No. 455 NAI DT S3355

Letter from Patrick McGilligan to William T. Cosgrave (Dublin)

London, 18 October 1930

Dear President,

You will remember that we signed the Naval Treaty of London in the early summer of this year. The Treaty provided for the reduction of certain categories of vessels in the navies of the members of the British Commonwealth, the U.S.A. and Japan. Like most treaties this one has to be ratified by all the signatories before it can be implemented.

By the middle of this week all the signatories will have ratified, except ourselves, and if we hold up our ratification until it has been approved by the Dáil, we shall be placed in a somewhat awkward position. The American State Department has made an appeal to us, through Sterling, to ratify before the 6th November, on which date the Preparatory Disarmament Commission begins its sittings in Geneva. The Prime Minister here has asked me if it would not be possible to join in a ceremonial deposit of ratifications in London on the 27th of this month. The American and Japanese Ambassadors as well as all the Members of the Commonwealth (except ourselves?) will take part. It may be said of us that we are holding up the work of peace out of sheer cussedness, as most people will find it hard to believe us if we say that we have no emergency powers of ratification.

I personally should like very much to get the Treaty ratified straight away and the position could be explained to the Dáil afterwards. The letter received from Mr. Sterling gives us a good argument in itself. What do you think? Would it be necessary for you to speak to O'Connell and the Independents?1 If both the Independents and the Labour Party refuse to approve our action when the Dáil meets we could not ratify. If they agree in the special circumstances, notwithstanding your pledge made at the time of Professor Magennis'2 resolution, then we can go ahead at once and have the ratification ready by the 27th.

I shall be very glad if you decide immediately what we ought to do and let me know in a day or two.

Yours sincerely,
[signed] P. McGilligan

[Handwritten] P.S. It should be remembered that if we do not sign, it will not help to ease our position here, and that there is also the danger (not to be spoken of to anyone) that the others may proceed to ratification without us. This rather leaves it open to critics of our international position to say that our ratification does not count, or that we are included in the British ratification.

P. McG

1 Thomas J. O'Connell, Labour TD for Mayo South. The independents of the September 1927 Dáil were: John F. O'Hanlon TD (Cavan), John J. Cole TD (Cavan), Jasper Travers Wolfe TD (Cork West), Major James Sproule Myles TD (Donegal), Alfred Byrne TD (Dublin North), Joseph Xavier Murphy TD (Dublin County), John P. Good TD (Dublin County), Alexander Haslett TD (Monaghan), Michael Brennan TD (Roscommon). There were also three independent TDs representing Dublin University: Professor William E. Thrift TD, Professor Ernest H. Alton TD and Professor Sir James Craig TD.

2 Professor William Magennis, Clann Éireann TD for the National University of Ireland (1922-June 1927).

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