Membership of United Nations Organisation—Motion.

Wednesday, 24 July 1946

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 102 No. 10

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The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I move:

That Dáil Éireann, being willing to assent to acceptance of the obligations contained in the Charter signed at San Francisco on the 26th June, 1945, recommends the Government to take steps with a view to Ireland's admission to membership of the United Nations Organisation as soon as they consider it opportune to do so.

It was roughly this time last year, on the discussion of the League of Nations Estimate, that I was asked whether the Dáil would be given an opportunity of discussing the question whether we should or should not enter into the United Nations Organisation before definite action was taken by the Government.

The purpose of this resolution is to give the Dáil an opportunity for that discussion. It has this purpose also. Having promised the discussion, the Government were not in a position to take swift action should occasion for doing so arise. The promise meant that the Dáil would have to be consulted in the first instance. Hence, if it were thought desirable, during the period that the Dáil is in recess, to take action, we would have to summon the Dáil.

Up to the present there did not seem to be any reason for bringing the matter to a head by discussion. Nothing appeared to be lost by delay. The situation has recently changed [1309] somewhat, however. The second part of the first meeting of the Assembly is due to be held in the autumn. Originally it was fixed for the 3rd September. It has recently been postponed until the 23rd September and it may perhaps be postponed still further. If it were to be held as originally announced, then the 15th July would have been the last date for making application. States that did not make application by that date could not have their application considered at the coming meeting of the Assembly. A number of States considered their position. Some of these States are in a position that they can act at once. In some cases, they have got the prior consent of their Parliaments and, in other cases, the Executive has been put in a position to take action. On account of the promise we gave, we are not in that position. As the meeting of the Assembly has been postponed, the last date for application for entry has not yet been fixed. My information is that it may be fixed today or to-morrow. In that case, we shall have to take action quickly if we decide to enter.

Naturally, the first question is whether we should decide to enter or not. The Government have considered that and, although they are fully alive to the obligations which membership would involve, the Government are in favour, in principle, of entry. The procedure for entry is this. The State makes application to the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General refers that to the Security Council, which, in turn, refers it to a committee representative of all its members. This committee considers the application and makes their recommendation to the Security Council in the first instance. Then the Security Council makes its recommendation formally to the Assembly. The committee has to submit its report to the Security Council 35 days before the date of the meeting of the Assembly, and the Security Council itself has to send in its recommendation 25 days before the meeting of the Assembly.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Will the Taoiseach be kind enough to say if this procedure is [1310] one in which the veto operates in the Security Council?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It is. When I say procedure, the effect will be that, so far as the decision has to be taken by the Security Council, that decision must be taken by at least seven members, of whom five must be the permanent members, namely the big Powers, so that the veto does operate in regard to the recommendation which the Security Council makes to the Assembly. If then an application has been recommended by the Security Council, it means that the application must have got the support of seven of the members, five of the seven being permanent members of the Security Council. These are: The United States of America, Great Britain, Russia, France and China. The application must get the assent of each of these States, together with two others. It then goes before the Assembly and, before a State is accepted as a member, its application must secure the assent of two-thirds of the members of the Assembly. It is regarded as a major question; and for such a major question you have the rule that, where the Security Council has to take decisions, these decisions must be supported by seven members, including the five permanent members —the five great Powers—and that where a decision is called for by the Assembly on a major question, it requires a two-thirds vote. I have pointed out what the procedure is to be. Naturally, when any State considers applying, the question which the authorities of the State have to ask themselves is: What is the likelihood of being accepted?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Can the matter come before the General Assembly if the Security Council should, by any procedure, pass an adverse decision on the application and, if it can, is there any power in the General Assembly to override the objection of the Security Council?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  No.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Does it come before the General Assembly?

[1311]The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It does not.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  It could be blocked?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  I think I explained that. I have indicated that the application must be recommended by the Security Council to the Assembly.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Before it can reach the Assembly?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Yes. Therefore, any State which considers it should apply, naturally asks itself the question whether it is likely to be accepted. On that, one has to consider what are the principles that are laid down in the Charter itself, and the declarations which have been made by those who were the foundation members and the architects of this organisation. So far as the Charter itself is concerned, membership is open to peace-loving States that accept, and are able and willing to carry out the obligations of the Charter. So far as any indication has been given by the architects of the organisation as to what class of States they are likely to accept among the States that have not already entered, particularly neutrals, there was a declaration made at Potsdam by three of the five permanent members, namely, Great Britain, the United States and Russia, to the effect that they would support application for membership by those States that were neutral in the recent world war, making one exception.

Therefore, if we were to apply, we might say, first of all, that our State is a peace-loving State. Our attitude in regard to the League of Nations has proved that we are a peace-loving State. Our Constitution sets out—I need not read the articles for Deputies—that we are in favour of pacific settlement of disputes, that we are in favour of international co-operation and so on. In other words, we have it set out in our Constitution that, so far as the fundamental principles of the Charter are concerned, we are in favour of those principles.

We are therefore a peace-loving State. I assume, if we make application, that we will be willing to face the obligations that are involved. Are [1312] we capable of carrying them out? That will have to be examined in detail in order to see to what extent we are in a position to carry out such obligations as are imposed on those who become members.

That brings me to the fundamental question whether we are willing to become members of this organisation. I think the Government and Deputies of various Parties have on numerous occasions indicated that it would be our desire to see set up an international organisation, based on justice, whose purpose would be to maintain peace and to develop co-operation and friendship between the nations of the world. There is no doubt, then, that our general desire would be to see such an organisation as this set up, whose aim would be the preservation of peace.

Small nations have a particular reason for wishing to have security maintained by combined or collective effort. The greater Powers may be able to preserve their own independence against attack from other great States, but a small nation finds it extremely difficult, if it is attacked, to protect itself. Consequently, it is natural that small States should strive to bring about an international organisation which would guarantee their independence and general freedom. The trouble is that no such organisation can come into being without very great sacrifices on the part of all its members.

That sort of freedom which sovereign States have claimed for themselves in the past has meant freedom to do practically whatever they thought best in their own interests at any time. That conception of sovereignty was often limited in various ways by combination with other States, by treaties and so on, but the general fundamental idea behind it was that States could look after their own interests as they thought best at any particular time. Now, that is not consistent with the idea of collective security, because when you enter into combination with others, to the extent to which you do it and accept obligations in common, you surrender the right to do at any time just as you please; you must submit to some rule—call it a rule of law, if you like—which has been accepted; and those who would like to [1313] establish peace in the world would naturally wish to see a situation brought about in which you would have all the States in the world, just as individual citizens in a community, agreeing to accept the rule of law.

Of course, that would mean there would have to be some law-making authority which would be agreed upon; there would have to be some court or other agreed upon to settle judicially determined disputes in accordance with the law; there would have to be some executive with force behind it to carry out the decisions of the court and enforce generally the obligations which the States would take upon themselves, when they entered into a combination of that particular kind. It means that you would have to be prepared to accept some deciding authority other than your own will. It may be a majority vote, or it may be a two-thirds majority vote; but in any case you surrender the right to decide for yourself what you will do in any particular case. You have, in other words, to do whatever has been decided to be the law at the time.

It is not easy for States, particularly the big States, which have sufficient force to enable them to do the things they please to surrender that right of decision—of making themselves judges in their own regard. That is the difficulty that lies in the way of bringing about that type of world organisation which those who have seen the misfortunes that war has brought upon the world would desire.

When this war was coming to a close a number of the big States came together and tried to get a foundation which would enable them to secure peace. They have built up this organisation. It is pretty certain that the big States had a deciding voice, and the objections which small States find to this Charter arise from the fact that the big States were not willing completely to submit themselves to the rule of law. The veto which was mentioned here is evidence of that. They are not prepared to accept majority rule either in the council or in the assembly—not [1314] even a two-thirds majority rule unless that two-thirds would invariably include each one of them. They are, so to speak, refusing to submit in their own regard to that universal rule of law which is really the foundationstone of any proper league of nations.

However, those who do not wish that, have to decide between having that or having nothing at all and I suppose they accepted this as being the best they could secure, in the hope that as time goes on there might be amendments to get rid of the more objectionable provisions. It seems to me that until the greater States place themselves under the rule of law, like the other States, we have not got the real foundation for peace. The big States have put themselves above the law; they will not submit. All the other States, except these, have to submit to the rule of law. They are bound to submit—that is their obligation. I feel pretty certain that all the States that are bound to submit do not like the privileged position of the four or five who will not submit, and that, in so far as they can do so, they will use their influence towards trying to remove that blot from the Charter. The Charter, however, is at the moment as it is, and it is the Charter as it is that would govern our relations, our obligations, if we enter.

It might be no harm to deal with a few of the important obligations which a State entering this organisation has to accept. First of all, I would refer Deputies to Articles 33 to 37. Under these Articles, we would be obliged to submit any international dispute to which we were a party to procedures of peaceful settlement, and, if we failed to settle it by this means, to refer it to the Security Council. I do not think that would worry us too much.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  That is a conditional obligation, is it not?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  It is one of the obligations under Articles 33 to 37.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Only if the dispute is determined to be one which threatens international peace.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  Yes. I am assuming [1315] in all this that we are dealing with disputes which threaten international peace. If they are petty disputes, they will be settled otherwise. In any case, they will come only before the organisation when other means have failed. I am assuming in all this that the disputes are disputes of a magnitude that would affect international peace. The obligations in Articles 33 to 37 do not worry me, at any rate.

A more serious obligation is that contained in Article 25. Under this Article, we would agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council made in accordance with the Charter. That is an obligation of very wide scope, and the point to remember is that, in accepting it, we would be undertaking to carry out the decisions of a body of which we ourselves would not ordinarily be a member. It is probably the most comprehensive article in the whole Charter. There is, then, Article 41, under which the Security Council may decide to use measures falling short of armed force to secure the observance of its decisions. The measures in question may involve the breaking off of economic relations, the suspension of transport and postal communications and the rupture of diplomatic relations. Finally, there are the important Articles 43 and 45 under which the Security Council may call on members of the organisation to furnish to the Security Council, for the purpose of carrying out its decisions, armed forces, assistance and other facilities, including the right of passage for the forces at the council's disposal. The armed forces, assistance and facilities are to be furnished in accordance with special agreements to be concluded between individual members and the Security Council, and Article 45 obliges the members to maintain the armed forces decided upon between it and the Security Council, with, of course, the assistance of a military staff committee. It might be worth while to look closely at the terms of Article 43.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Hear, hear!

[1316]The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  In a sense, it is the most critical obligation we would undertake by joining the organisation. What it means is that, once we have become a member of the organisation, we would be bound to conclude with the Security Council an agreement specifying the forces, assistance or other facilities which we would hold at the disposal of the Security Council for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  But only such agreement as the Oireachtas agreed with.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is so, specifically, but the fact is that you say at the start that you will agree. You have either to get out or make an agreement, and it is not so easy to get out. I do not see any arrangements for getting out.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  Would the Taoiseach discuss that point? Would he deal with the machinery under which the agreement would be discussed and either accepted or rejected, and the consequences of rejection?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  There has been no case yet that we know of. I take it that what would be done is that the Security Council, considering various strategic plans, would say: “In order to be in a position to deal with such a situation, we will require such and such forces to be maintained by State X, that State being in a particularly important position, and such and such facilities to be given.” Then they would ask the Government of that State to consider and negotiate the matter with them. I dare say the military staff committee and the Security Council would be looking for the best they could hope to get and the State would be considering its position under the demands which might be made on it and would say: “We can do this or we can do that.” Then there might be a question of the Security Council saying: “You must; it is essential and vital that we have these facilities.” I can imagine a situation developing in which a State would say: “We will not,” to which the answer would be: “Well, you get [1317] out then.” This getting out puts you in a new position, as you would be going out with the stigma of being unwilling to fulfil the obligation of making an agreement. However, one could let one's imagination run on these matters, and I do not think it is particularly desirable to do so, except to say that, in general, there is an obligation to make an agreement, but the terms of the agreement have to be negotiated between the Security Council and the State in question.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  And ratified by the respective constitutional processes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  In a case like ours, it would have to be ratified, the alternative all the time being that, if you are not willing to agree, you go out, under the stigma of being unwilling to make an agreement, that is, assuming there is a serious situation in which the Security Council really needs these facilities and thinks you ought to be able to afford them.

Let us look a little more closely at Article 43 and try to visualise the situation which might arise under it. In practice, we might envisage what the obligation would mean in this way. We would have to maintain whatever military forces or facilities are prescribed in the special agreement to be made with the Security Council. We may assume that we have got over the first difficulty and have been able to arrive at an agreement with the Security Council as to the forces to be maintained and the facilities to be given. If the Security Council decides that action should be taken against a particular State, and that action leads to war, we must participate in that action and enter the war. That raises another point with regard to our constitutional position which I will discuss later.

We must do so, even though we have no say in the decision to take such action, and the decision is one with which we disagree. We might very well disagree with the view taken by the Security Council. Suppose, for instance, State A, with which we have been on friendly relations, and with which we might have certain historic ties of a cultural and other character, [1318] took steps against State B, for reasons which might be sound reasons from its own point of view, and the Security Council thought that those steps amounted to an infringement of the charter on the part of State A, in such a case, even though State B is a State with which we have no sympathy at all, a State whose ideology—to use a word so much used in recent years—might be said to be quite different from our own, and might be opposed to our political and fundamental beliefs, yet we should be bound to take whatever action the Security Council should decide upon, and to participate in the enforcement measures against State A, with which we were fundamentally friendly, in favour of State B, with which we have no friendship at all, simply because the Security Council decided it should be so.

We had, of course, a more or less similar situation in the old League of Nations, but the obligations of the League of Nations were not nearly so coercive in their character as the obligations that would be incurred under the new charter. I remember on one occasion coming to the House in connection with a dispute, in which we were seeking approval for economic measures of enforcement. It might have been that we would have been seeking approval for military measures of enforcement, but under the old League it was very much more difficult to bring military measures to bear than it is under the new organisation. In fact, that is one of the reasons why the new organisation has been built in the way it has. It was because it was said that the old League of Nations lacked the strength to enforce its decisions, that the purpose here is to give power to the strong States, to give them power to enforce decisions. It was possible and, in fact, it did happen under the old League, that decisions against what were deemed to be aggressive action were empty, so far as enforcement was concerned—that they simply amounted to expressions of opinion. Now, it will be no longer so. The member States have certain practical obligations; military measures may be used and, if they are used, the individual States will have [1319] to contribute in accordance with their agreements and the demands made upon them. That is a very serious obligation for any State. It does mean, of course, that States are agreeing in advance that in certain circumstances, namely, when in accordance with the charter, when called upon by the Security Council to take armed action, they will do so and, so to speak, go to war at the bidding of the Security Council.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Subject to Article 44.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  What article is the Deputy referring to?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  The article under which they will be called into consultation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is all right; but if they are called into consultation, either their vote does not count or the whole thing becomes futile. You may have, as in the League of Nations, a whole series of more or less futile discussions and in the meantime time has passed by. That is the position— either the time for action is going to pass in futile discussion or there must be a method by which effective forcible action will be taken. Neither we nor any other nation in the world can have it both ways. We must make up our minds to that. The difficulty of bringing about an organisation of this kind is precisely that nations want to have it both ways. They want to have the advantages of collective security and of avoiding obligations. They cannot have both. That is certain. If all the States were on the same basis, if there was no privilege for the big State, any more than for the small, then I would say it would be better for the world that we should all make up our minds that where forcible action has to be taken, we would agree to take it and to play our part in that action, provided we were entitled to believe in advance that action, when taken, would be just. Clearly, no one is going to commit himself to take action of that sort if he has not fair ground for assuming that the action will be just, and that the procedure and measures adopted are intended to [1320] ensure justice. Of course, there will be always a falling short where human instruments are concerned. We cannot by any human means make certain that a course when adopted will always result in justice, but we can try to make certain that justice is likely to result. In any case, we cannot have it both ways. If we do enter into an organisation of this sort, we ought to wish the organisation to be strong enough to secure the objectives which it aims at. If it is not able to do that, it is foolish to have anything to do with it. If it is strong enough we should be prepared to add our share to its strength. I think that any State, entering an organisation of that kind, will desire that there should be equality of sacrifice, equality of obligation and equality of right. There is a nominal equality of sacrifice in the organisation, except that the five big Powers have always to agree before any measures of a certain kind can be taken. There is also a fundamental equality of right accepted between the various States. As to equality of obligations, it is not so easy to arrange for that.

It is pretty obvious I think to everyone that the larger States must play a predominant part in enforcement, and it is precisely because they are going to play that predominant part and be in the front line trenches that they feel—whatever may happen in the other cases—that they should have a special say in regard to any forcible action. It is true that on account of their economic and military strength, they will be able to bear their burdens better than other States. It is true to say that enforcement must depend largely on the great Powers. It is on that basis that they have claimed this right of veto as it is called.

On the other hand, the small States' contributions may be proportionately just as burdensome on them. I think myself that the balance of argument would be in favour of getting rid of the veto and of trying to get the larger States to accept the rule of law, because if they submit themselves to the rule of law then every State would feel it is only in the same position as [1321] any other. That is not the position at the moment and it is not into an organisation of that sort that it is proposed we should enter.

I said, when I was discussing the obligations of going to war which would be involved in obeying the demands of the Security Council, that we have a constitutional question here. According to our Constitution, war cannot be declared by the State nor can we participate in a war save with the consent of Dáil Eireann. Now, is there a definite inconsistency between the obligations which we would incur by entering into this organisation and our Constitution? It is not an easy question to decide or to be satisfied about. Every time you enter into any agreement or treaty of any kind, you limit the freedom of action of those who come after you for the period for which that treaty operates. If this Dáil accepts the treaty and enters into an international commitment of that sort, those who come here within the time of its operation and have to deal with any circumstances that arise out of it, will have to ask themselves are they going to fulfil the obligations or are they not?

They are not as free as they would be if the obligations of the treaty had not been entered into. They will have to ask themselves this question: “If we exercise our freedom and do the thing we should like, we would be breaking our obligations and therefore we have to regard our obligations as fettering our freedom at this particular moment.” It might be said that there is nothing more involved here, in our entry to this League of Nations, than that. What would happen of course, when an actual case occurred, is that the Government of the day would be in the position that the State has to fulfil its obligations under the treaty, and therefore it would have to come to the Dáil and get the Dáil's assent. Those who would be dealing with that situation would have to ask the assent of the Dáil on the basis that this was a commitment that had been entered into, and the honour of the State and its duty to fulfil its obligations would compel the carrying out of the obligations at that time. In other words, it [1322] would be the Dáil that would have to deal with the question and, to the extent that these commitments were entered into and would have to be honoured, it would find itself fettered. However, nations have to do these things. They have to enter into these contracts and their successors are supposed to carry them out.

Again, you might have a situation in which there would not be time to consult the Dáil or to get the assent of the Dáil. In modern times military action is of such a swift character that conceivably—I do not say it would be probable or very likely—you might have a situation in which you would get a demand from the Security Council that such forces as were arranged for by agreement should go into action at very short notice. It might not be possible to summon the Dáil and get the assent of the Dáil on an occasion like that and yet, if words were to have any real meaning, you would be engaged in war. That is a situation which would require to be ironed out and dealt with in what would be regarded as the best way. If it were regarded as a very important matter, it would have to be dealt with by going to the people to find out whether the people would change the Constitution. I think on the whole that it would not be necessary, that the other situation is so unlikely that it would not justify our moving to have the Constitution changed in that respect.

Except for the very extraordinary case that I have conceived, I think it is an advantage that the assent of Dáil Éireann would have to be got to military action because the members of Dáil Éireann as representatives of the people would have to ask themselves: “What are the circumstances? Are we bound by this? Is this in accordance with our commitments?” There would be a number of such questions which the representatives of the people in these circumstances would ask themselves. Swift action might conceivably mean that you had contradictory obligations—one to act swiftly in accordance with the demands of the Security Council and the other to consult the representatives of the people.

[1323] I think I have set the ball rolling, so to speak, in this discussion. You have had the charter for a considerable time. If we are accepted as members legislation would be required to ratify this agreement. There would also be other matters which would need ratification here—contributions, and so on. There is another question which naturally occurs in considering whether we should or should not enter this organisation. The old League of Nations was called a League of Nations. It was not that of course; it was a league of States. It was much better, however, in my opinion, that it should be called a league of nations than that it should be called a league of States although, in fact, it was States that were members, because it seemed to me to hold out hope that some day, by a process of self-determination, it would evolve into being a real league of nations, in other words, that the nation-State would become the ultimate member of that organisation. Though, perhaps, a consideration like this had nothing to say to the choice of the name in the present instance, I think it is better that the organisation should be referred to as one of united nations rather than one of united States. We here in this State form only a part of our nation. The question occurs to some people then should we, seeing that the whole of our nation will not be represented by this State, join at all. The natural corollary to that question is to ask: is our joining going to affect that situation one way or the other? Is our joining an organisation of this sort going to improve the prospects of bringing about the unity of our nation so that our State, at any rate, would be a nation State, or will it do the reverse? I do not think myself, looking through the charter, that one could reasonably hope that through the organisation itself we would be able to bring about the unity of our nation.

But circumstances might develop in the future which would lead in that direction. Nobody could say—and I think it would be very foolish to think —that there is any system provided under this charter by which we could bring about our own unity. On the [1324] other hand I do not agree with those who think that entry into this organisation would do harm or would postpone the day of the unification of our own country. I cannot see that at all. I cannot see that it will in any way hamper us. If it does not help us— and I am not saying that it promises very much in the way of help—I do not see how it is going to hinder us.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  If it does us no good it will do us no harm.

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  That is just what I feel about it. It is, of course, a matter which is agitating the minds of most people in this country. The question whether every important political step we take is one which helps towards bringing the two parts of our divided country together, or the reverse, is one that exercises the mind of every person in this State. I think in this case it can be safely suggested that if it does not do us any good—and I am not saying that it will—it cannot do us any harm.

I said at the outset that the Government wanted to be in a position to take action quickly if it so desired. The position at present is that there are some 51 member States. There used to be about 60 member States in the old League of Nations. There are 51 States in the present United Nations Organisation. There are some 15 other States which are likely to apply for membership. There are four or five States in Asia likely to make application and we are told that there are some European States also applying. The Peace Conference is due to meet at the end of this month. It is possible that the work of the Peace Conference will be concluded before the meeting of the Assembly in the autumn. If that is so, it is possible that some of the European States that were in the war and are not yet members will apply for membership and it is possible that their applications will be supported by some of the Great Powers—possibly by all the Great Powers. That means there are about 15 States roughly which could make application now.

