No. 61 NAI DFA 26/31

Letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(13th Ass./2) (Important)

Geneva, 9 June 1932

Assembly Delegation 1932

The Assembly Delegation is usually nominated about this time each year. It is no doubt unnecessary but as I feel a certain amount of anxiety I wish to draw attention to the necessity of a stronger delegation this year than was possible last year.

You will have noted the provisional agenda but the importance of this Assembly is not to be assessed on that. The Labour Conference resolution (for which Prof. O'Rahilly was to some considerable extent responsible and which I supported strongly at the Council) will bring definitely before the Assembly the entire gamut of the world crisis, financial and economic. We should be prepared to take part in these discussions with a definite policy in view if possible.

Our presidency of the Council will involve a special delegation if the position is taken seriously by the Department. I am still hoping that the Minister will be able personally to preside; there will be no really adequate substitute for the Foreign Minister himself - even a week or 10 days would be valuable. I have reported several times urging the importance of Ireland getting full value from our dwindling period of membership of the Council and will not repeat what has no doubt been fully appreciated by you.

I am personally concerned, however, in again drawing your attention to the prospect of the difficult period, September to January, when additional heavy duties will fall on the Irish Government as a result of our Presidency. We will as usual have to supply a representative, on every new minority committee formed during that period. (I am a member of about a dozen such committees at the moment.) During the same period the new Secretary-General will be appointed, a delicate and difficult task which will particularly involve the President of the Council. A special assembly may have to be summoned in November or December to confirm the Council's selection. In addition the Council will be dealing with the special cases of the collapse in Austria, Hungary, Greece, etc. Whether our position in this matter is allowed to be similar to that of the pettiest South American State or whether we can take our responsibilities in a way worthy of Ireland depends largely upon the staffing and delegation arrangements. A few nights ago I overheard the Hungarian Minister tell Count Apponyi as a matter of great interest that Ireland would be President until January.

This is not an exhaustive note but sufficient, I hope, to indicate not only the necessity of a specially strong Assembly delegation but adequate arrangements for the entire period, September to January.

[signed] Seán Lester

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