No. 441 NAI DFA LN 4/9

Extracts from a letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(S.9/1/2) (Confidential)

Geneva, 8 October 1930

A Chara,

Disarmament Questions

In view of the approaching meeting of the Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference on which a Representative of the Saorstát will now sit, I should be glad to receive instructions on any point affecting our general League policy and/or the relationship with the other members of the Commonwealth.

I suggest that despatches between London and Dublin on the subject might be summarised, or if that is impossible, that copies should be sent to me. There are, of course, no records here of any discussions which may have taken place or of such declarations of policy as may have been confidentially communicated by the British Government, and which would be of assistance in following the course of the debates.

[matter omitted]

I should also like to be informed as to the position of the Saorstát (1) vis-à-vis the Commonwealth and (2) vis-à-vis other States regarding the question of naval armaments. The question is to some extent academic, of course, as we have no navy, but it might lead to discussions regarding the inter-se position at the Commission. Have we accepted in any way a single naval unit for the Commonwealth at any of the naval conferences, or at the Imperial Conference? (It being understood, of course, that that unit might be divided between the States of the Commonwealth as they might agree.) If so, will a similar procedure be followed at League discussions, i.e. complete and cordial co-operation between the Representatives of Britain, Canada and Ireland on an agreed policy regarding general naval questions?

How far is it desired that such co-operation on an agreed policy (perhaps already discussed by the C.I.D.) regarding the military questions should be adopted?

These are a few of the questions which come to my mind on a preliminary survey of the agenda for the Disarmament Commission; others will no doubt arise later and if it is not feasible to convey fairly complete instructions by letter, perhaps you would wish that I should return to Dublin for discussions and personal directions.

The Committee's meeting has been adjourned until 6th proximo. While it is doubtful that a very active, constructive part could be taken by the Irish Representative at such short notice, he will scarcely avoid public action on the voting, which may occur frequently.

Mise, le meas,
[signed] Seán Lester

P.S. The Armaments Year Book of the League shows a 'British Empire' grouping. A similar grouping appears in the 'Statistical Year Book of Trade in Arms', etc.

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