No. 596 NAI DFA 27/18

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Seán Lester (Geneva)
(Secret) (By air mail) (Copy)

Dublin, 14 November 1931

I am directed by the Minister to refer to previous correspondence1 relating to the Sino-Japanese dispute, and to say that the question of the line of policy to be adopted by the Irish representative at the forthcoming session of the League Council at Paris has received earnest and careful consideration.

In this connection, the Minister is impressed with the importance of two vital, although in present circumstances apparently conflicting, considerations. In the first place, there is the authority and prestige of the League and the principles upon which it is founded. The collapse of the League, and with it the disappearance of all that structure of security and stability which has been built up so laboriously during the past twelve years, would be a great disaster. It would inevitably lead to a period of uncertainty and insecurity in international affairs in which the task of economic and financial recovery would be infinitely more difficult, and the task of disarmament impossible. On the other hand, Japan is at present the outstanding factor making for stability, progress and civilization in the Far East, and no one can minimize the importance of maintaining, and even strengthening, this bulwark against Bolshevism in a region in which it has already shown some tendency to spread.

The Minister earnestly hopes that some means will be found of reconciling these two apparently conflicting interests at the forthcoming session of the Council. He realises, however, that any solution of the difficulty must be preceded by a great variety of negotiations with regard to which it is, of course, not possible to put you in possession of his views in advance. If it is possible, you will no doubt seek further instructions before adopting a definite attitude on any proposal put forward. In general, however, the Minister considers that the Irish representative should not himself put forward at the Council positive suggestions as to possible settlements of the dispute; that he should, whenever possible, seek further instructions before definitely voting on suggestions put forward by others and that, if this is not possible, he should vote with the majority of the Members of the Council.

[copy letter unsigned]

1 See No. 592.

2 Handwritten initials.

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