No. 49 NAI 2003/17/181

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 26) (Secret)

London, 28 April 1937

In accordance with the Department's Secret minute of the 24th April1 I handed yesterday to Mr. MacDonald the informal memorandum enclosed with that minute which was a reply to the informal memorandum which Mr. MacDonald handed to me on the 3rd April.

After reading the memorandum through Mr. MacDonald said it would obviously be necessary for him to study it carefully and later consult with his colleagues.

Subject to this further study and consultation he thought that the document might be regarded as satisfactory but he was not easy in his mind about that portion of paragraph 1 of our informal memorandum which referred to (ii) and (iii) of Mr. MacDonald's informal memorandum. He thought the question which his colleagues would be certain to press on him would be this: leaving aside for the moment the question of what might or might not be the evolution of the Commonwealth in time to come did (ii) and (iii) of his informal memorandum describe the position as it existed today from the Irish Free State point of view? No comment was made by Mr. MacDonald on (1) of his informal memorandum, namely, about An Saorstát desiring to remain a co-equal member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

In view of the fact that he had communicated to the other Member States of the Commonwealth the terms of his informal memorandum Mr. MacDonald thought he should communicate the terms of our informal memorandum in reply. I said it would be necessary obviously for me to obtain the President's instruction. Perhaps you will let me know what reply should be made on this point.

Mr. MacDonald asked if I could tell him whether there was still a chance of our Government sending a delegation to the Imperial Conference. I said that I had no information beyond that contained in the President's statements in the Dáil from which the obvious deduction was that we would not have a delegation at the Conference. At this Mr. MacDonald seemed disconcerted. He recognised he said that the conversations in the Grosvenor Hotel with the President were frank and unrestrained on both sides and were subject to modification in the light of later reflection. There had however been no doubt about the President's sharing his (Mr. MacDonald's) wish for cooperation. He also understood the President to say that there would be much greater chance of co-operation so soon as the constitutional questions had been resolved. With that end in view he, Mr. MacDonald, had got his colleagues in the Cabinet and the other Member States of the Commonwealth to adopt the view they had adopted and now the Imperial Conference presented a splendid opportunity for co-operation. Our delegates need not worry about the Coronation ceremonies but they could make their valuable contribution to the discussions at the Conference and, more than all, beside the Imperial Conference there would be the invaluable opportunity of discussion and consultation between his Government and ours on the matters outstanding between us. He would entreat the President to consider the chance which this Conference offered possibly of solving defence, financial settlement, and trade agreement. I asked about the unity of Ireland. He said that was a question they were quite ready to consider but he did not think there was the same chance of reaching a very early settlement on that as on the other matters he had named.

[signed] J.W. Dulanty
High Commissioner

1 See document No. 46.

2 See documents Nos 3, 7 and 8.

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