No. 2006 UCDA P150/1914

Arthur Griffith to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)


London, 29 November 1921

A E[amon], a chara:
Last night (Monday) Mr. Duggan and myself at Lloyd George's request went to Chequers to meet Lloyd George.

We met him there with Lord Birkenhead and Sir Robert Horne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

They declared the document we had sent in earlier was impossible for them. No British Government could attempt to propose to the British people the abrogation of the Crown. It would be smashed to atoms.

We told them we had no authority to deal with them on any other basis than the exclusion of the Crown from purely Irish affairs. We then entered into a general discussion in which they knocked out my argument in the document we sent in that the Crown in the Dominions was merely a symbol but in Ireland a reality _ by offering to put in any phrase in the Treaty we liked to ensure that the function of the Crown in Ireland should be no more in practice than it is in Canada or any Dominion.

On the Oath of Allegiance which we instanced in part of the conversation they said, though it was an immense difficulty for them, they would try to modify it, if that would help us. On the 'elective head' of the Irish State they pointed out that the 'elective head' of any State is the Premier. They guaranteed that any nominal head would be only appointed in consultation with the Irish Ministry. In reply to our questions, they guaranteed he would have no power _ be merely a symbol, and that no one would ever be appointed to whom the Irish Ministry offered any objection.

To-day by appointment M.C., Duggan and myself met Lloyd George, Birkenhead, and Chamberlain at Downing Street. They confirmed the conversation of the previous evening and specifically offered to put a phrase in the Treaty ensuring that the Crown should have no more authority in Ireland than in Canada. They offered us a form of Oath of Allegiance different from their one, which we stated would not do. We raised the question of Defence and Trade.

They proposed to send their final proposals to Craig and ourselves on Tuesday. We objected. We should see them beforehand. They agreed to send us them on Thursday evening, but formally to hand them to us on Tuesday.

It is essential a Cabinet meeting should be held. I shall return to Dublin on Friday morning and hope to see you on that evening. Please have a Cabinet meeting arranged for Saturday morning, when we shall be all there. I intend to return to London on that evening.

Mise do chara,
Art O'Griobhtha

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