No. 428 NAI DFA 26/95

Letter from Francis T. Cremins to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Geneva, 17 September 1930


I write to confirm the wire I sent you to-day,1 informing you that we were elected to the Council this morning. Chinese re-eligibility was rejected; she required 32 votes to qualify and she only obtained 27. Considering that, upon the last occasion on which she sought re-eligibility, China obtained exactly the same number of votes the conclusion appears to be justified that the Assembly, and, particularly the smaller states, are definitely opposed to the creation of another semi-permanent seat. It seems to be generally admitted that pressure was brought on China by the Great Powers to withdraw her candidature but the delegation's instructions did not allow it to take this course.

With China out of the way, the Assembly proceeded to fill the three non-permanent seats vacated by the retirement of Cuba, Canada and Finland. The candidates, of course, were Guatemala, Norway, Ireland and Portugal. Great activity was shown in the Assembly before the election by the principal delegates of Portugal. The Portuguese delegation was a large one. Their Foreign Minister arrived in Geneva on Monday and, on Tuesday, made a speech in the Assembly which was obviously designed to further his country's chances in the election. It referred to the progress in the internal administration of Portugal, the stabilisation of their currency and their payment in full of the interest on their public debt. It did not succeed in creating the desired impression. Considerable lobbying and canvassing was done by every member of the Portuguese delegation. This was probably over-done and may have told against them in the end. The Irish Delegation, by either the Vice-President or the Minister for Education, asked formally every delegation at the Assembly for its vote. The request was not repeated and no attempt was made to lobby on a systematic scale nor to disparage the claims of any other candidate. We were told by several sources that Portugal was lobbying against us on the ground that we were a Commonwealth candidate and would close a seat.

The evening before the election apparently no newspaper was prepared to make a forecast of the result. Our delegation felt fairly confident but by no means certain of success. Our uncertainty was mainly due to rumours of vacillations among the Latin American states. Last week, we understood from Guerrero that the Latin American group would vote for us in a bloc. On Monday, he informed Count O'Kelly that there would be two or three defaulters. On Tuesday, Guerrero wrote down for us the names of the Latin American States who would vote for the Irish Free State and they only numbered nine out of the total of fifteen. In other words, the defaulters had come to number six or eight - hence my wire. On the other hand, our confidence was growing that we would have the support of the Great Powers and of the Baltic Scandinavian group. Moreover, we had definite information that Austria, Hungary, the Little Entente (minus Yugoslavia), Bulgaria, and a number of unconnected states would vote for us. Greece, Switzerland and Portugal were the only states whose votes we felt certain we would not have.

The result of the election was:-

  Guatemala 41 votes
  Norway 38 votes
  Ireland 36 votes.

The result, so far as the election of the Irish Free State was concerned, was very well received. Mr. Blythe received a very large number of congratulations personally and the comments made to other members of the delegation indicate that our success was a popular one.

Immediately after the result was declared, the Vice-President attended a meeting of the Council, and, in reply to a speech made by the President of the Council (M. Zumeta of Venezuela), welcoming the new members, Mr. Blythe said, inter alia, that he felt sure that the honour done to Ireland would be appreciated not only by the Irish people at home but by the Irish people all over the world. At this, M. Briand nodded his head in emphatic assent.

[signed] F.T. Cremins

1 Not printed.

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