No. 425 NAI DFA 26/95

Handwritten letter from Francis T. Cremins to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(L.N. 1/10)

Geneva, 13 September 1930

Dear Joe,

I suppose you are somewhat bewildered at the reports, but the fact is we hear so many different stories here of our prospects that we are bewildered sometimes ourselves.

I really think we are in a strong position, but so do Norway and Portugal, and as there are only 2 seats for the three candidates (at least) someone must go down. There seems to be here a general impression that Norway and we will secure election, but Portugal says that she has promises of 36 votes, in addition to six doubtful ones; so that leaves us guessing. We think Vasconcellos is drawing the long bow. There is also the further complication of China whom the big Powers - except it is stated, Italy - are supporting for re-eligibility, though that does not necessarily mean that they will vote her into the Council. I found out yesterday definitely e.g. that the British will vote for her re-eligibility as a gesture of sympathy, but will not vote for her for election. I said, was not that peculiar? and was informed that it was a characteristic League compromise. It is dangerous, however, as if many States gave their individual votes in the first case as a gesture, a sufficient no. might conceivably go the whole way and China might secure election. I hardly think however that this is likely but the Chinese are playing an astute game. Dr. Wu asked Mr. Blythe for his vote for re-eligibility in return for China's vote if she failed. We did not promise anything, needless to say.

We found that Portugal was actually canvassing against us so we found it necessary to consider the question of canvassing the Northern States. We are very cautious in this, though Guerrero, on the circumstances being explained to him, said that so far as he was concerned he had no objection. The argument chiefly used against our candidature is that we are a Dominion, that we are closing the only seat. Johnson,1 journalist, said yesterday that our disclaimer on the group question was the best thing we had done. Even M. Briand knows our attitude as he remarked to Mr. Blythe in an interview that people put it up to him that we were trying to have the seat a Dominion seat, and he always said to them that that wasn't so, that we were going on our own. He promised nothing definite, but his general attitude was very favourable and he enquired of the British and Dom. attitudes. Belgium is voting for us, but we do not know definitely about Germany and Italy. Curtius and Scialoja2 were nice but made no arrangement.

If we were in very optimistic mood, we could count up about 32 or 34 definite promises, but, as I said, the other candidates go something better in their estimates. It would be well, the Delegates think, if a somewhat pessimistic note could be struck in Wednesday morning's Independent, and Seán Lester has got a promise from Johnson that he will wire to the Indept. on Tues. a dispatch setting out the ups and downs of the campaign, and the doubts as to who will win. You could adopt as a policy to enquirers the attitude that owing to the strenuous competition the issue is extremely doubtful.

My wire re MacWhite3 was sent on instns. of V.[ice] P.[resident]. He thought that MacWhite would be invaluable vis-à-vis the Northern States (Hambro, Duzmanns, &c). However we will get on OK, I think. O'Kelly and Lester are arranging interviews with all the Heads of Delegations, and others whom we know, so canvassing is proceeding apace.

There is some trouble re the General Act, as the V.P. is concerned with the propaganda regarding our change of attitude. We are trying to find a safe formula for the speech, which will probably come off on Monday or early Tuesday. The V.P. &c. thought at first that it would be best to defer it till after the election, but he has now come round to the other view. Anyhow the Council overshadows everything, and this blessed dinner (106 people or so) tonight, so that we are all very overwhelmed. We have not half enough of staff for these rush jobs, and I find it very difficult to concentrate on reports home.

I met the General4 last night and he told me of his meeting with the Minister,5 privately of course. He said he did not think he would be able to go to Dublin owing to pressure in London. I urged the desirability, quietly, and said it would be splendid for us if he came to Ireland where his name is a household word! I fear he will not go however unless you can press him, though he did not seem so definite when we finished talking as at first. Please excuse this scrawl. I have not time to read it over. We are all in the pink, and the atmosphere is splendid, though we often hear that certain people should be here. I will report formally, when I can breathe, re the General Act which is I imagine going to be troublesome.

Heaps of rain here.


1 Albin Johnson, journalist.

2 Vittorio Scialoja, Italian representative to the League of Nations.

3 See No. 418.

4 General Hertzog.

5 See No. 407.

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