No. 110 UCDA P150/2179

Memorandum by Maurice Moynihan on John W. Dulanty's conversation with Malcolm MacDonald

Dublin, 3 December 1937


Mr. Dulanty's Conversation with Mr. MacDonald

Report read by President at meeting of the Executive Council on 3rd December, 1937.

With reference to the matter referred to above, I wish to submit for your consideration the following views:

  1. We should not try to have a Conference earlier than the time suggested by Mr. MacDonald, viz: in January, during the British Parliamentary recess. To do so would suggest undue eagerness on our part.

  2. There should be no further private conversation between you and Mr. MacDonald between now and the proposed Conference.

    Both you and Mr. MacDonald appear to have said already everything that usefully can be said in such private informal conversations. Furthermore, it would be impossible to conceal from the public the fact of Mr. MacDonald's visit here or your visit to London, or to deceive the public as to the purpose. The whole thing would have almost a furtive air. It could have no useful result that could be announced, unless the definite settlement of arrangements for a formal Conference. The knowledge that there had been a conversation coupled with silence as to its outcome could only create disappointment.

  3. The proposed Conference should be publicly announced beforehand, and should be of a formal character.

    This is best in the national interest. Informal private, or semi-private conversations could go on forever without any degree of normal moral1 constraint on the British to contribute to a successful result. Once there is a formal Conference, with due publicity, either a settlement must result or each side must be prepared to justify from its own point of view the failure to reach a settlement.

    Whether a formal Conference succeeds or not, it will have value from our point of view. If it succeeds, the value is obvious. If it fails, it will have failed presumably because the British did not agree to any settlement which we would consider reasonable or honourable, and that position can be explained to the country.
  4. I take it that at any formal Conference you will lead the Irish Delegation.

[initialled] MOM

1 The word 'moral' is a handwritten insertion replacing the word 'normal'.

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