No. 15 NAI DT S9177

Memorandum on non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War from Seán Murphy to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

Dublin, 2 February 1937

At the meeting of the International Non-Intervention Committee in London on Thursday next, the Government representatives will be asked to state whether their Governments agree

(1) to an extension of the Non-Intervention Agreement under which each Government agreed not only to prevent the export to Spain and the Spanish Dependencies of arms and war material but also the recruitment in, the departure from, or transit through, their respective countries of persons proposing to proceed to Spanish territory for the purpose of taking service in the present war;

(2) to put into operation measures designed to secure such an extension of the Agreement on as early a date as possible in February, 1937, that date to be settled in agreement by the International Committee, provided that the other governments concerned agreed to take similar action;

(3) to the institution of a system of supervision of the land and sea frontiers of Spain, to be operated outside Spain. This scheme is in substitution of the earlier scheme of supervision the cost of which was estimated at £620,000. The new scheme is estimated to cost £898,000 per annum. Governments who have already agreed to contribute towards the earlier scheme are asked to agree to make contributions to the present scheme on the same basis.

(4) to make a contribution of 20% of the amount of the annual contribution at once, in order to provide for the preliminary expenses of the scheme. The amount payable by the Saorstát in this connection would be something short of £2,0001.

I have discussed with the Department of Justice the steps it would be necessary to take in order to prevent Saorstát nationals from taking part in the present conflict in Spain. The Department of Justice agree that it would be better to confine the necessary legislation to the present Spanish crisis. In doing so, the reason for bringing in the Bill is because we are members of the International Committee, and such a step is considered necessary in the interests of international peace. The Department of Justice think that a Bill of general application brought in at this moment might be regarded as an attempt to put through general legislation on the occasion of a particular crisis. They feel also that a general Bill would require much more careful consideration than the time at our disposal will allow. Another reason for confining the Bill to the present Spanish situation is the need for including in the Bill certain prohibitions against the export of war material which is not already covered by existing legislation.

Your direction is sought as to whether the High Commissioner may be instructed to inform the Non-Intervention Committee that 2 the Saorstát Government is ready to take the necessary measures to prohibit the enlistment, recruitment, departure from or transit through Saorstát Éireann of persons proposing to proceed to Spanish territory for the purpose of taking service in the present war, provided all the other Governments represented on the Non-Intervention Committee take similar action; that he may also inform the Non-Intervention Committee that3 the Government of Saorstát Éireann is prepared to contribute towards the revised scheme for the supervision of the land and sea frontiers of Spain at the new estimate of £898,000 per annum, and that they would make available 20% of the Saorstát's annual4 contribution to this scheme as soon as it may be required.

[signed] SEAN MURPHY

1 Handwritten marginal note: 'See Finance'.

2 The sentence from this point until the word 'action' has been underlined by a reader.

3 The sentence from this point until the end of the document has been underlined by a reader.

4 The word 'annual' is a handwritten insertion.

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