No. 608 NAI DFA 19/6

Confidential Report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(Secret and Confidential)

London, 25 November 1931

In my rather hurried telephone conversation late last night, giving you the result of the House of Commons Debate on the Statute of Westminster, I probably did not make as clear to you as I should have done the tremendous impression which the President's letter1 produced in the House. Sir Austen Chamberlain, for example, I was told this morning had no intention of speaking but got up immediately after the Dominions Secretary had read the letter. The numerous personal references to the President during the Debate evoked from all sections of the House, including even the Diehards, an impressively warm response.

I saw Mr. Thomas today at his request. He was overjoyed with the result of the Debate. He said that the Morning Post's description of the President's letter as a 'trump card' was only a mild appreciation of its value in the Debate. He said although Mr. Churchill was not so aggressive as on Friday last the bulk of the Conservative party formed the opinion that, whatever might be said of the other critics, he at any rate was for the most part bent on being mischievous. Mr. Devlin's speech he thought was not helpful and my own opinion is that if the division had been taken at the close of Mr. Baldwin's speech the majority would probably have been greater than it was. Mr. Baldwin had raised the Debate to a high level of enlightened political foresight but Mr. Devlin's criticisms although justified were rather inopportune and called forth a bitter rejoinder from the Unionist Member for Armagh, Sir William Allen, immediately after Mr. Baldwin. This bitterness and the rather poor exhibition shown by Mr. Logan, the Labour Member who succeeded the late Mr. T.P. O'Connor, combined to disturb the sane atmosphere which Mr. Baldwin had created.

The Bill in the Lords, tomorrow (Thursday) Mr. Thomas anticipates will meet with some difficulty, though he has no doubt they will be able to overcome that. He asked me specially to report to my Government the fact that Lord Londonderry had asked to be invited to Cabinet conferences on the Bill in order that he might more adequately help the Government on it. Lord Londonderry had written to Lord Craigavon and was working vigorously amongst his friends in the House of Lords on behalf of the Bill. Lord Hailsham was doing the same, and though, as Mr. Thomas said, there would be trouble, he thought there was no doubt at all that they would get the Bill through without amendment against us.

[signed] John W. Dulanty

1 See No. 602.

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