No. 159 NAI DFA 243/67

Memorandum from Michael Rynne to Timothy J. Horan (Dublin)

Dublin, 23 April 1940

Mr. Duff's minute of the 16th April,1 forwarding a copy of his previous observations to Mr. Hearne (25th August 1938)2 seems to have brought this file to life again.

From the practical point of view, however, it is obvious that the matter of 'refugees coming from Germany' no longer presents the problems which it did two years ago. And, from the 'policy' point of view, we must face the fact that the pre-war 'international co-operation' movement of the League of Nations is now as moribund as the League itself appears to have become. In other words, there is no international reason of policy compelling the Government to undertake new obligations vis-à-vis refugees and, clearly, no 'home pressure' upon them to concede further privileges to aliens during the existing war.

If it is felt that Mr. Duff's minute should get a reply, I think the Department of Justice will have to be asked quite definitely for the text of the various reservations which they may desire to have made. The same applies to the Department of Industry & Commerce, which will have to be approached before anything definite can be decided. Both Departments ought to be asked whether participation in the agreements will entail legislation or whether they are implementing, or will implement, their provisions under existing law (e.g., Aliens Act, 1935). If special legislation is essential, there would seem to be much likelihood of the Government postponing the whole matter for the present; if not, it seems questionable if participation in the agreements will serve any useful purpose beyond pleasing the League Secretariat – should that diminishing body be still interested in collecting signatures and ratifications for theoretical undertakings that date from the 'international co-operation' era.

As you are aware, we cannot finally embark on any international engagement involving legislation until that legislation has first been enacted. That is the settled rule in respect of all recent treaty-making in this, as in other, countries. In all the circumstances, it might be well to seek a positive direction from the Secretary at once before proceeding to press other Departments on this question.

[initialled] M.R.

1 Not printed.

2 Not printed.

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