No. 160 UCDA P150/2179

Confidential report from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(No. 13) (Secret)

London, 22 March 1938

I told Mr. Malcolm MacDonald that An Taoiseach would be replying to a question in the Dáil tomorrow (Wednesday) asking whether he was in a position to make a statement about the negotiations between the Irish and British Governments, and that An Taoiseach intended to reply that he regretted he was not in a position to make a statement at present but would suggest that a similar question might be put down in a week's time.

Mr. MacDonald thanked me for the information but said he was gravely doubtful whether they would be through with their discussions with the Six County people by tomorrow week. They, the British, had been set a difficult task and it might be better not to raise the hope that in a week's time a definite statement would be possible.

Mr. Jenkins, who is in charge of the Commercial Treaty Department of the British Board of Trade, has all through the negotiations been helpful. He told me today that the Six County people had asked for a much longer time in which to carry out their investigations but that he had refused and had insisted upon the Northern Ireland officials meeting him without delay. He had been speaking to Belfast this morning he told me and it was expected that the Northern Ireland officials would be over here on Friday of this week. It was almost certain that, after the officials had conferred, reference back to the Six County Ministers would be necessary, involving a journey back to Belfast and then back to London. Mr. Jenkins felt confident that it would be at least a fortnight from today before they were in a position to make a definite statement on the Northern questions.

Although I think his personal views and his official attitude have been much more in support of our case than that of the Six County proposals he did say to me today that he thought the Six County people were in a real difficulty, apart entirely from any political considerations. They form at present one of the most depressed of the depressed areas of the United Kingdom and even a slight reduction in their export trade would be a serious matter for them. He hoped they would be able either by depressed area assistance

i.e. financial help or some other way to buy off the Northern opposition but he made the point that before they could reach the stage even of making proposals of this character a good deal of prior investigation and discussion was unavoidable.

[signed] J.W. DULANTY
High Commissioner

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