Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 253 UCDA P24/187

Telegram from Joseph P. Walshe to Seán Murphy (Geneva)

Dublin, 10.00 pm, 6 September 1929

Ministers consider agreement never to have recourse to International Court in inter se matters impossible of acceptance. Circumstances by which Saorstát got her independence vastly different from those of other Commonwealth States. Right to appeal to International Court as ultimate safeguard of independence must be maintained. We have no right to deprive future Governments of this safeguard. Anyhow it is politically impossible. As you said in Seanad it is not our intention to go to International Court in normal inter-Commonwealth cases. Our integrity or independence would have to be endangered. Furthermore Ministers hold that Great Britain has no right to make a declaration equivalent to a denial of Statehood of Dominions. Omission of word 'Member' and insertion of 'international' can only receive that interpretation. Such an attitude on Great Britain's part constitutes departure from principle of co-equality and assumption of over-Lordship. Understand Canada and South Africa will oppose anything in British declaration detrimental to status of Dominions. Ministers would agree in principle to inter-Commonwealth Court for normal inter-Commonwealth disputes provided such Court were created on co-equal basis, but the time is not opportune to discuss details of such Court. Question can be raised at Experts or Imperial Conference. Agreement too important to be treated as a side issue. In discussing matter with British and Dominions it might be better to emphasise general derogation of sovereignty involved in agreement rather than our particular needs. Better suggest whole question of agreement be postponed. McGilligan expected back Sunday morning. Will send further message after consultation with him.