No. 155 Reprinted from Official correspondence relating to the peace negotiations June-September 1921 (Dublin, 1921)

Eamon de Valera to David Lloyd George (Gairloch, Scotland)

Mansion House, Dublin, 19 September 1921

We have had no thought at any time of asking you to accept any conditions precedent to a Conference. We would have thought it as unreasonable to expect you, as a preliminary, to recognise the Irish Republic formally, or informally, as that you should expect us formally, or informally, to surrender our national position. It is precisely because neither side accepts the position of the other that there is a dispute at all, and that a Conference is necessary to search for and to discuss such adjustments as might compose it.

A treaty of accommodation and association properly concluded between the peoples of these two islands and between Ireland and the group of States in the British Commonwealth would, we believe, end the dispute forever, and enable the two nations to settle down in peace, each pursuing its own individual development and contributing its own quota to civilisation, but working together in free and friendly co-operation in affairs of agreed common concern. To negotiate such a treaty the respective representatives of the two nations must meet. If you seek to impose preliminary conditions, which we must regard as involving a surrender of our whole position, they cannot meet.

Your last telegram makes it clear that misunderstandings are more likely to increase than to diminish, and the cause of peace more likely to be retarded than advanced, by a continuance of the present correspondence. We request you, therefore, to state whether your letter of September 7th is intended to be a demand for a surrender on our part, or an invitation to a Conference free on both sides and without prejudice should agreement not be reached. If the latter, we readily confirm our acceptance of the invitation, and our appointed delegates will meet your Government's representatives at any time in the immediate future that you designate.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
Eamon de Valera

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