No. 610 NAI DFA 19/6

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

London, 27 November 1931

In accordance with the arrangement made on the telephone with the Secretary yesterday I waited upon the Secretary of State for the Dominions and conveyed to him the appreciation of my Government for his friendly energies in securing the passage through the House of Commons, without Colonel Gretton's amendment, of the Statute of Westminster Bill. At the same time I mentioned that the notes that had appeared in certain Irish Journals that Mr. McGilligan's letter to Mr. Thomas had conveyed hints of the former's disappointment with the latter were unauthorised, and, as the terms of Mr. McGilligan's letter1 showed, altogether false.

It was quite obvious that Mr. Thomas was glad to receive the message of the Minister for External Affairs, and he asked me to say in return how very warmly he had been supported in the work on this Bill by Mr. Baldwin, Sir Thomas Inskip, and Lord Londonderry.

I thought that the Dominion Secretary's evident satisfaction with the passage of the Bill was leading him to think that we had almost reached the millennium. I therefore suggested that the good relations between the two countries on which he had enlarged in our conversation might be still further improved if the British Government, which was reputed to be in a state of constant approach to legislation for Dominion Preference, could make in as definite a form as the circumstances allow, an early pronouncement of their position. Mr. Thomas without hesitation promised that this should be done. I then asked him whether he thought he could say anything that would be of interest to my Government before he began his proposed tour. He replied that either next week or the week after he would like to have a fairly exhaustive talk with me on what he called 'Irish economics'. He said that he might then even before he left do as I suggested. He seemed to be serious enough about this promise to justify our preparing some preliminary data from the Departments of Finance and Agriculture, in favour of preferential treatment for our exports, but on this I would call attention to a separate report of a conversation with Mr. Bennett, the Prime Minister of Canada.2

After the birthday dinner to the Prime Minister last evening Mr. MacDonald said to me how delighted he was to learn from the Dominion Secretary that the Irish Free State Government had conveyed a message of appreciation for what had been done in the British Parliament with regard to the Statute of Westminster Bill. He said that looking back on the Debate he was inclined to think it was a good thing for both countries that the debate, which he had not altogether welcomed at the start, had taken place. Interesting and mutually helpful statements he said had been made that would not otherwise have been made, and he asked me again to assure the President and the Minister for External Affairs of his own wish to do everything he could to further the happier relations between the two countries.

[signed] John W. Dulanty

1 See No. 603.

2 See No. 611.

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