Switzerland, on account of its historical tradition, is in a unique position. [1325] I do not know what Switzerland is likely to do. I do not think she has herself definitely decided what she is going to do. In the old League of Nations, Switzerland was in the position that she could maintain her traditional neutrality. If there was, therefore, to be a question of combined military action Switzerland was in the position that she need not participate. She may seek a similar position in the new organisation. I do not know anything about that, but I do know that the matter is at present under discussion in Switzerland. Sweden is in a practically analogous position to ours if this resolution is passed by the Dáil. Her Parliament has agreed in principle that she should apply for membership, but has left it to the Government to decide the time and occasion on which she should apply. Sometimes one sees in the paper that application has been made. I do not know that that is so. I do not think it is so. Portugal is another country which is more or less similarly situated to our own. The Government of that country can act at once. It is in order to put us in the position where we can take immediate action, should the necessity arise, that I am asking the Dáil to give its assent now to the general proposition that we should apply for membership. We in the Government have balanced the pros and cons. In our circumstances, although it is impossible to be enthusiastic, I think we have a duty as a member of the world community to do our share in trying to bring about general conditions which will make for the maintenance of peace. It would not be right for us to stand aside critically without appreciating the difficulties that are inherent in the formation of an organisation of this sort. On the balance of the pros and cons we have decided that in principle we should apply. The time of application will depend largely, as I say, on what the other nations do. If a number of nations were applying, I think it would be the wise thing for us to apply at the same time. I do not think it would be wise for us to stand alone as the one nation on the earth which was outside this organisation.

I do not think we could effectively [1326] help ourselves simply by remaining outside. If the whole of the world were in this organisation and if action had to be taken in the interest of general peace, I think such a demand would be put upon us as would be impossible for us to resist. Within the organisation we might be able to work for an improvement of the organisation. We might be able to protect our own immediate interests better inside the organisation than outside it. There are many difficulties in the way from our point of view but we have decided that, on the whole, it is better that we should make application for membership. I am asking the Dáil, therefore, to give its assent to our application and to leave it to the discretion of the Government, which will be in touch with what the other nations are doing from day to day, to decide on the appropriate time.

General Mulcahy: Information on Richard James Mulcahy  Zoom on Richard James Mulcahy  If the Dáil had nothing before it but the rather gloomy commentary of the Taoiseach on the proposal before the House to-day it could do nothing but postpone consideration of this matter. We are considering the motion presented to us in extraordinary terms and coming to us in an extraordinary way. The Taoiseach has told us in his remarks that the 15th July was the last date on which, in normal circumstances, we could send in an application to join the United Nations Organisation in order to be considered at the September meeting of the general assembly. A few days before that, when discussing the Vote on the League of Nations, the Taoiseach declined to enter into a survey of world affairs. He said that everybody who was at all interested in world affairs at present knew what the position was and we could speculate from now until this time 12 months on what effect the happenings of to-day would have and he did not think anybody would be the better of it. He said, in relation to the United Nations Organisation, that very important decisions would have to be taken and could only be taken after a great deal of study and examination and a consideration as to whether, in fact, we could carry out all the obligations that were involved.

He said: “I think that we ought to [1327] take our time about it as there are very serious obligations involved.” That was reported in column 2452 of the Official Report of the 26th June, a fortnight or so before the last date for sending in an application. Then, two days after the last date for sending in an application and after the Dáil last week had finished its business and Deputies had gone home, the Government changed its mind as to both the urgency of this business and the necessity for asking the Dáil to discuss the matter and, in putting a motion before the Dáil for discussion, they put it in terms in which the Government in fact expresses no opinion of its own.

The recommendation made to the Dáil to-day is a recommendation made by a Government, the Taoiseach of which said that only after a great deal of study and examination and a consideration as to whether in fact we can carry out all the obligations that were involved could we take a decision. We are just being told that the Government, after considering the pros and cons, would like the Dáil to pass this resolution, that they would like the Dáil, speaking on behalf of the people, to say that the people were willing to assent to the acceptance of the obligations and that, in the name of the people, they were recommending the Government to take steps with regard to Ireland's entry, as soon as the Government thought proper, with the suggestion all along that there is at the moment, for some reason, a question of urgency.

It is a very unfortunate state of affairs that it is in these circumstances we should come to discuss this matter. What are we discussing? We have a document in front of us which shows that in June of last year representatives of 49 nations or States came together, a very considerable number of them having been ravished and destroyed by six years of war. Ten nations from Europe, six from Asia, five from Africa, five from North America, 16 from South America, three from Australasia and three of the States of the Soviet Union came together and declared that they wanted peace, that they would cooperate [1328] for the purpose of getting peace in the world and developing friendly relations amongst the nations, and getting international co-operation for certain common ends. They declared that they were people who affirmed faith in the dignity and worth of human beings, in equal rights of men and women and of nations, large and small; that they sought to establish justice, to bring about social progress in standards of life and in larger freedom and the practice of tolerance, and that they would unite their strength to develop international machinery for the promotion of their common ends and economic and social advancement.

Having fully considered the implications of the coming together of these nations, the objects that they set themselves out to achieve and the spirit in which the unfortunate people of these countries wanted to press forward these achievements, if, in this Irish Parliament, expressing the opinions and the will of the Irish people, we are formulating a statement of our will to be in these assemblies and working in that spirit, then the Ireland of to-morrow, when that resolution would be passed in that particular spirit, would be a very different Ireland from the Ireland that it is to-day or was yesterday, because it would be an Ireland whose Parliament had picked up the spirit and the mind and the tradition of the Irish people and had enshrined them in an act of will and a decision of their Parliament to go out on the big adventure that is outlined there and to take, with all their hearts and with all their minds, a part in that adventure. The Taoiseach discusses our entry into an Assembly that is going to bring down on us in some way or another, in certain circumstances, and removed from our will, the ghastly disasters that these people are, with their very ghastly experience, trying to avoid.

I say that if we had nothing but the Taoiseach's statement to-day, then we could very well postpone this discussion and ask for a very serious examination of the obligations that this country would be under in entering into this covenant or this Assembly. [1329] If what the Taoiseach says is the case, that we are shouldering here a very serious responsibility for the future, where is the part that the ordinary democrat in this country can play in this decision? He read in his newspaper on the 27th of June that there were very serious obligations involved in the membership of this organisation and that it required very careful study and consideration. To-day, with the outline, if it could be called an outline, of the charter and the objects of the charter given by the Taoiseach, we are being hurled into a decision that, so far as we know from the Taoiseach's statement, will perhaps be too late to be taken to-morrow. Where is the strength of this country in the light of any obligations in this world, military or otherwise, except in the strength and the character of its people, in the resources that this country has, and in the opportunities that it has arising out of its geographical situation? What strength have we for standing up to any obligation of any kind beyond an obligation to go and discuss how health may be improved, how full employment may be brought about, and how better standards of living can be brought about? Where have we any strength except in the experience and in the character and will of our people? That intelligence and that will are being stifled by the manner in which these proposals are brought before the House. There is work to be done here in which certainly the Irish nation, undivided and wide-flung throughout the world, would like to be deeply involved.

No one is likely to say anything here to-day, no matter how he may feel with regard to this motion, that would be the cause of making any part of our people hesitate to be in this great work. But, surely, our Parliamentary institutions ought to see that our people will have a chance of visualising what is ahead? Our discussions here ought to be such as to give them some kind of vision of the ghastly terror that the people of the world are trying to avoid and there should be some indication of the way in which they are steeling themselves to face the future. Countries [1330] that are broken and destroyed are trying to lift up their hearts and their courage and they are looking around for people who have largely escaped the terrors and destruction of war to help them with a show of strength and vision and courage and faith on their part. We wish to do that.

We have no wish to oppose this motion, although we might hope that, in the interests of a general understanding by our people of what we are trying to aim at and the work we are trying to help in, the Government, with all the resources it has at its disposal, would have better outlined the objects of the United Nations Organisation and that it would have made somewhat clearer the wide extent of the obligations that we undertake to shoulder when we join the United Nations Organisation. We might wish that the Government would not emphasise so much the obligations from a military point of view.

If the Taoiseach was emphasising so much our possible obligations from the military aspect, I suggest it was up to him to be a little more realistic with regard to what these are likely to be. These obligations can only fall on us in relation to our opportunities and our resources, and surely, when we consider the crushed state of the world to-day as a result of its efforts during the recent war, there is breathing space between this and the possible shouldering of any obligations of a military kind. There is breathing space to give us a chance of concentrating on other classes of work in a way that may help to avoid, through our guidance and example to other nations, another war.

In any case, the obligations that could fall on us in a military way are restricted. We have had the experience of the last war and we have observed what our position in any military operation in the future is likely to be. The only opportunities and the only resources that we have are the opportunities and the resources that would enable us to assist in maintaining the freedom of the Atlantic for peaceful nations or for the use of the various countries of the world. Our [1331] obligations could not possibly extend outside that.

The Taoiseach now hurries to get a decision to join the United Nations Organisation. Immediately that organisation was formed, I could understand Ireland asking to join in the spirit in which it then looked on world affairs. I cannot understand Ireland wondering whether it will be admitted or not. It would be an awkward thing, if you like, if Ireland got an insult, but to get an insult in the world of to-day from a substantial part of the rest of the world might easily be a thing that we could lightly bear, but in the terms of the charter of the United Nations Organisation I cannot see where any possible insult of that kind could come our way. If the United Nations Organisation would turn down an application of a country like ours to get in there, had we not better know at the earliest moment that that is the kind of organisation it is?

I take the charter of the organisation at its face value. I take it that it is an organisation the membership of which is open to all peace-loving States which accept the obligations contained in the charter. There may be an urgency, from the point of view of what is happening in the world, in getting our representatives into the council chamber. If we can help in any way by having our outlook expressed with vigour and with a full appreciation of what is involved in the work of the United Nations Organisation and the objects they have in front of them, it is desirable that we should do so. If our people can have their minds expressed there, we may be able to have some influence on what is taking place in the world to-day.

I ask the Taoiseach to present the picture in a wider way than he has done and I also ask him whether, in view of the type of discussion he has opened and the completely uninformed position of our people, there is any real urgency in making application now. If we could arrange a position here in which the Government would assemble the leaders of the various Parties in the House, with some of the [1332] leaders of the Church and the leaders of public opinion throughout the country, and if they could spend the next couple of months reviewing the objects and the machinery of the United Nations Organisation, reviewing our resources and considering the type of contribution that we could make to the general objects that are set out in the charter, I believe it would be very helpful. We observe in the charter that the main objects include the promotion of the economic, social, cultural and health conditions of the peoples of the world and assisting in the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.

If we could enter the United Nations Organisation with a declaration by our Parliament that we were willing to do so after the whole ground had been reviewed by a body representative of Irish Parliamentary and public life, setting out our own ideas of the way in which these ideals could be used to strengthen the faith and hope of the people of the world, and reviewing how we would be able to mould our economic, social, cultural and educational life here, then we would enter the councils of the nations with the only strength that our people have— that is, the strength of their spirit and the strength of their character.

To-day many of the nations which are members of the United Nations Organisation are thinking in terms of power, and the most up-to-date type of weapons and the technical capacity of the world are being used and tested to see how power may be organised to preserve peace. When we turn our eyes, however, to Europe and the smaller countries which have been destroyed by war, we see a different type of force arising. In the middle of these stricken people, using their own resources and gathering their own political strength, we see the real hope of Europe arising in the Catholic political parties which are organising themselves there and coming to the front in the political life of Europe. It is in that particular direction that our function in the United Nations Organisation seems [1333] to promise most in the way of being any help to the world.

We are setting ourselves out to build up here an Army twice as big as the Army we had pre-war. If there is any reality in the proposals to organise the military strength of the world in the way in which this charter suggests, we should be able to do practically without military forces of the kind which have been organised here and our whole technique, our whole relationship with other countries and the general defensive scheme of the Atlantic would be entirely different; but the question does remain that, if power is to bring about peace, what is to maintain it? We have very many things warning us and indicating to us that it is not power ultimately that will bring about peace in the world, but the maintenance of that spirit which is bringing to the fore the Catholic parties in Europe where the ordinary people will organise themselves in political ways to maintain, in their own strength and in their own way, the right of the human person to be able to live his ordinary life in peace and to live it in peace with the help of the organisation of his neighbours around him.

I do not wish to discuss the various obligations from a military point of view which the Taoiseach has outlined, because I do not think that is an aspect of the working of this charter which requires to be emphasised, but, as the Taoiseach has emphasised it so much, I would ask him to dilate more on the position with regard to Article 43 of the charter whereunder, after the military staff has been set up and the defence organisation for the world has been reviewed, the various countries members of the United Nations Organisation will be asked to discuss the armed forces which they may be required to maintain, the type of assistance they may be required to give, the type of facilities they may be asked to provide, including rights of passage and such other matters. Is that not a matter which comes up for discussion and review and which must be placed before the various Parliaments involved? So far as we here are concerned, at any rate our constitutional [1334] provisions would require that an agreement of that kind should be discussed here.

In the same way, in Article 2, subsection (5), it is set out that all members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present charter. But, under these articles, there is a limited type of military assistance or military co-operation which might be required here. I think that, as the matter has been so much stressed, the Taoiseach should outline what he thinks these are likely to be, because I think we ought not, on an occasion of this kind, enter into these relations without the fullest and the clearest understanding. I do not think that any people in Ireland, looking at the condition in which the world is to-day and feeling and knowing that they have a position to occupy in the world, that they have a message to give to the world and the will to give it, are afraid of anything the future may hold for them.

There has not been a country desolated by the war where Irish men and Irish women have not been found as priests, nuns or brothers, bearing to the farthest end of the world the spirit which is in fact the only real strength we have to offer to the world upon which either to build the peace, or to develop the spirit which will resist tyranny, so that we need not be afraid of anything that the future may have for us, if we face it with a fully informed people who understand what they are doing, who have a Parliament closely in touch with them and expressing their minds and gathering their strengths.

I suggest, however, that we are discussing this matter here to-day as presented by a Government in such a way that we must question whether they are in touch with either events in the world outside or with the minds and the wishes of our people. I can find no explanation of any kind why there should be this sudden change in asking the Dáil, on so little notice, to discuss this matter, and why our people as a whole who are anxious to do their duty and who can be brought into a great unity of spirit, as [1335] instanced not only in our own struggle for liberation, but by the magnificent way in which they came together to resist any dangers that might have arisen during the last war, have not been more fully informed. Our people can be brought to great unity of strength and great unity of will and I think the Government have missed, in the most reprehensible way, an opportunity of gathering that will and informing that will in connection with our proposed entry into the United Nations Organisation.

I think that if the Government see that they will not have an opportunity of applying within a short time for entry, they might postpone this discussion, or, at any rate, they ought to make it clear that our applying now to enter the United Nations Organisation is a manifestation on the part of the Government that they intend to go in with most prominently in their minds the idea that we want to do everything possible in our way to contribute by advice, assistance or example to the economic, social and educational betterment of the peoples of the world, and that while we realise that obligations of a military kind may come our way, as a result of our membership of the United Nations Organisation, these are far ahead, that they can be put out of our minds just at the moment and that the more we concentrate on the economic and educational and social problems which are involved for the world, the more we keep at a distance the day on which we will be called upon in any way to provide military forces or to run any military risks.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  When the matter contained in this motion was brought to the notice of our Party we considered it carefully and unanimously decided to accept the principle involved in it. We accept this motion without enthusiasm. I regret to say that, because when we consider what humanity has gone through during the past six or seven years, and how urgently desirable it is that a universal organisation should be established to protect and preserve the [1336] peace of the world, we must feel disappointed that one with a better, a firmer and more enduring foundation has not been established. In this world we have got to be realists. We have got to accept, not what is perfect, not what we hope for, but the best that can be secured. Apparently the best that the great nations can offer to a tired and tortured human race at the present time is the charter now before us, the charter of the United Nations. It is disappointing, and somewhat alarming to find that in that charter there is no reference to the Supreme Being, to the Creator of the human race. It seems that the leaders of the nations consider it better to struggle and to grope blindly everywhere in an effort to avoid self-annihilation, rather than to seek guidance from the supreme moral authority.

If we as a nation go into this world organisation it shall be our duty to emphasise and to seek to advance the Christian outlook, the Christian approach to world problems, and the Christian solution of the difficulties that beset nations. We can adopt that attitude, and we can enter into this new League of Nations without any feeling of inferiority, or any need to apologise to other nations. We may be taunted and be told that we are a small, weak, insignificant nation. In some respects we may be a small nation. As far as territory and population are concerned we may be ranked as a small nation, but in the light of our past history, and of our influence in the world, we cannot be regarded as a very small, a very weak or a very insignificant nation. We are not a synthetically-produced puppet State. We are a nation that has struggled for justice over a long period. We are a mother nation, with a world-wide race, whose power and influence span the entire globe, and as such in any organisation our nation is assured of an influence for good, if we so desire.

Our nation has struggled for justice over a long period. What was it we sought? It was the right to govern our own country—the right of the people to govern Ireland. If the history of the world during the past 20 years proves anything, it proves that until [1337] the people of each nation are free, and can freely elect their own Governments, there can be no real security in the world. There is no alternative to democracy except the rule of gangsters. Unless Governments are elected by the people, then the people must submit to criminals who seize the power of government. As long as there are nations, great or small—and particularly as long as great nations are governed by gangsters—the peace of the world cannot be secure. It is, therefore, essential that the influence of this nation should be directed towards encouraging and promoting the spread of democratic government in all nations.

We often hear it said that Britain is the home of democracy, that Britain is the nation where the great principles of human dignity and freedom were first established. Anybody who reads even the history of Britain will acknowledge that Irishmen played a very important part in the establishment of those principles. The names of Edmund Burke, Grattan, O'Connell and many others will always be associated with democracy throughout the world and, in the world organisation which it is proposed to set up, I have no doubt that men of genius and ability of the Irish race will make their contribution towards ensuring that the principles of democracy will endure in all the nations. The main principle upon which peace must be preserved is the recognition by every nation of the rights of others. Nations must be persuaded to agree to do unto other nations as they would expect to be done unto them. That is all that is required if peace is to be preserved. I have no doubt, faulty as this organisation is, that it is a step in the direction of having some sort of international law and order.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  On a point of order, I think the motion is worthy of a House.

Mr. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  May I direct the attention of the Chair to the fact that there is a Deputy asleep in the House? Is that in accordance with Standing Orders?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  He is here in any case.

[1338]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  There is a House present. Deputy Cogan.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  How many Deputies are present?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  Twenty.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Alfred Byrne  Zoom on Alfred Byrne  There are only 17 present. Twenty is a House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  There are 21 Deputies at present in the House. Deputy Cogan.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  It is, as I have said, desirable that the proper foundations should be laid—foundations for justice and equality between nations. As long as there are nations in the world who believe that what prevails is right and what fails is wrong, the peace of the world will be in jeopardy. We, as a small nation, can make our contribution towards ensuring that the law of right and justice shall prevail and that the law of force shall be set aside. It is easy, of course, for small nations to talk big in matters of this kind because they cannot be called upon to make decisions, important decisions, for the enforcement of international law. I do not think, however, that any Deputy in this House ought to overlook the fact that even the decision which this House, which is a democratically elected Parliament, is called upon to make to-day is a very far-reaching and important decision. It is a decision almost as important as if we were called upon to enter into a war because this is a decision which may in certain circumstances bind us to take part in a world war and to make a contribution of perhaps blood and treasure, equal to that which any great nation may be called upon to make.

I have said that this nation may be taunted, and perhaps ridiculed, on the ground that we did not take part in the recent world war. At the inception of the recent world war this nation was a member of the then world organisation—the League of Nations— but the recent world war was not undertaken by that organisation. As a matter of fact, that organisation was completely set aside and this nation, [1339] in common with other nations, was free to make a decision as to whether it would enter the war or not. We definitely decided to remain neutral. We were not alone in that decision. Many of the nations, great and small, who are now listed as the victors of the recent world war, also elected to remain neutral, but their neutrality was torn from them by acts of direct aggression and, when it was, they entered into the war in defence of their territory and rights and acquitted themselves nobly. Does anyone suggest that if this nation were similarly attacked, we would not have played our part as vigorously and perhaps as gloriously as any other nation on the earth? Our men would have died as bravely in defence of the nation as the men of Holland, Belgium and other nations died in defence of theirs. Our women would have endured all the agony, terror and torture of war just as bravely as the women of any other nation that was attacked. Therefore, no nation in the world has the right to taunt us on the ground that we did not take part in the recent war.

Mr. T. Brennan: Information on Thomas Brennan  Zoom on Thomas Brennan  Why did you not play a part in that war?

Mr. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  Did the Deputy wake up?

Mr. T. Brennan: Information on Thomas Brennan  Zoom on Thomas Brennan  I am wide awake.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  In a serious discussion of this kind Deputy Brennan would have contributed more to the dignity of this House by remaining asleep than by his recent interruption.

Mr. Brennan:  You did not score any point that time.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  I feel that a small nation such as ours can make a very big contribution towards the cause of collective security and peace in the world. It is true that, in the past, small nations did not have an opportunity of making very much contribution towards restricting aggression. The aggressors were mainly powerful nations. The aggressors of the future we may expect, if there are any, will also be powerful nations but if there is a world [1340] organisation such as is contemplated, and if it is brought to perfection, it will be possible for small nations to be more effectively linked than in the past and, by being more effectively linked, they will be able to contribute in proportion to their strength as great a measure to world peace as the larger nations. That is what this world organisation ought to achieve and that is what our nation will hope to achieve in future.

It is true, unfortunately, that organisations set up for the protection of justice and peace not only internally in nations but also externally, have failed in the past. It is true in many cases where human beings came together as citizens to maintain order, to set up a lawfully established Government, that they have often found that the ideals which inspired them were frustrated. Men have died in every age in defence of Governments which they believed to be right and just but which were faulty in their foundation and foul in their administration but men have died nobly and men have died heroically in the defence of such Governments. Because their sacrifice may appear to be in vain does not mean that the ideal of law and order within nations has been frustrated. Such sacrifices, though they may appear now to have been in vain, have all helped to advance both the idea and the ideal of civilised government. Thus, we have in a great many of the greatest nations in the world some system of order established internally. Is it too much to hope that we can establish similar order out of chaos in international affairs? Bad as this organisation may be and faulty as it may be, it nevertheless ought to be—and I think it is—something better than the jungle law which governed the nations in their international relations heretofore.

I do not agree with Deputy Mulcahy that we ought to pass lightly over the liabilities and the obligations which this organisation may impose upon us. While it is good and desirable to dwell at length upon the economic and social advantages of this United Nations Organisation, we must not pass lightly over the sacrifices which this nation may be called upon to bear if we [1341] enter into this organisation. We ought, however, to enter into it with our eyes open, knowing that in the world in which we live we have got to contribute the best that we can and hope that the best will come back to us. I think it is urgently necessary that the Western Nations of Europe and the free democratic Nations of America should enter more closely into co-operation with each other in permanently establishing the ideals which inspire them. Democracy must prove itself and prove itself quickly if the human race is to survive. If democracy fails to solve the major problems of emigration, poverty and disease then we shall have a situation continued in which the opportunists can seize control in other nations, great and small, and seizing control launch these nations into war. A democratic nation is not likely to be an aggressor nation; and this emphasises the Article of our Constitution which binds the Government of this State to seek the assent of Dáil Éireann—of the lawfully elected representatives of the people, in other words—before declaring war. I believe that that Article of the Constitution can be reconciled with our obligations in entering into this world organisation and I believe that it ought to be so reconciled. I believe that we ought to cling as long as we can to the ideal of the elected representatives of the people taking all major decisions in regard to important matters of State policy and, particularly, in regard to the question of war or peace.

