10 DECEMBER 1937, Page 1

Military operations in Spain have remained at a standstill, but

for a heavy air raid on Barcelona ; indication; that General Franco's offensive was about to begin have not been fulfilled. The Governments at Barcelona and at Salamanca have both accepted in principle the proposal for the withdrawal of volunteers made in the Non-Inter- vention Committee, which met again on Tuesday ; and these replies are held to justify proceeding with plans for sending out Commissions of Investigation to each side. But both Governments have asked for clarification on certain points ; and General Franco's reply appears to assume that the proposal implies the granting of belligerent rights. It does not, and the issue is a crucial one. The Barcelona Govern- ment is already concerned for the security of its food supplies, and the granting of belligerent rights would allow General Franco to establish his blockade of the Mediterranean coast. Indeed, he already considers that it is established, and an announcement from Salamanca that it would be stiffened in future has forced the British Ambassador at Hendaye to state that the British Government does not recognise its existence. The Non-Intervention Committee continues what many have considered its ineffective activities ; yet it must be recognised that, for some time now, the war in Spain has ceased to be a menace to the peace of Europe. Germany, at least, is pretty certainly anxious for an agreement which will get her out of Spain without loss of face.