No. 77 NAI DFA LN 4/7

Letter from Desmond FitzGerald to L.S. Amery (London)

Dublin, 14 April 1927

Dear Mr. Amery,

Many thanks for your letter of the 5th instant containing a further explanation of the proposed representation at the Naval Conference. I will endeavour to make the points raised in my Despatch of the 28th March1 somewhat clearer.

You will remember that the representative appointed on the advice of the British government to the Washington conference held unlimited Full Powers. His signature accordingly covered all the other states of the Commonwealth, and the signatures of the Dominion representatives were merely explanatory and, from the juridical point of view, unnecessary additions. It seems to my colleagues and myself that this form of representation is not in harmony with the principle of co-equality and it certainly deviates from the resolution of the Imperial Conference which states that Full Powers should indicate and correspond to the part of the Empire for which the plenipotentiaries are to sign. The delegates, while forming a single or group delegation, should represent fully and exclusively those territories over which their respective governments have jurisdiction. The representative of Great Britain, like the other states of the Commonwealth, would thus hold Full Powers limited to Great Britain and her dependencies.

That indeed is the form described in Paragraph 3(a) of your despatch of the 5th April, and it is in fact the Washington Model brought into harmony with the recommendations of the Imperial Conference. I feel sure that you agree that there is no other way in which the Dominions could be represented without their representation becoming ineffective and the prestige of the Commonwealth as a whole receiving a serious set back. It is, of course, quite clear that the Dominions could not be represented without receiving an invitation from the United States, and I will be very glad to instruct our Minister in Washington to join Sir Esme Howard in suggesting that course to the State Department if you desire it.

Yours sincerely,
[copy letter unsigned]

1 See No. 73.

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