Page 15, 8th October 1937

8th October 1937
Page 15

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People: Van Sydow, de Valera
Locations: Geneva, Dublin


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" Let Spanish People Decide for Themselves

From Our Dublin Correspondent Following the abstention of the Irish delegation at Geneva from voting on NonIntervention, President de Valera made a detailed statement of the Irish attitude, which was repotted in full in the Irish papers.

"The people of Ireland," Mr. de Valera said, " are far from being indifferent to some of the issues at present being fought out in Spain, hut the Irish Government is determined to adhere to the policy of nonintervention and steadfastly to advocate it as the best for Spain and the best for Europe. It would be a misrepresentation, therefore, of our Government's position to suggest that we are included in the States meditating a change of attitude. We have given no indication of such a change. If, as was suggested in the Sixth Committee, the intention of this sub-paragraph is to record a fact, then the second should be accurate.

"The fact to he recorded is not that the members of the League which are parties to the non-intervention agreement are meditating the termination of the policy of non-intervention, hut that certain of those parties are meditating that course.

Will Take No Responsibility I know that the withdrawal of some of the parties to the non-intervention agreement can bring that agreement to an end so far as its effectiveness is concerned, but I want to emphasise that the Irish Government will not be one of those to take any part in that responsibility. and I want to make it clear beyond any possibility of misunderstanding that our Government are notbeing committed to any policy of action which might result in the termination of the non-intervention agreement.

" There is a danger in the present condition of Europe that the League of Nations, as it now is, may degenerate into a mere alliance of one group of States against another group. That would be the end of our hopes for a real League, and I consider that the smaller States of the League, in particular, should resist from the beginning any tendency in that direction."

Mr. de Valera explained that the Irish delegation's reason for not voting was that this was " the only way to avoid a misrepresentation of our attitude.

" When, on the initiative of the French and British Governments some twelve months ago, the non-intervention policy was agreed upon and the Non-Intervention Committee was set up, my Government rejoiced.

" We believed in the policy of 11011intervention, because that policy respected the right of the Spanish people to decide for themselves how they should be governed and who should he the rulers —a right held particularly precious by our people because of their long struggle

to get it acknowledged in their own regard.

Freedom for Decision

We believed in the policy of non-intervention also because we were satisfied that, if left to themselves, the Spanish people would quickly secure a decision on the matters in dispute, and such conflict as there might be would be freed at least from the exasperation and bitterness, the callousness and cruelty, which outside interference inevitably brines in its train, and which, unfortunately it has brought in its train in the conflict now being waged.

" Moreover, we were convinced that foreign Powers were unlikely to participate in the conflict through any love of the Spanish people. through any desire for the improvement of their social conditions, Of through any regard for their civilisation or

traditions. Their participation was much more likely to he prompted by selfish motives, which might ultimately lead to the destruction of the great Spanish nation, or at least the loss of valuable portions of thenational territory.

" Finally, we knew that intervention on one side of the dispute would inevitably provoke counter intervention on the other, leading to a fatal competition which could only result in a general European disaster.

European Forum

" With such convictions it is obvious that our Government would greatly desire to be associated with those parts of the resolution which would confirm the policy of nonintervention. We deplore the interventions and counter interventions, which have bid fair to make Spain a cockpit for every European antagonism.

" To conclude, with the greater portion of the resolution we are heartily in agreement, particularly with those parts which affirm the rights of the Spanish nation, which expresses the hope that the diplomatic action initiated by certain Powers will be successful in securing the immediate and complete withdrawal of the nonSpanish combatants from Spain, and with that part which urges the Council of the League to be ready to seize any opportunity that may present itself for securing a peaceful solution of the conflict."

Gaelic from Sweden

Subscriptions to the relief fund for the relatives of the Achill migratory workers burnt to death at Kirkintilloch mount and mount. The Dublin daily papers have collected £7,000 at the time of my writing, and a charity match to be played by the G.A.A. is expected to bring £3,000.

Professor Van Sydow, the celebrated Scandinavian folk-lorist, sent a subscription with a touching letter which he wrote in the Gaelic language. The Irish language from Sweden was a graceful touch.

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