No. 28  NAI DFIN S71/17/40

Minute by James J. McElligott on Irish membership of the League of Nations

DUBLIN, 20 March 1941

Discussed with Minister1 to whom I explained that the Department of Finance had always been opposed to membership of the League of Nations and of the International Labour Office which, so far as we could see, never brought to us any advantages tangible or intangible and were a source of much expense in the way of maintaining a Minister and Offices at Geneva and sending out delegations from time to time. I felt that if there had been no League of Nations there would have been no war, as the democracies would separately have proceeded to rearm. Instead, they were lured by the twin myths of disarmament and collective security, both of which were sponsored by the League of Nations, into a vein of pacifism and non-combativeness that has nearly proved their ruin. Further, the I.L.O. had landed us into social experiments which were crippling our economy. I felt that we should get out of these organisations as quickly as possible. If we could not avoid payment we should pay no more than half subscriptions for 1940, with no liability for further periods. For the permanent Court of Justice at the Hague we should refuse all liability.

The Minister agreed, and will be prepared to take up this attitude at the Government Meeting when the matter comes up for discussion.

1 Seán MacEntee (1889-1984), Minister for Industry and Commerce (1939-41). See biographical details section.

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