No. 167 NAI DE 2/304/1

Memorandum by John Chartres to Arthur Griffith

London, 14 October 1921

May I be allowed to make the following suggestions on the subject of the Crown?
1. We desire, technically as well as substantially, to preserve the Republic and the President. The English desire technically not to sacrifice the King. The problem is to reconcile these seeming opposites and to provide Lloyd George with the means of saving his face and carrying the country.
2. However nominal and technical the powers of the King of Ireland might be made in the impending treaty, the sacrifice of the Republic would make a deeply painful impression in Ireland. On the other hand, if the powers of Ireland over her national destiny are in substance complete, the English would probably be content with a very partial and shadowy recognition of the Crown.
3. There seems to be here the germs of a compromise which would satisfy both sides. Assume that Ireland is acknowledged to be a sovereign, independent State, and that she is in full control of her national existence. And assume that this sovereign and independent Ireland is prepared to associate herself for certain purposes with the British Commonwealth of nations.
4. It is clear that Ireland cannot associate herself with the British Commonwealth without associating herself with the monarch who stands at the head of the Commonwealth. To the extent, therefore, to which this association extends, the King could be recognised as the official head of the whole combination. So far as Irish affairs are concerned which lie outside the purposes of the association he would not exist, and the Irish Republic would be ruled by its elected President, unshadowed by any form of sovereignty or suzerainty in the British King.
5. There would be no veto. There would be no viceroy. The King would have no concern in Irish legislation. We should keep our trade, our finance, our neutrality, the whole sphere of domestic legislation free from the necessity of acknowledging any ruler, however technically, except the ruler elected periodically by ourselves. Our national independence would have been secured and our honour saved.
6. On the other hand, as a formal recognition of the fact that King George was the ruler of the community of States with which the Irish Republic was voluntarily associating herself, some outward act might be devised. For example, an annual payment of some moderate sum might be paid annually by the Republic of Ireland as a contribution to the King's civil list. From the point of view of the Republic this would be merely a payment for services rendered to Ireland in respect of the special and very limited interests which Ireland would have in common with the nations of the British Commonwealth. On the other hand it would be sufficient recognition of the Crown to enable Lloyd George to assert that the King had not been thrown over, and to carry the country against those who would have no case in substance for more extended technical powers and whose only alternative to such a settlement would be a renewal of war. It might be used also as an inducement to Ulster to come in. Lloyd George has so much to gain both in world-wide reputation and in material power by making peace permanently with Ireland, that if we provided him with a case of this kind, and let him know that the alternative was failure, he might be expected to strain every nerve to see it through.

John Chartres

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