No. 384 NAI DFA 26/95

Letter from Patrick McGilligan to J.H. Thomas (London)
(L.N. 80/1930) (Copy)

Dublin, 18 June 1930

Dear Mr Thomas,

You will see from the despatch going to the United Kingdom and the other members of the Commonwealth by today's mail that the considerations which are advanced in your predecessor's despatch and letter of the 3rd June have not been neglected by us. The position of the Nanking Government is becoming daily more uncertain. Indeed it would not be hazardous to prophesy that there will be no recognised Government in China when the Assembly meets in September. The question of China's election this year is so unlikely to have any real bearing on the Chinese situation that it must not be allowed to present any obstacle to the consideration of other matters which are of the utmost importance, whether viewed from the standpoint of world peace or that of the best interests of the Commonwealth itself.

The candidature of the Irish Free State is no more a Dominions candidature than was Canada's. We should not give an example of the violation of a principle which we have been so active in upholding. Canada was elected primarily because of her growing influence in American and world affairs though her position in the British Commonwealth of Nations was necessarily present to the minds of those who supported her. Nor will the fact of her position in the British Commonwealth of Nations be absent from the minds of those who support the Irish Free State candidature, but that consideration will not constitute her a Dominions group candidate.

It would be well to recall here some of the reasons which should be regarded as giving the Irish Free State a special claim to membership of the Council. One of the most ancient of the civilised countries of Europe we have sent to the New World a vastly greater proportion of our race than any other European country. In the United States between twenty and thirty millions of the population are of acknowledged Irish origin and they constitute one of the most active elements in the Republic. They regard this island with great affection and esteem, and I think you will agree with me that their views have been, and will continue to be, a very important factor in the relations between the nations of the Commonwealth and the United States. The establishment of perpetual peace and friendship amongst the English speaking nations is a primary condition, not only of the prosperity of those nations but also of the peace of the whole world, and it seems only logical to conclude that no sacrifice should be spared to convert the United States to that view. It is hardly to be doubted that the election of the Irish Free State to the Council of the League of Nations would have a very definite influence on Irish-American opinion, and that influence would be deepened when it became evident that the Irish Free State was taking an active part with the other members of the Council in building up the framework of world peace.

The position of this country as a motherland of many millions of the citizens of all the other nations of the Commonwealth gives her a very special role in the task of bringing together the sister nations and the United States, and provides a further argument for supporting our candidature to the Council.

In face of these considerations you can easily understand that abstract reasoning about the possible effects of the election of China on a situation created by and only to be healed by the passage of centuries, fails to rouse our enthusiasm.

As you are aware, the other members of the Commonwealth have promised us their cordial support and I hope your Government will find it possible to do likewise. It would, I fear, be quite impracticable to postpone consideration of the question until we meet at Geneva.

Yours sincerely,
[signed] (Sgd) P. McGilligan

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