Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 563 NAI DFA 26/16

Letter from Seán Murphy (for Joseph P. Walshe) to Seán Lester (Geneva)

Dublin, 10 August 1931

I am directed by the Minister to acknowledge receipt of your note S. Gen. 20/37 of the 4th August1 forwarding copy of the agenda of the 64th Session of the Council, together with the list of rapporteurs. The Minister will be happy to act as rapporteur for items 9, 10 and 11 on the agenda, in accordance with the hope expressed in the second paragraph of the letter from the Acting Secretary-General enclosed with your note.

In this connection, I am to add that it is extremely desirable that, when the rapporteurs for the year 1931-32 are being selected prior to the 65th session of the Council, the Irish Free State should be allocated subjects of more importance than those for which the Minister at present acts as rapporteur. This is desirable from our own point of view, because it provides an opportunity of increasing our influence and prestige in League circles. But, it is also desirable from the League point of view, because the business of negotiation, conciliation, etc., which falls to be discharged by the rapporteurs for the more important subjects dealt with by the Council can best be performed by the representative of a State with such a reputation for impartiality and independence as the Irish Free State can justly claim to have achieved. Moreover, we have now had sufficient experience of the working of the Council to enable us to cope adequately with the technical aspects of any subject which might be entrusted to us.

It is not proposed that any formal démarche should be made by you in connection with this matter but it would be extremely desirable if you could devise some method of impressing upon the Secretary General, in an unofficial manner, the various considerations set out in the preceding paragraph. Subjects in connection with which the services of the representative of the Irish Free State in the capacity of rapporteur could most advantageously be availed of are such as the following: Economic Questions, Financial Questions, International Law, Mandates, Minorities, Danzig and Armaments.

In this connection, I am to add that the tendency which has evidenced itself in recent years in the direction of making the representatives of the bigger States rapporteurs for the same questions from year to year (Germany for Economic Questions, Spain for Armaments, Italy for International Law, Great Britain for Danzig, Japan for Minorities, etc.), is a distinctly bad tendency and constitutes an abuse of, and an unwarranted extension of, the privilege of permanent representation on the Council accorded to those States. It would be well to inform the Secretary General in any conversation you may have with him on this subject that the Government's attention has been drawn to this development and that they are strongly opposed to it. If you have any information as to how the tendency referred to came about, the Minister would be glad if you would let him have it.

[stamped] (Signed) Seán Murphy

1 Not printed.