No. 99 NAI DT S3332
ATHLONE, 19 July 1923
As promised in our conversation on Friday night last I send you hereunder what is necessary for us to do for our Consuls.
(1) To send a letter to him authorising him to act on behalf of An Saorstát at the League of Nations.
(2) To instruct him that all letters for the League of Nations would be sent through him from you, and that he was to receive all letters for you from the League of Nations same as Canada and South Africa.
These at the moment are the most important things requiring immediate attention. The next is for us to suppress the Visas same as England has done to England for Swiss people or subject. At the moment the condition of affairs are for a Swiss to come to England he requires no Pass Port or Visa. For Swiss to come to Ireland he had to apply to the British Consul in Switzerland and pay £1 (one pound) or in other words England is acting as the toll or gatekeeper of the road to Ireland. This can be stopped at once by our Minister suppressing the Visa.
The next important item is for at least a Delegation of six to be appointed for the League of Nations with six substitutes. One of the advantages that is to [be] gained is that we can always send one of these men to the Government of any Nation and that they must be received as an Ambassador should be received, being a Delegate of the League of Nations. These Delegates will take with them copies of the Treaty, Constitution, Acts by both Parliaments ratifying the Treaty. These should be brought first for registry in the League of Nations, and secondly copy to be given to each Delegate from each Country. There are 52 Countries represented at the League of Nations, so for this purpose 100 copies would at least be necessary. This is part propaganda and to inform the Nations of the World as to what actually our Status amongst the Nations of the World really is.
The next thing that is mentioned is that you make special arrangements for this Delegation with reference to travelling to the League of Nations viz. that each Delegate is served with a copy as to his appointment as Delegate to the League of Nations, so that he travels under a sort of what is known as Diplomatic Pass Port and surely not what I travelled under.
The next thing to be done is to immediately instruct MacWhite to retain Hotel accommodation for the Delegates in Geneva, as if we let it go any longer it will be very difficult to get place, and you must have a decent place. When admission is gained to the League of Nations our first speech must be in Irish, of which you will have two translations, one in English and one in French. It would be wise that the second speech be in French and the third in English, so as to show the world, that we are Statesmen equal to any Nation of the World.
This is nearly all the information I got about the matter, with the exception that all the different groups of the small Nations are very friendly to us, and I think Mr. MacWhite has written a Memo on this matter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Sir Eric Drummond, President of the League of Nations was very pleased with MacWhite's statement to the Press after application to the League of Nations. I know for a fact that it has caused France to become doubly friendly to Ireland, and made all the rest of the small Nations start to ask about Ireland, because up to the issue of that statement, they were all of the opinion that Ireland coming into the League of Nations simply meant another vote to England. MacWhite's statement opened their eyes to the fact that this was not so.
It is also suggested that we immediately start to ratify separately some of the Treaties between the different groups of Nations for instance Opium Treaty for the prevention of Drug traffic, the White Slave Traffic, and all these various Treaties that are registered between the different groups of Nations, of which each Nation must subscribe independently. It seems at the moment that we are taking no steps in the matter simply because England is a party to the Treaties that I mention, and that some of our Solicitors maintain that England having ratified, it is not necessary for us to do so.
I wish to point out that it is the United Kingdom that has ratified them, which at the moment thank God only refers to Great Britain and a little spot on the North East corner of Ireland, and therefore is another step forward in our International Status, as the National ratification by us independently of each of these Treaties would have a widespread effect and would place us high in the limelight as an Independent Nation. I attach a memo by the International Law Adviser to the League of Nations.1 I do not think it is necessary to make any explanation of it as it thoroughly explains itself, with the exception of the five points raised in para 3. and under one and two headings.
Having more or less described this to you verbally I wish to point out that Canada has broken practically with England on the 1st. and 2nd. point mentioned and that for to raise our own status as Canada raised hers we must support Canada in this action at the Imperial Conference. I also attach translation of an article from a French Paper 'L'OEUVRE' on the 27th. June.
I wish to impress very strongly on you all the points raised in this letter as I feel the matter very keenly and as I have pointed out to you in our conversation for good or evil a certain amount of responsibility of the Treaty to Ireland rests upon my shoulders. I therefore believe that it is incumbent for me to see that Ireland gets every inch and ounce of freedom out of the Treaty that can be got out of it, and that as pointed out in memo attached we must under no circumstance let England or the Northern Government round off any of the corners, but that instead that we push them out and take the full benefit of it including the Boundary Commission of which England is a party to and must uphold and interpret in the spirit in which the Treaty was written.
I know well that it is only necessary to draw your attention to these matters to have them made right.
Yours to Command
[signed] SEÁN MCEOIN
G.O.C. Troops Athlone Command
I forgot to mention the fact that it would be well if you appointed some good lawyer to watch the development of all the other Dominions and to keep you posted and informed upon the different precedents as they are created. You will kindly note that attention to this matter is drawn in the memo.
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
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