No. 173  NAI DFA Secretary's Files P43

Clear telegram from the Department of External Affairs to the Irish Legations
at Washington (No. 24) and the Holy See (No. 10) and to the
High Commission in London (No. 11)

DUBLIN, 27 January 1942

Following statement issued this evening. Begins.
'In reply to the Press, Mr. de Valera stated today that the Irish Government had not been consulted either by the British Government or the American Government with regard to the coming of the American troops to the six counties.

Everyone knew, he said, that Ireland had twenty years ago been partitioned and the six counties cut off from the rest of the country by an Act of the British Parliament despite the expressed will of the Irish people.

When the United States was entering the last war, President Wilson declared that America meant to fight for democracy and for the right of peoples to national self-determination. The Irish people took him at his word, and in the General Elections of December, 1918, by an over-whelming vote (more than three for to one against) declared for National Independence and for the establishment of a Republic. This decision was reaffirmed after two years of conflict with Britain in the General Elections of 1921 when the Partition candidates returned were again less than one-fourth of the total representation.

Nevertheless, the British Government cut the nation in two and set up a separate Parliament for six of the thirty-two counties. These six counties formed no natural historic or geographic entity. The area was chosen solely with a view to securing a majority within it for the anti-national minority. In one-half of the area, including the city of Derry and the whole territory adjoining the boundary with the twenty-six counties, a majority of the inhabitants are against partition.

To partition the territory of an ancient nation is one of the cruellest wrongs that can be committed against a people. The partition of Ireland is in essence not different from the former partition of Poland, nor are the evils that flow from it less in kind than those Abraham Lincoln foresaw from the projected partition of the United States, when he determined to prevent it even at the cost of fighting one of the bitterest civil wars in history.

The people of Ireland have no feeling of hostility towards and no desire to be brought in any way into conflict with the United States. For reasons which I referred to a few weeks ago, the contrary is the truth, but it is our duty to make it clearly understood that, no matter what troops occupy the six counties, the Irish people's claim for the union of the whole of the national territory and for supreme jurisdiction over it will remain unabated.

Four years ago, the British Government and Parliament recognised fully the sovereignty of the Irish nation over that part of the national territory included in the twenty-six counties, and the bond has been honourably kept in that regard. But the maintenance of the partition of Ireland is as indefensible as aggressions against small nations elsewhere which it is the avowed purpose of Great Britain and the United States in this war to bring to an end.' Ends.

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