No. 361 NAI DFA 26/95

Letter from Timothy A. Smiddy to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(Secret and Confidential)

London, 14 April 1930

Dear Mr. Walshe:

Referring to your letter of the 11th April1 on the subject of the League Council, I beg to assure you that I have endeavoured to communicate2 to those in Government circles here the views you expressed therein. Undoubtedly, the more the British show their desire, and give it effect, to implement in spirit the principle of absolute co-equality, the more effectively will be maintained and developed the friendly bonds that are now the only basis of the moral unity that binds the Members of the British Commonwealth of Nations together.

In my letter to which you refer3 I only endeavoured to express my estimate of the attitude of Mr. Henderson. It is hypothetical and perhaps I have exaggerated it. I had in mind also your letter of last month in which you expressed somewhat similar views.

It has occurred to me that in view of the development towards Naval Disarmament and securing and maintaining peace by such instruments as the League of Nations and the Kellogg Pact, the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand will not have the same practical interest as heretofore in maintaining any form of legal unity with Great Britain; and, therefore, their consciousness of absolute co-equality with Great Britain will be more emphasised and their will to maintain it stronger. Many leaders of the Conservative Party in this country realise that unless some other bond such as an economic bond is substituted for the absence of the legal bond, the Dominions are apt to drift entirely from them. This is all to our advantage; and these Dominions will be more inclined to act in accordance with the determination of the Irish Free State to maintain on all occasions the principle of co-equality within the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Lord Passfield, to whom I spoke on the subject, and to whom I expressed these views, gave me to understand that, in the event of our being the only Member of the British Commonwealth of Nations a candidate, our candidature would have his support. As soon as the Naval Conference is disposed of I shall take the matter up again with him.

The Minister of Lithuania told me that he would urge upon his Government the advantage of giving our candidature its support. He left on Saturday for Lithuania and will discuss the subject with his Foreign Minister.

I mentioned to Mr. te Water on Saturday that Canada has definitely promised us their support. He asked me if I could give him a short memo. which would contain the history of our attitude towards the League Council, and some reasons for our candidature, as he wishes to support a reasoned statement to his Prime Minister. I should be glad if you would send me a short statement to this effect.

Colonel Ralston told me he would personally speak to Mr. Mackenzie King on the subject, but this is now unnecessary as Canada has formally promised us its support.

Undoubtedly the Secretary-General of the League will exert his influence to secure the success of the candidature of China, in view of the special mission of the Assistant-Secretary General of the League4 to Nanking in 1928, which was arranged by the Chinese Central Government and Sir Eric Drummond. Probably some undertaking was given by the Chinese Government to Sir Eric Drummond to secure the candidature of China.

I explained to Lord Passfield that China could get the Seat to be vacated next year by Persia.

Yours sincerely,
[signed] T.A. Smiddy

1 See No. 359.

2 The word 'express' has been crossed out and replaced by 'communicate'.

3 See No. 354.

4 Joseph Avenol (1879-1952), former French civil servant, Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Nations (1923-33), Secretary-General of the League of Nations (1933-40).

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