The Taoiseach indicated that one of the reforms which it is hoped will eventually be brought about, and which no doubt this country will seek to bring about, in the world organisation is the removal of the veto of the greater Powers. I am sure that when the atmosphere of distrust and all the prejudices of the recent war are overcome the nations will settle down to make this world organisation more democratic in its institution and founded on the rule of the majority rather than on the faulty foundation on which it is at present established.

The Taoiseach referred to the [1342] possibility that we might, as a nation, find through this world organisation an opportunity of advancing the cause for our national unity. In this matter, however, the Taoiseach was not very hopeful. Neither am I. If we have international law and justice, surely we ought to arrive at a time when problems such as ours could be referred to an international court where they would be dealt with, not in an opportunist spirit but purely on the basis of justice and international order. We have nothing to fear in submitting our case in relation to the Six Counties to an impartial world tribunal. We would welcome any opportunity of presenting our case in that way.

It is, I think, a grave decision for this House to take and I think that every Deputy, regardless of Party realises the gravity of this step. In the world circumstances in which we live there is no alternative. We must play our part for better or worse in any movement towards the establishment of world order. It must be abundantly clear to any thinking person that the existence of the human race depends upon the establishment of some kind of world order. It is true that the small animal—the pig—which was subjected recently to an atomic bomb test is still alive, and, according to Press reports, is becoming slightly pugnacious. But humanity would be unwise to hang too much hope on the tail of that small pig.

Mr. Commons: Information on Bernard Commons  Zoom on Bernard Commons  He might be killed in Monaghan yet.

Mr. Cogan: Information on Patrick Cogan  Zoom on Patrick Cogan  The advances which are being made by science are too far-reaching and too formidable to allow for any complacency in regard to world affairs. If there is another war it may well prove to be the end of the great civilised nations. Realising that, I think there is a new note of urgency and a new note of earnestness in regard to the establishment of this organisation. There is very little time to be lost. All the ability and all the genius of the civilised world must be brought to bear to make this now somewhat [1343] faulty organisation as perfect as any human organisation can be made.

Mr. Norton: Information on William Norton  Zoom on William Norton  The purpose of the United Nations Organisation is stated in Article 1 of the charter of the United Nations Organisation, to be “to maintain international peace, to take collective measures for the suppression of acts of aggression, by peaceful means to bring about settlements of international disputes, to take appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace, to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character.” In short, the object of the United Nations Organisation is to use force against those who, in the judgment of the Security Council, attempt to break world peace; in other words, to go to war so as to prevent a world war. An organisation, and particularly a world organisation, which has these ideals and objectives is obviously one which should concern the interests and the wellbeing of this country.

The structure of the United Nations Organisation provides that its Security Council shall consist of five permanent members who are great Powers and six transitional members and the charter provides that, if the five permanent members agree, action can be taken against an aggressor nation provided two of the transitional members also agree to take that action. It has been stated elsewhere as a commentary on the powers of the United Nations Organisation that if the big five keep together nobody can make war, but if they do not, nobody can prevent war. I think an examination of the charter will reveal the essential truth of that commentary. I think no one who examined the origin of the United Nations Organisation, who has studied the charter, who has watched it grow to its present dimensions, will attempt to deny that the United Nations Organisation was launched with the highest possible ideals; nor will he attempt to deny that the highest idealism influenced the sponsors of the organisation. One has only to read the charter to realise that it is written in the finest [1344] phrases in any language. Speaking last year at the San Francisco Conference, when the United Nations Organisation was formally launched, President Truman expressed his view of the United Nations Organisation and I think it was one with which humanity throughout the world will agree. He said:—

“We represent the overwhelming majority of all mankind. We hold a powerful mandate from our people. They believe we will fulfil this obligation. If we do not want to die together in war, we must learn to live together in peace.”

I think, as one reads the daily Press and surveys the disturbed and embroiled state of a Europe in chaos, the truth and the prophecy underlying President Truman's speech become manifest to all. But it is not necessary in these days to have high idealism as the foundation of an organisation to ensure that it will have a passport to success or even to worthy achievements. Many movements, many causes and many nations, imbued with the highest idealism, were ultimately wrecked because they were the victims of onslaughts motivated by less worthy purposes.

What we have to ask ourselves to-day is what the world in general is asking itself, namely, whether the high idealism of the United Nations Organisation can endure against the Power politics which are such a marked feature of world diplomacy to-day. Already there are abundant indications that even within the United Nations Organisation two main groups are emerging one that can be described as an eastern bloc and another that can be described as a western bloc. One has only to watch the activities of these two groups and the nations which come within the respective spheres of these two groups to realise that already in the infant days of the United Nations Organisation there is a smouldering antagonism which, if not quickly extinguished, threatens to undermine the whole structure of the United Nations Organisation. It was this scheme of groups and blocs, actuated by a separateness and an antagonism to one another, that first [1345] undermined and finally destroyed the League of Nations on which world hopes at one time depended. Small nations and peace-loving men and women throughout the world are asking themselves to-day whether they are not going to see the United Nations Organisation, on which world hopes are again placed, undermined by the same intrigues, by the same manipulation, by the same group of Powers, by the same blocs of nations which in the past sounded the death-knell and finally buried the League of Nations.

We may well ask ourselves to-day, a short time after the establishment of the United Nations Organisation, are we going to see it meet with a similar fate to that which befell the old League of Nations? If the United Nations Organisation is to meet the same fate as that which awaited the League of Nations, then not only those States who are members of the United Nations Organisation, but every country throughout the world, may, within a relatively short space of time, be precipitated into the cauldron of world-destruction, being privileged, as President Truman said, to die together in war because we have not the intelligence to learn to live together in peace.

Our concern in respect to the United Nations Organisation is to ascertain the advantages of joining it and the disadvantages of not joining it, or vice versa. This nation, through this Parliament, may decide to join the United Nations Organisation or it may refuse to join the United Nations Organisation. But, quite clearly, if we refuse to join the United Nations Organisation, which is now such a world-embracing organisation, we must make up our minds that as a small nation we are going to live in almost absolute isolation from the rest of the world. If we make up our minds that we are not going to join the United Nations Organisation, that we are going to live in delightful isolation from the rest of the world, we have to ask ourselves two questions: (1) can any nation, and particularly a small nation with limited resources such as we are, afford to live in isolation to-day in a complex world, and does living in isolation represent the highest ambition [1346] of this country which has sprayed its human population over the entire world; or (2) do we desire, instead of declining to join the United Nations Organisation and living in isolation, to participate in framing and operating a world peace organisation and contributing our quota to human liberty and to human advancement throughout the world?

Let us suppose we even elect to remain outside the United Nations Organisation. We have got then to ask ourselves is it possible for us to live in isolation and is there no danger that a world organisation such as the United Nations Organisation, which will embrace virtually all the nations of the earth, is an organisation of such a character that it will not, in the course of its activities, and particularly in the course of its far-flung economic and social activities, freeze us out completely from any effective participation in world affairs and, perhaps, any effective co-operation between the other nations of the world who are parties to the United Nations Organisation? It may well be, of course, that joining the United Nations Organisation may hold nothing for us but the pleasant things of life. There are many who still contend that notwithstanding the early rumblings, notwithstanding, as it were, the pangs of childbirth from which the United Nations Organisation is obviously suffering, it may yet settle down to a period of useful life and, by reason of its giant stature and colossal resources, be in a position to safeguard the peace of the world from any potential aggressor.

One thing, at all events, is certain. If the United Nations Organisation hangs together, only small wars are possible, and they will probably be of short duration, inasmuch as an effective and efficiently operating United Nations Organisation would mean that the whole world would take the field against one or two aggressors. It is easy, therefore, to realise how short-lived an escapade of that kind on the part of an aggressor would be. But if the United Nations Organisation breaks, if we again get back to the position of the balance of power, and if power politics [1347] are again to play the decisive part in this generation that they played in the last, then we may expect in this generation not wars of the limited and restricted character of the past, but we may expect global war, with atomic bombs and with all the other weapons which were being perfected at the close of the recent war.

In such circumstances it seems to me that it makes little difference to us whether we are members of the United Nations Organisation or not members of the United Nations Organisation. Global war, with the weapons available for waging it to-day, would be such that we could scarcely expect to escape from the consequence of it. One thing, however, is clear. I think that in the event of a global war which would follow the break-up of the United Nations Organisation, neutrality for this or any other small or large country would be an utter impossibility. In the event of a global war, neutrality would have no intelligent significance either for our people or for the other nations of the world.

This evening we have been disposed to look upon the United Nations Organisation as a purely international military force and, so far, we have in the main directed our remarks to the United Nations Organisation as a military organisation; but, of course, an examination of the charter will show that the United Nations Organisation is far from being a purely international military force and, in fact, if the charter is respected by those who are members of the United Nations Organisation, the military character of the organisation may very well be a secondary activity and a secondary consideration so far as the United Nations Organisation's activities are concerned. An examination of the charter clearly reveals that those who are responsible for the organisation contemplated a worldwide organisation, not merely as the guardian of international peace, not merely as the suppressor of aggression, not merely as the guardian of the rights and liberties of small nations and small men, but as an organisation with such diversified activities as would be calculated to give the world [1348] new standards, new concepts of life and new concepts of human values.

The charter provided, therefore, for what I think is generally acclaimed to be a very worth-while feature of the United Nations Organisation's activities, namely, the establishment of an economic and social council. That council is charged with the responsibility of endeavouring to raise the standard of living of the masses of people throughout the world. It is charged with the responsibility of evolving social and economic policies calculated to provide full employment instead of unemployment, under-employment and the economic chaos which we have to-day. It is charged, too, with endeavouring to promote higher cultural and educational standards. It is charged with examining the whole question of raising the standards of public health and bringing those standards to a level which will eliminate misery and the deprivations which follow to-day from disease and bad health generally. It is charged, too, in a general way, with examining the conditions which are most conducive to economic and social progress and giving mankind generally the benefits of its experience in these realms of investigation.

All these activities of the United Nations Organisation are in fields in which we are vitally concerned. Quite obviously we cannot and ought not to stand aloof from these worth-while activities by the United Nations Organisation. Our standards here in these spheres are far too low to make us independent of world progress in these fields of endeavour and obviously we have much to learn for the benefit of our own people through an examination of these problems by an intelligently organised bureau capable of examining the problem in its minutest detail and giving this country and the rest of the world the benefit of its wide and learned experience.

As I said earlier, if the United Nations Organisation hangs together we may well witness a long period of world peace. If the world has learned anything from the appalling destruction caused in the recent war, the preparations which the United Nations Organisation must make to guard [1349] against possible aggression may not occupy all its time, nor, for that matter, a very substantial portion of its time. Aggressors perhaps by now have learned a useful lesson and if these aggressors will only benefit by the experience of their prototypes in recent years whose hopes for the realisation of their objectives resulted in the destruction of their own lands and in the destruction of human life, there would be fewer, and there probably will be fewer, aggressors in this world in the future. However, it is in a world in which there are many cross currents, in which there is more disorder than order, in which the point of view of all nations is not perfectly clarified, that we have to make up our minds as to our position in relation to the United Nations Organisation. Bearing in mind the fact that we ought to play, and ought to endeavour to play, as big a part as our qualities of mind and our resources permit in the preservation of world peace and in the advancement of human progress and human liberty, I think our obvious place is within that organisation, there to play the part which we have always sought to play on the side of preserving peace and advancing human liberty.

None can deny that, so far as we are concerned, we can enter the United Nations Organisation without any desire whatever to play such a part in the power politics of that organisation as to win for ourselves domination over other lands or other people. We have no axe to grind by applying for membership of the United Nations Organisation. We go in there with no ambitions against any other lands or any other people. If we have one ambition when we join the United Nations Organisation, it is that, if the United Nations Organisation is based on the four freedoms of the Atlantic, freedoms which entitle mankind to decide the forms of government under which they live and to give to the people of the world the right of self-determination, the United Nations Organisation will take an early opportunity of remedying the outrageous injustice which has been done to this nation by tearing from it six counties [1350] which ought to be part of the indivisible Irish nation. I think, however, that, in all the circumstances, our place is in that organisation. It seems to me that, in world circumstances and measuring up as roughly as our unqualified minds can, the type of world in which we shall have to live for the remainder of this and the next generation, the only sensible course for us to pursue is to join the United Nations Organisation, in the hope that, with other peace-loving people throughout the world, we may be able to prevent another terrible holocaust such as the world has witnessed during the past six years; but if we do go into the United Nations Organisation —and I hope we will—we ought there to make it clear from the outset that the idea which motivated us was a desire to work for the triumph of the ideals on which the United Nations Organisation is based. We ought, while a member of the United Nations Organisation, to detach ourselves from the groups and the blocs of power and from the intrigues and manipulations which bring these groups and blocs of power into operation. We ought, while a member, not swing to the right or swing to the left, on the basis that you can be pulled either to the right or the left by the clever manipulations of one group as against the other. Our place in the United Nations Organisation is not as an ally of an eastern bloc and not as an ally of a western bloc. We ought to keep to the middle of the road, and our representative on the United Nations Organisation ought to make sure that this nation is not used as a pawn or a plaything by any bloc, whether it be an eastern bloc or a western bloc.

So far as the world is concerned, I think that the small men with little property, with no power and seeking only an opportunity to live their own lives in their own way, and the small nations seeking neither power nor domination over other lands, will wish the United Nations Organisation well. They, at all events, whatever the large Powers think, will hope that the United Nations Organisation can preserve [1351] world peace and that the United Nations Organisation, as part of its activities, will create conditions which will permit of the development of the creative power of mankind and give mankind an opportunity of developing for the public weal the talents which reside within it. The whole world to-day is taking on a new conception of economic and human values, and men and women here and elsewhere are beginning to ask—they are beginning to do more; they are beginning to expect— that the civilisation which has given us such bewildering scientific equipment must be made to give the ordinary man and woman throughout the world a decent standard of living and security against the terrifying spectres of insecurity which abound in all lands to-day. If the people are to be given a decent standard of life, if they are to be given immunity from poverty, privation, unemployment and emigration, if they are to be permitted to lead a Christian life in a world in which poverty has become an absolute absurdity because of the world's wealth-producing potential, it is essential that, for the attainment of these ideals and objectives, the world must have peace, and if this organisation for membership of which we contemplate applying, can give to the world the peace for which the plain men and women of the world earnestly yearn, the United Nations Organisation may yet give us happiness here in this land, may yet give the world happiness and may yet open the way to giving mankind that economic security which is the passport to the finest things of life for all mankind.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I think the Taoiseach was better advised in emphasising the liabilities which this nation undertakes when it accepts membership of the United Nations Organisation than was Deputy Norton in employing that moving peroration which would suggest that the United Nations Organisation was a cornucopia of all the blessings for which the heart of man has ever yearned. I do not accept that the United Nations Organisation is going to bestow upon us all happiness, [1352] peace, Christianity and all the blessings the heart of man may yearn for. If it succeeds in preventing war, if it succeeds in preventing aggressors from trampling their neighbours underfoot, I am for it. Deputy Norton spoke of the United Nations Organisation being designed to give the world a new conception of human dignity and human rights. I do not want new concepts of human dignity and human rights. The concepts which Deputy Norton and I share, and which were given to our fathers 2,000 years ago, are good enough for both of us. It is their comprehension and application that I await, and I am not at all convinced that either one or the other will be found in the ranks of the United Nations Organisation, nor do I welcome his confident hope that from the United Nations Organisation will come the guiding hand to solve the problem of Partition. I cannot see the healing hand of Soviet Russia or Yugoslavia binding the wounds of the Irish nation. I neither hope for it, nor desire it. The removal of that wretched curse from the national life of our people will take time and patience, but I pray that it will be a matter which will be disposed of by our own people, in our own way, in our own time, freely and by conciliation, and not at the dulcet direction of some of our curious companions in the comity of nations.

I cannot disguise that I listen to this debate and the impending decision that has to be taken on the Government's recommendation with a special interest. It seems to me, as the Taoiseach has rightly emphasised, that under Articles 43, 44 and 45 we are undertaking in unforeseen circumstances to afford assistance to a belligerent alliance combined against an aggressor State. I remember some years ago, not in unforeseen circumstances, but when an aggressor State threatened the very existence of the world, marshalling incomparable and, apparently, unconquerable might, saying in this House that, faced with that immediate threat, we should, within the limit of our resources, afford such assistance as we might be able to give, to the only combination [1353] that existed with any hope of checking the aggressor. My distinguished friend Deputy Anthony Fogarty in one of his only contributions to our debates was heard to say: “I say the Deputy should be removed out of the House. I will put him out—quick... If he does not shut his —— mouth we will shut it for him”. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle was moved to rise and to shiver with horror that he had heard such sentiments as mine expressed in the Parliament of Ireland. I was derided as a crypto-traitor. Six years later I made this comment: “O, tempora! O, mores!”

The situation in which we stand to-day is just as it might have been six years ago. It must be “yes” or “no.” There is no use standing on the verge shivering, doubting and postponing. Dangers and difficulties there are in the course recommended by the Government to-day. But, knowing all the dangers and all the difficulties, I am in favour of this nation joining the United Nations Organisation now, determined to do our best, and, doing that best, to leave the future in God's hands in the knowledge that it is in good hands. But we cannot begin to do our best, if we are afraid to go down into the arena.

We cannot forecast what fruits our best may yield. Looked at from outside our intentions, our hopes may seem to many ludicrous and petty. We can give no more than the best we have to offer. In time it may emerge that what we can do, and what we can help to get done, may avail more than what some of the great ones of the earth at present contemplate. Remembering all that was rightly emphasised by the Taoiseach I agree with Deputy Norton that our duty is to go on. The Taoiseach dwelt at some length on the philosophy of international politics. He stated that what small States want is a rule of law amongst nations. Wanting a rule of law and getting it are two very different things; and, in the world we live in now, the hope that wishing for the rule of law means that to-morrow's morrow will establish a rule of law, to which all nations will respectfully submit, is a chimera.

[1354] In the world as we see it around us, it is right that we in the Dáil, as trustees for a small people, and a small nation, should ask ourselves: “What are the vital interests of Ireland”? We are entitled in the world we live in to apply that test to the foreign policy of this country. What are our vital interests? Every nation must have regard to its vital interests and those nations which pretend not to consult their own vital interests only do harm, because they bewilder and deceive other nations of the world who have to work with them. The vital interests of Ireland, and of every other small nation in the world, is freedom from anarchy, and the things that lead up to anarchy, because anarchy is the breeding ground of dictatorship and terrorism. Freedom from anarchy and the things that lead up to anarchy means peace. In the world we live in the only means of securing a guarantee of peace is the establishment of something which itself may reasonably be expected to maintain peace, and against which no other combination in the world will dare to declare war. Perhaps I enjoy a freedom that some other speakers have not got. Therefore, I must not blame others if they forbear to speak as frankly as I feel free to do. What is the use of dissembling?

Who is the Nazi aggressor in the world to-day? Who would break the peace to-morrow if they could derive benefit or advantage from doing so? Do you believe the United States would? Do you believe that the Commonwealth of Nations has any intention or desire to break the peace? Whence comes the threat of war? The threat of war comes from that expansionist, aggressive policy of the Soviet Socialist Republic, and, for the sake of the Russian people themselves as well as for our own sake, we should face that fact and exert ourselves to create a situation in the world which will make it impossible for the rulers of Russia to precipitate the universal folly of war. The only way to ensure that is to make it manifest now that, if Russia starts a war, she will not be able to finish it on her terms. The [1355] guarantee of that is to ensure that the two great democracies of the world, the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Nations, will stand together and will let the world know now that they intend to stand together. If they do that there will be no war because dictators are realists. Tyrannies depend for their survival on success. There is no nation and no combination of nations in the world to-day that will even dare to hope that they can challenge the combined might of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Nations and overthrow it.

Given, then, the knowledge that to attack one or the other is to attack both, there is no nation left in the world that will undertake that enterprise. If that be true and if America and the Commonwealth themselves do not desire war—and if anything is true in human knowledge at the present moment that is true—there is the method to ensure for peace-loving countries, and particularly for small nations that guarantee of peace which is a guarantee against anarchy and the things that lead up to it and the dangers of tyranny that grow out of anarchy, once it is let loose upon the world. Mind you, speaking as one to whom all the tenets of the Soviets are detestable—their tenets, political and philosophic—I say honestly and deliberately that under a peace of that character it would be a crime for any nation to interfere in the domestic affairs of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. What Russia does within her own confines is Russia's business and I believe that the political outlook of the two great Powers—the Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America—is firmly based on the resolve to let every nation run its own affairs in its own way. It is because I believe that with all my heart that I see a hope, a real, concrete and tangible hope, of an enduring peace in the generation in which we live.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Would the Deputy relate that to the motion before the House—to join the United Nations Organisation?

[1356]Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Yes. Let us have no illusions as to what we hope to get from the United Nations Organisation. Let us face our duty. Let us take care that we swing neither to the right nor to the left. Our duty is to serve right as we see it in the United Nations Organisation. Our prime purpose in joining the United Nations Organisation is to serve our vital interests, the preservation of peace but let me add this. My profound conviction, that no sovereign State has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbour, is subject to one qualification which I feel every Christian citizen must make. I claim no right for Ireland to inquire into, never mind to intervene in, the internal affairs of neighbouring States save in respect of one matter and that is the right, the inalienable, fundamental and indispensable right, of our fellow-members in the Mystical Body of Christ to serve God according to their consciences.

Wherever that is challenged, inside our jurisdiction or outside it, it is the business of Christian men. There will be few to hold the view that the appropriate method of defending such rights would be a resort to force or violence but let every nation know that when, within its confines, that right is challenged in respect to the humblest citizen of its domain, in every country that calls itself Christian, there must be a very material reservation in the cordiality of the relations that will obtain between it and the oppressor State.

The Taoiseach passed on to speak of Articles 43, 44 and 45 and of their liabilities and he rightly said that inevitably commonsense compelled the conclusion that the main burden of enforcement of the decisions of the United Nations Organisation must devolve on the great Powers who are members of it. I think that is perfectly obvious, so far as military, naval or airborne forces are concerned. I dared to say that so long ago as 1941. I refer Deputies to column 1864 in Volume 84 of the Official Debates:—

“I say that, in the exercise of the sovereign right of the Irish people to determine the foreign policy of this State, we, the Parliament of Ireland [1357] should ascertain precisely what co-operation Great Britain and the United States of America may require to ensure success against the Nazi attempt at world conquest and, as expeditiously as possible, to afford to the United States of America and Great Britain that co-operation to the limit of our resources. I use that word `limit' deliberately, and I say that the limit of our resources must be deemed by all reasonable men within this country and outside it to preclude the possibility of sending Irish troops abroad.”

I say that again now. I think it is a fantastic pretence to imagine that we can make, no matter how enthusiastic our membership of the United Nations Organisation is, any material contribution to the belligerent forces of a modern alliance called upon to challenge any substantial modern army in the field. We have neither the resources, the equipment, nor the opportunities for training an army suited to take part in any such operation; and there is not a Deputy in this House who does not know that. It is conceivably possible that some token force of aircraft might be contributed; but even with that, when you consider that the jet plane is now the everyday equipment of a modern air force and which has never even been seen in this country, it is highly doubtful whether it would be possible for us to put a token force of that character at the disposal of the central authority. I believe that it was for the purpose of meeting that very contingency that in Article 43 it is provided:—

“All members of the United Nations, in order to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, undertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement or agreements, armed forces, assistance and facilities.”

