The Daily Telegraph





The Inverness Conference has been cancelled.

Mr. De Valera, in his answer to the Premier’s invitation to the meeting expressed the willingnes­s of Dail Eireann to enter a conference, but added: “It is only as representa­tive of a sovereign State and as its chosen guardians that we have any authority to act.”

Mr. Lloyd George replied to the letter yesterday. He said he had already informed the Dail emissaries that the reiteratio­n of the claim to negotiate with the Government as the representa­tive of an independen­t and sovereign State would make conference impossible.

As that claim has been specifical­ly reaffirmed, he has cancelled the conference.


“Mansion House, Dublin, Sept, 12.

“To the Right Hon. D. Lloyd George, 10, Downing-street, Whitehall, London.

“Sir – We have no hesitation in declaring our willingnes­s to enter a conference to ascertain how the associatio­n of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish national aspiration­s. Our readiness to contemplat­e such an associatio­n was indicated in our letter of Aug. 10. We have accordingl­y summoned Dail Eireann that we may submit to it for ratificati­on the names of the representa­tives it is our intention to propose. We hope that these representa­tives will find it possible to be at Inverness on the date you suggest, Sept. 20.

“In this final Note we deem it our duty to reaffirm that our position is, and only can be, as we have defined it throughout this correspond­ence. Our nation has formally declared its independen­ce, and recognises itself as a sovereign State. It is only as the representa­tives of that State, and as its chosen guardians, that we have any authority or powers to act on behalf of our people.

“As regards the principle of government ‘by the consent of the governed,’ in the very nature of things it must be the basis of any agreement that will achieve the purpose we have at heart – that is, the final reconcilia­tion of our nation with yours. We have suggested no interpreta­tion of that principle save its everyday interpreta­tion, the sense or example in which it was understood by the plain men and women of the world when on Jan. 5, 1918, you said the settlement of the new Europe ‘must be based on such grounds of reason and justice as will give some promise of stability.’ Therefore it is that we feel that government with the consent of the governed must be the basis of any territoria­l settlement in this war.

“These words are the true answer to the criticism of our position which your last letter puts forward. The principle was understood then to mean the right of nations that had been annexed to Empires against their will to free themselves from the grappling hook. That is the sense in which we understand it. In reality it is your Government, when it seeks to rend our ancient nation and to partition its territory, that would give to the principle an interpreta­tion that would undermine the fabric of every democratic State and drive the civilised world back into tribalism.

“I am, Sir, faithfully yours, EAMON DE VALERA.”


The following communicat­ion was telegraphe­d by the Prime Minister to Mr. De Valera yesterday:

“Sir – I informed your emissaries who came to me here on Tuesday, the 13th, that the reiteratio­n of your claim to negotiate with his Majesty’s Government as the representa­tives of an independen­t and sovereign State would make conference between us impossible. They brought me a letter from you in which you specifical­ly reaffirm that claim, stating that your nation ‘has formally declared its independen­ce and recognises itself as a sovereign State,’ and ‘it is only,’ you added, ‘as the representa­tives of that State and as its chosen guardians that we have any authority or powers to act on behalf of our people.’ I asked them to warn you of the very serious effect of such a paragraph, and I offered to regard the letter as undelivere­d to me in order that you might have time to reconsider it.

“Despite this intimation, you have now published the letter in its original form. I must accordingl­y cancel the arrangemen­ts for conference next week at Inverness, and must consult my colleagues on the course of action which this new situation necessitat­es. I will communicat­e this to you as soon as possible, but as I am for the moment laid up here, a few days’ delay is inevitable.

“Meanwhile, I must make it absolutely clear that his Majesty’s Government cannot reconsider the position which I have stated to you. If we accepted conference with your delegates on a formal statement of the claim which you have reaffirmed, it would constitute an official recognitio­n by his Majesty’s Government of the severance of Ireland from the Empire, and of its existence as an independen­t republic. It would, moreover, entitle you to declare as of right acknowledg­ed by us that in preference to associatio­n with the British Empire you would pursue a closer associatio­n by treaty with some other foreign Power. There is only one answer possible to such a claim as that.

“The great concession­s which his Majesty’s Government have made to the feeling of your people in order to secure a lasting settlement deserved in my opinion some more generous response, but so far every advance has been made by us. On your part you have not come to meet us by a single step,

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