No. 111 NAI DFA ES Box 37

Michael MacWhite to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)

GENEVA, 16 August 1923

A Chara,

I have received your letter relating to our military, naval and air forces for transmission to the Secretary General of the League of Nations.1

In glancing through Article 8 of the Treaty as set out in your translation I notice that the importance of our military establishments with relation to the military establishments of Great Britain shall be in the same proportion que la population irlandaise par rapport ?a population britannique.

In International law the words underlined have a significance which differs considerably from the original version of the Treaty. The latter says: 'which the population of Ireland bears to the population of Great Britain'.

'Population britannique' may be taken as meaning the whole population of the British Empire and not exclusively of Great Britain. Such an interpretation would, of course mean that our army should be considerably smaller than that allowed under the Treaty and would be likely to create complications of a serious nature for us in the future.

Under the circumstances, I think it advisable to use the translation of Art. 8, as it appears in 'Diplomatic and Legal Documentation' because it is more concise and less likely to be misinterpreted.

You will, therefore, excuse me for taking the liberty of returning the letter for those corrections, the importance of which cannot be overestimated, but which must have inadvertently escaped your notice.

Is mise le meas,
[signed] M. MACWHITE

1Above No. 108.

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