No. 495 NAI DFA 19/2

Extracts from a Confidential Report from Michael MacWhite to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(M.P. 1009-23-30) (Private and Confidential)

Washington DC, 19 December 1930

My dear Joseph:1

I called at the State Department today and explained to Mr. Castle, the Assistant Secretary of State, the reason for our delay in ratifying the International Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armaments. I expressed regret that this delay, which was absolutely unavoidable on our part, should have caused any inconvenience to the United States Government. He replied to the effect that they always knew there was no objection by the Saorstát Government to the ratification of the Treaty, and they appreciated the technical difficulties that retarded the action of the Dáil. At the same time, President Hoover was most anxious to have the Treaty implemented before the meeting of the Preparatory Disarmament Commission at Geneva or even before its conclusion, as that would permit his representatives there to adopt a stronger attitude in urging an agreement for the limitation of land armaments.

I then referred to the Joint Resolution before Congress for the purpose of suspending immigration for a period of two years. Mr. Castle said the State Department was opposed to the purport of the Joint Resolution, and was in favour of limiting immigration for a long time to be specified to 10% of the present quota. He could not make any forecast as to the ultimate decision of Congress, but the doors will very likely be practically closed to immigrants from all countries until such time as the economic conditions of the United States have considerably improved.

I also called the attention of the Assistant Secretary to the Amendment to the Currency Act recently adopted by Seanad Éireann, which authorizes the Currency Commission to invest in United States securities. He seemed highly pleased with this, and asked me to supply him with the report of the Seanad Proceedings on the matter. According to him, business in the United States was so depressed at the moment that it was refreshing to find the Irish people having so much confidence in the economic future of this country. He thinks that unless conditions change for the better soon, a drop in the exchange value of the English Pound is inevitable.

Mr. Castle inquired if the Saorstát would be represented at the Economic Conference at Ottawa next June.2 I presumed that we would, but at the moment I had no definite information as to whether it would come off. He considered the results of the Imperial Conference from the economic standpoint as negligible, and thought that the Labour Government had even some hesitation in agreeing to the recommendations of the committee of experts appointed by the Imperial Conference in 1926.

[matter omitted]

Another matter Mr. Castle inquired about was our relations with the U.S.S.R. I informed him that they were much the same as those existing between the United States and that Government. A certain amount of trade was carried on between the two countries, but there was no official diplomatic contact.3 I gathered from him that the United States Government is much perturbed by what may be referred to as the partial success of the Soviet Five Year Plan, which will permit [them] in the near future, partly because of their inflated currency and also of their system of what practically amounts to slave labour, to flood the world markets with their goods and sell them at a price that will defy competition. The United States Department of Commerce is seriously studying this matter, and I gather from other sources that they see no practical means of combating Soviet methods unless every capitalist country in the world agrees to put an embargo on the importation of Soviet goods.

My conversation with Mr. Castle lasted about forty minutes, and wound up in a most cordial manner.

I dined last night with the Assistant Attorney General, and was sitting next to Mrs. Stimson. After dinner I talked for half an hour with Mr. Stimson, Secretary of State, and took advantage of the opportunity offered to explain to him our delay in ratifying the Treaty, and to assure him that the Saorstát Government was vitally interested in the continuation of most cordial and friendly relations with the United States. He told me that he thought he would have an opportunity when in London at the Naval Conference of visiting the Free State, but his time did not permit him doing so. He has never visited Ireland, but he still hopes to be in a position to do so before long. He likes hunting, and his favourite books are those written by Somerville and Ross.

Yours sincerely,
[signed] M. MacWhite

1 Handwritten annotation reads: 'Copies to P[resident] and V[ice] P[resident]'.

2 The Ottawa Economic Conference was not held until the summer of 1932.

3 See No. 357 and No. 358.

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