No. 152 NAI DT S3439

Eoin MacNeill to William T. Cosgrave (Dublin)

LONDON, 30 October 1923

My dear President,

From the published statements of prominent men in Great Britain, it is quite evident that a great British political conflict, with Protection as the main issue, is now imminent. Under the circumstances, in my opinion the Imperial Conference is now only a side-show, except in so far as the Protectionist policy in Britain may benefit by any act of the Conference. General Smuts adheres to his intention to leave for South Africa on November 9th. I think I ought to return to Ireland this week. I have accepted no engagements beyond Thursday.

Further, we have formed a strong view that this Conference should not continue a practice which has crept into former Conferences (at which we were not represented) of passing resolutions. We are prepared to act on our own responsibility in refusing to adopt any resolution, but we should be in a still stronger position if we were instructed to that effect also. Though it is understood that such resolutions cannot bind Governments it is clear that they may embarrass them, and in any case they are not consonant with the principle that each minister is constitutionally responsible to his own legislature only. We have made our view on this point clear to several of the representatives of the other States, and will use the earliest suitable opportunity of making it clear to all.

There will probably be a dissolution of Parliament here late this year or early next year.

Mr. Curtis1 called on me to-day about the date of the preliminary conference on the N.E. question. He suggested that I should put forward January for the further conference. I however said that I thought the preliminary conference should meet without delay and should fix the date for the further conference.

Yours sincerely,

1Lionel Curtis, Colonial Office.

Purchase Volumes Online

Purchase Volumes Online



The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

Free Download

International Counterparts

The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
Read more ....

Website design and developed by FUSIO