No. 542 NAI DFA 11/3

Memorandum from Francis T. Cremins to Seán Murphy (Dublin)
(L.N. 117) (Confidential)

Dublin, 15 April 1931

Assistant Secretary,1

I submit the attached minute from Mr. Boland.2 It deals with three questions:-

(1) - Sir Maurice Hankey's enquiry whether the High Commissioner will take Professor Smiddy's place on the Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence on the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.

(2) - The co-operation proposed in British Despatch D.O. 8 between the Cabinet Committee now set up by the British Government to direct the work of preparation, so far as Great Britain is concerned, for the General Disarmament Conference, and the Government of the Irish Free State.

(3) - The steps to be taken by the Government here to prepare for the General Disarmament Conference.

With regard to (1), I concur in Mr. Boland's view that it is desirable that an arrangement under which the High Commissioner would be a member of what is virtually an Advisory Committee of the British Government on matters of Security and Disarmament should not be continued. If you agree, I propose to draft a note in suitable terms to the High Commissioner accordingly. It is possible that the Secretary may have already spoken to Mr. Dulanty on this question.

With regard to (2), it will no doubt be the desire of the Government to co-operate to the fullest extent possible with the British Government. At the moment, all the British Government asks is that the government here should nominate a representative in London with whom the new Cabinet Committee could place themselves in touch whenever desirable - the actual manner in which the co-operation would be pursued being left for consideration after the Committee had begun its investigations. I agree with Mr. Boland's suggestion that the High Commissioner should be nominated as the representative of the Irish Government.

With regard to (3), it is urgently necessary, I think, that some such arrangement as Mr. Boland proposes should be made, in order that this country may be in a position to play a good part in the Conference on Disarmament. I favour his suggestion that a Committee composed of the Minister for External Affairs, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Defence, should be set up by the Executive Council to advise the Executive Council on matters of policy connected with the Conference, and to direct the work of preparation, and that the executive work of preparation should be carried on by a joint staff of officials of the Departments of External Affairs, Finance and Defence. If you agree, a minute for the Executive Council embodying this recommendation will be prepared,3 and if approval be given, a reply to D.O. Despatch No. 8 in the terms proposed by Mr. Boland will be drafted.

I assume that there would be no question here of seeking - as in England - to have the Irish Delegation to the Conference representative of the different political parties.

[initialled] F.T.C.

1 Handwritten annotation by Seán Murphy: 'Mr Cremins, I agree. SM 15.4.31'.

2 See No. 541.

3 See No. 544.

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