No. 185 NAI DE 2/304/1

Memorandum by the Irish Delegation in reply to British memorandum of 27 October

London, 29 October 1921

The memorandum, dated October 27th,1 handed to the Irish delegates, does not constitute a reply to the proposals in their Memorandum of October 24th.2

It contains historical and constitutional assertions which we do not accept, but do not here desire to controvert. We shall restrict ourselves to answering simply the questions immediately put in that document.

The Irish Delegates are charged with the duty of settling, if possible, the terms of a Treaty of Association between Ireland and the Community of Nations known as the British Commonwealth.

Under the agreed terms of association, Ireland would undertake such obligations as are compatible with the status of a free partner.

We accept the principle that the naval and air defence of the Irish coasts would be a matter of common concern to Ireland and to the British Commonwealth. We realise that, peace and amity being established between Great Britain and Ireland, an aggressor against the security and liberty of the other. We are accordingly prepared to agree that, subject to the condition indicated in the British Memorandum that there shall be no armed occupation of Irish soil, the British Government should have, under licence from the Irish Government, such coastal facilities as may be agreed to be necessary, until Ireland shall be in a position to provide the defence and protection referred to in paragraph 4 of the British Memorandum.

We are prepared to execute a trade convention which, while recognising the advantage to both countries of the fullest freedom of trade, transport and commerce, will not derogate from Ireland's complete fiscal autonomy.

The subject of finance is now under discussion. It is, therefore, unnecessary for us to deal with it here.

The unimpaired unity of Ireland is a condition precedent to the conclusion of a Treaty of Association between Ireland and the Nations of the British Commonwealth. Subject to this, and subject to the conclusion of agreements on the other issues, the Irish Delegates are prepared to recommend that the Elected Government of a free and undivided Ireland, secured in absolute and unfettered possession of all legislative and executive authority, should, for the purposes of the association, recognise the Crown as symbol and accepted head of the combination of signatory States.

1 Not printed.

2 No. 175 above.

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