No. 3 NAI DFA 27/18A

Letter from Seán Lester to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(S. 7/11/61)

Geneva, 11 March 1932

Further to my letter of the 9th March (S.Gen./20/51)1 regarding the suggestion that the Minister should come to Geneva, may I point out that the Irish Free State will be one of the members of the Special Assembly Committee to be appointed today to be responsible for the conduct of negotiations, etc. in the Chinese affairs.

The proposal is that the twelve members of the Council (other than the parties) should be joined by six other members of the Assembly elected by secret ballot, together with the President of the Assembly as Chairman. My forecast of this election are South Africa, Sweden, Mexico, Switzerland, Finland and Czechoslovakia. This group will be a very powerful addition to the Committee. The election of South Africa will be a direct result of the strong statement made by Mr. te Water two or three days ago.

The situation will therefore have further changed by the additions I have forecasted, and of course I shall continue to act in accordance with previous instructions unless you otherwise direct me. You will of course realise that the comparative intimacy of the Council secret discussions will no longer exist. On the other hand, in this Committee of Nineteen, the Minister would come into close personal contact with the leading members of the League

Except perhaps for Mr. te Water's demand for 'action and not words', the Assembly attitude with regard to sanctions has not been allowed to appear, and properly so, in the discussions under Article 15.

The text of the draft resolution, as approved today in principle, and for which we are expecting tonight to have a definition of the Japanese attitude, is apparently regarded as satisfactory by every person I have spoken to.

The Minister will I hope be gratified to see that the Irish declaration did not go further than the terms of this ultimate resolution, nor could it be said I think in any way to be less strong. Simon (Great Britain) was a member of the small sub-committee which drew up the first part regarding general principles and Boncour (France), with the Italian and German representatives, were in the second sub-committee which was responsible for Paragraphs 2and 3 (Procedure, etc.).

[signed] Seán Lester

1Not printed.

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