I beg to move as an amendment: "That it is the opinion of this Dáil that application for admission to the League of Nations should be made as and when the Govermnent find it advantageous." The speech by Mr. Gavan Duffy was whole-hearted and in very general terms, and, if I might say so, the speech of Deputy O'Shannon was rather less whole-hearted. Deputy Duffy thinks the sole objection we could have to admission to the League of Nations is that it might be misinterpreted, in America. Well, that is not our only objection at this moment. It will be remembered this question of the League of Nations split America from end to end for two years. This Government came into office eight days ago, and Deputy Duffy was Foreign Minister for eight months, and I have been Foreign Minister for eight days, and I should be prepared to accept his judgment pretty generally in these matters, but then I looked up the qualifications required for admission to the League of Nations and they read:—
"Is the Government recognised de jure or de facto and by which States?
"Does the country possess a stable Government and settled frontiers? What is its size and population?
"Is the country, self-governing?
"What has been the conduct of the country, including both Acts and assurances with regard to (a) its international obligations; (b) the prescriptions of the League as to armaments,"
It might have been a considerable help to me if I had inherited from Mr. Gavan Duffy a reply to these questions which would be suitable for us to make to the League of Nations. Mr. O'Shannon read out an opinion upon the general declanation:—
"That a general declaration of constitutional right as described in Chapter IX. would fully qualify the Dominions for separate membership in the League as Sovereign States will become clear if we compare the status thereby secured to them with the definition of a Sovereign State given by authorities on international law. `By a Sovereign State,' says Halleck, `is meant a community with a number of persons permanently organised under a Sovereign Government of their own; and by a Sovereign Government is meant a Government, however constituted, which exercises the power of making and enforcing the law within a community, and is not itself subject to any superior government.' "
The point I would have wished Mr Duffy to make clear in the answer to these questions is what exactly is the community over which we are the Sovereign Government? I am not much impressed by the fact of admission being regarded as the test of sovereignty. The test of sovereignty is: Has one actual power in one's own country? —and recognition of it is fairly unimportant compared with the exercise of it in one's own country. Mr. Gavan Duffy suspects that the refusal to join the League of Nations at this moment is due to a surrender to Downing Street. It is nothing of the sort. It is due to the fact that we recognise we are in a chrysalis stage. As soon as the Constitution is passed and we have some real stable Government—that is, a Government whose definition is absolutely clear and whose existence does not depend on the completing an arrangement which is only half completed, then, I think, it will be possible for us to make application for admission to the League of Nations. At the present moment I think it is advisable, in Mr. Gavan Duffy's phrase, "for high reasons of State," that we should defer this application until the Constitution is passed, and we are able to state our case and our position quite clearly without any reservations to the League of Nations Assembly. I think at the present time, if I had inherited from Mr. Gavan Duffy a draft application to the League of Nations, such as would warrant their admitting us, that that draft application would either specifically or implicity contain untruths.