No. 105 NAI DFA 7/42

Extracts from a memorandum by Francis T. Cremins on the Anglo-French Consultative Pact

Dublin, 10 August 1932


In the declaration which formed part of the Final Act of the Lausanne Conference the signatory Powers expressed the hope that the task accomplished at Lausanne would be followed by further success in the economic and political sphere. With the avowed intention of giving a lead to other Powers, the British and French Governments subsequently issued a Declaration as to methods for promoting European Co-operation. In the general aspects of this declaration they set forth their intention to 'exchange views with one another with complete candour and to keep each other mutually informed of any questions concerning the European regime coming to their notice, similar in origin to that now settled at Lausanne.' Further, that they would co-operate with each other and with other Governments to find a solution of the Disarmament question which would be beneficial and equitable for all the Powers concerned, and that they would similarly co-operate with other Governments in the preparation of the proposed World Economic Conference.

[matter omitted]

The declaration appears to be quite a useful advance in the way of facing up to difficulties by frank and open discussion between the Governments. But there is probably a good deal which does not meet the eye.

[matter omitted]

There are several reasons why the invitation should be accepted. First of all, it is given by the French Government; secondly, it is, from the point of view of the Irish Free State, innocuous: it confers no legal rights, and imposes no legal obligations: it simply means that Governments which accept it are bound in honour to act in accordance with its spirit. Thirdly, by acceptance the Irish Free State would participate as a separate international unit in an international engagement with the other States of Europe.

On the other hand, the Irish Free State is not particularly concerned with the European political problems which the declaration was really designed to cover, and non-acceptance would not therefore reasonably be regarded as implying unwillingness to co-operate in the solution of problems of common interest. Moreover, as a Member of the League of Nations, the Irish Free State at present co-operates with other States in every way practicable.

Probably the outstanding interest in the matter for this country at the moment is the alleged attitude of America towards the Declaration. This attitude is one of resentment, according to Press reports and to a statement from the Irish Minister at Washington, and in the circumstances it might not be deemed expedient to take any action which might appear to include the Irish Free State in a European block aligned in some sort of 'consultative pact' against the United States.

[initialled] F.T.C.

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