Volume 5 1936~1939

Doc No.

No. 97 NAI DT S2485A

Memorandum on external seals by Joseph P. Walshe to Eamon de Valera

Dublin, 26 October 1937

External Seals

We use three Seals on documents signed by the King, as hereafter set out:

  1. The External Great Seal on Ratifications and Full Powers
  2. The Signet Seal on Exequaturs (which enable Foreign Consuls to exercise their functions here) and on Commissions (appointing our Consuls abroad).
  3. The Fob Seal on the back of the envelope enclosing Letters of Credence or Recall

The External Great Seal and the Signet Seal have two separated faces, one face bearing the usual national emblem and the other the effigy of King George V. The Fob Seal has, of course, only one side, which bears the King's Arms with the modification that the Harp is carried in two quarters instead of one.

The question at issue is whether we shall keep the King's effigy as it is or have a new effigy cut for George VI. If we leave the effigy in its present form the two sides will contradict each other, as the Irish emblem will bear the superscription 'Éire' according to the new Constitution (December 29th 1937) and the other side will carry the effigy of a King who died in January 1936.

Inasmuch as we have deliberately maintained the King for specific external purposes in order to gain a definite national end, and inasmuch as we legally created George VI King in December 1936, it would seem more logical to put his effigy on the Seal.

[initialled] J.P.W.