Volume 1 1919~1922

Doc No.

No. 145 UCDA P150/1914

Eamon de Valera to Jan Christian Smuts

Mansion House, Dublin, 31 July 1921

My dear General Smuts:-
I received your letter of July 29th, and have had two conversations with Mr. Lane. He will tell you that the proposals of the British Government will not be accepted here.1

Unless the North East comes in on some reasonable basis no further progress can be made. An Ireland in fragments nobody cares about. A unified Ireland alone can be happy or prosperous.

To the British Commonwealth group and to Britain itself Ireland would readily become friendly, but it is only in freedom that friendship could come. To the principle of national self-determination our people are devotedly attached, for they recognise in it a principle vital to the peace of the world. The Republic is the expression of that principle in their own regard. These then they will not readily abandon, but they are prepared to make great sacrifices in other directions.

The question of procedure and form as distinguished from substance are very important, as I pointed out to you. The British do not seem to realise this at all. Your understanding of the situation is particularly necessary at that end therefore. I am very glad you are able to remain on for a little time longer. I know how your people are clamouring for you, but the cause you are assisting is a truly great and worthy one.

Very sincerely yours,
Eamon de Valera

1 Not printed.