The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/7)

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Ireland

Ireland

P.M. 

As in brief. Reasons why some legn is required.
Also balance between N. and South.

a) Constitutional Safeguards.

Pledge by all political Parties. Wd. have covered fractionals. Better to have declaration by Parlt. - as in Cl. 1(1)(b). Repeats statement which I made in H/C. to wh. no exception was taken. Believe we must do this.

P. 

Any territorial guarantee is v. dangerous. Frontier is indefensible.
The 2 counties. No case for stopping them joining N. Ireland.

P.M. 

It would be someone else's initiative. Cd. be argued before internatl forum.
Yours is only one side of argument. There are Unionists in the 2 counties. Need for viability. eg. division in Palestine or Pakistan.
Anyhow, we are dealing with need for consent.

P. 

Majority in N.I. wd. never consent to relinquish their grip over minority.

J. 

Incln of the 2 counties makes it more possible to get majority in N. as a whole to vote for unity.

H.D. 

Since P's book, there has bn. a war. Has affected my view anyhow.
And many other peoples, too.

H.M. 

B/Atlantic. Security given us thro' N. Ireland - what cd. we have done w'out it. Even apart fr. N.I. feelings we must be clear tht. it's not in our interests tht. N.I. shd. go out of U.K.

P.M. 

Cession of 2 counties wd. not affect South's desire for the whole.

P.  

No.

P. 

Agree we cdn't afford to see all Ireland neutral. But shd. we not be better placed if Ireland had a defence pact with us. What is our real objective. Small N.I. base? Or political unity of Ireland : defensive unity of 2 islands.

P.M. 

Aim at that if you like. But nobody has got it in the bag yet.
Frustrated by South - during war : again now. By putting ideological desire for Republic above practical need for united Ireland.
But, for sake of hypothetical strategic unity, I won't risk civil war in Ireland.

A.B. 

Can't say less than this now.
We must keep N.I. with us.

E.B. 

Support this clause.

b) Defence of N. Ireland.
P.M. 

Really follows from a). It is wise to say it? Shall be asked.
Part of U.K. We cdn't help coming to assistance.

R.S.C. 

Not "assist". Defend U.K. as such. Not for N.I. to do it.
Ulster volunteers shd. be illegal.

E.B. 

Scared of big Protestant re-action. Resentment against R.C.'s as well as v. Communists. Don't take advantage of our tolerance.

N.B. 

Wd. rather that statement wasn't volunteered. If asked, you must give this answer.

P.M. 

Accept that. Don't want to increase tension.

E.B. 

And preface it by saying we hope it will never arise.

A.V.A. 

N.I. has never bn. brought into Nat. Service. May be raised that they shd. stand their corner.

A.B.  

Same point as Quebec.

P. 

Treatment of minorities in South is much better than in North.
Don't give the North a blank cheque.

C.E.  

I recognise that diffy. and have pointed it out to N.I. Don't defend all their actions. But we must defend their territory as Kent.
Remember also their problems - faced with armed insurrection.

c) Titles.
P.M. 

"Ulster" wd. have trailed a coat among Irishmen in Commonwealth.
N.I. Ministers accepted "N.I." eventually.
They wanted us, however, to go on using "Eire". But other countries won't do so. Suggested therefore we shd. use "Republic of Ireland".
N.I. prefer "Irish Republic".
But let us not speak of "Ireland".
Can we put Republic of Ireland on Bill: but use in official pp. etc.
Irish Republic or Southern Ireland.  Agreed.

d) Boundary, and Irish Lights.
P.M. 

As in memo. Don't raise boundary issues. Try to get U.K. repn. on Irish Lights Commn.

C.E. 

C.R.O. to communicate with H.O. on this - to m'tain principle that it is part of U.K.

e) Extra Territorial Powers.
P.M. 

Additional subjects : Cl. 6.

C.E. 

They want to add "reguln. of harbours". O.K. subject to consulting Admy. and M/T.

A.B. 

Don't add to powers of N.I. Parlt.

C.E. 

Cl. 6 is the method to work twds. unity of Ireland.

H.M. 

Does it protect Br. Ty.

f) Westminster Franchise.
P.M. 

Told them this was politically diff. Asked them to modify their 7 years' qualification.
Debate on prepn. of People Bill. 
Message from B. Brooke. He can't reduce his 7 year qualification.
Diff. for us to do this w'out a quid pro quo.
Diff. also for them.

N.B. 

They have a v. strong case, in their present circs. Diff. for C.E. to put it across to Parlt.

C.E. 

Small increases in Nat. vote cd. swing their repn. over.
Suppose you got majority of W'minster repves. in favour of ending Partition while N.I. Parlt. were still solid against it. And in an internatl. court might be asked to say which was the more democratic ally correct vote.
From practical angle, wd. it make any diffce. to N.I. if their qualificn. were 3 years not 7.

P.M. 

Remember Eire has ceased to be member/Comm. People in G.B. voting who owe no allegiance. May be pressed to disfranchise them here. But we can't distinguish.

A.B. 

Cd. amend the law later if need proved.

H.M. 

We cd. say their's is their affair. If our circs. were same as theirs we shdn't have dropped residence qualificn in Repn of People Bill.
How can you force that on a country with land border with county outside Commonwealth.

E.B. 

eg. Nat. Service: 2 years before Dom. citizens called up. Yet allow any one to vote w'out residence qualificn.

J. 

N.I. haven't done us well by giving no quid pro quo.

C.E. 

Allegns of gerrymandering in N.I. elections.
Criticism from Govt. supporters.

N.B. 

Dulanty has made it clear tht. they object to alteration in franchise.
That gives the game away.

Att.G. 

V. diff. for them at this moment to reduce their 7 year vote.
Our Bill retains right of Eire citizens to vote for U.K. Parliament.
They think of them as foreigners. And we ask them at same time to reduce their qualificn.
In Doms. there is some residence qualifn. for B. subjects.

A.W. 

Change now if at all.
Agreed : P.M. to press Sir B. Brooke on this.
(g) Disqualification of Members of Parliament.

P.M. 

V. diff. proposition.

C.E. 

They want also power to relieve M.P. disqualified by corruption.
Agreed: reject this clause.
(h) Supreme Court.

J. 

Not for this Bill.
(i) Other Recommendations of N. Party.
(xxiii) Genl. agreemt. tht. Eire shd. remain on Sterling Area Stat. Cttee. Time-table.
Consultn.:  All Crown Govts. to be consulted. Agreed.

Taken from C.M. 1(49) - Meeting held on 12 January 1949.