No. 202 NAI DE 2/304/1

Arthur Griffith to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

22 Hans Place, London, 23 November 1921

A E[amon], a Chara:
As arranged, Mr. Collins, Mr. Barton and myself met Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Chamberlain, and Lord Birkenhead at Downing Street this morning.

Our Memorandum was the basis of discussion. On the Crown they declared they had no alternative. They must fight. We put up our counter-proposal briefly, but they declared it impossible. On the Navy they were very strong, claiming that all facilities needed must be granted. It appeared as if they were claiming the occupation of all or any of our ports for naval purposes. It transpired later they were thinking of a state of war - not of a state of peace. When this was cleared up, they moved towards us. On the whole, there was a slight advance in our favour here.

On trade Lloyd George maintained his Free Trade attitude, but it was fairly satisfactorily explained what No. 9 in the Memorandum meant. It means, they say, merely that neither country shall issue prohibition against the commodities of the other country, and nothing more. This, however, would not prevent either country, in case of disease etc, closing its ports against the importation of diseased commodity.

On Ulster, Lloyd George declared that I had assured him I would not let him down, if he put up the proposals subsequently embodied in their memorandum to Craig, and we had not embodied them in our memorandum. I said I had given him that assurance and I now repeated it, but I told him at the time it was his proposal - not ours. Therefore, it did not appear in our document. Our proposal was, in our opinion, better but it was different.

He was satisfied. He had misunderstood us in this instance and said as much. He would put his proposal to Craig from himself only. He would like to consult privately with his colleagues for a few minutes.

They then retired and consulted for a time. On their return Lloyd George said that before he met Craig, he must know where he stood on the fundamentals. If he had to fight on fundamentals, there was no help for it, but it would be a tragedy if we broke up on any verbal or technical misunderstandings. He suggested, therefore, that as myself and Mr. Collins had seen Lord Birkenhead before I wrote the letter on which they had been acting, we should do so again, and go over the document with him.

Lord Birkenhead suggested that we should bring a constitutional lawyer with us. We have arranged to meet him to-morrow at 10.30 and bring Mr. Chartres with us. Lloyd-George has postponed his interview with Craig until 5 in the evening to await the result, if any, of the meeting.

Do Chara,
Art O'Griobhtha

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