The Records of the Labour Spain Committee
Scope and Contents
Records comprising minutes, correspondence and papers
- 1937 - 1966
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.
Conditions Governing Use
Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.
Biographical / Historical
The Labour Spain Committee was established by the Home Counties Labour Association at a meeting at the Conway Hall, London, on 13 March 1937. Its objectives were to campaign for support for the Spanish Republican Government and to oppose the Labour Party and British Government policy of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War. The initial members of the Committee included: Charles James Garnsworthy, chairman (later replaced by Henry Noel Brailsford); J. C. Pole, secretary; Austen Albu, treasurer; Mollie Millar; and Sybil Wingate.
Immediately the Labour Spain Committee began pressing the National Executive of the Labour Party to call a conference to reassess the Spanish situation. They also lobbied the British Government to lift the arms embargo to Spain and tried to co-ordinate other anti-fascist groups working to help Republican Spain.
Their campaigns met with some success when the Labour Party's policy of non-intervention was reversed in June 1937. However, the Labour Party continued to view the Committee with suspicion, as a threat to party unity, and the National Executive refused to receive a delegation of the Home Counties Labour Association to discuss the Spanish issue in March 1937. Following the Labour Party conference at Bournemouth in October 1937, Stafford Cripps successfully lobbied the National Executive to create a Spain Campaign Committee, which became a focus for humanitarian aid to Spain. The Labour Spain Committee continued to urge political as well as humanitarian action and organised public meetings, demonstrations and two conferences in April and October 1938.
The National Executive finally met a delegation of the Labour Spain Committee in February 1939. In a debate at the Labour Party conference in Southport later that year, J. C. Pole censured the National Executive for failing to assist the Spanish people. The Committee ended up funding relief work in the refugee camps in southern France and in August 1939 its activities were wound up and it ceased to exist.
3 archive box(es)
Language of Materials
Other Finding Aids
Copies of the collection level description and catalogue are available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were given to Churchill Archives Centre by J. C. Pole, 1966, and by his son, J. R. Pole, 1990.
This collection level description was compiled by Sophie Bridges, October 2004. The papers were catalogued in 1968. Historical information on the Labour Spain Committee was obtained from a note among the papers and C. Fleay and M. L. Saunders, "The Labour Spain Committee: Labour Party Policy and the Spanish Civil War", "Historical Journal", vol. 28, no. 1 (1985).
DateText: 1937-9, 1941, 1966.
Labour Spain Committee
- 2004-05-13 17:05:20+00:00
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