No. 73 NAI DT S4714A

Despatch from T.M. Healy to L.S. Amery (London)
(No. 81) (Copy)

Dublin, 28 March 1927


With reference to your Despatch Dominions No. 115 of the 18th February and subsequent Despatches regarding the Memorandum of the United States on the subject of Naval Disarmament, I have the honour to inform you that my Ministers regret very much the long delay in replying thereto. In this connection, it will be remembered that the Overseas Dominions were informed of the contents of the Memorandum by telegram three days before it was despatched by post to the Irish Free State. The subsequent developments up to the date of Sir Austen Chamberlain's statement in the House of Commons were communicated with a similar delay to my Ministers. In view of the possibility of equally urgent matters arising in future, my Ministers make the suggestion for your consideration that communications requiring an urgent reply should be sent by telegram to the Irish Free State at the same time as to the Overseas Dominions.

2. With regard to the proposal of the American Government, my Ministers are, of course, in favour of the principles on which it is based, and they are accordingly in complete agreement with the reply which has been sent by His Majesty's Government in Great Britain. They note from your Secret Despatch of the 15th March that the proposed Conference is not, now, likely to take place before the 1th June and that consequently there will be ample time to consider and to arrange for the representation of the whole Commonwealth if that is still desirable, in the manner most befitting the status of the individual members of the Commonwealth and most likely to give weight to the conclusions of the Conference. My Ministers are strongly of the opinion that representation on the Washington Model would not meet these requirements. The basic principles of co-equality and free co-operation which constitute the real strength of the Commonwealth must inevitably become inoperative in a system of representation which depends entirely for its effectiveness on direction by a single government. My Ministers therefore suggest that separate full powers territorially limited to negotiate and sign should be issued by His Majesty on the advice of each State of the Commonwealth to one or several plenipotentiaries who would sign for each State separately. If the American Government is unwilling to accept representation of all the States of the Commonwealth either through separate delegations or through one or more common plenipotentiaries with powers territorially limited to sign separately on behalf of each of the States, my Ministers believe that the general interests of the Commonwealth would be better served by the abstention of the Dominions altogether from any part in the Conference. His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State will be glad to learn the views of His Majesty's Government in Great Britain on their suggestion at an early date.

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

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