I believe that this country might very well in 1950 make as vital a contribution to victory over aggression as it could have done in 1941 had we then placed at the disposal of the nations [1358] combined against aggression the facilities of which they stood so badly in need and which they so honourably respected our right to withhold. I believe, for exactly the same reasons as I reached my conclusions five years ago, that our place is in the United Nations. For this country I expect no exclusive benefits whatever. In going into that organisation I believe the duties and perils we undertake are infinitely greater than any particular advantages for Ireland that we can hope to secure; but I agree with Deputy Norton that in so great a catastrophe as a global war for all nations, Ireland included, the special perils and difficulties that confront us in making our small contribution to avert that global war by membership of the United Nations Organisation, are worthwhile and not only worthwhile but a duty which we are bound to undertake. I know it is not deemed expedient to dwell unduly on the power of veto that exists in the Security Council and which will confront us when our application for membership to the United Nations is submitted. We did not put that power there.

How flattering to hear the Minister for Finance report to the Taoiseach, when he asked sotto voce:“What is he saying”? “Oh, the same old story he has been telling all along”. How many Deputies in this House to-day can say that they are telling to-day the same old story that they told all along? Look around you. Is the Taoiseach telling the same old story? Does the Westport speech still stand that when the world was threatened with aggression Ireland's interest was to take no sides whatever? Will he ever dare to make that speech again?

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  Not likely.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Yes, I glory in the fact that five years afterwards I am telling the same old story and I glory that the story I told, almost alone but not quite, is being told, or will be told, to-night by 137 Deputies of Dáil Eireann.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  The motion moved by the Taoiseach to-day in this Parliament is one of the most important [1359] brought before this House in the last 25 years. About 25 years ago the articles for a Treaty were moved by certain people in the sovereign Assembly of this nation. Some people, including the present Taoiseach and the present Minister for Finance, felt that that decision should not be taken. The sovereign Assembly took that decision and on that particular night a very able patriot moved that it should be left to the Irish people to decide. That was challenged. To-night, after 25 years, it gives me very great pleasure to hear the Taoiseach move that in the certain circumstances of this particular matter and in view of our constitutional position this question should be referred to the sovereign authority of the country, namely, the people. The words that he used were that if a certain situation arose that the matter would be put to the people; therefore, at long last the Taoiseach to-night is now recognising the people as a sovereign authority.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It would be better not to raise the question of the civil war.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  I am not raising it; I am merely complimenting the Taoiseach.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken  Zoom on Frank Aiken  You should not tell lies about the situation then. The people were not consulted about that particular war.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  Will they be consulted about the next one? You are asking to-night for the right to do this. What notice have you given to the people? When did you tell the Leader of the Opposition that you were going to move this motion? What is the time we are going to get to consult the only authority in the country—the people?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  As long as you want.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  Do you want a vote to-night then?

The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  As long as you want.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  As long as we want?

[1360]The Taoiseach: Information on Eamon de Valera  Zoom on Eamon de Valera  As long as the House wants to discuss it they are at liberty to do so.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  Very well, but I want to talk without interruption from even the Minister for Finance. I want to make what case I like to this House in accordance with my privileges as a Deputy. I will take no interruptions from you this evening.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy will please address the Chair.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  I will not take any interruption from the Taoiseach this evening any more than on any other occasion and any more than I took it from him 25 years ago when he tried to suppress the right of free speech in the assembled Parliament of the nation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  Leave out the civil war.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  I am talking of Parliamentary procedure, Sir. You were not in the Chair then. If you were perhaps he might not have been allowed to do it. This is a very serious resolution. I have advocated that this Government and this nation should make application for membership of the United Nations Organisation and for that I have been attacked by very great friends of mine all over the country. I was written to and challenged by many people, not members of this House, but people who were friends of mine at various times and under various circumstances in the defence of this country. At Portlaoighise, in the presence of Deputy O'Higgins, I did make the assertion that the time had arrived when, in my opinion, the Government should make application for membership of the United Nations Organisation.

In pursuance of that policy, I do not think I will be breaking any confidence when I say that I made representations to my Party that we should join this organisation. Of course they had already come to the conclusion that, in certain circumstances and under certain conditions, that should be done. But, when I made this speech in Portlaoighise, [1361] I was immediately inundated with a shoal of letters from every crank in the country and from people who never took part in the defence of the country or who had no idea how to defend it. It is true that in 1941 I did not agree with the proposition of Deputy Dillon. It is true that in this House I said some things to Deputy Dillon which I now sincerely regret, and I want publicly to withdraw any reflection whatever that I cast on Deputy Dillon at that time. I do not agree with everything Deputy Dillon said this evening, but that does not change what I am saying now.

This motion does take from our sovereign authority. When the Treaty of 1921 was passed by the sovereign Assembly of this country we there and then established a sovereign nation and we have defended it from that time until now. It is true that if we are elected a member of this United Nations Organisation—and I hope we will be—we will have certain rights, but we will also have very serious obligations. There is no doubt of that. I am glad that the Taoiseach fully realises that now. I hope that there will be no future misunderstandings and that there will not be any charges about traitors or slaves or of trying to today to this Power or that Power. When we enter into the membership of the United Nations Organisation to which we are entitled, I hope that we will maintain it and defend it. But, before we enter into it, we must know the full extent of our obligations. The people on these benches when they made a treaty with any country, including the British, always tried to live up to it, and we did not at any time break our word or our plighted troth.

We are entering into this one now. I am glad that it is not a Cosgrave or a Mulcahy or a McGilligan or an O'Higgins who is entering into it, because, if it were, I presume that the Taoiseach would then be sitting on these benches. I am glad that the Taoiseach is harnessed to this and that, whatever obligations he enters into, he cannot put the responsibility upon any other shoulders. But he has this great advantage, that he knows that on [1362] these benches there are people who love and serve Ireland and who put Ireland first and above all and that he can count upon our loyalty to do what is best for this country of ours. I hope that at some stage he will have the courage to give recognition to that.

Sir, as I said, there are very great problems before us. Before I enter into the question of these problems, I want to reiterate what has been said by Deputy Dillon and some others. Deputy Norton, to my amazement this evening, wanted new concepts for this country. There are no new concepts necessary. Every conception that we have is well-founded and of great age. I had an argument with my learned friend, Deputy Costello, as to the exact time the Divine Master entered upon His public life. It is not exactly 2,000 years ago, but approximately 60 years less. It was 30 years after His birth, so that His public life started in the year 30 A.D. This is 1946 and we can make a mathematical calculation as to the age of our conceptions. But there were a few other conceptions long before that which He re-established. There were ten simple principles, the Ten Commandments. He said that if anybody in this world wished to have life, he had only to do two things: keep the Commandments of God and love his neighbour as he would love himself. If the United Nations Organisation and the five Great Powers do not accept these principles and if they think they can put the affairs of the world right, they are making a very grave mistake.

Although we are a very small nation, and although we have not all the manpower or all the various military instruments that great nations can have, if the whole five nations make war upon us, at least we can fight and die and they will not be able to beat us, because we will have the supreme faith that they could not do it. Therefore, I say to the Government that when they join this organisation they must have very great faith. The Taoiseach, when he was President of the League of Nations—a seat that was prepared for him by his predecessors in this State—gave expression there to very sound views. When he joins this organisation [1363] I want him to have as much courage and as much faith as he then had, and to continue in that faith and philosophy. If he does, great good can be done for the world and for our country.

The Taoiseach said that there are people in a part of this country who ask the question: “What good is it going to do”? Take the preamble of this charter of the United Nations. I think that if the Taoiseach will be as good an advocate in this organisation as he is at the cross-roads, he can do a great deal of useful work. I would like the House to consider what the preamble is and I would like this to be put on the records of the House. The preamble reads like this:

“We, the people of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends

to practise tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and

to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and

to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interests, and

to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, and have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.

Accordingly, our respective Governments, through representatives assembled in the City of San Francisco, [1364] who have exhibited their full powers and found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organisation to be known as the United Nations.”

Taking that as the foundation stone, and with the Leader of this country having the strength of character that we demand he should have, and with the strength of faith that is in him, if he goes into that organisation and makes a speech in accordance with that, he will serve the nation and the the world, and I believe he could get for us a correction of the only injustice that has been imposed upon us. That injustice is a very grave one. It is a defacement of our geographical integrity, a defacement of our nationhood, inasmuch as there is a certain part of our country not subject to the jurisdiction of our Parliament. I know the Taoiseach has a very uneasy conscience on that matter and I know that he is not able to face the United Nations Organisation and make a case so that that wrong should be righted.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is dealing with contentious matters.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  I will be as careful with the Taoiseach as I would expect the Taoiseach to be with me. I will not hurt anybody. I am presenting a case and trying to inspire the person who, under God, has been elected Leader of this nation at this crucial hour. Far be it from me to wish that he would make a mistake. He is charged with a big responsibility. He has made mistakes in this matter and, when you make a mistake, it is very hard to correct yourself.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  It is a very contentious matter—the whole question of Partition.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  I will give him this bit of inspiration. I suggest that wherever he got the inspiration from that made him change his mind after, a month ago, saying there was no hurry to join the United Nations Organisation, he should try from that same source to get inspiration to right the wrong to which I have alluded. If he [1365] takes the courage that he should have, as an Irishman and as the Leader of this country, into his hands, he will say to them: “We are prepared to accept our full obligations and we are demanding our full rights in the hope that we, as a nation, may contribute something to establish not a new concept but a very ancient concept that has existed in our country over many centuries, in very dark days, and for which our noblest and best died.” If that concept is established, he can guarantee again that there are many men who will be prepared to die for that old concept but who are not prepared to die for any new one.

Mr. Cafferky: Information on Dominick Cafferky  Zoom on Dominick Cafferky  Judging by the speeches on this motion, one would gather that this charter is a very valuable instrument. The Taoiseach is seeking permission to make application, between now and next October, for entry into this organisation and undoubtedly permission will be granted. One cannot foresee a refusal. If permission is granted, we understand that he will avail of that permission, and, in due course, become a member. In becoming a member, this country will be saddled with certain responsibilities, and if we are to examine carefully the way in which things are going at present, there is very little encouragement, so far as the future is concerned, to think that we will have a century of peace. There is very little hope so far as that is concerned, although some Deputies have given us to understand that there is no need to fear the dangers of war for a considerable time to come, that the great problems which the United Nations Organisation will be concerned with will be social problems. If we are to go back on the various meetings and talks which have taken place since the setting up of this organisation, it would appear that the seeds of a future war are being sown, a war which will be greater than the two which have taken place within our time.

When we examine the founders of this organisation, the nations chiefly responsible for its establishment, namely, the United States, Great Britain and Soviet Russia, the questions [1366] of who they are and what they are, what we have in common with them and whether they are the type of people with whom we should associate, deserve a certain amount of consideration. The Government are about to make application to become a member of this organisation as a nation —something which we are not. We are not a nation, and the Government represents only a part of this historic nation. The other part is cut away by armed force, and the peculiar thing about it is that one of the principal founders of this supposed Security Council for the preservation of peace, for the establishment of law and order, for safeguarding the rights of self-determination of small nations and the peoples of small nations, is the very Power which is holding this country subjugated and divided.

That being so, it is almost impossible for us to enter the United Nations Organisation with any sense of confidence or any belief that we will get very much benefit from it. When we take into consideration the fact that they have time and time again, even since the outbreak of the recent war, emphasised clearly that they are not responsible for the division of this State, and that any effort by the majority of the people within this State, or by the only authorised Government existing in this State, to bring about unity will be frustrated by the armed force of that Power, while, at the same time, that Power talks about the rights of small nations and the purpose and intentions of this organisation called the United Nations Organisation, to me it is all humbug. I believe that if you could get the opinion of the Irish people in this country and outside it, it would be found that they had very little belief or confidence in its success.

Speaking as an individual, I have no belief or confidence that the United Nations Organisation will be a success, because from its very beginning it has been built on sand, on a very shaky foundation, and we can see before our eyes, unless we are blind or do not desire to see, the preparations for a future war. If anybody is so foolish as to think that we will not have another [1367] war, I say that there must be far more foolish people than I think there are. There will be another war. Whenever it will come, it will come, and the United Nations Organisation will not stop it. It will help to bring it about in the same way as the League of Nations helped to bring the recent war about.

The Taoiseach has told us that, notwithstanding the responsibilities we shall have to shoulder and the sacrifices we shall have to make, if another war takes place, notwithstanding that we intend to live up to our promises and to agreements entered into, we will be unable to put before the United Nations Organisation the case of this nation. We can well see the embarrassment of having it brought up, and we can well see the intrigue, the political pull, and influence of a mighty Empire being used against a small nation, and when we know that there are only five nations, five big Powers who have a say and that the others are merely trotting after them, having to do what they are told, we can well imagine that our case being brought before the United Nations Organisation will have no standing and very little support in particular from those five principal Powers.

I very much disagree with the interpretation which some of the main Opposition Deputies have tried to give to Deputy Norton's speech in relation to concept. It is one thing to point out where a Deputy is wrong, or where a Deputy may not be making the best contribution, but it is another thing when Deputies take it upon themselves knowingly to misrepresent a Deputy as a man who would desire a new concept in this country, a concept different from the concept we have in relation to our religious outlook or our Christianity. That was as far from Deputy Norton's mind as it is from mine, and it is most ridiculous to suggest that that was his idea. We can have various concepts without any reference whatever to Christianity or religion. We can have a concept of a different social order, a different economic order, in which there would be no interference with any religious belief, not to speak of the [1368] religious belief held by the majority of the people in this country. It is wrong for Deputies to try to misrepresent that word in the way in which members of the main Opposition have tried to misrepresent it.

I listened to Deputy MacEoin talking about the Taoiseach's speech in Westport. He apologised for certain things he said about Deputy Dillon here when Deputy Dillon was interested in entering the war with the Allied nations against the Axis nations. It must be admitted that the Irish people were then desirous of keeping out of the war and that our action in remaining neutral during that war was the desire of the Irish people.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is now raising another contentious matter.

Mr. Cafferky: Information on Dominick Cafferky  Zoom on Dominick Cafferky  I am only referring to what previous speakers mentioned.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  I do not think Deputy MacEoin mentioned the word.

Mr. Cafferky: Information on Dominick Cafferky  Zoom on Dominick Cafferky  He did. He asked if the Taoiseach would now be prepared to make the same speech as he made in Westport, that we should remain neutral, that it was our right to remain neutral during the great tragedy of the recent war.

I maintain that the Irish people wanted nothing else. I venture to suggest that if we enter this organisation we should be very careful about taking up arms or shouldering the responsibility or the sacrifices entailed by another war, if it comes. I would not like to be sitting where the Taoiseach sits now, and be responsible for leading this nation into another war, because I cannot imagine that it would have the backing of the Irish people. We must ask ourselves what the workers of Europe or of the world got out of the 1914-18 struggle, or what they have got out of the recent war. Are we to participate in another struggle as bloody and as terrific? The workers of the world never gained anything out of any war. The workers do not want to be associated with any warring nations. They realise that the people responsible for these wars were the industrialists, the capitalists [1369] and the financiers in the different States, who are out to make more money.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Eamonn Coogan  Zoom on Eamonn Coogan  What about the workers of Russia?

Mr. Cafferky: Information on Dominick Cafferky  Zoom on Dominick Cafferky  The workers of Russia had no more to do with wars than the workers of Germany or other nations. They were led out to the slaughter. It is a fine thing to know that the workers of this country are able to say that there is nothing to be gained by war, and that they can try to direct their Government, if possible, to remain out of war. To suggest that we have a Government that is not opposed to war would be to suggest what is preposterous and foolish. Although I support this motion, in so far as joining the United Nations Organisation goes I think we should be very careful in making agreements or treaties to indicate that we only entered the United Nations Organisation on certain conditions. The Taoiseach or whoever is responsible for making treaties in entering the United Nations Organisation should do everything feasible and possible to make the case that this nation, when a cause of war arose, can remain as near to neutral as possible. I wonder if some of those who think it is a glorious thing to be on the side of Britain or the United States of America in waging war against some country have ever asked themselves what it would mean to the mothers of Ireland. If the question was one for the mothers of every country or for wives and husbands in these countries it would be found that they would be very reluctant to enter into wars.

I will bitterly oppose any Irish Parliament entering into any war. I never heard or read of anything good coming out of a war. There is very little sign so far that the United Nations Organisation is going to bring about the type of peace that was forecast by speakers who preceded me. Some Deputies talked about what could be done on the economic side, and on the social side, and others dealt with the establishment of peace. If the people of the world, and particularly of Europe, could express their opinions freely, I think they would follow the [1370] lines I have followed. The people of the world had great confidence when the League of Nations was started in 1919, believing that it meant the end of all wars. The League of Nations was established to outlaw war. The vanquished powers in 1918 were not dealt with as severely as they have been dealt with in the recent war, and it was easier to mend the wounds that were inflicted. The enmity of the 1914-18 war was not as great as the enmity created by the recent war.

Mr. Lloyd George and other principal leaders of the respective countries stated that the League would determine the rights of small nations and minorities, and would set up a judicial system and a national court by which disputes could be settled. Everything crumbled before our eyes, and we find that the principal nations which organised and built up that edifice for international control were the very nations that rushed Europe into another catastrophe. I believe that people had a certain amount of confidence in the League of Nations, believing it to be a kind of Messiah that would end wars. How can they have confidence in the United Nations Organisation when they know that a similar institution, which possessed all the high-sounding language that is to be found in the pamphlet dealing with the new organisation, failed. I am of opinion that amongst ordinary men and women there is very little confidence in the institution known as the United Nations Organisation.

I am confident that the ordinary people, and especially mothers, would be very reluctant to have any association with it, if they thought that one of the consequences would be that their sons would have to engage in another holocaust, resulting in death, disease and famine. We cannot be too thankful for having had the blessing of Almighty God, and the wisdom of this House, in keeping out of war. It is a regrettable fact that we have to make application as a divided nation, and that, as a member of this organisation, an opportunity will not arise whereby we will be able to bring forward our grievance and to get the United Nations to adjudicate as to the merits or demerits of Partition.

[1371] I really believed, and I think most of the people outside really believed, that if there was any reason for entering this organisation it was to bring this question before the United Nations Organisation with a view to having the matter examined in the light of the information in possession of the Government of this country at the moment. If we are told now that the chance of bringing this question before the United Nations Organisation is negligible, that is very poor encouragement to become a member. If we are not able to bring our own case before that organisation, of which one of the principal members is the Power which has inflicted this wound upon us, how can we expect that organisation to remove the wounds and injustices imposed upon other States? How can we expect to be able to assist India, Egypt, Palestine or any of the countries that are controlled by puppet Governments set up by the victorious Powers to-day, to bring forward their claims if we are unable to bring forward our own case? This organisation will have no purpose if we cannot bring our case before it. Our claim to justice is as much entitled to be heard as that of any other nation in the world. I admit that we would not be desirous of bringing this question before the United Nations Organisation, if the Government responsible for inflicting this injustice upon us were prepared to do what is right but if we are prepared to shoulder the responsibility and to make the sacrifices which membership of this organisation will entail in future, no matter what embarrassment it may cause to the country responsible for the injustice under which we are suffering, we should be prepared to have the question examined before that tribunal in the light of whatever information can be supplied there by the representatives of this country.

Deputy Dillon expressed the view that we could remain a member of this organisation even though we might relinquish some of the obligations of membership in so far as the maintenance of law and order was concerned. I feel myself that, if we become a member of this organisation, we shall have [1372] to shoulder our responsibilities. I cannot conceive of war breaking out except between the big Powers. If it is only a question of war between the small Powers, that would be a relatively minor matter in which few of the nations would be concerned. The war that we can foresee is a war between the big Powers, and if that war should materialise, how can we believe that we shall not be expected to play our part in it, even as a small nation? I should like to remind Deputy Dillon that even neutral as we were in the last war, thousands of our fellow-countrymen were forced to don the uniform of another State. Many of them sacrificed their lives on foreign battlefields and in deep seas thousands of miles away. We were neutral but our neutrality did not matter once our countrymen went to the other side of the Channel.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is moving away from the motion before the House.

Mr. Cafferky: Information on Dominick Cafferky  Zoom on Dominick Cafferky  Is it not reasonable to assume, therefore, that when we become a member of this organisation and have certain obligations imposed upon us, we shall have to send our sons to fight and to make our contribution in proportion to the population and wealth of this country? It would be foolish to think otherwise. You cannot have your loaf and eat it. You cannot be a member of an organisation which says that it is prepared to come to your help if you are attacked if you are not prepared to go to its help in similar circumstances except in a very minor way. This Party is not, however, opposing the motion. We are supporting it but we are disappointed because we have to seek admission to this organisation as a divided nation. The division of this nation is due to the policy of one of the principal founders of this organisation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Frank Fahy  Zoom on Frank Fahy  The Deputy is now repeating himself.

Mr. Cafferky: Information on Dominick Cafferky  Zoom on Dominick Cafferky  I shall shortly conclude, Sir. While we admit these things, we feel as the people of a historic nation, as a people who can wield a great influence in other [1373] countries, that we might be able to convince this organisation of the necessity of doing justice to all nations who feel that they are suffering wrongs. As a small nation which understands what it is to be injured, which loves freedom and has fought for it, we shall be always ready to support other nations which are labouring under injustice. If we can help in that way, I think it would be well worth while to become a member of this organisation.

Mr. Costello: Information on John Aloysius Costello  Zoom on John Aloysius Costello  There can be no possible doubt that the motion put forward by the Head of the Government imposes upon each Deputy the duty of making a very grave and serious decision. It is perhaps regrettable that this motion should have been brought forward in circumstances which have all the appearance of haste. It is also, perhaps, regrettable that the motion is phrased in a way which leaves it open to public criticism. To those, however, who know the facts or who have some idea of the real facts of the situation, there can be no other decision made on this motion than to accept the principle of the motion and the terms of the motion. We are making here a grave decision—grave for our-selves—and a decision which may affect our own persons and our own property but which is far more likely to affect the lives and, perhaps, the liberties of our children and our children's children. I feel that in taking a decision on this motion the Dáil is taking a decision somewhat in advance of public opinion.

