No. 108 NAI DT S5166

Extract from a letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Diarmuid O'Hegarty (Dublin)

Dublin, 6 August 1927

[matter omitted]

5. The question of Council Membership calls for immediate consideration. Three new members will be elected this year for a tenure of three years, and it is of considerable importance that some member of the Commonwealth Group should be elected. The feeling that Great Britain (as the 'British Empire') represents all the Commonwealth States on the Council is still very strong and though it has been somewhat weakened by the resolutions of the Imperial Conference, by the Candidature of the Saorstát last year, and by the statement of the principal Canadian Delegates in the Assembly that Canada regarded herself as being fully eligible, it is nevertheless clear that only the actual election of another Commonwealth State to the Council will make our independent status in the League apparent at home and abroad. Last year, acting on a last moment decision and without time to canvass, we got ten votes out of a total required for election of twenty-five. Mr. O'Higgins, at the Naval Conference, got M. Lapointe, Chief Canadian Delegate, to cable home, requesting an immediate answer to the following question:

  'Will Canada present herself for membership or if not, will she support the candidature of the Saorstát?'

MacKenzie King only replied to this cable after repeated reminders and his reply is most unsatisfactory. He said he was opposed to Canada's candidature and apparently said nothing about supporting the Saorstát. Lapointe has cabled again telling him to postpone a final decision as he believes Canada has a very good chance. Lapointe apparently thinks he can persuade MacKenzie to go forward when he sees him personally on his return to Canada (next week). Picard, Lapointe's Secretary, informed the Secretary of this Department that in his Chief's view, Canada had a better chance than the Saorstát. That view is probably prejudiced but owing to Great Britain's influence at the League, it is fairly certain that either Canada or the Saorstát would be elected with her support if it were not too enthusiastic. The number of States voting for either of us with the knowledge that Great Britain was opposed would probably not exceed ten and it is better in the circumstance to have her with us.

The first step to be taken is to inform Great Britain that we intend going up for the Council, unless Canada does so, and that we intend immediately to inform all the other Members of the League of that position. We should ask for an immediate reply as to whether or not she is favourable.

6. The Minister therefore requests the Executive Council to give a decision on two points:


Membership of the Saorstát Delegation.

Whether or not we shall become a candidate for the Council according to the lines proposed in the preceding paragraph.

Mise, le meas,
(Sgd.) S. P. Breathnach

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