No. 223 NAI DT S1801H

T.M. Healy to J.H. Thomas (London)
(No. 217)

Dublin, 3 June 1924


I have the honour to inform you that my Ministers note from your despatch No. 314 of the 23rd ultimo1 that the Government of Northern Ireland have declined to nominate a representative upon the Boundary Commission, and that arising out of the position thus created His Majesty's Government have requested the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to advise them regarding the arrangements to be made by them in fulfilment of their obligations under Article 12 of the Treaty.

2. My Ministers deem it essential to make clear that, while they realise that His Majesty's Government are, no doubt, entitled to take advantage of the very high legal opinion available to them my Ministers cannot be regarded as being parties to the reference to the Judicial Committee or as being in any way committed to the acceptance of the opinions which may be obtained. They are gravely concerned, however, with the prospect of a further delay in the operation of the Boundary Commission which the seeking by His Majesty's Government of advice from the Judicial Committee appears to render possible and indeed most likely. They understand from the fifth paragraph of your despatch No. 232 of the 10th April2 that His Majesty's Government had already considered the steps to be taken to complete the Commission, and they much regret that the contingency of a refusal by the Northern Government to appoint their representative, a course which Sir James Craig's public utterances indicated as likely, was not apparently among the matters so considered.

3. My Ministers feel that, in view of the extended time over which correspondence and Conference on this subject have now ranged, no further time should be lost in completing the work of the Commission, and they accordingly propose to His Majesty's Government that certain preliminaries should be put in hand forthwith. The requirement of the Treaty that the Boundary should be determined in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, subject to the other considerations therein mentioned, renders it necessary that the wishes of the inhabitants should first be ascertained, and there is no reason why this matter should not be undertaken forthwith by the Chairman of the Commission immediately on his appointment in conjunction with the representative of the Irish Free State (Dr. Eoin MacNeill). It merely involves the organisation of the requisite machinery and the collection of statistical information and raises no question of policy.

4. My Ministers would accordingly request His Majesty's Government to proceed with the immediate appointment of the Chairman of the Commission, so that this work may be begun without delay.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient humble Servant,
[stamped] T.M. Healy

1Not printed.

2 Not printed.

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