Deputies, therefore, in considering what measure of support they will give to this motion, have a two-fold duty and task to fulfil. They have the duty of expressing their own views for the benefit not merely of the Government and of their constituents but of the nation as a whole; and they have, when this decision is taken, a still more serious duty to perform, a duty which I hope will be performed and fulfilled by every Deputy from the Taoiseach down to the ordinary members of the House, in educating public opinion in the responsibility that has been taken by the assembly of the nation on their behalf. I express the profound hope [1374] that when this decision is being taken —as it appears that it will be taken— the Government will be authorised to commit this nation to the step of applying for membership of the United Nations Organisation and that no Party and no Deputy will in the years to come make political capital out of the action that is taken here to-day, or endeavour in any way to suggest that the responsibility that has been undertaken, and that will be undertaken, following this motion, is taken without the full and unreserved support of every Deputy and every Party in this House. To me that is one of the most essential matters which should be kept in view in connection with this motion. I think that when this motion is accepted it should be made clear by every Deputy what the responsibilities of the nation and the people are and what they have committed themselves to do on behalf of those by whom they have been elected and what in return has been done on their behalf. There must be no going around the country talking about our neutrality in the last war nor any cynical observations, for the purpose of vote-catching, on the futility of joining the United Nations Organisation, or any other matter of that kind. It is because I feel apprehensive that this is going to take place I intervene in this debate to-day. I think it is the duty of this House to take this grave decision after mature consideration. There is an even heavier duty cast on each Deputy of this House to see that the step we have taken is not misrepresented and to see that there is no flapdoodle and tosh-talk throughout the country about our neutrality and about the war and how we kept out of the war and how this, that, and the other Party will keep us out of war in the years to come, even though we have accepted the responsibility of armed conflict by joining the United Nations Organisation.

It is essential that public opinion should be educated and that it should above all be clear that, whether or not we were neutral in the last war, there can never be any question again of this country being neutral in any future war. That is what has to be realised by the country. That is what we are [1375] committing the country to in taking this step. There should be no misapprehension and there should be no misconception on the part of the people as to what this step connotes.

It is somewhat disappointing to me to see one of the prominent members of the Fianna Fáil Party smiling at the statements I make and it reinforces me in the conviction—or, rather, I should say the fear—that what I apprehend will happen. It may possibly have happened already. In spite of public opinion being educated and brought to a full realisation of what this step will mean, we may have Deputies going around the country trying to explain away what has been done, instead of educating the people to their responsibilities and making them realise what the responsibilities of a nation and a nationhood entail in national and international affairs. We should enter upon the responsibilities which will be imposed upon us, if we are admitted to membership of the United Nations Organisation, with a deep sense of what those responsibilities mean and a deep sense of the responsibilities that are undertaken and, at the same time, with no illusions. It would be very easy to utter flamboyant phrases telling of the hopes that are entertained by idealists of the United Nations Organisation, of a world free from war, and to paint in picturesque language a world without conflict with the peoples of all nations living in material comfort and prosperity. It would be easier still, perhaps, to paint with a cynical brush a picture of the nonsense and futility of entering into such an organisation and of the fatuous hopes that rest upon this organisation for the ending of war and the securing of world peace. I do not think any useful purpose could be served, for this country at all events, either by idealism of that kind, on the one hand, or cynicism on the other. It was very largely cynicism that brought about the futility of the operations and efforts of people of goodwill in the old League of Nations. There should be an end of cynicism in connection with our membership of the United Nations Organisation.

[1376] It should be a crime against the nation for anybody to say that we have gone into this organisation with—if I may use the phrase—our tongue in our cheeks and cynically to observe throughout the country that it is, of course, all nonsense and all cod that this organisation can achieve anything more than the last League of Nations Organisation achieved anything; and to suggest, either expressly or by innuendo, that while we are going into this organisation and accepting all our membership responsibilities set forth in the charter of that organisation, we will nevertheless rely upon this, that, or the other Government formed from this, that, or the other Party to see that, nothwithstanding those obligations, we will successfully evade them and be neutral again in the next war.

Above all things, it is necessary to be realists. I take the view—I may mention it in passing, because there has been so much discussion here in connection with our attitude in the last war despite every endeavour on the part of the Ceann Comhairle to rule it out as irrelevant—that we were not neutral in the last war. I assert that we can never be neutral in any future war, particularly if we are members of the United Nations Organisation. Knowing as I do, and realising to the full that it may involve my children or my grandchildren in armed conflict in taking the step that I am advocating to-day, I take it with a full sense of responsibility, because I believe that we are in the dilemma where we must either join some combination of big nations which will protect us against aggression in future wars, or else leave ourselves open to become the plaything or the pawn of any big nation, or group of nations, in future world conflicts. It is for that reason that I subscribe and that the Party to which I belong subscribes to this motion. I plead again for realism. There is no use in saying that this small nation can get into the United Nations Organisation and ignore the big nations, whether their political views happen to be those which are called “leftish”, or whether they happen to be those which are called those of the right, and that we [1377] should take a course down the middle of the road.

It has to be recognised in a realistic fashion that there will be in the future, as there has been in the past, diplomatic and political lobbying in connection with the United Nations Organisation, that we are not, as a small nation, going to go with a white cloak around us saying that we are the one nation in the world that is dissociating itself from all the big nations; that we are not like the rest of men; that we are not going to engage in political intrigues and international cabals. We will have to do our own bit of lobbying the same as every other nation in the world intends to do it and will do it. Looking at it in a realistic fashion, we have to see that, above all things, we get for this country, first, security from aggression and, secondly, any other material advantages that can possibly be got from the social and economic measures that may be taken for the material advancement of the affairs of the world.

I assert that we have to realise that we have to do what every other nation is going to do, that we have got to do our own bit of lobbying and to use our own influence and pull our own weight in a way that will best achieve the purposes that we desire to achieve for this nation. In ordinary human affairs the predominant motive actuating international affairs is as I said, and that has got to be recognised. But we have a particular advantage over and above many of the other small nations which we can utilise for the security and defence of our own island and for the advancement of our own international position and our own material concerns. We happen to belong to an association of States, however tenuous at the moment that association may be. We are still a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. So far as I know, there is no Party in this House that desires to dissociate itself from that association. That particular association and our membership of it gives us a force and a power far beyond the size of our island or the number of our population.

[1378] It was because of our association and, particularly, because there was coupled with that association an independence of thought and action, that Ireland was enabled to have a considerable degree of influence in the deliberations of the League of Nations. We can utilise that position and that advantage in this United Nations Organisation if the proper steps are taken. We can still be independent in thought and action. Without in any way jeopardising our sovereign status, we can still take the fullest advantage of our association with the Commonwealth of Nations. There should be no false pride about that matter, there should be no vote-catching about that matter. Now that it has been recognised by Fianna Fáil, as well as every other Party, that that association exists and will continue to exist, it should be the aim of all Parties to get the fullest advantage for this country out of that association. We, on this side of the House, believe that our material advantages, our security and our defence, depend to a large extent upon that association. We believe that our nationhood can assert itself to the full in that association. We are a mother country with a peculiar and a particular influence within that association and, by reason of that and of our independent thought and independence in action, we believe that we can have in the deliberations of the United Nations Organisations an influence far transcending the size of our country or the extent of our armament.

If we are realists, we can gain advantages for our country. But if we pretend throughout the country that we are not in this association because it might prevent this, that or the other Party from getting votes, if we pretend that, notwithstanding our responsibility in the United Nations Organisation, we can still become neutral in a future war, then we will bring degradation upon this country, degradation of our international status and a denial of our international influence.

I, therefore, plead again for what I stated at the outset of my remarks was the object of my speaking here, for the co-operation of all sections of this House in the education of public [1379] opinion, in the leaving aside in connection with our international affairs, above all things, of purely domestic politics; that there should be at least a truce among certain politicians in the country in trying to pretend that the test of Irish nationality is the extent of our hatred of the British nation, that in order to be pro-Irish you must be anti-British; that in order to be a nation you must pretend you are not in the Commonwealth of Nations, and that in order to get votes, you must pretend that you are only going into the United Nations Organisation with a view to denying, if it suits you, the responsibility which has been undertaken with the unanimous assent of the people in the Parliament of the nation.

Partition has been mentioned by various speakers in the course of this debate. I am in complete agreement with Deputy Dillon when he says that we should not look to the United Nations Organisation to achieve the unity of our nation. Again, there should be no playing of Party politics in connection with Partition in regard to this motion. There should be no suggestion throughout the country, in excuse of the action that we take or that the Government takes, following upon the vote here to-night, in applying for membership of the United Nations Organisation, that the only reason why that was done was, or one of the chief reasons why that was done, was because it might lead to the end of Partition. While I have the profoundest conviction that the United Nations Organisation will have nothing whatever to do with our particular problem of partition, I do believe that, if we take our part as a nation in the deliberations of the United Nations Organisation, if we use our position to enhance our prestige as a nation, if we use our independence, to which I have referred, without the sacrifice of our association with the British Commonwealth of Nations, and if we, as a Catholic nation, a Catholic country imbued with Catholic principles, can bring to bear upon the deliberations of an assembly largely heathen, the principles of Christ the [1380] King, in achieving international peace and in the discussion even of material matters of economics and sociology, then we can achieve a position where we can demand, as of right, not from the United Nations Organisation but from Northern Ireland and Great Britain, the end of the crime of Partition.

Mr. Coogan: Information on Eamonn Coogan  Zoom on Eamonn Coogan  I rise to support this motion, with many reservations. At first I should like to ask the Taoiseach why he has changed his mind so rapidly on this matter of our admission to the United Nations Organisation, because as recently as June 26th of this year he said:—

“This question will become a ripe question for us when the peace treaties are signed and not till then.”

Again he said:—

“the very serious question of whether we should or should not apply will come up for consideration probably when the peace treaties have been signed and the peace situation has been reached.”

I am quoting from column 2452 of the Parliamentary Debates for 26th June, 1946. Yet within this very brief space of time we have the Taoiseach coming to this House at the end of the session and putting down this motion in a very peculiar phraseology. In support of that motion he says that the Government want to be in a position, if they see so fit, to join and, further, that they have actually decided in principle on joining. At the same time he tells us that he is very sceptical of the advantages which are likely to accrue to this country from our membership of the United Nations Organisation. In effect, he says it may not do us any harm and it might do us some good. I think that is an extraordinary approach to a serious problem of this kind and I think we are qualifying in advance for rejection.

Several Deputies have a very confused idea of our position if we do join. Deputy Norton does not want us to go to the right or to the left, but to keep to the middle of the road, and Deputy Cafferky wants us to join on very specific conditions—that we will not go [1381] into any war at the dictation of any Power. It is quite apparent to me that neither Deputy has read the charter, because it is not a question of our imposing the conditions as to our application for membership, but it is a question of whether or not we will be admitted, whether or not we are fit and proper international persons for admission.

The test is our acceptance of the obligations in this charter and, after that, our ability to carry out these obligations, and it is not a question of the right or the left of the road or the middle of the road or any conditions from our State. We simply take the marching orders from the United Nations Organisation once we become a member and it is well the House should understand that explicity.

We are joining an organisation which imposes upon us, as members, specific obligations. We have to join without any condition, without any reservation, mental or otherwise. These obligations may undoubtedly involve us in war in certain contingencies. What our contribution to that war effort will be I have not the foggiest notion but, having regard to the size of the country, our population and the strength of our Army and Air Force, it would be infinitesimal, in my opinion. Be that as it may, it is well we should clear the air of any doubt. We have no rights once we join. We take our orders from the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation.

The Taoiseach mentioned that the difficulty in accepting this charter was the reluctance of the great Powers to subscribe wholeheartedly to a fully-fledged United Nations Organisation in which they would have but the same power and the same vote as the smallest and most humble State in the group. All I can say on that is that the late President Roosevelt visualised this situation in one of his last speeches, on January 6th, 1945, in his message to Congress. There he said:—

“We cannot deny that power is a factor in world politics any more than we can deny its existence as a [1382] factor in national politics, but in a democratic world, as in a democratic nation, power must be linked with responsibility and obliged to defend and justify itself within the framework of the general good.”

It is idle for us to come here and criticise this charter on the grounds that it does not give the same right to Éire as to Soviet Russia and the same right to Éire as to the United States of America, or the same right as it gives to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. These nations and State accepted full responsibility, political and military, in the recent war. Do we suggest that they should now shed that responsibility and hand it over to people who did not participate in the war at all, or hand it to the people who were squelched in the war, or hand it to enemy States?

I think it is futile for us to argue as to the relative positions of the members of the organisation, because anybody reading that document will come to one conclusion and that is that it is an attempt to blend international idealism with power politics. In the present state of the world you have to have power politics; you cannot have it otherwise. The victors cannot leave the bettlefield and let the small fellows step in and start a row among themselves. The victors have many problems of resettlement, restoring industries and agriculture—all the social and economic problems left by the war, apart altogether from any military problems that they may have. In the transition period we must recognise that they have a prime responsibility.

Fundamentally, according to the charter, we are equal. Does anybody here believe that Éire is equal fundamentally with the United States of America or with the Union of Soviet Republics? I quarrel, as the Taoiseach quarrelled, with the position, but I see no way out. We have to face stark realities; we have to face the hard facts of the post-war situation; we have to face the fact that the victors in the war do not see eye to eye, but realising all these difficulties, we have [1383] to take a chance and we have, as a matter of duty, to join the United Nations Organisation if for no other reason than that we have no vested interests in the squabbles between the great Powers, that we have no imperial designs, that we have no material advantage to gain from our membership of the organisation, but that, on the contrary, we have a great tradition behind us, going back over the centuries, a tradition of spiritual and political freedom, a tradition by which this country contributed largely to the cultural education of Europe in the darkest part.

Bearing in mind that tradition it is quite in keeping with our past that we may have a great contribution to make to-day to the European situation, and indeed to the world situation. We can at least bring the spirituality and principles of Christianity for which we fought down through the centuries to bear on the counsels of this United Nations Organisation, and in that way we can hope in time, if you like, to impregnate these counsels with something of the Christian spirit which is so lacking to-day. Nowhere in this charter, as some Deputy has said, will you find the word God; nowhere in this charter will you find any appeal to religion; nowhere in this charter will you find any appeal even to Christianity—perhaps because, in order to get anywhere as a preliminary in this matter of world organisation, Soviet Russia had to be satisfied, cajoled and coaxed. Be that as it may, we are in that peculiar position and the charter does suffer from all these defects, but I still hold that, despite all these defects, it is our duty, in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church, to go into these organisations and try to bring our influence, such as it may be, upon their counsels and endeavour to get these people to see the light.

I should like to criticise the charter in the light of what might be called Catholic social principles and Catholic international principles, but I would take up a good deal of the time of the House. I do say, however, that there are certain general standards of international [1384] conduct which, apart altogether from any charter and apart altogether from any written law, have operated for all time, that is, the Divine Law which is instilled in the hearts of men. I believe that, despite what the Russian Soviets may do and despite what their spokesmen may say, deep down in their hearts there is a stirring in their consciences which, at times, must tell them they are wrong. Throughout all the ages, that law has obtained. Throughout all the ages, the man in darkest Africa knew the distinction between right and wrong, and to-day the man in the remotest part of the Soviet Russian Republics knows in his heart the difference between right and wrong.

That law prescribes a certain conduct for the individual, for the individual conscience and for the individual man, and, in the same way, that law prescribes a certain conduct for the individual State, and no State can so conduct itself as to claim priority or sovereignty or predominance over any other State, according to that law. That law is the moral law and States, according to that law, are moral persons. The Ten Commandments apply to States as well as to the individual citizen, and the Sermon on the Mount applies to States as well as to the individual citizen, and whether that citizen be a citizen of Soviet Russia or a citizen of Éire is immaterial. There is no distinction in the moral law, as it applies to States, and we have to bear that in mind when we come to consider any written document purporting to set out the fundamental rights of States or of men.

If I quarrel with this document in any way, it is because it lays too much emphasis on the rights of man and on the rights of States, and too little emphasis on the duties of man and on the duties of States, on the duties of man and the duties of States, according to the Divine Law. We have got into a certain position internationally largely by reason of a tradition which, to my mind, derives from the famous English constitutional lawyer, John Austin. Austin's definition of sovereignty since he defined it for the State [1385] has obtained in the law of nations. That definition of sovereignty was, briefly, this, that the State recognised no authority superior to itself, that the State was paramount and that the State, in its relation with any other State or people, was sovereign and independent, and that, with the divorce of religion and State after the Reformation, came to mean, in practice, that expediency, political expediency, and power politics dictated the rights of State, that the principles I have briefly referred to were ignored and that, in the relations between States, the only thing that counted was the might of the particular State which tried to assert its right over the other.

We have definitely to do our utmost to revise and amend that definition, because if anything has been made clear by the recent war, it is this, that the world has shrunk, that no longer can a major war take place in any part of the globe without involving the entire globe, that there is no such thing as any State or nation escaping a major conflict. Realising that, we have to realise that the world is one and that the world is rapidly approaching a position of unity, that there is an interdependence and a solidarity between all countries, peoples and States, so much so that an injury done to any one of these now is an injury to all. But the trouble to-day is, and has been through the years, that, despite that interdependence and despite that solidarity, we had no central authority to protect an injured State. We had no central executive to send its forces to its protection and no tribunal to which to appeal in the case of disputes between States.

Some effort is being made in this charter to rectify that position. I do not say it goes as far as the principles I have outlined go, but it goes some distance, and, realising that it is a charter that has been hammered out between such varying peoples as the Soviets, United States, the British and the Chinese, we have to realise that it is a compromise document and that the ideals which we stand for and hope to see written into this charter one day are not there at the moment; but, even so, it is our duty to support any effort which is being made to prevent this [1386] scourge of war from coming to the world again.

Deputy Dillon went so far as to say that he did not advocate intervention in the affairs of any other State, unless that State was persecuting its citizens because of their religious beliefs. I would go even further and say that the right of intervention should obtain if a State is so ill-treating its citizens that there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of the Press, no freedom of religion, and that the citizen is reduced to a mere automaton. In this matter, we have to realise that, while all States are equal, there are certain fundamental rights which cannot be violated even by municipal governments, and that if a whole people are suffering for their religion or for their political beliefs, if there is wholesale slaughter of people or wholesale imprisonment of people, it is the duty of other States and other peoples to take cognisance of these facts and try to end that state of affairs, if necessary, by intervention.

The trouble to-day is that this charter suffers because of the jealousies and differences between the great Powers who were instrumental in drafting it the first day. You have a lack of good faith on the part of Russia. I do not want to go into specific cases, but we have, throughout the post-war period, several evidences of lack of good faith on the part of the Soviet Republics. Their pledged word has been abandoned on many occasions, and they have resorted to a system of subterfuge and dodgery which would shake the faith of the normal person in the future of the United Nations Organisation. Nevertheless, I believe that the Russians are simply making hay while the sun shines, and that, as soon as this transitional period is over and as soon as the organisation gets under way, the Russians will retreat behind their pre-war borders.

Deputy Cafferky is worried about the attitude of the Powers, because the purpose of the United Nations Organisation instead of preventing war is calculated to provoke war. That may or may not be a safe prophecy. I am prepared to take a chance on Deputy Cafferky's prophecy, and to say that [1387] whilst the present situation is extremely dangerous, extremely delicate, and extremely difficult for all the Powers, there is reason to hope that force will not be resorted to in the ultimate, and that these squabbles will be eventually settled by peaceful negotiation between them. On the economic side of the charter I find myself in whole-hearted agreement. It is a principle of social justice that the raw materials of the earth belong to all men, regardless of race, creed or colour. There is some effort in this charter to implement that principle. I hold, and social justice also holds, that the organised effort of Governments, of employers and of workers throughout the world, both in industry and in agriculture, should so distribute these raw materials, that they could be converted into useful goods for mankind generally and equitably distributed through the United Nations Organisation to homes of men and their families. There is some effort in this charter to develop economic matters and social problems in that direction and in so far as that principle is being observed I find myself in complete agreement with it.

On the question of Partition, I am not going to say anything. I do not think Partition will be a problem of the United Nations Organisation. I think Partition is essentially a problem to be settled between Irishmen. No matter how we look on Partition we have to realise that the Six Counties are run by Irishmen. Their racial origin, their traditions and political past may be different from ours, but they are Irishmen and, viewed in the light of the United Nations Organisation, or viewed in the light of international justice I cannot conceive of any other solution of Partition from this organisation, other than the one that this is essentially a problem to be settled by Irishmen amongst themselves, and that Irishmen in the Six Counties and Irishmen in the Twenty-Six Counties must take steps to resolve the difficulty amongst themselves. I believe that will come about in another way. I believe the solution of the Partition problem will come [1388] rather through our own spontaneous efforts than as a member of the United Nations Organisation. I believe it will also come by way of utilising our membership of the Commonwealth of Nations to the full. The Taoiseach has expressed the view quite recently that if he got the present position, as it obtains in the Twenty-Six Counties for the Thirty-Two Counties, he would be quite satisfied.

There is hope that through the United Nations Organisation on the one side, and through our membership of the Commonwealth on the other side, we may be able to bring about that position. On that I should like to have heard the Taoiseach saying that, in addition to joining the United Nations Organisation, he intended openly to exercise the country's full rights of membership of the Commonwealth of Nations. It has been said of the charter of the United Nations Organisation that it will never work. It is certain that the people who drew up the charter knew full well that it would never work without the various countries themselves entering into regional arrangements. The charter provides for regional arrangements and so long as these regional arrangements, whether political or military, are in consonance with the principles of the charter, it encourages the formation of such regional arrangements. Now that the Taoiseach and the Government have gone so far and decided to seek membership of the United Nations Organisation, I ask them to go further, to implement the charter by endeavouring to join in whatever regional arrangements may be made in this particular sphere of the world.

It is generally admitted that there will be four spheres of influence, four spheres, if you like, of power politics, four spheres in which regional arrangements for defence and economic matters will have to be made. We are in the peculiar position here, that we lie between, as it were, the east and the west. Whether or not that whole position will be one under the regional arrangement I cannot say; whether or not matters will develop in the Western European bloc towards an alliance of all the States of Western Europe and [1389] the Commonwealth of Nations, or whether the Commonwealth of Nations itself, with certain States in Europe, will join in a certain bloc with the United States of America I cannot prophesy. Whichever form it takes it is essential that this country should be aligned with one or other arrangement.

It is clear that in this atomic age, with the present developments in air and the atomic bomb, we cannot hope to stand in isolation. We cannot hope to survive another war. We have to march with the big battalions and because we have to march with the big battalions we are seeking membership of this organisation. It is well that we should realise that. I am not going to try to make any political capital out of the fact that the Government and the Party behind the Government are taking these steps. I have always thought on these lines. I have always advocated this policy, and I am glad that the Government Party are taking this step. I want them to go a step further, and to take the full responsibility of sharing with members of the Commonwealth their full responsibility in matters of defence. Sooner or later we will be faced with that problem, and sooner than later we have to decide it. It is coupled with what is included in the charter. It is not inconsistent with the charter to take this step, and I ask the Taoiseach to take it now, if the opportunity arises. We have been absent up to now. We were absent from Hot Springs, from Bretton Woods and from the recent Imperial Conferences. We were also absent from subsidiary conferences that took place since this war ended. I hope the step now being taken is not a half-hearted step. I hope the step now being taken will be fully implemented and that if we are admitted to membership of the United Nations Organisation we will exercise our membership rights to the full.

I also want the Government to take the corollary step of exercising their full rights as members of the Commonwealth of Nations. The two positions are complementary. The two positions are essential to the well-being of this country. It may be that on the question of war we may have to revise our [1390] Constitution. We cannot in the normal circumstances be committed to war without a declaration of this House. A declaration of war is vested in this House. Whether or not, in the event of being asked to supply troops, air services or any other class of military assistance to the United Nations Organisation, we must have a declaration in this House I cannot say. Whatever is being done under this charter is being done subject to the constitutional processes which obtain in the individual member States. In certain emergencies we can, of course, in the case of aggression, without the assembly of Parliament, in the right of self-defence, defend ourselves. That is an entirely different position from contributing troops to assist in perhaps a dispute between nations and to help the United Nations to end a dispute by military action. That is a constitutional question which will have to receive careful consideration.

