No. 86 NAI DFA 226/46

Memorandum by the Department of External Affairs on the 20th Assembly of the League of Nations

Dublin, 8 December 1939

Draft Notice for the Press

Ireland will be represented at the 20th Assembly of the League, which opens on Monday, 11th December, by Mr. Frank Cremins, Permanent Delegate to the League of Nations.

Points which might be communicated to the Press:

No important action can result from the meeting of the Assembly.

Finland herself wants an immediate favourable settlement with Russia. She does not want to antagonise Russia to the point of making her own position irreparable. She is unlikely to ask the League for anything more than a general expression of sympathy. She may ask the League to persuade Russia to adopt a conciliatory attitude towards her.

The Scandinavian States do not want to antagonise Russia. They also are anxious for immediate negotiations. The Baltic States will probably absent themselves from the Assembly. The Balkan States will not do anything to increase the menace of Russia in their regard. Only the South American States are likely to talk about the 'big stick', but they are not sufficiently strong to secure effective action.

It is unlikely that any Minister for Foreign Affairs will be present. In fact, so far no Cabinet Minister has been spoken of in relation to the delegations, except one from Ecuador who happens to be on a holiday in Europe at the present moment.

Britain and France, though they may condemn Russia at the Assembly, have not given up all hope of separating her from Germany, and are therefore unlikely to press for action of any kind. There is just a remote possibility that the Western Powers may lose all hope of separating Russia from Germany and may endeavour to rope in the small nations into a sanctions resolution against Russia for the purpose of involving them eventually in the war with both Germany and Russia which would be likely to follow such a threat. But this is mere speculation, and the eventuality is most unlikely.

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