No. 63 NAI DFA 11/3A

Letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(S. 9/4/Conf. 36)

Geneva, 13 June 1932

Disarmament Conference - Effectives

Your 11/3 of 9th instant, informing me that the Government is opposed to any restriction on non-permanent forces and reserves:- I shall adopt this attitude if and when the question is raised. As this decision is so important and in view of the fact that I have hitherto received no indication of the views of the Department of Defence, do you not think it would be necessary to supply me with some 'background' or additional information? To be able to discuss the matter I would require our definitions of non-permanent or reserve forces. If I knew our objective I would be able to distinguish between proposals important to us and unimportant, when made by the numerous States (including U.S.A., Germany and the Northern States) who strongly favour limitation and reduction of reserves; and on the other hand if a compromise were acceptable by certain European powers (France, Poland, Little Entente, etc.) I would not under the present instructions be able to judge its acceptability by us. Does the instruction as to no restrictions apply also, to naval and air forces?

I have mentioned a few points to show that some amplification of the instructions would be useful, if not indeed essential.

Needless to say I shall to the greatest possible extent seek further instructions on this point as the situation develops.

[signed] Seán Lester

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