No. 376 NAI DFA 11/2

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

London, 29 May 1930

London Naval Treaty

With further reference to your letter of the 27th May1 on Article 19 of the above Treaty, Mr. te Water, High Commissioner of South Africa, called yesterday and informed me he received a cable from his Government to the effect that the question arises whether the proposed exchange of notes referred to in Circular B.No.82 (sent you by the British Foreign Office, 23rd May, 1930) will be confined to the British Government, and, if not, in what form will the other members of the Commonwealth take part in the proceedings.

I had already - last Monday - when interviewing Mr. te Water on another matter, brought the omission by the United States Ambassador of any reference to the Dominions to his notice; but Mr. te Water took no action and his Government's cable was spontaneous.

I interviewed Lord Passfield this afternoon and took the responsibility on myself for pointing out the omission in question from the note of the United States Ambassador. I assured Lord Passfield that there was no want of courtesy on the part of his Government in the matter. He said he quite appreciated my point; that the Dominions were separate signatories to the Treaty and had therefore the right to signify separately their concurrence in the interpretation given to Article 19 by the United States of America Ambassador.

A reply is being sent to the United States Ambassador stating that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom concurs... etc. There will be no mention in this note of the Dominions. But the bearer of the note will signify to the Ambassador that 'So far as His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom knows, the other Dominions will concur and a formal communication will be received from them in due course'. Hence, the appropriate procedure is either (1) to have His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State write to Lord Passfield authorising him on their behalf, through the Foreign Office, to convey to the United States of America Ambassador their concurrence in his interpretation of Article 19; or (2) to have His Majesty's Government in the Irish Free State signify their concurrence through the Irish Free State Minister in Washington.

Mr. te Water has agreed to adopt the former method.

I did not discuss the matter with Mr. Wilford or Sir Granville Ryrie as neither of them is sufficiently interested in matters of constitutional status to take any action on the subject, and there is as yet no High Commissioner from Canada.

[signed] T.A. Smiddy

1 See No. 374.

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