No. 178 NAI DE 2/304/1

Arthur Griffith to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

(No. 8)

22 Hans Place, London, 25 October 1921
(received 26 October 1921)

A E[amon], A Chara:
To-day M.C. and myself met Chamberlain and Hewart, the Attorney General in a sub-Conference on 'Ulster'.

They argued the ethics of Partition very little. The discussion on their side resolved itself practically into 'well, we are committed to the six-county area - what can we do ?'. 'The people must have at least freedom of choice' we replied. They did not deny the justice, but did the practicability of this. They made two suggestions - the whole province of Ulster to vote in or out. I said 'Yes', if the vote went by constituencies and those who voted out were a subordinate legislature. We were willing to confirm the existing powers of the six-county area, as a legislature subordinate to the Parliament of Ireland, provided the 1918 constituencies in the six-county area could vote directly into the Parliament.

They demurred. They wanted the province of Ulster to vote as an entity. I said we could not accept that. The Province was not an economic entity but an historic name. Miceal easily knocked down their arguments. Eventually they suggested the six-county area remaining as at present, but coming into the All-Ireland Parliament. This was a new proposal and while we did not hold any hope out that it might be a basis we, between ourselves, thought it might be a possible basis.

They declared they had no authority. They were merely discussing with us to see some solution. In the end I told them that no Irishman could even discuss with his countrymen any Association with the British Crown unless the essential unity of Ireland was agreed to by the decidents. This should put them up against the Ulster Die-hards.

Mise, Do Chara,
(Initialled) E[rskine] C[hilders] for A[rthur] G[riffith]

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