No. 64 NAI DT S4731

Letter from William T. Cosgrave to L.S. Amery (London)

Dublin, 23 February 1927

My dear Mr. Amery,

I have received your two letters of the 7th and 21st instant relative to the extension to the Irish Free State of the practice existing in regard to the Overseas Dominions concerning secret Foreign Office prints and secret telegrams on foreign affairs. I am in complete agreement with the general principle that no differentiation should be made in this matter between the Irish Free State and the Overseas Dominions, but two points in the suggested procedure call for particular attention. In the Irish Free State the Minister for External Affairs is responsible by statute (Ministers and Secretaries Act No: 16 of 1924: Sec. 1. (XI)) for all communications with external governments and it is accordingly to him that these papers should be addressed.

The second point arises out of the findings of the Imperial Conference. The Governor General has become the King's representative in the fullest sense. He is no longer an officer of the British Government. It seems to follow therefore that all information or documents received by him should come from the Ministers to whom he stands in the same constitutional relationship as His Majesty, the King, to his Ministers in Great Britain. I think then that as regards this country, both copies of the documents mentioned should be sent to the Minister for External Affairs.

I fully understand the necessity for maintaining intact the strictly secret character of these documents and you may feel quite assured that every possible measure will be taken to that end.

I also agree that the High Commissioner1 should have an opportunity of seeing the papers referred to. There will be no difficulty in having your Office notified when the High Commissioner is about to be absent from London so that the prints may not be sent during the period of his absence.

Sincerely yours,
(signed) Liam T. MacCosgair

1 James McNeill.

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