Volume 4 1932~1936

Doc No.

No. 110 NAI DFA Geneva Embassy Series S3/14

Letter from Seán Murphy (for Joseph P. Walshe) to Seán Lester (Geneva)
(31/40) (Urgent)

Dublin, 16 August 1932

With reference to Mr. Coyne's1 minutes of the 9th inst., (S.3/2/17) and 10th inst., (S.3/2/18),2 I am directed by the Minister to state, for your information, that a mere disclaimer by the Health Committee of any wish to advocate practices repugnant to the people of any country, on either moral or social grounds, would not be regarded as meeting the objections which are raised to the existence of recommendations put forward by an organisation of the League of Nations.

The Minister would be glad if you would be so good as to report fully on each course which might be followed in order to secure the elimination of the offending paragraphs. It is suggested, for example, that the question should be raised at the Council. Your report should, therefore, indicate what form it is recommended that the motion should take, what notice should be given and whether the draft should be circulated beforehand to each member of the Council. Similarly, the precise procedure to be followed, if the matter is to be brought before the Assembly, should also be stated.

In a matter of this kind, it would, of course, be desirable, if possible, to avoid any public discussion which might tend to advertise the practices in question. A decision as to method cannot, however, be taken until it is seen whether the procedure eventually to be adopted would be at least tantamount to the elimination of the offending paragraphs. Considering the wording of the paragraph dealt with, the suggested disclaimer can hardly be regarded as meeting the situation.

With regard to the suggested disclaimer, copy of which was enclosed with your report of the 10th instant, it is observed that the opening paragraph asserts that the Report was approved by Council4 of the League in January, 1932. This is, of course, incorrect,5 as the approval of the resolution referring to the Health Committee's Report was given subject to the Norwegian representative's reservation, which left to the various governments the examination of any technical reports involved. Now that objection has been raised, it will be for the Council to define its position towards the Report concerned. It is essential to secure that the Council does not give its approval to that document.

It is understood that the next meeting of the Health Committee will be held on the 7th October. It is, therefore, desirable that whatever steps are decided upon should be taken at the September meeting of the Council or the Assembly.

It will also be necessary to arrange that as far as possible in future, all relevant Health documents relating to this Report should be in the hands of the Rapporteur in sufficient time before the meeting of the Council to enable them to be examined before any resolution, even with the proviso suggested by the Norwegian representative, is proposed at the Council session.

Please consider also the question as to what delegations would be likely to co-operate in the action which it is proposed to take in this matter at the Council or the Assembly, and how the assistance of these delegations could best be secured.

[signed] Seán Murphy6

1 Thomas Coyne, assistant to the Permanent Delegate to the League of Nations.

2 Neither document printed.

3 Underlined in pen.

4 Underlined in pen.

5 Underlined in pen.

6 Initialled also by Francis T. Cremins.