Volume 2 1922~1926

Doc No.

No. 232 NAI DT S3328

Letter from Joseph P. Walshe to Diarmuid O'Hegarty on the registration of the Anglo-Irish Treaty at the League of Nations

Dublin, 23 June 1924


Professor O'Rahilly's Letter

A Chara,

Professor O'Rahilly's letter does not touch the real difficulty, namely: the attitude of the British towards an attempt to register. If they object, the machinery of the Council is at their disposal for making their objection effective and for proclaiming to the world that the Treaty is a domestic arrangement.

It has always been the opinion of this Department that the disadvantages following rejection of our application would be far more serious than those accruing from mere inaction.

It was suggested in a Memo. from this Department addressed to you on the 1st October 19231 apropos of a Dáil question on the Registration issue that the intentions of Great Britain should be ascertained before any attempt was made to register.

Mr. MacWhite who is thoroughly well informed on all League matters has been unable to find out what would there and then happen if the Treaty were presented to the registering authorities. He declares that it would be 'highly improbable that the British would intervene after formal application', but it is eminently a case for dealing in certainties.

Professor O'Rahilly says 'the matter is purely automatic' but he takes care to add 'it might best be done when certain people have left Geneva.' When he knows Geneva a little better he will find that it is never completely abandoned by at least two or three very capable certain people.

If the President wishes I can wire the Minister in the morning to sound the British, or if the Minister has left, instructions can be sent immediately to the High Commissioner.

Le meas,
[signed] S.P. Breathnach

[Handwritten postscript by Walshe] It may have some significance that Berriedale Keith2 takes it for granted that the Treaty has been registered (See 'The Constitution, Administration and Laws of the Empire', p. 204, published in April of this year). It depends on the extent to which he represents the mentality of the F.O.


1Not printed.

2Arthur Berriedale Keith, a leading legal authority on Dominion status.