No. 503 NAI DT S8181

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (Dublin)
(L.N. 80/1)

Dublin, 5 January 1931

The Minister for External Affairs, before going to attend the meeting of the League Council at Geneva, wishes to have an opportunity of explaining to the Executive Council the attitude which, with their approval, he proposes to adopt on the two main subjects for discussion.

Most of the questions to be dealt with by the Council at the January session are of an administrative character. There will be no difference of opinion about them and very little discussion. There are two questions of a serious political nature on which a definite stand may have to be taken. One relates to the German Minority in Upper Silesia, the other to the fixing of a date for the General Disarmament Conference.

1. The official documents furnished by the German Government to the Secretariat and distributed to all the members of the Council implicate the Polish Government in a campaign against the German Minority mainly intended to prevent them voting at the recent elections for the Sejm. If the German case is as irrefutable as it appears, there is no other conclusion to be drawn from it than that the Polish Government are guilty of a breach of their treaty obligations, and of a series of acts which could lead to war in Europe. The Governor of the Province of Upper Silesia and several of the Government officials are prominent offenders. The official reply of the Polish Government will probably not be given until the Council meets, and if he follows the precedents set by himself, the Polish Foreign Minister will, no doubt, disdain to treat the matter seriously.

The generally dangerous situation existing in Europe and especially the feeling of frustration and despair in Germany would appear to call for definite action by the Council in relation to anything likely to add to existing elements of danger. The Minister intends to favour strongly any recommendations of the Council tending towards an immediate elimination of the cause of the present trouble between Germany and Poland. He will oppose any attempt of the Council to shirk the issue.

If Poland has no serious answers to Germany's charges, the obvious course is a recommendation that the Governor of Upper Silesia should be transferred, the offending organisation suppressed and compensation paid to those who have been injured.

In relation to this and any other question of interest, the Minister of course intends to discover the views of all the members of the Council before the actual meeting.

2. On the question of the date of the General Disarmament Conference the Minister will press for a date at the end of the present year. He will argue that the settlement of outstanding international differences cannot be helped by further postponement, that on the contrary the early holding of the Conference will provide a new motive for the early settlement of these differences.

While avoiding a strong uncompromising attitude on the general question of Polish-German relations which would immediately stamp us as being in favour of the revision of the Versailles Treaty, the Minister will make clear the earnest desire of the Saorstát that the Council should recommend the immediate removal of causes of friction between Germany and Poland. At a later stage of our membership of the Council we may have acquired a position which will enable us to favour revision. At present we cannot afford to do so. The Minister intends to use every opportunity of upholding the position already taken by the Irish Free State in relation to the codification of international law.

[signed] J.P. Walshe

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