No. 362 NAI DFA LN 85

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Seán Lester (Geneva)
(L.N. 85/96) (Confidential) (Copy)

Dublin, 15 April 1930

I am directed by the Minister to refer to your note (X.2/62) of the 8th April1 relative to the recent visit to this country of Princess Radziwill, an official in the Information Section of the Secretariat.2

The Minister is entirely in agreement with the views expressed in your note as to the procedure which ought to be adopted by the Secretary-General in connection with such missions. Princess Radziwill, who bore a personal message from Sir Eric Drummond to the League of Nations Society of Ireland which was published in extenso in the press, made several speeches in public on the work of the League. In her first speech, as reported in the Dublin press of the 27th March, she intimated that it was because the Secretary-General was very anxious to get into touch with Ireland that leave was granted by him for her visit, while in an interview she stated that the connecting links between the League Secretariat and Ireland have up to the present been practically non-existent.

Happily the speeches delivered by Princess Radziwill were for the most part couched in general terms, and contained nothing that was not in consonance with the declared policies of the Government. But messages and public speeches read or delivered here by officials of the League might conceivably occasion embarrassment, and it is accordingly somewhat surprising that the Secretary-General did not adopt what ought to be the normal procedure, namely, that of giving you an opportunity beforehand of expressing your views regarding the mission. From the point of view of principle, the Minister takes the view that the relations between the officials of the Secretariat and the States Members of the League should be assimilated to those established in the majority of modern states between permanent civil servants and their political chiefs; and it is not proper, without the express approval of the Minister, that a permanent official of the League Secretariat should enjoy, in the area of the Irish Free State, any latitude of public utterance which the Government does not allow to its own permanent officials.

I am to add, however, that Princess Radziwill met with a very cordial reception here. She created a very favourable impression everywhere she went and her speeches aroused a considerable amount of interest in the League and its activities. You might mention this when you are speaking to the Secretary-General in the sense indicated in the last paragraph of your note.

Princess Radziwill stated (see Irish Independent 28/3/30) that eighteen different nationalities are represented on the Secretariat of the League and that 'each member is supposed to work in connection with his or her own country and certain other countries'. Perhaps you can state what precisely is the practice in this respect, and on what authority it rests. Can you say whether in connection with such visits to other countries the Secretary-General makes any communication in any way to the governments of the countries concerned?

It is desired that in any discreet enquiries you may make in this matter nothing should be said which might be taken as a reflection of any kind on Princess Radziwill, who, as already indicated, seems to have impressed everybody most favourably. The continuance of the work to which she referred in her statement as reported in the 'Independent' of the 28th March would, of course, be entirely unobjectionable.

[stamped] (Signed) J.P. Walshe

1 Not printed.

2 Princess Gabrielle Radziwill, League of Nations Secretariat, visited the Irish Free State on a lecture tour from 26 March 1930 to 4 April 1930.

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