No. 394 NAI DFA 26/95

Letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Geneva, 31 July 1930

A Chara,

Candidature for the Council

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 22nd. inst. (L.N. 80/177)1 stating that I might approach additional Government Representatives here whom I thought might further the candidature of the Saorstát.

Yesterday morning I rang up H.E. Mr. Emerich Von Pfl?he Austrian Minister, with a view to making an appointment. About a month ago at a reception at his residence, I told him I hoped to have an opportunity for a talk. Mr. Pfl?id that he had been on the point of telephoning to me as he had received a communication from his Government. He was kind enough to come and see me here.

Mr. Pfl?id that he had been informed of the interview between Count O'Kelly and the Austrian Minister at Paris and he wished to supplement that by stating that the Austrian vote would be given to the Irish Free State subject to an understanding that when Austria went up for the Council, the Irish vote would be given to her. He was not sure if the Minister at Paris had been quite so explicit. The absolutely final decision would be taken by the Austrian delegation a day or two before the election took place, but unless the Free State decided to withdraw its candidature, we might count definitely on the Austrian vote. He was not inclined to pay much attention to the Chinese candidature, especially as the situation in China had shown no improvement.

I said to Mr. Pfl?at I could not, of course, speak definitely on behalf of the Government with regard to any undertaking, but that I would report the matter to the Minister, and as he proposed to me to arrange a meeting if necessary between the Minister and the Head of the Austrian delegation, he would then discover exactly how the matter stood. I told him, however, that the Irish Government interest in, and sympathy for, Austria, and the common religious ties, enabled me to express the personal opinion that there would be no doubt about the Irish vote. Mr. Pfl?id great emphasis on the bond between two old Catholic countries, and seemed to think it would be a factor of considerable interest to the Holy See that there should be another Catholic nation represented on the Council. I found that I did not require to direct the conversation in any way, and it seems to me that Mr. Pfl?d been instructed to speak to me in the terms reported above.

Mr. Pfl?y the way, asked if we had the support of Great Britain and France. I told him that I did not think there would be any opposition in either quarter, but that I was not aware if a very definite promise had been given. He seemed to think that the Chinese candidature would find a good deal of sympathy with the British, as they had assumed in many cases an attitude of friendliness towards China in League matters. He also enquired as to whether Italy had been approached, and seemed to attach a good deal of importance to Italian support.

Mise, le meas,
[signed] Seán Lester

1 Not printed.

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