No. 144 NAI DFA D1801

T.M. Healy to the Duke of Devonshire (London)
(No. 286)

DUBLIN, 8 October 1923

My Lord Duke,

I have the honour to advert to Your Grace's Despatch No. 573 of the 22nd ultimo,1 in which is conveyed an invitation on behalf of His Majesty's Government to the President of the Executive Council, together with such of his colleagues as he may see fit to appoint, to attend a joint conference with representatives of His Majesty's Government and the Government of Northern Ireland, to discuss matters arising out of the provisions of Article 12 of the Treaty of December, 1921.

2. My ministers are bound equally to His Majesty's Government and to their own people to observe and abide by the terms of that instrument, and they have faithfully and scrupulously fulfilled their obligations in that respect and maintained the position created by the Treaty with the steady support of the Irish people and at the cost to them of much suffering and heavy material loss.

3. The procedure for determining the boundary between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland has been fixed by the Treaty and by Statute both of the United Kingdom and of the Irish Free State. It would be indeed a source of gratification to my Ministers if, at the same time, a discussion such as that suggested, would open up a prospect of remedying the present unsatisfactory position of Northern Ireland in relation to the rest of the country in a manner compatible with the fulfilment of their trust to their people, and fair and reasonable to the parties concerned, the more so as such a result would remove a cause of contention tending to impair the future amicable relations between Great Britain and Ireland.

4. In this spirit, and with this desire, my Ministers are prepared to confer as suggested, and they accept the invitation of His Majesty's Government in the hope that a basis may be found for the harmonious co-operation of the whole Irish people for their common weal.

5. They will accordingly be glad to learn at Your Grace's early convenience the date suggested for the meeting.

I have the honour to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace’s most obedient,
humble Servant,
[signed] T.M. HEALY

1Not printed.

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