No. 5 NAI DFA 315/28

Extract from a memorandum by William Warnock on the proposed establishment of a Foreign Trade Corporation

Dublin, 29 August 1945

If the Bretton Woods proposals are adopted our worries about foreign exchange should be greatly decreased. Nevertheless I think that there is considerable room for improvement in our export trade, and for that reason I think that the proposal to set up a Foreign Trade Corporation is to be welcomed. Few of our commercial firms have any experience of trading with countries other than those in the sterling block or in the United States of America. Not many of them are in a big enough way of business to undertake the risk of the large-scale advertisement campaign which would be necessary to introduce their goods into new or undeveloped markets. It is essential that a drive for increased exports be started as soon as possible, and I doubt if this can be done unless the State takes control.

As Mr. Kennedy1 points out, the Foreign Trade Corporation may wish to have representatives in countries where we have no diplomatic or consular offices at the present time. I take it, however, that this Department will see to it that we shall have direct diplomatic relations with all countries in which we hope to develop commercial connections; otherwise the trade representatives - and our seamen - will have to turn to British Consuls for assistance.

The American Government is opposed to monopolistic trading, and the Economic and Financial Committees of the League of Nations are also opposed to it. We must remember, however, that while the League aims at idealistic international objectives, we are a small country faced with a severely practical problem. The world's political and economic problems cannot be solved on the idealistic basis unless and until all of the Great Powers co-operate unequivocally to that end. Even though the League in general disapproves of the direct regulation of foreign trade it admits that it may be necessary from the national point of view in certain circumstances.

[matter omitted]

1 Eamonn Kennedy (1921-2000), third secretary, Department of External Affairs.

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO