19 FEBRUARY 1937, Page 22


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.]

Sta,—Lt.-Col. Butler's opinion as to the relative responsibilities of France and Italy for intervention in Spain is of importance to nobody but himself : but his little outburst of petulance typifies a piece of misunderstanding that is singularly common. I do not know what the relative totals of non-Spanish troops on either side are, though I should have thought that "almost everybody" by this time realised that there are far more with the Rebels than with the Loyalists. What is, however, quite undeniable is the difference in the character of the foreigners on the two sides. On the Government side they are genuine volunteers, far the greater number being German and Italian opponents of Fascism : though it is true there are also some Russian aviators and technicians. The main body of these " volunteers " arrive entirely without equipment as well as without training. On the other side we hear of regular detachments being disembarked ; they are fully equipped ; and being Italian and German Fascists they are fully militarised. In addition no one can read of the boasted mechanised detachments without realising that for all intents and purposes these are not volunteers at all. Why, indeed, does our Government even pretend that they are ? As Mr. Noel-Baker said in the House of Commons, those who believe in volunteers from a totalitarian State will believe anything.— Yours faithfully,


6 Claremont Road, Headingley, Leeds 6.