On this question of international law and the rights, particularly the sovereign rights, of States, the world is developing towards a position where in the very near future the individual State will have just the same rights, subject to the law, as the citizen has under municipal law. That is the position that I hope will materialise in the very near future in international relations. The trouble with international law so far has been that it is a law of the jungle, that, while we had fine theories, fine principles and nice conventions, there was no executive authority to enforce the law; there was no executive authority to impose sanctions, and you has, of course, no executive force of any description for law enforcement. We want and every normal citizen wants to bring about a situation in which an offending State will be punished exactly in the same manner as an offending citizen is punished if he offends against the municipal or demestic law. The sooner that position can be brought about the sooner we will have an ideal world. We are far from it at the moment but we are developing in that direction and this is perhaps a feeble attempt towards that position. Nevertheless, it is an attempt and as such it should [1391] receive all the encouragement of the House.

Some people have doubts as to wheather or not we should sacrifice our sovereign rights or any portion of our sovereign rights, to the United Nations Organisation, whether or not we should hold out for our full sovereign rights. The position is simply that you cannot have it both ways. If you join the United Nations Organisation you subject yourself to the law of the United Nations Organisation, you subject yourself to the conditions of membership and, to that extent, you sacrifice your sovereign rights. Any one who argues differently is under an illusion as to the position. This is an effort to introduce some semblance of law and order into the jungle of international affairs and to the extent that any law which will obtain under this charter can be implemented, I think we are entitled to support it.

Ireland up to now has played an inconspicuous part in international affairs. I am not referring to our position in the late war. I refer rather to our position generally as a State. We have contributed very little to the international wisdom and intelligence of mankind. We have very few monuments that we can point to in the sphere of international law. I cannot recall anything of any significance in recent years. Organisations here have been making an effort to get the people of this country internationally minded but I regret to say that their efforts have not succeeded in arousing public attention, although there are serious international problems facing this country and every other country and there are serious principles involved in them. We as a Christian State have subscribed to these principles in our Constitution. We subscribe to the principle of fair dealing in all international affairs and of a tribunal for the settlement of international disputes. Generally speaking, we subscribe to the Christian principles advocated by the Popes from time to time. We should be doing something more as a Catholic State to implement these principles throughout the world. I deplore the fact that the associations which have been struggling in this [1392] country to bring international problems before our people have received such little encouragement both inside and outside the House. There has been in this country since 1937 the Catholic Association of International Relations. That is a body which attempts to inculcate the Christian principles enshrined in the Papal Encyclicals. There is the Institute of National Affairs, which is, I should say, an Irish Institute of International Affairs. It is struggling on its own without very much assistance from the Oireachtas or the Government or the State generally. The Society of Friends is making efforts in international matters. There are other organisations that have been from time to time endeavouring to bring light to bear on these international problems. I would make an appeal to the Taoiseach, now that this matter of our membership of the United Nations Organisation has arisen, that henceforth these societies would receive the encouragement they deserve and that, in particular, our universities might be encouraged, through their faculties of law, to publicise the various international problems which confront this country and the world in general.

It is a notorious fact that international law as a subject in the legal curriculum of universities is treated as a very subordinate matter. It is got over in perhaps six lectures in the three years' course and then at the end of the session. It is rushed through in such a fashion that the student is made to feel that he has not anything to worry about in regard to international law, that if he knows anything else and does not know international law, it will not block him in the examination. I would appeal to the Government to have international law put upon a proper footing because civilisation is developing so rapidly and the world is shrinking so rapidly by reason of modern developments that very soon international law will be in the position of municipal law to-day. It is essential that our people should be looking ahead and that our students should be studying these problems so that this Christian State would be in a position to lead Europe out of the darkness in which it finds itself to-day.

[1393] On the question that I have mentioned of regional arrangements, so far we have been more or less in a position of isolation. This is the first open official step that has been taken towards collaboration with the outside world. I should like to direct the attention of the House to what has been done in America as recently as 1945. There was a series of declarations which is known as the Act of Chapultepec in which all the States of North and South America are bound together in a unity of purpose and a union of co-operation. They have accepted the position that any act of aggression from outside against any of these States, whether it be a South American Republic or one of the United States, or Mexico, is an act of aggression against all. They have pledged themselves in one union to come to the rescue of that particular State. Moreover, they have pledged themselves to the principle of negotiation and consultation and the peaceful settlement of international disputes among themselves. In that way they are securing the Western Hemisphere from any aggression from outside.

I feel that something on the lines of the Act of Chapultepec will have to be implemented eventually in this particular sphere of the world. As I said a while ago, it may come in the form of a Western European bloc or of a Western European bloc combined with a United States bloc, but definitely some bloc of that kind has got to come. It is our duty to participate in any arrangement of that kind that may eventuate and to use our full responsibilities as a State member of such union. I want to emphasise what Deputy Costello said a moment ago, that we hope this matter of joining the United Nations Organisation is not to be treated in that light fashion in which Fianna Fáil has been treating up to now the joining of the Commonwealth of Nations. If we are going into the United Nations Organisation, let us go in with our heads up, facing the problems that we know are there, facing them courageously and manfully and not in a long-handed or backstairs fashion. Let us accept whatever responsibilities and duties are imposed [1394] on us as a member of that organisation and let us, in addition, exercise to the full the membership rights of the Commonwealth.

Mr. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  I had hoped not to subscribe to this debate, and only rise for the purpose of asking the Taoiseach a question or two on the very important motion that is before the House. I am three years a member of this House now and in that time I have had the experience of legislation passing through, but have not experienced a motion so important as that which the Taoiseach has moved to-day. It is a motion which concerns practically every citizen and which is of interest to all sections of the community. Deputy MacEoin, when speaking to-day, asked what the Taoiseach's idea was in having this motion rushed through the House and in not giving more timely notice to Deputies of his intention to move it in Dáil Eireann. I think I can throw a little light on that matter for the Deputy, but it will be subject to contradiction by the Taoiseach.

Deputies know very well under what circumstances this motion is being moved. Is it not a fact that, within the last few days, the Taoiseach met the leaders of the different Parties and discussed the matter very fully with them? If there has been anything that was discussed in secrecy with the leaders of the various Parties, why should not every single member of Dáil Éireann be made aware of those facts? Why did the occasion arise that, on this particular motion, the Taoiseach assembles together the leaders of the various Parties for the purpose of holding a post mortem on the motion before it comes near the House at all? I would be very glad if the Taoiseach, when replying, would throw some light on the necessity for such a conference.

Furthermore, I think it is only right that the Taoiseach should state clearly whether he received any instructions from the British authorities to send in his application for membership of the United Nations Organisation. I am given to understand that he has been instructed by the British authorities to send in his application with the least [1395] possible delay. If that be so, why should the Taoiseach not put his cards on the table of the House and say: “We have been instructed by the British Government to apply for membership of the United Nations Organisation”? Why should he not give the House full information as to the text of any communication he may have received from the British Government in that matter?

Mr. Killilea: Information on Mark Killilea Snr.  Zoom on Mark Killilea Snr.  Why does the Deputy not put his cards on the table?

Mr. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  Sir, if Deputy Killilea would cease his ignorant interruptions and pluck up enough courage to make a speech, he would be more of an asset to the Party of which he is a member. I am given to understand that representations, as I have indicated, have been made by the British authorities. All I ask the Taoiseach to do to satisfy me is to say whether or not he has received any such representations. Furthermore, can he say if it is a fact that two nations are to be accepted from the three who are about to make application, that Portugal, Sweden and Éire are the three? Furthermore, is it not a fact that the Soviet Union is most anxious that Portugal and Sweden be accepted and that the British authorities are most anxious that Éire be accepted? I believe that the British are anxious for that, as they wish to use this country when it suits them.

I believe that the fact of joining the United Nations Organisation is a stay for all time on Partition. We all know very well that Britain and America are going to be controllers of the United Nations Organisation and that Britain is responsible for bringing Éire into the United Nations Organisation. Surely, they are not going to surrender the rights that they have in Northern Ireland. If there is another war—which I believe there will be— when it takes place the North of Ireland can be used for war purposes to England's advantage, as it has been in the past. The fact of having this country a member of the United Nations Organisation will give the United Nations Organisation full and complete control over the Shannon airport as an air base [1396] for war purposes. I believe—and I am sure my words are quite true—that it is the British authorities who are at the back of this application. The reason they have made representations to the Taoiseach at this time is that they believe that this country would be a help and advantage both to themselves and to America.

I would like very much to see the principles for which the United Nations Organisation was founded put into practice. The main plank is to prevent wars and to maintain peace. How can an organisation founded and built up on conquest and victory prepare the way for peace in the future? Has it not arisen out of hatred and war and destruction? I do not think that is the spirit in which it should be created, nor is that the foundation on which it should exist to prepare the way for goodwill and peace amongst all States and peoples.

It has been the policy of the present Government in the past five years to keep neutral and cut themselves completely away from any wars. I think that was a very wise policy. As Deputy Cafferky pointed out here earlier to-day, it was the will and the wish of the people that this country should not be involved in the great European war we have just experienced.

I would be the last Deputy to associate myself with a motion of this kind, if I believed that, as a result of its adoption, this country would be involved in any future war and that the youth of the country would be sent to the battlefields of Europe or anywhere else as cannon fodder for either Britain, America, Russia or any other country. I think that the Taoiseach and the Government are taking a very serious step which should be given very serious consideration before a decision is reached. A month ago the Taoiseach had no notion of taking the step he has taken to-day. I have indicated to the House the reasons why he had to take that step. If he did not apply for membership of the United Nations Organisation the British Government would have urged Éire's acceptance as a member of the United [1397] Nations Organisation. There would be nothing to prevent their doing so. I should be very pleased to hear the Taoiseach say in reply that he has received no representation from the British authorities on that subject. If he states that, well and good; it will be a denial of the statement I have made, but I believe that it is as a result of pressure from the British authorities that he is taking this step.

We are all anxious, and I am sure the Government are equally anxious, that wars should be ended for all time. We have all had a very sad experience, from what we have heard and read, of the state of affairs that has existed all over Europe. Surely it is everybody's wish that that state of affairs should never recur. Everybody had high hopes at one stage of the League of Nations, but it failed. I believe honestly and sincerely that the United Nations Organisation will also fail, that you will have future wars and that the countries which to-day are members of the United Nations Organisation will be involved in these wars, because they will have no way of keeping out of them. In the next war, when Eire is a member of the United Nations Organisation, I believe that our ports and air ports will be at the disposal of these other countries for war purposes. I believe that will be against the wishes of the whole Irish people, because the Irish people have had enough wars and revolutions in the past and they are not so anxious to become involved in future wars.

I would think much more of this motion if we were going into this institution as a nation but we must realise that we are going into it as half a nation. Surely to goodness, there is something queer with the idea of a small little island like ours, functioning with two Governments, one North and the other South, going to assist America and England to maintain peace, to being about prosperity and to end wars and revolutions, while we hear nothing at all about bringing about complete unity within the four shores of our own native country. Assuming that this House decides that we should accept membership of this organisation, I believe the Government's first step [1398] should be to open negotiations with some authorities with a view to bringing about the complete independence of this country. It is a very sad state of affairs that no action in that respect has so far taken place. I believe we would be much more effective as a member of this organisation if we had complete unity. I think the Taoiseach and his Government should interest themselves in this matter seeing that, so far, they have given so little attention and consideration to the one question that deserves the attention of every true Irishman, namely, the complete independence of the country North and South.

I join in the hope expressed by Deputy Norton earlier to-day that some good will come of the United Nations Organisation but I am afraid very much that it will fail because anybody who studies international affairs can very easily see that wars cannot be avoided in future. I would much prefer that this country should adhere to the attitude it adopted during the last war and that it should not have hand, act, or part in any future war. In my opinion, the fact that we shall be a member of the United Nations Organisation will deprive us of the right to declare a policy of neutrality in the future and that we shall have to go head, neck and heels into any future war. I think that that is a matter to which the Government should give very careful consideration. I would go so far as to suggest that it is a step on which the people should be consulted because it deserves very careful consideration. I have no further comment to make but I should be very pleased if the Taoiseach in his reply would indicate what representations, if any, he has received on this matter from the British authorities and what is the nature of the discussion or the conference he had with leaders of the different Parties. I believe that, as members of Dáil Eireann, we are all entitled to have the information that is at the Taoiseach's disposal when we are called upon to make up our minds as to whether or not we should accept a motion of this kind.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Before dealing with the motion, I desire to say a few words [1399] apropos of some references by my friend, Deputy Flanagan. The Deputy in the course of his statement, rather unwisely or unwittingly used the words “secret meeting”. He said that there was a secret meeting between the leaders of the different political Parties and the Taoiseach. In the absence of General Mulcahy, I happened to be the representative of this Party. The first point I want to make is that there is a very big difference between a private meeting and a secret meeting. There is something suggestive about the term “secret meeting” that does not apply to the term “private meeting”. The Deputy introduced his remarks by saying that he was three years in this House. When he is a few more years in the House, he will learn that Opposition Parties of all shades of political opinion have rights as well as the Government and that there are ordinary, normal Parliamentary courtesies which have to be respected by every Government in every Parliament. One of the normal courtesies of Parliamentary life is that the leaders of Opposition Parties are informed in advance of any matter of major importance that is going on the Order Paper. The particular meeting referred to as a secret meeting was an ordinary private meeting associated with the ordinary, decent courtesies of normal Parliamentary life, in order to notify the different Parties, through their leaders, that a motion of this magnitude was to appear on the Order Paper.

Mr. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  We did not know about the courtesy.

Dr. O'Higgins: Information on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  Zoom on Dr Thomas Francis O'Higgins Snr.  With regard to the meeting in question, I have no hesitation in saying from a seat opposite to the Taoiseach that most of what I heard of the Deputy's speech was complete news to me. I did not hear any suggestion at that secret, or private, meeting that it was at the request, or command, or behest of the British that this particular motion was put down.

Now, in connection with the discussions on the United Nations Organisation, and the general post-war position, [1400] it is somewhat customary both inside and outside this House to see people throw up their hands in a kind of despair and say: “Well, there is a great war over and here is the world lining up for the next war; everything has failed—democracy and all the rest of it”. I do not share in that particular viewpoint. I think in this particular charter and in this particular post-war arrangement there is a real attempt to face up to world conditions, to appreciate what the position of the world is now and what it has always been rather than to face up to the world as we would like to have it. As far back as any of us can read history, right back before the days when languages were understood internationally or universally, the position of the world was one of divided peoples, or warring factions, of wars between neighbour and neighbour. At the end of each such war some kind of new line-up was made which was really laying the foundations for and shaping the next war. You have to-day, just as you had yesterday and just as you had some thousands of years ago, a world of friends and a world of enemies. You have a world where the strongest will try to down the weakest if the weakest is not his friend.

The world was always in hostile camps. Over a long period an attempt was made to balance those camps, and to prevent or postpone war by the policy of the balance of power, by trying to equate one military division, against another military division, so that war was made either unprofitable for one side, or too expensive for both. That particular phase was followed by the last attempt—the League of Nations. The League of Nations was established to try to lead the world into the paths of peace by headlines, resolutions, conferences and speeches but it was a League of Nations without force, without power, and without the military strength to prevent an aggressor nation from carrying out aggression. From all those experiences the world has learned and this particular organisation now seeks to establish a new world authority, backed and supported by unchallengeable force—a force [1401] mighty enough to liquidate the mightiest nation if such a mighty nation again challenges world authority. There you have, at least, a considerable step forward in the direction of averting war or punishing an aggressor.

It is leading nowhere merely to talk in terms of the world keeping the peace merely for the sake of peace. We are a decent, civilised, law-abiding people in this country, but is there a single town in Ireland where the law would be obeyed and where peace between man and man would be the order of the day were it not for our police force and for all the expensive machinery we have in order to ensure that the law is obeyed and in order to keep the peace between neighbour and neighbour? We cannot expect a standard considerably higher than our own to apply universally to the world, where you have people of different religions, different nationalities, speaking different languages and with different traditions and different backgrounds. In our country, as in every other country in the world, the law is upheld by a police force. This particular charter proposes a mighty police force to police the world at large. It is an approach to the question in a spirit of understanding and with a fundamental sense of reality. Unquestionably, this is the gravest step this Parliament has ever been called upon to take. In joining this particular world organisation it would be a mistake to join it in the name of the Irish people with uninformed or ill-informed public opinion behind us. It would be a pity if this Parliament, acting in the name of millions of people outside, were to commit the nation and posterity to all the obligations which we shall have to undertake when we join this organisation if the people outside have no real knowledge of the very terrible obligations involved and the grave responsibilities which membership entails. The only regret I have is that very much greater effort was not made to ensure that every single member of the electorate, up and down the country, would understand every article of that charter and all that the charter implies before we, as the [1402] representatives of the people, were asked to vote them in.

I rember the time when a very responsible step was being taken in this country. I remember when we were asked to adopt a new Constitution. Hundreds of thousands of copies of that Constitution were printed, broadcast throughout the country, sold for 1d. on the street wagons, at the reilway stations, at every bookstall and post office in the country and sold and shouted in the streets and at the chapel gates in order that every single elector would understand what he was being asked to do. I doubt if there are 300 people in all Ireland, outside the gates of this building, who are aware of the contents of that particular charter. I do not know that any particular effort was made, either through the publicity department or through the newspapers, to see that the various articles contained in that charter were made known to the people. I think, however, that we are doing the right thing in joining this organisation. I feel that we are perhaps taking a chance in doing it on behalf of the people when the people do not know what they are doing.

Very many speeches here to-day pointed out the advantages of such an organisation and the possible benefits that may accrue from such an organisation. But it would be a mistake to vote the country into the United Nations Organisation, like a horse being led through a gate in blinkers, without the people appreciating, not only the advantages but all the obligations and the responsibilities.

Personally I do not know, although I am breast high for joining the United Nations Organisation, what the consequences would be if we did not join. I do not know how, in the course of time, any little nation which refuses to join will be treated. I feel very much like a person up in an aeroplane for the first time who is told to buckle on his parachute and get out when the plane is going to crash. I put on the parachute and I jump, but I jump with a whole lot of fear in my heart, merely because I would be still more afraid of staying in the plane. It is somewhat [1403] like that that little nations are going into the United Nations Organisation. They know that there is a terrible amount of responsibility in the step they are taking by going in. But they have the feeling that conditions will be much worse if they stay out.

This particular charter, this particular book containing the heads of the conditions of membership, gives us a certain amount of information. They tell us in very general terms what our responsibilities and obligations will be. They tell us beyond yea or nay that when we join we will be liable for a financial contribution to the expenses of the United Nations Organisation and to the military and other establishments under the United Nations Organisation. But they give us no indication whatsoever as to what contribution they expect from us. They do not say that the contribution to be levied from a particular nation will be in proportion to its income, to its total budget, or to its population. You just take a jump in the dark and, when you are in, whatever bill is presented, must be paid.

In connection with the military levy we are told that, having joined the United Nations Organisation, we must contribute whatever military force is demanded, after the member-State had an opportunity of discussing the matter or making representations. But we are not told whether the levy in man-power will be in proportion to our population or to our military strength or whether a higher man-power levy will be imposed on countries who have not lost to the extent of others in the recent war. There, again, we are taking, and we must take, another big jump in the dark. After we have joined, if the conditions imposed upon us appear to us to be impossible, if the burden appears to be too heavy for our backs, I cannot find in the charter any way out of that organisation once you have gone in. You can be suspended or you can be expelled, but I cannot see that you are in a position to resign or that you can voluntarily withdraw. You can be suspended if you do not keep up to the collar and hames; you can be expelled [1404] if you defy the authority of that organisation. What further penalties that suspension or expulsion carries with it certainly is not clear to my mind.

I hope that that draft is not a final one. When the organisation grows bigger, when the world is further away from the atmosphere of war, I think that that particular charter could do with a very considerable amount of amendment. I think that if it were not for the fact that the world, or particularly Europe, appears to be something like a boiling pot, if it were not for the urgency of showing, even with a big and perhaps extravagant gesture, support for an organisation which has been brought into being to try to outlaw and to avert war, the wisest course would be to lean back and wait to find out whether that is likely to be amended, what military contribution would be expected from us, what financial contribution would be expected from us, and if, after we went in, we found either the military demand or the financial demand too heavy for our people to bear, we would be in a position to resign and if there would be any penalties on resignation.

There are a number of things that, in the ordinary way, if we were discussing this question in old times, we would be entitled to put up. But, discussing it in 1946, after what we have lived through in recent years, in the world we are living in at the moment, and in view of the kind of world that appears to be in front of us, my very strong opinion is that there is no nationally wise or internationally sound policy but to do as we are asked to do in this motion; to go in no matter what the cost may be, to show that this little island State, which led the world in the dark times in the direction of Christianity, no matter what dangers were met on the road of spreading that light further and further; that now in dark times we should not lean back or lie back, because of the danger or the doubts or uncertainties, from joining our strength, little as it may be, with the strength of others in order to secure peace for the world and, if necessary, to punish any breaker of that peace. We may not have the strength or the [1405] wealth or the power or the experience of the great majority of the nations which our representatives will meet at this assembly, but we have a far greater tradition of leading ourselves and directing others in the right direction than that of the mightiest countries we shall meet at this assembly. That is of an importance at least equal to military strength or financial wealth. We would be setting a headline of which we ourselves would be ashamed, of which our people abroad would be ashamed, if we were to turn our face the other way and say “No” when asked to join an organisation of this kind because of the risk or because of the cost or because of the uncertainty.

I regret one thing about this particular motion and that is that it is not asking Parliament forthwith to allow this State to become a member of the United Nations Organisation. It asks Parliament to give authority to the Government to join at any time the Government considers it opportune to do so. I have no doubt there are sound reasons for that proviso, but just at this stage of the world's history I would like that we would be in early, that our voice would be heard there at the early meetings of that Assembly, that we would be established and playing our part as a nation anxious for peace, peace for ourselves, peace for others; as a nation that cannot be suspect of power politics; as a nation that cannot be suspect of political manoeuvring in the international sense, and as a nation that cannot be suspect in the military sense or in the sense of having any territorial ambitions. I think the voice of a nation such as that, so free from suspicion, would have influence in such an assembly far and away beyond the views of a nation that is mighty in the military sense, unsatisfied in the territorial sense, ambitious in the sense of world politics. Taking all those factors into account, I urge on the Taoiseach and the Government the advisability of getting in at the earliest possible moment and not at the latest moment.

Just one more point. Partition has been referred to, and the advisability of taking up the question of Partition before an organisation such as this. It [1406] is the last thing that should be considered, taking up Partition before a congregation of world nations and having Partition settled by the vote of such an assembly. If the settlement was against us we would have both Ulster and England in a position for all time to claim world authority for a State for quarter of this little island. Partition to come before a body such as that! Let us be realists when we are talking about it. Do we not know that an organisation such as that is bossed by the big boys and not by the little boys?

