No. 187 UCDA P150/1914

Arthur Griffith to David Lloyd George1


22 Hans Place, London, 2 November 1921

In our personal conversation on Sunday night you stated that three things were vital — our attitude to the British Commonwealth, the Crown and Naval Defence. You asked me whether, provided I was satisfied on other points, I would give you personal assurances in relation to these matters.

I assured you in reply that, provided I was so satisfied, I was prepared to recommend a free partnership of Ireland with the other States associated within the British Commonwealth, the formula defining the partnership to be arrived at in later discussion. I was, on the same condition, prepared to recommend that Ireland should consent to a recognition of the Crown as head of the proposed association of free States.

As to Naval Defence, I noted the assurance contained in your memorandum of October 27th2 to the effect that:-

'The objects of the British Government in regard to the Navy and the Air Force are and will remain purely defensive. None of their stipulations is intended in the smallest degree to afford either armed occupation or political control of any part of Ireland.'

and I agreed consequently to recommend that the British Navy should be afforded such coastal facilities as may be necessary pending an agreement similar to those made with the Dominions providing for the assumption by Ireland of her own coastal defence.

I stated that this attitude of mine was conditional on the recognition of the essential unity of Ireland. As to the North East of Ireland, while reserving for further discussion the question of area, I would agree to any necessary safeguards and to the maintenance of existing parliamentary powers, and would agree that its industrial life should not be hampered or discriminated against in any way.

With reference to the question of the financial relations between the two nations, I am willing to let the adjustment of this matter rest in the hands of an agreed arbitrator.

Faithfully yours,
Arthur Griffith

1 George Gavan Duffy and Robert Barton were very much opposed to the sending of this letter and there were numerous alterations to the text before it was despatched.

2 Not printed.

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