No. 103 NAI DT S5685

Edward J. Phelan to William T. Cosgrave (Dublin)

GENEVA, 24 July 1923

Dear President Cosgrave,

I was very glad to get your letter of 5th July1 and to learn that although you cannot yet be absolutely certain of being able to come to Geneva, nevertheless you hope to be able to do so on the occasion of the Assembly. I sincerely hope that circumstances will make your visit possible as the forthcoming Assembly promises to be of special interest and importance, and the presence of other Dominion Prime Ministers will render it desirable that the head of the Irish Delegation should be yourself.

I have heard from the League that they have now been officially informed that the channel of communication between them and your Government should be through your representative at Geneva and the obscurity which existed in this connection would now seem to have been cleared away. No similar communication has yet been received by the International Labour Office, but I have no doubt it will follow. As I pointed out to you during our conversation in Dublin, the International Labour Organisation is an entirely autonomous international body and the precedents created with it are of equal legal importance with those created in connection with the League.

Interest continues to be manifested in various quarters on the continent on the participation of the Free State in the Assembly. There appeared recently a very important leading article in 'L'Oeuvre', one of the most important of the Paris newspapers, of which a translation appeared in 'The Freeman' about ten days ago. I am enclosing a copy of 'The Freeman' translation in case it should have escaped your notice, as it is typical of the interest which is being displayed and of the general attitude of continental political observers.

I presume preparations are now in hand in Dublin for the organisation of the Delegation to the Assembly. Needless to say, if I can be of any assistance by furnishing you with information or in any other way, I shall only be too glad to do so. May I perhaps in this connection remind you of the importance of having ready the Free State passports for the Delegation to the Assembly? I had been hoping to see the announcement that they had been prepared but I gather from the account of a recent discussion in the Dáil that certain technical difficulties have been encountered which I hope, however, it will be possible to surmount before the departure of the Delegation.

I was specially interested in the concluding paragraph of your letter indicating that the question of sending one or two officials to Geneva before the meeting of the Assembly was under consideration by the Minister for External Affairs. I sincerely hope that it will be possible for them to come at an early date, as the interval between now and the opening of the Assembly is very short if they are to examine the working of the League machinery and return to Dublin in order to assist in the final preparations.

I have noted in the Press the formidable legislative task with which the Government and the Dáil are faced during these coming weeks, and also the vigour and efficiency of the campaign which you and other Ministers are managing nevertheless to conduct throughout the country in order that it may be better informed of the achievements under the Treaty and the work which still lies ahead. It would seem impossible for you to find time for international preoccupations, but you have already so often achieved the impossible that I am looking forward with confidence to the arrival of a Delegation which will be equipped to profit by the really extraordinary opportunity which the meeting of the Assembly will provide. I need only add how much I personally hope that you yourself will be able to head the Delegation, and I can assure you that you will meet on all sides in Geneva with the very warmest welcome.

Yours very sincerely,
[signed] E.J. PHELAN

1No. 94 above, actually dated 4 July.

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