Could you imagine little Eire being able to mobilise votes against Britain and Britain's powerful allies and first cousins about a question that was awkward for Britain? It is sticking out clearly and plainly that if Partition came up there the vote would be against us, if that was Britain's desire, and then neither at home nor abroad could we ever ventilate or get consideration for the real grievance we have in the mutilated state of our country. We would be asking dagoes and blacks and yellow men and all kinds of foreigners to settle an Irish question, to settle a division between Irishmen of different religious and different political views. How on earth can we presume to join an Assembly such as that to deal with world peace and to settle differences between countries that have been hostile to one another since the time Christ walked the earth, if we cannot settle differences between fellow-Irishmen here in Ireland without calling in a lot of Yugo-Slavs and Russians and all the rest of them to do it for us? The most unwise thing that could be done, either verbally or mentally, is to associate membership of this organisation with that of raising the question of the unjust partition of this country.

In conclusion, I desire to say that in spite of risks, in spite of doubts and in spite of lack of knowledge, unhesitatingly I support this motion and I hope when it is passed, as it will be, that entrance to the United Nations Organisation will be applied for at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  I am glad the last speaker has exposed still another of Deputy Flanagan's mare's nests. It [1407] comes as no surprise to most Deputies that we would have allegations made by Deputy Flanagan such as he made this evening. If Deputy Flanagan wants to continue as the political Charlie McCarthy of the ventriloquists outside the House, that is his own concern. It is well that it should go on record that Deputies here do not pay much attention to such wild statements as he made to-night.

In connection with the motion before us, Deputies have expressed the view that they are not satisfied with the charter as it is, or with the organisation as it is. If we are to improve this organisation, my view is that we should do it from the inside. If we stay in isolation, I do not see what we can do about the matter. On the other hand, if we join this organisation, we may be able to do something, with other small nations, towards getting an organisation that will be more in keeping with our ideals.

The best way to prevent war is to have a court whose decisions can be enforced. There is no use going to a court, whether it be an international court or otherwise, and getting a decision, unless that decision can be executed in a proper way and the wrong-doer will suffer punishment. I have no doubt that if we have an effective international organisation or court which can enforce its decisions, no world power will declare war. No matter how strong any world power may be, if it knows that immediately it transgresses, the rest of the world, through this international court, will be antagonistic and that the court will be capable of enforcing its decisions, it will hesitate to do wrong. With such an organisation of nations against it, no world power, great though it may be, will transgress.

The whole point about an organisation of this kind is, will it provide effective machinery for punishing an offending power? This charter is a contradiction in terms because in Article 2 (1) it states that the organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members, and in sub-section (2) it says that all members, in order to ensure to all of [1408] them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfil in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the charter. How can it be suggested that the charter is based on the sovereign equality of all its members if five members have a right to nullify the decisions of the remaining members? Until the power of veto is taken away, until the principle in sub-section (1) of Article 2 is given effect to, this organisation, to my mind, will lose its general effect, and, what is more, will lead to international distrust and international disorganisation instead of international co-operation.

At all events, it is for us, as a small nation, to assume our responsibilities. As a mother country, we have certain responsibilities, and the way to carry out these effectively is to join any such international organisation as this, for the purpose of securing peace for all time, and to take our proper share in the deliberations of such assembly. I can only hope that, at some future meeting of this organisation, there will be an opportunity for the other small nations and ours to join in common discussion, and it is from the small nations of the world will come the best suggestions for making this organisation effective, because small nations have no territorial ambitions. Practically all small nations are like our own, essentially interested in the preservation of peace, and it is in their interests to see that effective international organisation is provided in which the small nations will have a say, from which they may expect justice and to which they can go if their rights are infringed, just as their own citizens could go to the ordinary courts if their rights are infringed and expect to get justice and a fair crack of the whip.

I deplore the suggestions made here that there is any attack on our sovereignty, or that we are committed to any limitations of our sovereignty by entering this organisation. To my mind, no question of our sovereignty arises. It is purely a question of a sovereign State making an international contract. I cannot conceive how Deputy Coogan got it into [1409] his head that we are limiting our sovereignty in any way, or committing ourselves in any way by joining this organisation.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  Do you believe in the truth of Article 2? I thought a moment ago that you did not like that article.

Mr. Moran: Information on Michael Moran  Zoom on Michael Moran  I do not like Article 1 and I do not like Article 2, in the light of the composition of the present organisation, but my suggestion is that effect will be given to both Articles 1 and 2 by all the small nations coming in and forming a more effective international organisation than the United Nations Organisation, as at present constructed, is. Deputy Coogan suggested that there was some limitation being imposed on our sovereignty by the action we propose to take. I suggest that no such question arises. I suggest that, as a sovereign independent State, we contemplate taking this step as a type of insurance for our own future. I is in the interests of this nation, and, indeed, in the interests of every small nation, to take such a step, if they can be convinced that, by taking that step, they would ensure that, in the future, their territory would not be attacked and they could look forward to a period of peace.

Another Deputy on the opposite benches suggested that this represented some play with the Commonwealth of Nations. As I understand it, we contemplate entering this organisation as a sovereign and independent State. We may be a divided nation, but we are a sovereign independent State, accepting, or proposing to accept, our responsibilities as a sovereign independent State, under our own Constitution, and freely, if we are allowed to join this organisation, to contribute our share to international peace by joining it.

I should like to remind Deputies also that we took our share in the activities of the predecessor of this organisation, the League of Nations, and, furthermore, that in the old League of Nations we assumed the responsibilities of a small member State when we were one of the nations which subscribed to sanctions against a certain Power when [1410] aggressive action was taken. If we were prepared, in our own small way, to assume the full responsibilities of membership of that body, there is no reason in the world why, in this new organisation, we as a small State should not be prepared to take our share in enforcing the views of any proper international court.

Deputy O'Higgins suggested that it was not clear what share we would have to take in this new organisation, and particularly what our commitments might be. It is quite true that it is not clear at the moment, because this is an organisation which is in its infancy, and which we cannot expect, in its present early stages, to be so far seeing as to be able to lay down definitely what proportion should be contributed by each subscribing nation. It is, however, reasonable to expect that we as a nation will have to contribute only in accordance with our size, our resources and our power. It would be absurd to suggest that if Russia overstepped the mark and embarked on some scheme of territorial aggrandisement, we in Ireland would be ordered, on our own, to attack Russia or to prevent Russia's aims. It is reasonable to assume that the share of each small nation will be fixed by this international body in accordance with the power and resources of each small nation.

What I have in mind in relation to the deliberations of this assembly up to the moment and in relation to what may happen in the future is this: I see no provision in this document for what may happen if one of the Big Five walks out. I see no provision against what happened in the case of the old League of Nations. If, for instance, one of the Big Five set out in the morning on some scheme of territorial aggrandisement and thereupon decided to leave this new body, what provision is made in the charter to guard against the position which would then arise? We had the very same position in the old League of Nations when some member nation wanted to set out on a scheme of conquest, or when the ideas of their Government, their Emperor or their dictator were directed along the lines of seeking to acquire more territory, [1411] or to attack another State. When they found that their course of action was incompatible with membership of the League, they simply walked out and left the League. I do not see in this document anything to guard against that.

I should like to see included in this charter some provision, particularly in relation to the large Powers, because it is from the large Powers we can expect trouble, whereby if some of the Big Five set out on some scheme of conquest and the matter came before this international court, and they were found wanting, they could be brought to book. Considering the influence which it is natural to expect any one of these big Powers might wield, it is futile to have such an organisation if they can shed all their obligations under this charter simply by walking out of whatever room the United Nations Organisation may hold its meetings in.

That has happened before. It is liable to happen again. I hope not. If there is no check on any of these Powers under this charter, if it does not suit them to continue with their responsibilities, or if they are able to walk out, I think that leaves the door open, and will form the basis of great mistrust on the part of other subscribing nations. However we may like the charter as at present constituted, or might not like the provisions at present made for any impending clouds that may arise, I think there is only one course for peace-loving nations to adopt, and that is to join this organisation, in the hope that by our work and our co-operation with other small nations, we will do our share to fulfil our moral responsibilities as a mother country, to ensure, so far as we are able, world peace.

The question of Partition has been mentioned. This international body may not be of very much use in that respect. It was pointed out by Deputy O'Higgins that he would not like to see the question of Partition left to dagoes, Chinese, and foreigners of all kinds. I understand the idea behind this organisation is that it is to be more or less a United States of the [1412] world before which the particular grievances of the world could be brought. I would put it before dagoes, Chinese or foreigners if, without any pressure being brought to bear on them, as representing their people, they exercised their conscience and were capable of giving a just decision. In going forward for international brotherhood, if the recent war taught us anything, it should have taught us that we must think along those lines and, as far as possible, see internationally eye to eye with dagoes, Chinese or foreigners.

With recent developments, both in aircraft, atomic energy and particularly in the power of destruction, the world has become a very small place. Unless we have international co-operation of some kind, particularly between small States, I think the outlook for the world is a gloomy one. Much as we may be dissatisfied with this document, and much as we may be dissatisfied with the framework of the international organisation that we have, I recommend the House to join this organisation, with the ultimate hope that we are contributing our share in endeavouring to make international co-operation work. That is a duty that we should perform on behalf of our people.

Mr. Maguire: Information on Bernard John Maguire  Zoom on Bernard John Maguire  The motion before the House will undoubtedly make a very strong appeal to Deputies of all Parties, and to the public generally, to the extent that it carries any hope for a solution of world problems. Personally I think the Government and, probably, the leaders of the Opposition Parties who were consulted must have had before them a considerable amount of information which, for good reasons, they did not see fit to submit to the Dáil. Owing to the wisdom of the different leaders of the Government, and of the Opposition, by their good management they were able to preserve this country from the horrors of the last war, and are no doubt entitled to be at liberty to deal with future conditions and with the well-being of the country. However, as one who has no inside information, there are a few points that I would like to refer to, not in a spirit of real hostility to the proposals, or to [1413] the good judgment of those who considered it wise to adopt the merits of the motion, but just as one of the public.

Assuming that the motion, if passed by the Oireachtas, is subsequently approved of by the United Nations Organisation, when we become a member of the United Nations Organisation will that association bring with it implication that the conditions of affairs, as they now exist, or as they may exist at a particular juncture, are approved of by us? Does it mean that political divisions of European countries, and of Eastern countries in the making, are approved of and accepted by us as being in order? Are we bound on our admission as a member of the United Nations Organisation to consolidate and give the force of strength and the necessary assistance to the continuation of that political order?

I cannot believe that anyone in this House agrees about present conditions in Poland for instance. It is a country on whose behalf five years ago a world war was entered into. Its present condition is very much different even from what it was at the time that the aggressor, Germany, made a request for a comparatively small portion of its territory. As far as we are informed there is resistance to the present conditions enforced on and prevailing in that country. I would like to know, if we enter into a league of nations, or become a member of the United Nations Organisation, if we approve of the conditions enforced on that unfortunate at present. Would this country feel justified in approving of the uncertainty of control of some Balkan States, of Finland and probably Germany? Will our admittance and our acceptance of membership of the United Nations Organisation, if we are accepted, imply that we are accepting the present order or conditions as enforced by the Big Three or the Big Five?

Will our entrance as a member of the United Nations Organisation imply acceptance of the conditions enforced in our own country? Will we imply by our acceptance of membership of that organisation, that the division of our [1414] own country is accepted, or are we entering into this organisation with any gurantee that, as a member of the United Nations Organisation, all these factors will be the subject of some form of investigation, in which arbitration will decide factors that are of such great importance to ourselves as well as to outside countries.

If it be the fact that the United Nations Organisation will establish the various claims of the various nations, then we are going in there with a distinctive grievance and our purpose will be to form a union with every other country that has a grievance equal to or greater or less than ours and which is willing to become a unit of a large group which will connive and bargain with each other to oppose the established interests. To what extent will all that work? To what extent will the small nations or the nations that have a grievance be effective as against the nations that have imposed injustices on other countries?

Personally, unless matters are made clearer to me, I can see no useful purpose in the proposal to join the United Nations Organisation. I pay a compliment to the various Governments that have operated in this country to the extent to which they have contributed to the well-being of this country, and in the greater part, to the present Government, for saving this country from participation in the last war. That was a universally accepted verdict that was approved of generally by the public. If we enter as partners into this new contract, will we, in the event of war being declared by any strong power or combination of strong powers, have sold our right to declare our position as one of neutrality, if the people of the country so desire? I hope not, but if we have, then I think we are doing a very serious thing. Again, I say, the leaders of the Parties in this House who have been consulted on the matter have found it good business to approve and recommend it to the House and I have no doubt that their joint wisdom is sound having regard to their display of wisdom in the past and to the extent that they have been justified when they saved this [1415] country from an unfortunate position that we might have entered into.

Deputy O'Higgins referred to the undesirability of referring any of our internal matters to a conference of nations or to people outside our own country. That is idealistic. Deputy O'Higgins understands the Irish mentality well and is inspired with a good deal of national spirit. If idealism could carry us through, then there would be no problem to be submitted to any outside country as regards Partition. But it has not worked and, since Deputy O'Higgins does not see the advisability of submitting this question to any body, outside our own conception and our own good judgment and goodwill, in the hope of possible unity at some stage, then I may say that after my experience of many years, I have no longer that great belief in idealism or in the spirit of justice that we are told inspired great men and led nations along. I have no longer that implicit belief that exists even in one man, but I do believe that if a crossroads is reached there is a question of expediency: if you want to gain your road you must strike for it. We are going to join the United Nations Organisation with our eyes blinded and our feet and our hands tied as long as we have a grievance here which has found no solution in spite of every effort by various statesmen in this country. Before we join the United Nations Organisation let us at least, as far as we can, ensure that it is a union in which the spirit of fair play exists, not that we hope will exist. Let us ask for the rectification of an injustice which is here imposed by one of the members of the United Nations Organisation. Let us ask it to put into operation that spirit of justice and then feel, whether we go in blindfolded or otherwise, that we are going in with a spirit of optimism and belief that the future will be well balanced and well gauged and judiciously managed and that good will result. If Deputy O'Higgins says that we should not submit this grievance of ours to outside countries—and probably he is wise—then let us have in advance some guarantee of the honesty of the group [1416] that we are joining. Let us demand that justice be given before we enter into this contract and let us have justice applied to our own case and our own country first and then let us join in partnership with those who give an indication and evidence of that spirit of justice. Let it be done in advance.

Anything I have said must not be taken as definitely opposing this motion. I am accepting it because I believe the leaders of the different Parties have consulted and have come to a decision and are informed to a much greater extent than they feel it judicious to inform the House. The points I have raised I have raised as an individual member who has not the advantage of any inside information or knowledge of the complications involved. I do not wish it to be implied that I am speaking for the people of this country who, I know, in no way desire to avoid participating in any organisation that will make for the betterment of the world and the peace of the world. It is not that we desire any immunity from the risks that may be involved in future world affairs. Our people have shown all through the years that they are not cowards. In the recent war our people joined voluntarily according to their opinions. If future wars are to be fought, and if it is proven to the people of this country that there is justice to be fought for, they will join voluntarily. I would say to the leaders of this House, I would say to the leaders of the United Nations Organisation, that the records will prove that, without asking for guarantees in advance, the Irish people, whether at home or in foreign countries, will be found in proportion to the people of any other race whereever a war is to be fought which in their opinion demands service.

Let us remember that even in our own country it is a mistake to think —and it may be that we are entering largely for this reason—that we have peace even here, not to speak of the embroilment that is apparent in Europe. We have men in this country in jail. We have them interned. For what? For the sole and only reason that this country is divided by force by an outside country. Let us seek to establish peace here at home. Let [1417] us seek to find a means that will prevent the necessity for men who feel, wrongly or otherwise, that the only means by which they can avenge the injustice done on their country is by breaking the established law and, when they break that law, they are interned and not infrequently, all through the years, we have had them giving their lives so that that injustice might be removed. Let us remember that before we join the United Nations Organisation. Let us remember we have justice to establish here to our own people. Let us, as a vindication of the justice of the future United Nations Organisation, demand that the unity of this country be first established and then our verdict will be easily given.

Mr. Corish:  I am afraid Deputy Maguire has forestalled me. I want to say how shocked I was and how surprised I was to hear the view expressed by some Fianna Fáil Deputies and by members on my left about the problem of Partition. Most of the speakers from these two opposite sides of the House claimed that Partition should not be even mentioned by our representative at the United Nations Organisation. It is significant that some of the younger members of the House, in youthful enthusiasm, still demand the abolition of the Border. If certain of the older members of this House are still content to let time and patience remove the Border, we of the younger generation certainly are not satisfied that this Border should remain during our time. If we go into this organisation to make our contribution towards world peace, surely it is only reasonable to expect that we should get something in return. No one would suggest that this small country of ours of 26 counties would ever start even a minor conflict.

Deputy Dillon has gibed at Deputy Norton in saying he does not expect Russia or Yugoslavia to interest themselves in the Partition problem of Ireland. I do not expect Russia or Yugoslavia to do so, but it is still reasonable and natural to expect that our friends in America—one of the big Powers—our friends in France and our [1418] friends in Britain should interest themselves and see that, after 25 years of Partition, justice should be done to this country.

Deputy Coogan subscribed to the views introduced by Deputy Dillon and went a little further and said it was a feud or dispute between the two sections of the Irish people. I would like to differ with him there and remind him that some of those people who have control of the Government of Northern Ireland certainly could not be classed as Irishmen and, if I may, I would like to describe them as the remnants of those who were planted away back in the 17th century and whom all decent Irishmen in the Twenty-Six Counties would not admit as Irishmen.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  When were we planted?

Mr. Corish:  I do not know when the Deputy was planted but I have a fair idea when we were. Deputy Dillon asks us to wait, and says the problem of Partition will solve itself; but in my very short life I have never seen any evidence of any move made on either side of the Border to settle the difference between the two sections of this country. Unless some step is taken, we of this generation will never live to see the abolition of the Border. From a personal point of view, I think it would be tragic that the generation who fought for the achievement of the freedom of the Twenty-Six Counties should be deprived of seeing the whole Thirty-Two Counties as one country. It is a shocking and surprising thing that members of the two largest Parties should subscribe to such a view, that we should be content to leave our sympathisers in the North as they are until something happens. What is going to happen? If we of the Twenty-Six Counties do not make some sort of move, if we do not try to interest other nations in our problem, we will not get anywhere. If we are to make some contribution towards world peace, we will have to introduce the subject of Partition and have to interest other nations, both large and small, to try to have it ended.

Deputy Coogan says there should be [1419] interference from the United Nations Organisation when aggression has been committed. On the other hand, he points out that there was no question of aggression as regards the Partition of Ireland. I would like to remind him that there was, that Britain was primarily responsible for Partition and that the question definitely rests with Britain. We should accuse Britain of this crime and pressure should be brought to bear on Britain to try to have it rectified. There is no use in saying it is the responsibility of the people of the North, as it was Britain perpetuated the crime and Britain only is responsible for it.

There has been no evidence to any of the younger people, that anything has been done in 25 years to try to remove Partition. There have been no signs of negotiations between this country and the Government of Northern Ireland or between this country and Britain with a view to the abolition of the Border. Now that we have a golden opportunity, as it were, to introduce that problem, it seems that the two largest Parties in Dáil Eireann subscribe to the view that it would be infra dig. to mention it. Deputy O'Higgins talked about this small nation, that dagoes, Chinese and Yugoslavs would not be interested in the Partition of Ireland. We do not care whether they are or not: it is our duty to make them interested and to appeal to them for their support. The only important question that we have is the Border. We have never started any international dispute and there is no evidence that we ever will. We have no territorial ambitions; we are not going to cause any sort of trouble. The only thing that concerns us is getting back the Six Counties and it is the primary duty of our representative at the United Nations Organisation to make that the first question of this country and try to get the support of other countries.

In regard to the criticisms of Deputy Norton's statement that the Irish representative at the United Nations Organisation should stick to the middle of the road, I have listened to practically [1420] all the speeches to-day on this particular motion and, as far as I can see, Deputy Norton was perfectly justified in advising that our representative should stick to the middle of the road. Every Deputy who spoke picked flaws in the charter, saw pitfalls and snags, talked about dodgery and humbug, or referred to the different problems which would confront the members of the United Nations Organisation. The middle of the road would be the only line to take, when there is such confusion as regards the charter and policy of the organisation. This small country would be very well advised to join up, but to step very warily. As Deputy Flanagan rightly pointed out, this organisation has been formed hastily, after a world war in which most of the countries took part. It must be prejudiced to some extent, as, after six years of war, one particular side has won and that side is sponsoring this organisation. If we are, like Deputy Dillon, all out for this organisation, we must show some sort of prejudice, as, of course, Deputy Dillon has always shown for a particular line up of the world.

After all, we know that the big nations, even the five major Powers in the United Nations Organisation, are not there for world peace. We know very well, as Deputy Moran has said, that if one of these big Powers has any ideas of its own, which it thinks it can implement, it will not give two hoots about the United Nations Organisation, and will walk out, as some of them did from the League of Nations.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Hear, hear!

Mr. Corish:  The middle of the road, as Deputy Norton pointed out, is the best course for us. We have the example of the failure of the League of Nations. The best thing for this country at the present time is to stick to the middle of the road. An organisation which is founded more or less on prejudice—it has been founded on conquest in a world conflict—must be looked at—I do not want to use too strong a word—suspiciously. But we must swing neither to the right nor to the left. We must try to steer a middle course all the time and be sure [1421] that we will not be a party to any of the acts which were responsible for the break-up of the League of Nations. The Allies themselves were not blameless as regards responsibility for the six years' World War. The Allies are the major powers in the United Nations Organisation, and therefore, we cannot swing to the right. Deputy Dillon has given us a fair idea of what he and this country think of what he described as godless Russia, consequently, we cannot swing to the left. Deputy Dillon made some remarks which set me thinking. He also made some covert remarks which I did not like, but I think it is sufficient to say that the middle of the road, swinging neither to the right nor to the left would be the best course for this country to adopt.

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  The approaches to this subject have been traversed by so many speakers that it would be profitless for anyone at this hour to attempt to follow along the main path. I want to express a view strongly in favour of having this country a member of the United Nations Organisation. I would like to give, briefly, some reason why my vote and my voice would go that way. There will be one big note of exclamation standing out from this debate when people begin to consider it, and that is why it was introduced at this time. I understand the Taoiseach said to-day that there was a time when he understood the last date for application of membership of the organisation was July 15th. Then that date shifted, and when it may be we do not know, but it may be to-morrow or the day after. Apparently, the situation as the Taoiseach saw it was, that if the last date for making application was the 15th July, we would not have been asked to give the Government sanction to enter it. As to what has happened between some date prior to the 15th July and this, the 24th July, I am in the dark. The country will want to know that, but the country will probably not get an answer now. The country, in retrospect facing this debate, will be able to inquire and may possibly get an answer as to what [1422] change occurred between, say, a date prior to the 15th July and this date which moved the Taoiseach to come in here to ask the Dáil to give him a recommendation that we should enter the United Nations Organisation, and that the Government should take whatever steps are necessary to join it as soon as may be convenient. The question as to the point of time not merely raises a difficulty but puts a note of interrogation that I believe the country will put hereafter.

