No. 75 NAI DFA 126/37
Dublin, 19 August 1937
I delayed replying to your semi-official letter (Ass./18) of the 23rd July1 until your return from leave, as I was awaiting something to go on regarding the probable composition of our Delegation. As matters now stand, I cannot give you anything really definite, only general surmises, as follows:
(1) Minister. On the basis of the Agenda, dated 5th May last, there is no argument whatever for the Minister's attending the Assembly, but very much the contrary. The Minister has been so advised. As regards the prospects of the Italian Empire, Spain, China and Palestine coming up at the Assembly, our sentiments are mixed. Some of these prospects are definitely discouraging, some are more inviting. The various possibilities of each have been discussed with the Minister. But, notwithstanding all this, please take note that the Minister may very well attend the Assembly, at least for portion of the time, and therefore make any preparations you may think appropriate to such an eventuality. If you can do it without arousing hopes or suspicions, endeavour to find out whether there would be an important Chairmanship going - for instance.
(2) Secretary: The Secretary is still away on leave, and I have no reason (and probably no right!) to anticipate his mind on the matter of the Delegation, but, if the Minister were to attend the Assembly and if Palestine was to loom large on the Agenda, there's no knowing but the Secretary might also attend. He will be just back from the scene of action and should be fully equipped with the 'low-down' on the whole Jew-Arab situation.
(3) Legal Adviser: If the two foregoing do not go to Geneva this time, or even if they do, there is every chance of our having John Hearne with us. At any rate, I have been pressing in that direction and, all other things being equal (the rush for the Senate Bill, etc.), the interested parties do not seem to see any strong objection. Obviously, from the point of view of Saorstát Éireann the status of women is still a live issue (or at any rate a lively one!), and only John could do it justice. Also we are supplied with some elaborate, mostly negative, views on Terrorism and there are doubtless other legal questions on which we might take a line. Calendar Reform has been given a great deal of thought here, and we are still considering it actively, but I suppose that might not fall to John, being in another Committee.
(4) Myself - You have always with you.
That's all I will say for the present, but will let you know immediately anything definite is decided on. Meanwhile prepare for the best and expect the worst - I am assuming you hope for a descent in force.
Concerning the Assembly generally there is not much to add. We have promised the Aga Khan (by personal letter from the Minister) our support for the Presidency, whereat he was so pleased that he presented us with a new Cup. We are holding up our Status of Women observations until John can get the Minister to approve them; they may not be circulated until we get to Geneva. We are preparing some notes here as usual and have left a large number of blanks in the text pending a line from you to tell us the prospective new Council Members, etc., etc. In future, it will be well to have these notes prepared by yourself about this time of year, after your holidays. One result of having them overhanging us here is that they interfere with holidays (mine are postponed until November!) and, of course, are not so good as those that could be done by someone who is whole-time on the League. As I am sure you will agree, the only valuable or interesting bits that occur in these annual notes are the portions supplied (generally at the last minute) by the Permanent Delegate! Since you were running the show from the home-front both the importance of the League and the work of the Department have undergone considerable changes. In consequence, I find myself suddenly confronted three weeks before an Assembly with a lot of documents, mostly, it is true, of minor importance, but with which I am practically unfamiliar and which have to be mastered tant bien que mal in a rush. During the rest of the year there is no question, of course, about what must be done and what may be delegated. The days are past when the 'League Section' was a specialised branch full of maps and French newspapers - and Peace! However, you may have seen we are advertising for more Cadets and so may yet hope to be able to spread out existing work, especially during the summer months.
Afraid this letter has become more egoistic than 'personal', but I may not have time to write you much unofficially before we meet. However hard the Assembly flops, I'll be glad to see you again.
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