Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 34 UCDA P24/2252

Handwritten letter from Ernest Blythe to Anne Blythe (Dublin)

Geneva, 15 September 1926


We have been very busy for the last couple of days. As a result of a great lot of discussion we decided to put the Saorstát forward for the Council. I don't think that there is any possibility of success though others are not of that opinion. We shall not unless there is a last minute change have any British support or any support from a Dominion other than South Africa. We feel, however, that there is a very general opinion in the Assembly that the Dominions do hold a somewhat subordinate status and that Great Britain represents them on the Council. Some of the British are not, I should say, sorry that such an opinion should exist; though Sir Austen Chamberlain whom I met for the first time impressed me as being thoroughly honest and decent. In view of the increase in the number of seats a great deal of canvassing has gone on and arrangements have practically been made by the influential permanent members of the Council as who is to be elected. States of no consequence compared with some of the British Dominions are to be elected. If the Dominions had been Independent Republics undoubtedly some of them would have had seats thrust upon them. In the circumstances even if it is too late for a successful candidature one feels that the idea about the secondary or inferior status of the Dominions must be sharply challenged by a Dominion going forward. Some of the others thought that the Dominions should simply in the Assembly assert their right to be elected to the Council. Our view was this would be so weak that it would be quite useless. As none of the others would go forward we decided to go on.

When we decided on candidature we began to be active on the Commissions etc. I spoke yesterday at the first commission.

Desmond spoke this morning in the Assembly. We have provided a small sensation and will prevent at any rate the arranged elections from going through as a pure formality and the Dominions being regarded as of no account. During the last two years Ireland has been absolutely negligible at the League, neither saying nor doing anything whatever; except correcting a small British misstatement. I am satisfied that we had better stay at home than play the role of last year and the year before. On the other hand good results can be got by our playing an independent and intelligent part.

[matter omitted]