No. 295 NAI DFA 417/105

Michael MacWhite to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)
(N.S. 01/219)

GENEVA, 13 December 1924

A Chara,

So far, the British communication with reference to the Irish Treaty has not been given to the Press, in the usual way, by the Information Section of the Secretariat. Nevertheless, the editor of the 'Journal de Genève' got some inkling of it at Rome as you can see by the enclosed cutting in the article on 'M. Chamberlain et le Conseil de la S.D.N.'

It may be taken for granted that the writer of the foregoing article voices the opinions that are held in League circles and amongst the majority of the Members of the Council regarding the British pretensions as expounded in the Foreign Office letter. The claim that there are two kinds of Members of the League of Nations is regarded by everybody as inadmissible. It is incompatible with and contradictory to every Article of the Covenant.

The letter itself, as signed by Cadogan, 1 is a very clumsy production. From our point of view it could not be better drafted as it allows for a slashing reply which must make Chamberlain and his associates appear in a light which they can scarcely be expected to appreciate. I hope this reply will be forwarded to me without delay as every day lost will prejudice our situation in the League and our silence would have an ominous signification for our friends.

The British cannot contend that since the Covenant came into force their position has been as set forth in § 2 of Cadogan's letter. Had such been the case there was no need to insist on the insertion of the inter se Article in the Barcelona and subsequent Conventions. Besides, they did not inform the Saorstát Government that admission to the League was under those conditions and had such conditions existed prior to our admission they would certainly have been abrogated on the occasion of our admission by § 1 of Article 20 of the Covenant.

It is my opinion that if a reply is not forthcoming immediately after the publication of the letter the Government Party will be swamped at the forthcoming elections and the Saorstát will cease to be a subject of serious consideration abroad. On the other hand you will, by taking a definite stand on this matter, capture the support of many of those who believe that the Government is submissive to Britain and you will reinforce and consolidate our position as a Member of the League of Nations and as a factor in International diplomacy.

Is mise, le meas,
[signed] M. MAC WHITE

1 Alexander Cadogan (1884-1968), Head of the League of Nations Section of the Foreign Office, later Permanent Under-Secretary (1938-1946).

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