No. 72 NAI DFA LN 65

Despatch from T.M. Healy to L.S. Amery (London)
(No. 79) (Copy)

Dublin, 25 March 1927


With reference to your Despatch Dominions No. 175 of the 18th March transmitting a copy of the statement made by Sir Austen Chamberlain at the Meeting of the League Council on the 6th March, I have the honour to inform you that my Ministers appreciate very much the acceptance of their suggested addition to the statement, and they desire me to convey their thanks to His Majesty's Government in Great Britain. They have read, however, with much concern in the Minutes of the 44th Meeting of the Council immediately after the paragraph ending 'and thus help forward the work of the League' the following statement also attributed to Sir Austen Chamberlain:-

  'The Covenant of the League of Nations has omitted to take note of the fact that there is an entity of Great Britain and her Dominions. I sit here as Representative of Great Britain and the Dominions, but the Dominions sit in the Assembly in their own name. Great Britain appears nowhere and this form of treaty therefore causes us some inconvenience. If the League were willing to revert to the older and well established form, it would facilitate our acceptance of treaties negotiated under its auspices.'

2. His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State have no doubt that the obvious note-taker's errors in the statement quoted have already been corrected by the Foreign Office, but they feel that such a fundamental departure from the principle of the co-equality of all the Members of the Commonwealth as is implied in the use of the word 'her' in the first sentence, and in the description of Sir Austen as Representative of Great Britain and the Dominions instead of as Representative of Great Britain alone in the second sentence should be brought formally to the notice of His Majesty's Government in Great Britain so that the responsible section of the Secretariat may be warned to exercise greater care in future.

3. As the note-taker's error has already caused serious embarrassment to my Ministers, they will be glad if they can be informed immediately, for publication, that the correction has been made.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient,
humble Servant,
[stamped] (Sgd.) T.M. Healy

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