No. 254 NAI DFA D3904

James McNeill to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

London, 16 July 1924

My dear Minister,

I enclose for your information copy of two telegrams sent to Secretary of State for Colonies by Canada.1

I was told telephonically by Mr. Larkin this morning that a reply had been received. He read it as meaning adherence to abstention and the Colonial Office considered that it meant assent to panel. Senator Belcourt arrived this morning and Mr. Larkin had not seen him. A little later I went to Canada Office to see Mr. Larkin who had gone out. I saw the Secretary (Mr. Pacaud) and Senator Belcourt. They said the cable meant that Canada could not accept this panel system, that it was not as in Paris where Canada was continuously represented, though not by all her representatives, at each session. They never had less than one representative present at a session. Senator Belcourt said that the proposed system meant that he should represent Ireland one day and I Canada the next, an impossible arrangement. This talk took place during the interruption of our conversation, and while you were sending the rest of the telephone message interrupted. Mr. Larkin rang me up later and confirmed the interpretation. He will, as invited, go to the Colonial Office to-morrow morning to hear what the Colonial Secretary has to say. So shall I, unless forbidden. That commits no-one to anything. I shall express no opinions, but listen to anything that is said, making it clear as often as is necessary that my Government forbids anything that smacks of participation by expression of opinion or otherwise. I shall not go continuously if there are symptoms of an endeavour to keep us more or less attached. I think there can be no harm in accepting the first invitation to go and see Thomas.

Yours sincerely,
James McNeill

1Not printed.

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