No. 262  TNA DO 35/1229

Aide mémoire from John W. Dulanty to Clement Attlee (London)

LONDON, 21 January 1943

The Irish Government were informed on the 7th October, 1942, that an announcement relating to conditions of residence in the Six Counties was to be made in London and Belfast on the following days. The announcement was duly made and full authority for the measure was accepted in the text by the British Home Secretary. The view was also expressed, on behalf of the British Government, in the course of the announcement that it would be right in certain circumstances to introduce the necessary legislation after the war for a temporary prolongation of the system. The British Government thus take full legal responsibility for the introduction of a system which provides the local Belfast authorities with a purely party political weapon. Mr. Andrews1 did not wait very long before letting his followers know how he regarded it. Speaking in Belfast on the 28th October, he said:-

'I would point out that it is extraordinarily difficult to keep people, many of them undesirables, from coming here to reside, and I am pleased to know that a new scheme which we have arranged along with the Imperial Government will substantially check this influx and at the same time give our ex-Servicemen a better chance of obtaining employment when demobilised.'

Here Mr. Andrews places the emphasis where it belongs. On the 9th December, at a lunch of the Grand Orange Lodge in Sandy Row, he said they would have to make sure that people who came to the Six Counties to work were not allowed to settle down there and become residents and voters.2 The measure, in effect, prepares the way for the mass expulsion of Irish men and women from one part of Ireland to another according to the whim and the electoral needs of what is recognised to be one of the most reactionary and bigoted organisations in the world.

The Irish Government find it very difficult indeed to understand that Great Britain, in the very midst of a struggle in which the rights of peoples are so fundamentally involved, should take the primary responsibility for a measure which can, and inevitably will, be used to inflict every kind of hardship and suffering on an innocent people. It is not hard to foresee its evil consequences extending even to pogroms and retaliations within the Six Counties area, and resentment and ill-feeling amongst Irishmen everywhere who regard, and always will regard, Ireland as a single national entity which no external legislature has the right to destroy.

The Irish Government hope that, in the interest of that atmosphere of peace and friendship in which alone our mutual post-war social and political problems can be solved, the British Government will take an early opportunity of withdrawing a measure so fraught with evil possibilities for all concerned. The Irish Government, furthermore, wish to urge strongly upon the British Government that problems of industrial demobilisation, insofar as they affect Ireland, should be a subject for friendly discussion and settlement rather than for one-sided emergency measures or legislation.

[signed] J. W. DULANTY

1 John Miller Andrews (1871-1956), Prime Minister of Northern Ireland (Nov. 1940–May 1943)

2 Underlined by hand

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