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."