From Lloyd George to A. Griffith
LETTER FROM LLOYD GEORGE TO ARTHUR. GRIFFITH
10, Downing Street, S.W.I.
13th December, 1921.
As doubts may be expressed regarding certain points not specifically mentioned in the Treaty terms I think it is important that their meaning should be clearly understood.
The first question relates to the method of appointment of the Representatives of the Crown in Ireland. Article III of the Agreement lays down that he is to be appointed “in like manner as the Governor-General of Canada and in accordance with the practice observed in the making of such appointment.” This means that the Government of the Irish Free State will be consulted so as to ensure a selection acceptable to the Irish Government before any recommendation is made to His Majesty.
The second question is as to the scope of the Arbitration contemplated in Article V regarding Ireland’s liability for a share of War Pensions and the Public Debt. The procedure contemplated by the conference was that the British Government should submit its claim, and that the Government of the Irish Free State should submit any counterclaim to which it thought Ireland entitled. Upon the case so submitted the Arbitrators would decide after making such further enquiries as they might think necessary; their decision would then be final and binding on both parties. It is of course understood that the arbitrator or arbitrators to whom the case is referred shall be men as to whose impartiality both the British Government and the Government of the Irish Free State are satisfied.
The third question relates to the status of the Irish Free State. The special arrangements agreed between us in Articles VI, VII, VIII and IX, which are not in the Canadian constitution in no way affect status. They are necessitated by the proximity and interdependence of the two islands—by conditions, that is, which do not exist in the case of Canada. They in no way affect the position of the Irish Free State in the Commonwealth or its title to representation, like Canada, in the Assembly of the League of Nations. They were agreed between us for our mutual benefit, and have no bearing of any kind upon the question of status. It is our desire that Ireland shall rank as co-equal with the other nations of the Commonwealth, and we are ready to support her claim to a similar place in the League of Nations as soon as her new constitution comes into effect.
The framing of that constitution will be in the hands of the Irish Government, subject of course to the terms of the Agreement, and to the pledges given in respect of the minority by the head of the Irish Delegation. The establishment and composition of the Second Chamber is therefore in the discretion of the Irish people. There is nothing in the Articles of Agreement to suggest that Ireland is in this respect bound to the Canadian model.
I may add that we propose to begin withdrawing the military and Auxiliary forces of the Crown in Southern Ireland when the Articles of Agreement are ratified.
I am, Sir,
Your Obedient Servant,
D. Lloyd George.
A. Griffith, Esq.,