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No. 290 UCDA P150/2370

Letter from John J. Hearne to Eamon de Valera (Dublin) with four memoranda
on drafts of Articles 7 and 53 of the draft Irish constitution

Dublin, 22 October 1935

President,

The particular problem to which you referred in our recent conversations, namely, that of excluding the King from the internal constitution of the State, while at the same time continuing (with some modifications) the existing practice in the sphere of international relations, is dealt with in Articles 7 and 53. There are five alternative drafts of those Articles, namely, one in the text itself and four others attached as Alternative Drafts A, B, C and D. We are preparing further alternative Drafts.

The document as a whole is being re-cast so as to be suitable for introduction in the present Dáil as an ordinary constitutional measure. The draft Constitution in its present form was prepared on the assumption that it would be passed by a Constituent Assembly.

[signed] John J. Hearne

ALTERNATIVE DRAFT A OF ARTICLES 7 AND 53
Article 7

The President shall receive the diplomatic representatives accredited by other States to Saorstát Éireann. He shall sign

    1. the Letters of Credence and Recall of the diplomatic representatives of Saorstát Éireann accredited to other States,
    2. the Commissions of consuls appointed by Saorstát Éireann in other States,
    3. the full powers of plenipotentiaries empowered to conclude international treaties and conventions,
    4. instruments of ratification of treaties and conventions,
    5. the exequaturs of consuls appointed in Saorstát Éireann.

Transitory Provisions
Article 53

So long as Saorstát Éireann remains associated as a Member of the British Commonwealth of Nations the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall countersign

    1. the Letters of Credence and Recall of the diplomatic representatives of Saorstát Éireann accredited to other States,
    2. the Commissions of consuls appointed by Saorstát Éireann in other States,
    3. the full powers of plenipotentiaries empowered to conclude international treaties and conventions,
    4. instruments of ratification of treaties and conventions,
    5. the exequaturs of consuls appointed in Saorstát Éireann.

ALTERNATIVE DRAFT B OF ARTICLES 7 AND 53 (JOINTLY).
Article 7

The President shall receive the diplomatic representatives accredited by other States to Saorstát Éireann.

The following documents, namely,

    1. the Letters of Credence and Recall of the diplomatic representatives of Saorstát Éireann accredited to other States,
    2. the Commissions of consuls appointed by Saorstát Éireann in other States.
    3. The full powers of plenipotentiaries empowered to conclude international treaties and conventions,
    4. Instruments of ratification of treaties and conventions,
    5. The exequaturs of consuls appointed in Saorstát Éireann,

Shall be countersigned by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

(Note: This Article would not be accompanied by any Transitory Provision: but should Saorstát Éireann become a Republic and should it be then decided that the President’s functions in international relations be inserted in the written Constitution the Constitution would have to be amended by the insertion of appropriate additional Articles. This would, in my view, be necessary, as the President would have no constitutional functions at all in international relations unless they were expressly given to him by the Constitution itself.)

ALTERNATIVE DRAFT C OF ARTICLES 7 AND 53 (JOINTLY)
Transitory Provisions
Article 53

So long as Saorstát Éireann remains associated as a Member of the British Commonwealth of Nations the King shall represent Saorstát Éireann in international relations. No act shall be performed or performable by the King in that capacity save upon the advice of the Council of Ministers communicated through the Minister for Foreign Affairs. In particular the following documents, namely,

    1. the Letters of Credence and Recall of the diplomatic representatives of Saorstát Éireann accredited to other States,
    2. the Commissions of consuls appointed by Saorstát Éireann in other States,
    3. the full powers of plenipotentiaries empowered to conclude international treaties and conventions,
    4. instruments of ratification of treaties and conventions,
    5. the exequaturs of consuls appointed in Saorstát Éireann,

shall be countersigned by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

ALTERNATIVE DRAFT D OF ARTICLES 7 AND 53 (JOINTLY)
Article 7

In the event of the withdrawal of Saorstát Éireann from membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations the President shall represent Saorstát Éireann in international relations. Pending such withdrawal all executive acts in relation to international affairs shall be performed as heretofore but no such act shall be performable save upon the advice of the Council of Ministers communicated through the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

(Note: This draft would not be accompanied by any Transitory Provisions.)



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