No. 85 NAI DT S4978

Extract from a report from Diarmuid O'Hegarty to William T. Cosgrave (Dublin)

London, 27 April 1927


1. Following my report of yesterday,1 we waited for news from the British Authorities. At 12 noon, Mr. Archer of the Dominions Office rang up, to say they hoped to have a decision by to-morrow morning. At 4.00 p.m. he again rang up and said he would like to see me. He called to the hotel about 4.15 p.m.

2. He opened by saying that the British Government did not wish to discuss the question of handing over the forts at the present time. They appreciated our offer and were very sorry for the misunderstanding. I put it as easily as I could that I took it he meant that they were not prepared for an expert discussion on our proposal at the moment. He said that he rather thought it went further, that they were not at present prepared to consider handing over the forts. They were anxious at the Admiralty to give us every possible information on any other aspect of the matter, for instance, they would be very glad to run us down to Chatham to see the boats and so on. As we felt we had got so much information on their views as we could safely obtain without appearing to be committal, I said to him that we felt we had got a good general idea on the subject, that we had no instructions on it, and that in any event, if it were a question of seeing the ships, it would be of greater advantage to the actual personnel likely to be handling these matters than to the general staff officers present. I thought therefore we would go back and report. Col. O'Higgins and Major General Hogan will remain over to meet the War Office Director of Operations and Intelligence to-morrow. He had invited them to lunch and it will be valuable for them to meet him - Major General MacMahon crosses to-night with Commdt. Bryan and is the bearer of this report.

3. Archer then asked what would be the next step. I said that I could not forecast my Government's reaction, that we felt we had made a very big and generous offer at perhaps greater expense than we could afford and that I felt that a new situation had been created which it might take some time to consider. I adverted to the Dáil programme and the general election and said that while I had no information I could see the possibility that we would have to suggest a postponement of the Main Conference until after the Election. He said that he understood that. I outlined certain difficulties in the way of any proposal other than ours, taking care to say that I was merely giving my personal impressions.

4. He asked me when the main Conference ultimately reassembled that we should let them know in advance the line we were taking. I dodged this and gave no definite reply.

[matter omitted]

(Sgd) D. Ó hÉigeartaigh

1 See No. 82.

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