261 Mr A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 156 LONDON, n.d. [c. 16 September 1938]

SECRET

My telegram No. 155. [1] Lord de la Warr [2] has now made a declaration of United Kingdom policy towards the League at a plenary session of the Assembly. Yesterday Foreign Office advised this would probably not come up until later stage in Committee.

Decision to make a declaration at this stage was probably linked up with change in situation made by Prime Minister's [3] decision to visit Herr Hitler.

Main point made [by] Lord de la Warr was that Covenant had come to be regarded as an instrument for indefinite maintenance status quo whereas its real essence lay in principle peaceful change and prohibition war until all means of pacific settlement had been exhausted. League had tended to strengthen sanctions article at expense provisions designed for pacific settlement of disputes.

United Kingdom proposals regarding articles sixteen and eleven and severance Covenant from Peace Treaties were all put forward and appear to have been well received.

STIRLING

1 Document 260.

2 Lord Privy Seal; acting first delegate, League of Nations Assembly.

3 Neville Chamberlain.

[AA : A981, L. OF N. ASSEMBLIES: 19TH, 1]