Volume 3 1926~1932

Doc No.

No. 614 NAI DFA 27/18

Extracts from a letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Paris, 7 December 1931

Re: Manchurian Question

I enclose a copy of a telegram2 sent to you this morning in view of the possibility of an early public meeting to close this session. As you know I should have liked to take a more definite line during the past few weeks, based on principle but well seasoned with the sauce of realism. The political situation at home made that impossible but I do not think we should let the final public meeting pass in silence. I should be inclined to say that the effectiveness of the Council's action will depend on how quickly the evacuation can be completed and not much more.

[matter omitted]

Finally we had a discussion as to the composition of the Commission of Inquiry. Cecil said it should be selected in the ordinary way by the President. Madariaga raised the question of only the permanent Members of the Council being on it, as was foreshadowed. Panama supported him and Norway insisted that it should be only the qualifications of the men which counted (although he knew that the 4 permanent members and U.S.A. counted on being represented). Cecil replied to Madariaga, selecting however the ground that Japan wanted three and had reluctantly agreed to five members. I should have liked to have taken part in this discussion but felt that the Minister would prefer me not to join in, as Cecil had become one of the protagonists. (I overheard Cecil later privately urge on Madariaga that the Commission must above everything command the greatest respect from both Japan and China.)

Eventually Madariaga proposed that the President be instructed to form the Commission and if it were not possible to include a member from a state having no direct interests in the Far East that the number should be increased to six. I understood this to be agreed to, subject to the consent of the parties. Briand took a fairly good line on the principle in the matter.

[matter omitted]

Seán Lester
p.p. F.J.C.3

1 This letter is marked for the attention of Francis T. Cremins.

2 Not printed.

3 F.J. Cawley.