No. 105 NAI DFA ES Box 37

Michael MacWhite to Desmond FitzGerald (Dublin)
(N.S. 90/23)

GENEVA, 4 August 1923

A Chara,

I was invited yesterday to lunch with Major Abrams who is Secretary to the Sixth Commission which is to deal with the admission of Ireland. Much to my surprise there was a third party - Mr Ormsby Gore, Under Secretary for the Colonies. From what I learned afterwards the latter was responsible for the arrangement as he wished to meet me.

Needless to say the conversation turned principally on Ireland. The Under Secretary expressed himself as being greatly impressed by his visit to Dublin last month and was loud in his praise of the members of the Government who, taking the circumstances into consideration, had performed a task which was bordering on the impossible.

Referring1 to the Boundary Commission he stated that it was a most disagreeable subject for all the three parties concerned but that President Cosgrave was quite right in raising the issue at present. He did not, however, think that the Free State was yet strong enough to absorb any great portion of Northern Ireland. He added that Carson's action in 1912 created a new situation in Ulster and that the Belfast leaders were growing more and more jealous of the more extensive liberties of the Free State. The forcing of the Boundary question might have the effect of pushing Craig and his followers to demand Dominion status which if granted would mean that the barrier between North and South would become permanent.

During the conversation I only made the vaguest references to the issues raised as I fully realised their importance and my own incompetence to discuss them. It seemed to me however that the English Government are very much embarrassed by the Boundary question and that he wished me to inform you of the points he raised. They did not impress me very much. On the other hand I am convinced that the more we make our weight felt abroad while this subject is under discussion the more amenable will the English Cabinet be in giving a more reasonable interpretation from our point of view, to the Boundary Commission clause of the Treaty.

Is mise, le meas,
[signed] M. MACWHITE

1This paragraph has been highlighted with thick pencil lines down each margin.

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