No. 166 UCDA P150/2179

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

Dublin, 21 December 1932

I went to the House of Commons last evening and listened to the debate on the Supplementary Estimate for £3,410,955 which the British Government put forward as the amount required in the year ending 31st March 1933 'In substitution for payments due from the Government of the Irish Free State'. This Estimate was not reached until about and hour and a half after the time it was expected it would be reached, and Mr. Thomas, seeing me in the Gallery, came up and spoke to me during this period of waiting.

He said that he hoped I would assure the President of his gratitude for the beautiful Hugh Lane1 book which the President sent to him.

He then said that he intended in the debate to say no word which would embarrass the President or his Government. He did not know what line the Opposition would take but he resolved that whatever might be said in the debate he would adhere closely to a statement of fact about the amounts which the House is being asked to sanction.

He told me that he had demonstrable proof that both Russian arms and Russian money was being sent into Ireland, and their experience of the Russians was that they would want their pound of flesh in respect of these services.2 It may have been that I looked incredulous because Mr. Thomas said 'There is absolutely no doubt about this, and I can produce proof. I can give the date and particulars of the last cheque which was for £15,000. I can also give the date and particulars of a cheque sent before that which was for another £15,000.' I pressed him for details about Russian arms but he would say no more than that he knew as a fact and not as a piece of gossip that Russian arms had been landed in An Saorstát.

He then said that he saw from the Press that I had been in Dublin and enquired whether there were any developments. I said that I did not think there were, but what was happening was that the action of his Government was sending our people along a road which the present Government might not have succeeded in doing even though that Government had been in the form of a Dictatorship. Mr. Thomas would have seen that my Government were repaying a loan to America, an action they were not likely to take if they felt that a real crisis existed in their economic affairs. If the British Government wished for a separation they could not do better to bring about a separation than pursue their present policy. Mr. Thomas said that anybody must know that neither he nor the British Cabinet wished to see us leave the Commonwealth. He was about to repeat what he has so often said to me about a desire to do everything within reason and having full regard to their own difficulties to reach a settlement with the Irish Government, but he was called down to the Front Bench.

As the Department will have a copy of the Official Report of the debate it is not necessary for me to describe the debate, but, I may mention that the attendance was comparatively small, and the temper of the Government side seemed less heated than on the occasion of previous debates.

[copy letter unsiged]
High Commissioner

1 Sir Hugh Lane (1875-1915), art-dealer and collector, offered his collection of Impressionist paintings to Dublin Corporation which rejected the offer, presented collection to National Gallery, London, appointed Director of National Gallery of Ireland, drowned in the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915.

2 This sentence has been highlighted in the left margin.

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