No. 202 NAI DFA 26/60

Letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Geneva, 3 July 1933

Mr. Cremins sent me from London a copy of his note1 on the question of Australia's candidature for the Council and the possibility of our re-election. I am in complete accord with most of what Mr. Cremins writes. In my last note to you, I assumed that the Minister felt he was faced with the necessity for making an immediate decision, and I said that if that was so, I could not hold out to him any definite hope of our securing the two-thirds necessary for re-eligibility. At the same time, I would have liked if possible that the question should remain open, but it is of course obvious that there are other factors in the decisions than those with which I am more directly concerned. In the circumstances, I presume I need not follow Mr. Cremins on the various points which he had made. Should Australia be elected, it would seem to be establishing much more firmly than before the right of a dominion to succeed a dominion in this seat, and at the end of three years, Australia will presumably be followed by South-Africa and later by New-Zealand, perhaps even India, and then Canada before our turn comes again. I would naturally regret very much anything that postponed the possibility of Ireland again taking her seat in the Council for a period from fifteen to eighteen years.

You may be interested to learn that I had a conversation last night with Mr. Phelan,2 who raised the question as to the position of Australia. I told him I understood Australia would be a candidate and that the Government had under consideration the question of re-eligibility for the Saorstát. He expressed the opinion that it would not be inadvisable to raise the question of whether or not the principle of re-eligibility was to be reserved only for Poland and Spain. The Assembly has agreed to the principle and if it has any value other than providing permanent seats for two second class Powers, it should be used for the return to the Council of a non-permanent member whose work has justified a claim for re-eligibility. He felt much more strongly than I do that a good case could be made with the people like the Scandinavians on this line. He did not necessarily take the view that we could succeed, and agreed that even the decision to go forward should not be made until the first days of the Assembly.

I merely report this as I know that you are always interested in any views Mr. Phelan may have; I had not previously discussed the question with him.

[signed] Seán Lester

1 See above No. 200.

2 Edward J. Phelan (1888-1967), Chief of the Diplomatic Division of the International Labour Organisation (1920-38).

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