No. 364 UCDA P150/2329

Handwritten letter from Malcolm MacDonald to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)
(Personal and Secret)

London, 17 September 1936

Dear Mr. de Valera,

I am writing this purely personal and unofficial note to express to you my genuine concern lest the progress of the discussions which began in London last week should be prejudiced owing to the fact that there are difficulties in the way of your sending a number of representatives to take part in them. As you know, my hope was that all the questions outstanding between our two Governments should be fully examined, that either side should be free to raise any relevant subject, and that on all these matters both sides should state and discuss their views and difficulties with complete frankness. I feel that only by this method can we get down to the problems involved and discover whether the difficulties can be met and agreement reached. It is clear already that at least four sets of questions will require thorough examination: defence, constitutional, financial and trade questions. One man can hardly be expected to possess the knowledge on each of these which will enable him to engage in a close examination covering them all. Yet such an examination round a table, by officials who know the minds of their respective Ministers, seems to me important, and more effective than the method of long-distance written communications.

I appreciate, and share completely, your desire that the discussions should proceed, at this stage at any rate, without the public knowing of them. Therefore I wonder whether the suggestion which I have asked Mr. Dulanty to convey to you (that your officials going to Geneva should be selected partly with a view to these London discussions, and should spend some time in London both going to and returning from Geneva) is possible. It seems to me that it overcomes the difficulty of the presence of Dublin officials in London giving rise to suspicion and rumour, and would secure the discussions which I think we both have in mind. But I would of course willingly endeavour to facilitate any other arrangement which might be more convenient from your point of view.

With kindest regards
Yours very sincerely
Malcolm MacDonald

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