No. 135 Reprinted from Official correspondence relating to the peace negotiations June-September 1921 (Dublin, 1921)

David Lloyd George to Eamon de Valera

London, 24 June 1921

The British Government are deeply anxious that, so far as they can assure it, the King's appeal for reconciliation in Ireland shall not have not been made in vain. Rather than allow yet another opportunity of settlement in Ireland to be cast aside, they felt it incumbent upon them to make a final appeal, in the spirit of the King's words,1 for a conference between themselves and the representatives of Southern and Northern Ireland.

I write, therefore, to convey the following invitation to you as the chosen leader of the great majority in Southern Ireland, and to Sir James Craig, the Premier of Northern Ireland:-

  • (1) That you should attend a conference here in London, in company with Sir James Craig, to explore to the utmost the possibility of a settlement.
  • (2) That you should bring with you for the purpose any colleagues whom you may select. The Government will, of course, give a safe conduct to all who may be chosen to participate in the conference.

We make this invitation with a fervent desire to end the ruinous conflict which has for centuries divided Ireland and embittered the relations of the peoples of these two islands, who ought to live in neighbourly harmony with each other, and whose co-operation would mean so much not only to the Empire but to humanity.

We wish that no endeavour should be lacking on our part to realise the King's prayer, and we ask you to meet us, as we will meet you, in the spirit of conciliation for which His Majesty appealed.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
David Lloyd George

1In the 24 May 1921 general election for the parliament of Northern Ireland Michael Collins was elected in the Armagh constituency.

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