No. 33 NAI DFA 11/3A

Letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(S. 9/4/66) (Confidential)

Geneva, 16 April 1932

A few days ago I was asked if I could arrange to be present at a Commonwealth meeting when Sir John Simon would have something to say.1 I went. It was called apparently to inform us of an American proposal in connection with the Disarmament Conference (General Commission) and of Britain's desire to support it.

I would scarcely report this in ordinary circumstances, but the question of continuing to attend Commonwealth meetings may become a question of policy and I thought it better to inform you. Failure to attend would, it seemed to me, have suggested a change in policy and would have been much commented on by the other Commonwealth delegates. In all the circumstances, I considered that I would be acting in the interest of the new Government's policy by doing nothing which might be taken as extending the programme already set in movement by the President.

At the same time I was acting on my own responsibility and if political difficulties, unforeseen and unexpected, should at any time be made at home the Minister will be able to say so.

At the Labour Conference a somewhat similar, but less important, incident is occurring. The British Employers' Delegate usually gives a dinner to all Commonwealth delegates. It is an affair of 80 or more persons. There are no political speeches but the toast of ?the King' is drunk. Professor O'Rahilly2 consulted me on the question, and we came to the conclusion that it would cause more talk and consequently more political embarrassment if he stayed away. There seemed to be not the slightest reason, on the other hand, to suppose that his presence would cause comment, much less publicity. So he has decided to accept. Mr. Milroy3 has not yet spoken to me but I am informed that Miss Somers will not accept the invitation.

Seán Lester
(Dictated) pp. M. Burgi4

1 Marginal note:'Mr. Cremins to see, 21/4/32'.

2 Alfred O'Rahilly (1884-1969), Professor of Mathematical Physics (1917-43) and Registrar(1920-43), and President of University College, Cork (1943-54).

3 Seán Milroy (1877-1946), journalist and politician (Sinn Féin and Cumann na nGaedhael), Senator (1928-36).

4 Lester's secretary, Irish Representative's Office, Geneva.

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