There is another matter that I want to question. I have often mentioned in the House a phrase that was used with regard to the late president Roosevelt. It was that when he was bringing his country along the path that let eventually to war he was always a little bit in advance of his people, but not running too far ahead to be repudiated by them. He was praised for what was called a supreme effort in psychological timing: keeping just so far ahead that he could get others to come after, and yet not so far that they would think he had gone ahead of them. What psychological timing have we had, with regard to getting people to realise the obligations imposed on them by entering this organisation, or of the benefits, if there are to be benefits, that may flow to us as one member of the peoples of the world if we do get an organisation and if it works right?

I do not understand that there has been any approach on any platform to this subject. There has been no attempt made to educate the people, and no attempt made to tell them the pros and cons of this dispute or of that argument. Certainly, there has been no timing, psychological or otherwise, in regard to the circumstances approaching our entry. I believe that if anybody went out on a tour of propaganda in connection with the United Nations Organisation the first approach of the people would be to repel them. If one desired to get their acquiescence for entry into this organisation, one would have to approach the people with the knowledge that the obstacles were great and many, and great persuasive powers would have to [1423] be used to get them to agree to enter. The first thing that one would have to face in this country, on account of its history, is that it has developed an insularity, a tendency towards isolationism which does not obtain even in America. One must recognise that that is partly the result of our history, and that it is also due to the ordinary human fabric of which we are made. Men's emotions have a very limited range. A man may think of, and be enthused about, himself and his family or his blood relatives. He may wander out into other enthusiasms in relation say to club games, a county team, and, even on big occasions, there may be some national enthusiasm in the way of sport or intellectualism or something else. But it is very hard to get the range of the emotions of the people of this country, which is mainly rural, widened so as to appreciate an organisation of this sort, particularly when it is built up as we have this one built up at the moment.

At the San Francisco Conference, at which the charter finally took shape, out of 26 European nations only eight were represented. The conference was mainly non-European, and however difficult it might be to get those people to cast their views outside their own shores, it would be mainly interested, outside those countries, in Great Britain and, possibly, in America. The set up of the conference which made the charter was, to a great extent, Asiatic and, certainly, non-European. The other thing to explain to the people of this country is that to any realist our entry into this organisation is not so much an escape from the shelter of Great Britain or, if you like, the United States of America as a definite welcoming; a close and intimate association with Great Britain, and the hopes of a better association and a more intimate line with the United States.

Our history would, naturally, at first glance cause our people to be repelled by that view, which, I think, will have to be exposed to them. Suppose one got the people a little bit further and got them interested in history, one would have to explain to them that, [1424] prior to the beginning of this century, the whole idea of peace in Europe— and that was where peace was required—was built upon what was called the concert of the great powers. You had two or three powers with mighty armies, mighty arms and fleets roaming around to prevent small nations breaking the peace. A precarious balance was built up by association and counter-association of most of the big powers in and about Europe and that helped to preserve the peace for some time. That particular conception had broken down and in 1914 the war had come. Again, the people founded themselves on the idealism of the League of Nations. The League of Nations went too far with idealism. It promoted the ideas of arbitration, conciliation and collective security and, under the sway of these three ideas, nations abandoned defence policies and gave up, to a great extent, foreign policies. That security seemed to rest on whatever was gathered in Geneva around the League. Then, that went west.

Now, we are faced with another situation. Let it be frankly stated that what we are now having is the concert of the great powers of the type prior to 1900, but now set in an international framework. Let nobody believe who reads this international charter made in San Francisco that the Security Council which will hereafter keep the peace is other than the great powers. Some people believe that, when we go into this assembly, we can keep our status as a sovereign nation. It may be as an act of our sovereign will that we shall go in—that was, I think, what Deputy Moran referred to—but, having gone in, if the United Nations Organisation is to become anything of a reality, we must subtract something from our old sovereign power and put some limit—it may be by our own individual choice—to the exercise of that sovereignty. Once we take the step which we are asked to take, the whole conception of a completely sovereign State will have gone.

To what do we subscribe? I say that the reality behind that charter as it stands at the moment is that we give ourselves over and take up whatever [1425] obligations there are under the charter, to be moved hereafter by two out of the three remaining great Powers in the world. As to Japan and Germany, there is no great likelihood of their being resurrected in any reasonable period of years ahead. We have left—Britain, America and Russia. If these three great Powers can keep the peace between themselves, no small nation will be allowed to break the peace. As a matter of fact, no small nation has ever been allowed to break the peace so as to create a general upheaval. Outside the Balkan wars and a dispute between Bolivia and some neighbouring State, there was, in my memory, no attempt at war between small Powers. The wars have been due to the big Powers who fell out and dragged everybody else in their train.

That is the present situation, as I see it, and we must explain to our people that, in respect of whatever obligations we take upon ourselves—I shall refer to them in a moment—we shall be moved in their exercise hereafter by some of those great Powers when some of them will have fallen out and have come to a viewpoint which the third will not accept. This country must accept that as the situation. All that would not be very encouraging to an Irish audience. Again, I suggest that it is the truth and the reality and that, if we are to get this matter properly understood by our people so that the Government may feel that they have the people behind them, these are the thoughts we shall have to put before them, with certain countering observations which will follow.

May I refer again to the point made by Deputy Moran? While we are now a sovereign State and while nobody can question that the decision that we are about to take on this motion will be a decision of a completely free and untrammelled people, I do suggest that, once that decision is taken, we must accept the view I am putting forward—that, hereafter, we shall have limited ourselves so far as the exercise of our full sovereign powers is concerned.

The obligations we accept are many and serious. Reference was made to [1426] neutrality. Neutrality has been elevated in this country into something in the nature of a positive virtue— something like justice, honesty and truth. It is not any of those. Nor was it at any time in the past seven years at that level. It was a matter of expediency and, so far as this country was concerned, what was involved was only State neutrality. The State did not take any side but the people took sides. There was not ideological neutrality so far as this country was concerned. Whatever it was, even such a small part of neutrality as is encompassed in the term “State neutrality” must hereafter be given up if we join this organisation. Deputy O'Higgins has made allusion to one point upon which I ask for information. The covenant of the League of Nations did contain sections under which it was possible for a States-member to retire. There were circumstances under which a States-member might be put out and there was a condition that, if the covenant of the League of Nations was changed, that being regarded as the constitution of the whole organisation, a member could leave if it did not like the change. There are no such provisions in this charter. It may well be that the situation is that you are invited to come in with the knowledge that you cannot leave, no matter how much you dislike a change in the charter.

Provisions are made for the amendment of the charter without any corresponding provision, such as was contained in the covenant of the League of Nations, about leaving the organisation. I am not forgetting that the whole organisation might dissolve and break up, as did the League of Nations. It was a question at first of certain members leaving but, in the end, the situation was that the organisation broke up. That might happen again.

Without any such crisis developing as would lead to the complete break-up of this organisation, can a situation arise in which this charter would be changed or modified in a way we would not ordinarily accept but to which we [1427] would still be bound or is there any legal way under the charter by which we could free ourselves from our obligations? I cannot find any such way. It may be that, at some of the conferences at which the phraseology was analysed and parsed, some loophole of escape was pointed out, but I know of none. If that is the situation, we enter into this organisation knowing that we may be bound to everything known by the old term of “sanctions”—economic sanctions, a phrase used so widely that it covers almost everything, including financial sanctions. That means breaking off all economic approach to a nation against which the States members of this organisation would have set their hand. We should be bound, in conjunction with other States, to act under orders. I want to stress that the orders will, in the main, be the orders of two out of three—or possibly the whole three— remaining great Powers. We can be forced to war. We can, certainly, be forced to make our territory accessible to forces that are going to war for the charter against members who are going to break it. How it is considered that neutrality will be possible under these circumstances, I cannot conceive. We place an obligation on ourselves to make our territory free for the passage of troops, for the landing of stores, for the storing of supplies, even for the station from which jet-propelled rockets and bombs may be discharged, drawing, of course, corresponding fire upon ourselves. When we pass this motion freely and as an exercise of our sovereign will to-night and when the Government acts upon it, that is something of what we will take upon ourselves. There are other more limited obligations to an approach to war. We have clearly this, that in an approach to a war, which we possibly might not undertake or might not even join in, we are not left hereafter a free, unfettered judgment in the matter. In advance, we tie ourselves to an acceptance of whatever the Security Council, which in fact is the three great Powers, the old concert of Europe, tell us to do. Whatever they tell us to do we now say to them we shall hereafter do.

[1428] So far, if I were addressing an Irish audience, I would have discouraged them from any desire to join this organisation. I think that, even though, if it might at first glance be discouraging, if it be the truth, it should be told to an Irish audience. I would not leave it there. There are advantages; there are I think even greater advantages than have been spoken of in this House in connection with this organisation. First of all, this organisation is to my mind a better one than the League of Nations. It has heavier obligations but it gives a greater promise that the fulfilment of these obligations will lead to the desired end. One hears the phrase used about it in this connection, that it is the League of Nations with teeth in it —strong teeth put into it. That is so but again that may not be a welcome phrase since it is rather reminiscent of what the wolf said to Red Riding Hood: “The better to eat you with, my dear.” It may be that the teeth are going to snap on ourselves but is it not better, if you are going to have an organisation of this kind, to have one that at least will be effective rather than something that will lapse into futility as the League of Nations did?

In this we are faced with a dilemma with which nearly every constitution-maker of a domestic type is faced. Lincoln expressed it long ago in the dictum that it was difficult to see how a Government, given powers that were necessary to meet great emergencies, would not be given too strong powers over the liberty of its people. That is the dilemma. If you give your own domestic Government forces and powers and if you relate these to a time of the greatest emergency you can contemplate in your history, if your domestic Government seeks to apply these powers in ordinary times, the liberty of your people is gone. In the international sphere it is exactly the same. If we give this organisation such powers as will be required when great emergencies arise, then it may be that if these powers are abused and used against members of the organisation not in times of great emergencies but in times and circumstances of disquite, [1429] we may find that we have vested them with powers which are far too strong for that purpose. However, that is a risk we must take.

On the whole, I think anyone reviewing the circumstances of the last 20 years must agree that it is better to take this new risk of having a world organisation thoroughly armed against a possible world emergency than to find in face of a new world war that we have an organisation which languishes in feebleness and futility as the old organisation did. People have been warned by the past. I find no evidence, in reading in connection with this matter, that people are accepting this new organisation as any substitute for national defence. Most people do hope that they will get some alleviation from the amazing financial burdens put upon them for the provision of defence but there is none of that idealistic attitude that once you become a member of this organisation you can abandon all preparations for national defence. A certain cynicism has taken the place of the old idealistic outlook in that regard and nobody nowadays believes that the new organisation is going to be any substitute for a foreign policy. On the advent of the old League there was a disposition on the part of European peoples to regard the time for the old groupings and the old regional arrangements as past having regard to new interlocking economies. The feeling was that people could work freely and without any alliances, freely advance these economic alliances, tending towards strength, and that all faith was to reside in the new organisation. It may be that we shall come to that situation with regard to the United Nations Organisation but at the moment there is no such disposition. It is a healthier sign of public opinion all over the world that while it is ready to welcome this organisation it does so with a certain kind of apprehension and suspicion. It means that they will still build up something in the nature of home defence forces and will still bend their wits to the formulation of a foreign policy.

I have said this is the old concert of Europe in an international framework. It is the old concert of Europe with [1430] this reservation. It is now in an international framework and the international framework is this charter. This charter, whatever may be the pious hypocrisies that may be scattered through its text, does mean that the nations are going to meet and that there is going to be a forum for the making of world opinion. There is going to be a place where grievances can be voiced. There is going to be an arena in which people may fight out in a peaceful way disputes which otherwise might lead to war. There is going to be an outlet for public opinion, particularly agreed public opinion, and the nations will hereafter get a habit of mind as well as this physical habit of meeting together under a system of conciliation. That may lead to something in the nature of fraternity, something even in the nature of the idealism that surrounded the old League. Public opinion has already had a certain influence in the formation of this. The early stages of it were struck at Dumbarton. The second version was made in the Crimea and the third emerged from San Francisco. The San Francisco version, though not changed to the extent that people thought it might be, was considerably changed for the better and was changed, in so far as it was changed at all, because of the impact of public opinion. The fact that everything was free and open and that there was public discussion of the issues involved did show the value of this method. That is one of the possibly unsubstantial merits of this organisation that one would have to cite to an Irish audience to get it to agree to this whole matter.

In addition to that there is to be an international court established. Deputy Moran I think stresses that over much. Deputy Moran apparently has the view that almost immediately there will be decisions by that court and that those decisions will be carried into effect by force of arms. We are a long way from that, but in any event we have created a court and have created it with the experience of some 20 years behind us of the Conciliation Tribunal at The Hague and the permanent court associated with the [1431] League of Nations. Even though as many disputes were not brought to those tribunals and courts as might have been brought, still something in the nature of case law, something in the nature of precedent, and something in the nature of a resort to equitable principles has been found possible from time to time. Those old systems are not entirely forgotten now and the new court which we shall establish will have something in the nature of a background. It is to be hoped that people will be encouraged more and more and influenced more and more to have resort to the court and that an international rule of law will get thereby its first beginnings and will be permitted to grow up as the rule of law has grown up in most civilised countries to-day.

In addition to that, there is an Economic and Social Council. That I would like to stress very much. Anybody who reads about the work done by the League of Nations knows that it had a social and humanitarian side and most people I think will accept— although it is generally forgotten because of the failure of the League itself on the political side—that on that side the league of Nations did an enormous amount of good. One has only to think of the provisions that were made for health, the prevention of disease and the epidemics that used to sweep over the eastern countries and depopulate them, the advances that were made towards stopping the traffic in opium, and the traffic in women and children, the advances that were made along social, educative, and humanitarian lines, the attempt made by the League to raise the conditions of employment and rates of pay, and the good work it did with regard to the refugees and the displaced persons of World War No. 1, and even the attention which it gave, under the mandate system, to those who suffered as minorities where minority groups were left in the carving out of Europe after that war. All that was magnificent work and all that work had its reflection on the peace of the world. All that work is now thrust upon the new Social and Economic Council with a [1432] term of reference better phrased and more liberally expressed than ever was any term of reference of any such organisation before. Remember, too, in connection with this Social and Economic Council, there is no veto. Whatever is to be done in the Social and Economic Council is done by a majority vote of the council itself and the council is widely representative and can be made properly representative if the nations who have secured a footing on it put their best minds there and set them to tackle the problems that will come before it under the impact of that glorious term of reference which appears in Article 55. Article 55 says:

“With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:—

(a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;

(b) solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems; and international cultural and educational co-operation; and

(c) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

That, as I say, is a tremendous addition to the whole United Nations Organisation. At this moment, with the war still so near to us, minds are bound to be bewildered and confused and to be focused almost entirely upon war and the threat of war, together with the fear of a new war. I ask the people to turn to this and to keep their minds for a little time off war and the possibility of war and to ask themselves whether, if that Article 55 is properly worked, it may not be possible to remove the greater part of those things that make for war. I think it is universally accepted nowadays [1433] that it is bad conditions in the homelands of certain countries that lead to the further conditions in which the people who want war find it possible to indulge themselves.

I say that, as a charter, that is in line with the best minds of the entire world and may I say, too, with regret, it is very much in advance of the best we have been able to do here. It speaks of a higher standard of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development. There is no limitation in these terms of reference. It has often been regretted, with regard to the old humanitarian and social committees of the League, that the Covenant of the League did not give them as wide terms of reference as are contained in that charter. Although they did great work for the refugees and did raise the standard of living they did not deal—because they had no power to do so—with such problems as tariffs, trade obstructions, currency, employment and migration because these matters were considered to be subjects which should be dealt with by the old sovereign States and it was supposed to take from the status of the sovereign States to have an outside body, even of an international type, ruling upon domestic problems in relation to tariffs, trade, currency, employment or migration. These terms are wide enough to include every one of those things that were held to have been subtracted from the consideration of the old social and humanitarian council. If the council now set up works in conjunction with and follows out those terms of reference, and if it be well manned, and if there be no cheeseparing about the finances placed at its disposal, and if information is given freely and willingly by all the States that form the organisation as to what their domestic situation is so that comparisons can be made and backward nations brought up to the level of the more advanced, then we shall have done all that we possibly can to clear away the misconceptions, the misunderstandings, and the bad conditions [1434] which promote war in its earlier stages.

I sincerely hope that we shall join this organisation. I do not take the view that has been expressed in this House to-day that we are going to educate a lot of the other peoples of the world by our concepts and that we are going to increase the standard of living in all sorts of countries by telling them what our standards are here. This organisation is going to be educative for us. It is not that the organisation will be, or can be, educated by us. It will be a great education for our delegates to find themselves brought up against newer ideas with regard to economics, with regard to higher standards of living, with regard to full employment and all these other relevent matters. When we go to these conferences I hope that we shall go in the spirit that we have a lot to learn and, possibly, that we have something to give. But we must always remember that we go there with two tremendous fortifications. Firstly, we are a small nation and at the United Nations Organisation there will be many small nations gathered together; we shall find there small nations who are proud of their distinctive culture, proud of their history, proud of the fact that they are able to live apart from the kind of organisation that has been imposed upon the world by the greatest Powers. We can show, if we have it to show, our diversity of character and living and we can get from these small nations many things, and we can give to them the benefit of the type of life that we have and the type of life that our traditions and our history should lead us to ambition for ourselves in the future.

We have one other fortification. This country has lived too long apart from all the other nations of the world. Too long has history fended us off from a proper association with nations, even nations of different religious outlook from our own. If we go to the United Nations Organisation we will find there not merely small nations, but we will find ourselves able to associate with people who belong to the greatest [1435] institution that the world has ever seen, the one to which the majority of the people of this country belong, the Catholic Church. We will be able to find there Catholic viewpoints, a Catholic philosophy, a Catholic way of life, a Catholic line on economics that I personally think we are ignorant of at this moment. In association with small nations hoping to keep their distinctive cultures and economies and with the other institution, the longest lived in the world, we will be able to find education for ourselves with a foundation and with a historical background the like of which, I think, we do not recognise we have communion with.

The last thing I would suggest to an Irish audience, if I got them to listen to me this length, would be that we may find people to stand with us in the big division that is clearly coming as between the peoples of the world. I am leaving out the question of war. If there is an approach to war, if people live under the apprehension of war, there will be no development along any lines of promise for good international relations or good conditions of employment of any type. If war is kept off, there are apparently two viewpoints which will be seen in sharp contrast and conflict throughout the world. One will be the viewpoint of those who believe that men are best left to live by themselves without State direction and the other is—and this is where Russia overshadows the scene— that of countries which believe that men are best when they are ordered and disciplined, when they are made to live and even made to live well. I hope that we will get, in our association in the United Nations Organisation with people who have had more horrible experience than we have had, all through being ordered to live that type of existence and who will react to us and, possibly, get us to react favourably to them, to recognise that the best way of life is where men are left as free as possible to live the lives they can work out for themselves and to avoid those hosts of bureaucratic locusts that are being let loose all over the world charged with the task of [1436] ensuring universal felicity by administrative means. That is the social line as I see things and the conflict that is ahead of us. I should like to feel that we will have people going to this conference who would like an open economy of life and who would abhor and run away from this closed economy. If we get that, as well as this old association that we have, then there is something to put as a counterpoise against the terrors of war and the fact that, if war comes, we may be ordered to carry out certain military actions or even made to do things which, left to ourselves, we might not do in the times that hereafter prevail. I hope I have not succeeded in repelling an Irish audience by speaking in this way. In view of the advantages to be gained from this organisation, not merely to us but the whole group to which we will belong, the whole United Nations, we may be able to get the people behind us when we ask the Government to take whatever steps are necessary to become a member of this organisation.

The question of Partition obtrudes itself on the scene. I have not heard what has been said in the House in reference to that, but I know that Partition is a highly dangerous subject to talk about. I shall, however, risk saying a few words. It has been stated here, and we must all accept it, that it is our last national problem. I have given my own experience, it may not be the experience of other Deputies, that that is one of the few things on which it is impossible to get any enthusiasm or any cheers from an Irish audience, even though it be our last national problem. I do not agree with those who say that nothing has been done. I shall content myself with saying that I think in recent years a lot has been done to worsen the situation. It is quite possible, however, that good may come out of what seems to be evil. But let nobody believe that any person who is going to the United Nations Organisation will find an appreciative and sympathetic audience if he begins to talk in terms of the wrongs done to our people in the North. That is a phrase that is open to all sorts of misconceptions and that [1437] will be distorted in elections to come.

Our people are suffering. In any event, whether they are or are not, whether they are suffering as much as some propagandists say, or whether the propagandists do not go as far as the reality as to what the suffering is, the great crime of Partition is that it sundered people that ought to be inside the confines of this geographical unit. One concept is that it is something of a spiritual wrong. That cuts no ice here and will not cut very much abroad. Do not let anybody believe that any tale of hardship or wrong about our people in the North will get a step further at any international conference.

Think of what these people have come through; think of the prison camps; think of the mass exterminations; think of the deliberate taking away of provisions from people to bring them to the point of death, if not actually to death; think of the deprivation of every amenity that makes life pleasant; think of all the persecutions of people for reasons of race, for reasons of religion, for reasons of nationality; think of the years after the Versailles Treaty, when there were sections of countries left with minorities which in those sections were a majority. In that period there was nothing like the brutalities and barbarities of later years. Yet nobody could have got the slightest comment of a sympathetic type from a Geneva audience in talking about the position of our people in the Six Counties. I tried it with members of three nationalities and the discouraging phrase I got was: “Give us these conditions in our countries and we will be happy”. Although we may lament these things, and we definitely have something to lament and grumble about, when that situation is thrown up against the horrible picture we had in Europe for some ten or 15 years past, what we would be able to talk about at San Francisco or elsewhere in connection with the North would pale into insignificance with the horrors and deprivations that people have come through.

[1438] That does not mean that the point may not be raised. I wonder if the present time is the time to raise it. I am not speaking here of the international situation, but of the situation at home. Supposing it were put to the test and we gave our people in the Six Counties their chance to come down here, and we say to the I.R.A. men: “You will get away from the Civil Offences Act in the North and you will get the Offences Against the State Act here.” Perhaps I might put, as was put by another Deputy, a more concrete case. Suppose we say: “You can leave Belfast Gaol and come to Portlaoighise.” Suppose we say to Catholics: “You will not suffer any longer as Catholics, but unless you come as Fianna Fáil supporters you may as well be back in the North.” Suppose we say: “Your standard of living in the North is rated at so many points; down here you will step down so many points; will you come in?” Or suppose we say to the people not of our view with regard to the Irish language: “It is not compulsory up there, but it will be when you come down here.” What are we offering even our own people? To these people, of course, we are thinking of nationality and nothing else. We are offering them the re-integration of the territory and re-association with us. Is that enough?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Eamonn O'Neill  Zoom on Eamonn O'Neill  Will the Deputy move the adjournment of the debate?

Mr. McGilligan: Information on Patrick McGilligan  Zoom on Patrick McGilligan  I move that the debate be now adjourned.

Debate adjourned accordingly.


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