No. 186 NAI DE 2/304/1

Memorandum of a meeting at Winston Churchill's house


London, 10.00 p.m., 30 October 1921

Mr. Griffith   Mr. Lloyd George   Lord Birkenhead.
Mr. Collins    Mr. Churchill

Mr. Lloyd George was anxious to know whether the Irish Memorandum of yesterday's date might be relied upon as a bona-fide statement made in the interest of peace, and asked for further explanations.1 He said that three things were vital, namely, the Crown, the Empire, and the Navy, and conversation ensued on these and other points.

The Crown. Mr. Lloyd George asked for a personal assurance on this point. Mr. Griffith gave him the assurance that we should be prepared to recommend a recognition of the Crown provided that we were satisfied on the other points at issue, and it was agreed that the formula in which this recognition was to be couched should be arrived at in discussion at a later stage.

The Empire. The formula defining the association of Ireland with the Empire was left over.

Naval and Air Defence. Mr. Griffith pointed out that a new demand, namely that Ireland should have no Air Force, had been put forward in the last British document. Mr. Lloyd George was understood to indicate that the point would not be pressed, at any rate as regards the military Air force.

As regards the prohibition of an Irish Navy Mr. Lloyd George said that this did not exclude revenue craft and gunboats, but he hoped it would exclude mine-layers. Mr. Griffith suggested that there might be a time limit, say thirty years, and Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the prohibition should hold good until an agreement to the contrary was made.

Army. Mr. Lloyd George suggested that the Irish military force should be limited to a size proportionate to population as compared with the British forces. Taking 400,000 as the British figure this would give Ireland 40,000 of which 10,000 would be allotted to Ulster. Mr. Griffith said that in no circumstances could we agree to an Ulster army, whereupon Mr. Lloyd George suggested a militia for Ulster. This point was left open.

Trade. Mr. Lloyd George argued that a Convention as proposed in the Irish Memorandum was not possible as it could be broken off at any time. It was necessary to satisfy Ulster that its raw materials would not be taxed. Mr. Griffith said that he did not wish at that time to deal with technicalities, but some agreement might be come to which would safeguard Ulster's industries.

Ulster. Mr. Lloyd George said that he could carry a six-county Parliament subordinate to a national Parliament. Alternatively he said he would try to carry a plan for a new boundary or a vote on the inclusion or exclusion of the whole of Ulster as a unit, but he was not hopeful of doing so.

1 No. 185 above.

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