No. 240 NAI DFA Secretary's Files S32

Letter from John W. Dulanty to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

London, 30 October 1934

On1 Sunday night last I had a private talk with Mr. Walter Runciman, the President of the Board of Trade, and informed him of the possibility of doing something on the lines which he and I had discussed earlier in the year.2 He said he was glad to hear this and he agreed with my suggestion that I should put it directly myself to Mr. Thomas. Mr. Runciman warned me that I might find Mr. Elliot in such difficulties about the meat position in Great Britain that, much as he might wish to personally, he would not be able to do very much.

Yesterday I saw Mr. Thomas. I explained that I heard when in Dublin last week that An Saorstát Government were negotiating with the German Government for a trade agreement under which the latter would take a certain amount of cattle from us in return for our orders to them for coal. Whilst the position was being explored on these lines the suggestion had been made that it would be a neighbourly act to inform the British Government of this intention, stating at the same time that if they wished to tender for our cattle as against their coal An Saorstát Government would be ready to consider proposals. Since conversations with the Germans were now proceeding there was an obvious urgency about the matter.

An essential, not to say dominant, part of the suggestion I was making was that it would have to be considered without reference of any sort or kind to the existing political and financial situation as between the two countries. Put simply, it was a suggestion that we should do a trade deal in these two commodities. If, as a trade matter purely and simply, the British Government were interested, it might be possible for him and the British Minister of Agriculture to consider whether, as we were prepared to take in substantial quantities of coal the orders for which could be placed on the Continent, they could, in exchange, take in over and above the existing arrangements quotas etc., additional cattle from us duty free.

Mr. Thomas said that he would consult Mr. Walter Elliot and Mr. Runciman without delay.3 The proposal would be very carefully examined. He appreciated that neither side were committed either expressly or by implication to a modification of their respective political and financial positions. Whilst it might be possible to do something in the way of increased quotas - though he was not to be understood as making a promise - he was certain that it would not be possible to do anything on the basis of admitting any cattle duty free. He would however have the matter very carefully examined and see me again in a few days time.

[signed] J.W. Dulanty
High Commissioner

1 Marginal note by Joseph Walshe: 'Seen by President. Copies handed to Mr. Twomey for Dr Ryan and Mr. Leydon for Mr. Lemass. J.P.W. 1/11/1934.'

2 See above Nos 221 and 223.

3 See below No. 241.

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