No. 324 NAI DFA ES Box 37 League of Nations

Michael MacWhite to W.T. Cosgrave (Dublin)


Geneva, 27 September 1922

A chara,
On my return here I found that in League of Nations circles there was general disappointment when it was learned that for the present Ireland will not be a candidate for membership of that body.

Sir Eric Drummond inquired as to the decision arrived at by the Dail and what led up to it. He was referred to the newspaper reports - Freeman and Independent. He then stated that it was most extraordinary if Downing Street offered any opposition and said he would see Balfour at once on the matter. He also stated that if any opposition came from the English side it must be the work of an underling or someone who thinks that Ireland's affairs concern himself only. The latter would of course mean Churchill.

From this it is evident that great hopes were being built on the admission of Ireland at this Assembly and I have reason to believe that many of the smaller states were most anxious for this to take place. Influence was brought to bear on some of them from American sources more or less in touch with the present administration, insisting on the necessity of admitting Ireland to immediate membership.

I have also heard confidentially, since my return, though I do not know what importance to attach to it, that President Harding is anxious to get the United States into the League, if he could find a suitable pretext. The admission of Ireland would help him considerably and if the League took up the question of inter-allied debts, he could no longer stand aloof. Now, the League has already had a discussion on the latter question and will possibly recommend the Council to make a study of it and report as to an equitable solution; hence the anxiety as to Ireland's attitude may be readily understood.

Hamilton Holt, the well known American publicist, has publicly stated that Ireland's entrance to the League will turn one million votes in the United States in favour of the League policy. Owing to this being one of the planks on the Democratic programme, it is possible that the Republican party will do its best to prevent the loss of Irish support by this means, at the forthcoming presidential elections.

As a matter of fact the League would now summon a special Assembly to deal with the admission of Ireland if there was any hope of an immediate application being forthcoming.

Is mise le meas
Michael MacWhite

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