No. 612 NAI DFA 27/18

Extracts from a letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Paris, 3 December 1931

Manchurian Question: Neutral Zone

Yesterday's meeting of the Committee of 12 dealt exclusively with the question of the proposed neutral zone at Chinchow, pending the reply from the two Governments as to the draft Resolution, etc.

[matter omitted]          

I have been informed that the sub-Committee spent yesterday morning trying to agree on a plan for the solution of the Commission. No report was made to the Council, however. It had been understood that Britain, France, and U.S.A. would have representatives, Italy had strongly claimed a representative and in consequence Germany which had been willing to stand aside now also claimed a representative. Madariaga said that in such circumstances he thought a small state without special interests should also be represented. Cecil strongly opposed him and Norway did not support him. Both Spain and the South American group have disclaimed any desire to be represented. I think Madariaga is right but I have publicly supported Colban who had not asked for any special representation for the non-permanent members of the Council or members of the League. I did not think you wanted me again to push that principle especially as following our fight for the principle at Geneva, I have not (in view of your instructions) taken any considerable part in the discussions. If the circumstances appear to me to justify however and if the matter comes undecided to the Committee of 12 again, I may say something to support Madariaga's views. A way out may be for the Council to accept the views of both parties as to the proposition of the Commission.

[signed] Seán Lester

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