proclaimed. Then the Monarchist leader had to complain of a large number of disturbances that were taking place since the new Government had come into office, he warned the Cabinet of the progress of Red propaganda amongst the armed forces, and ended by declaring that the answer to a dictatorship of the proletariat might be a counter-attack to set up a totalitarian State.
The President, Senor Alcala Zamora, began to find his position difficult. The leader of an important Party in the State, Gil Robles, provided him with a difficult problem; he had either to dissolve Parliament or admit this clerical Party to power; but he was warned by the Left that the admission of a disloyal Party would be regarded as treason. Then there was almost immediately a growth in power of the Left Wing and this was demonstrated, not only by many acts of violence, but well organised activities calculated to gain further power for the Left. And  then land division took place. What was the type of land division that took place? In the Province of Badajoz, where 60,000 agricultural workers, under the leadership of Communist Deputies, to all intents and purposes took possession of the whole Province, they confiscated the big estates and proceeded to partition the land amongst themselves. Their leaders demanded of the Government that the settlers be provided with the wherewithal to cultivate the land.
The person who found himself the real leader of the extreme Left was the man who is now the head of the Communistic Government in Spain, Senor Largo Caballero. Immediately, in some parts of the country there were rumours of attempts to form a Soviet system of government, and the Confederation of Labour decided that the moment had come when an attempt should be made to establish Soviets.
General Mulcahy: The documents put together by a Committee representing the Parliaments of Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain to provide information on international affairs for the use of people who cannot otherwise get it. It is called the “Report on Foreign Affairs.” Next, the situation arose that the leader of the Opposition, Gil Robles, warned the Government that their Left supporters were merely awaiting a suitable opportunity for attack, which would overthrow both the Government and the Republic. Signs became apparent that the Right Wing Parties were not going to remain inactive in face of the growth and coordination of the Left Wing Parties.
The position was that the Parties of the Right found it difficult to come to an agreement on a general line of policy. The Parties of the Left did not, because the Parties of the Left, before the election in February, had come together and placed a moderate policy before the electorate and, through the moderateness of the policy they put before the electorate, they were able to get the support that they did although, as the figures I have  quoted show, they were nearly 600,000 below the Parties that could be considered the Parties of the Right—that is, the Centre together with the Right. Then, the situation further changed. In Andalusia, Extremadura, Castile and elsewhere the peasants peaceably took possession of the lands and were then working the lands with every hope of having sufficient food for the coming winter. The townspeople, realising they were dependent on the food from the land for their existence, adopted a kind of rough-and-ready economic philosophy of siding with the people who took possession of the land, because they expected to get their food from them.
The Left Parties consisted of the General Labour Union with about 2,000,000 members, the National Federation, 1,000,000 members, the various Marxists, 25,000, and the Communists, 55,000. The second largest one of these, the National Federation, who were the Anarcho-Syndicalists, at a congress in May at Saragossa proposed an alliance with the General Labour Union, the largest body with 2,000,000 members, and the proposal was adopted. One of the proposals that these large Parties of the Left adopted was for the “destruction of the present social and political régime.” The General Labour Union did not accept that proposal at once, but it was heartily welcomed by Largo Caballero, who subsequently became the head of the present Spanish Government. He stated that when the alliance of the whole Labour movement became an actual fact (and he was working for it) there would be no organised force, not even the State and its fighting machinery, capable of opposing “the rising tide of the masses.”
It was believed by all the Parties of the Left that some form of revolutionary struggle must take place soon in order to make a complete clearance of the present “reformist” régime. Again we get a picture of the situation developing thus. On the 16th June, the leader of the Opposition reported in the Cortes that up to that time 160 churches had been destroyed, 251 churches damaged, 269 people killed,  1,287 wounded, 381 buildings attacked or damaged, 113 strikes, 228 partial strikes, 43 newspaper offices attacked and destroyed, 146 bombs thrown. These figures were challenged, but the representatives who put together this information from the various countries I speak of, and whose political interests, as far as Great Britain is concerned, as was suggested by Deputy McGilligan to-day, lie rather in the direction of the success of the Communist Government in Spain, declared that, while these figures were challenged, “it is believed that they cannot be very inaccurate.”
Then there developed a movement on the part of the State teachers demanding the immediate closing of church schools. The large Parties to the Left still regarded the Government as a mere stop-gap. Gangster warfare showed itself on all sides in the beginning of July. On the night of the 12th July a lieutenant of the shock police, named José Catillo, was murdered. On the following day a group of men in the uniform of the shock police entered the house of Sénor Calva Sotelo, the outstanding leader of the Right, and murdered him in a singularly brutal manner. This act proved to be a culminating point in the Right-Left feud. The result was that throughout the country communications were cut off and a military revolt originating in the army in Morocco started.
De Valera, Eamon.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Séan F.
Little, Patrick John.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Ward, Francis C.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davitt, Robert Emmet.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Dolan, James Nicholas.
Doyle, Peadar S.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGuire, James Ivan.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
De Valera, Eamon.
Keely, Séamus P.
|Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Thrift, William Edward.
Ward, Francis C.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davitt, Robert Emmet.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Dolan, James Nicholas.
Doyle, Peadar S.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGuire, James Ivan.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried
Question put: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
The Dáil divided: Tá, 56; Níl, 39.
Alton, Ernest Henry.
Corbett, Edmond. Haslett, Alexander.
Keely, Séamus P.
Kelly, James Patrick.
Lemass, Seán F.
Little, Patrick John.
O Briain, Donnchadh.
O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
De Valera, Eamon.
Harris, Thomas. O'Dowd, Patrick.
Pearse, Margaret Mary.
Rowlette, Robert James.
Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
Thrift, William Edward.
Ward, Francis C.
Bennett, George Cecil.
Costello, John Aloysius.
Davitt, Robert Emmet.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
Dolan, James Nicholas.
Doyle, Peadar S.
McFadden, Michael Og.
McGuire, James Ivan.
O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
Rogers, Patrick James.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
The President: I propose that we take the Committee Stage on Wednesday, and I want to give notice that we will have a motion on the paper to get all the Stages through that day.
Mr. McGilligan: We are in a terrible hurry to do it.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.45 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Wednesday, February 24th, 1937.
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