No. 347  NAI DFA 326/1

Letter from Frederick H. Boland to James J. McElligott (Dublin)

DUBLIN, 25 November 1943

I am directed by the Minister for External Affairs to refer to your minute of the 4th February 19431 and to state that, now that the amount of this country's contribution to the League of Nations for the year 1942 has been voted by the Dáil, the Minister proposes to remit the sum of £8,058, the amount of the contribution, to the League.

  1. Generally speaking, the position of the League of Nations remains as stated in the memorandum which accompanied this Department's minute of the 16th December 1942. Politically, the League is completely inactive at the moment. On the other hand, certain of its technical services, particularly those connected with health, statistics, and economic and financial questions, are still being kept up and in recent months have even shown a tendency to increase. The Economic and Financial Section of the League Secretariat, which is now situated at Princeton in the United States, seems at present to be making an effort to become the co-ordinating agency for, and the clearing office for information about, the post-war plans and policies of the remaining members of the League, particularly the smaller states.
  2. Although, even in the technical sphere, the present League of Nations can hardly be said to be doing much more than managing to keep in existence, the idea that some international organisation like the League of Nations will be necessary in the post-war world is gaining ground; and it is probable, and even likely, that any such new organisation which may be set up, will take over the existing staffs, technical services and administrative machinery of the League of Nations. It would undoubtedly be of political advantage to this country, in that event, to have maintained its membership of the League of Nations, and its adherence to the principles of international collaboration for which the League of Nation stands, throughout the doubts and ambiguities of the war period. Indeed, as he told Dáil Éireann when presenting the Estimate for the present contribution, the Minister for External Affairs considers that it would be unwise for a small State, such as ours, to abandon the League at the present juncture.
  3. In view of the foregoing considerations, I am now to seek the sanction of the Minister for Finance for the payment to the League of Nations of our contribution for the year 1942 amounting to £8,058. As the contribution may be paid in sterling to the League of Nations Office in London, no demand on our existing foreign exchange resources is involved.

1 See Dáil Debates, vol. 91, cols 2130-1, 16 Nov. 1943.

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