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Anglo – Irish Treaty Negotiations 1921. Part I: Preliminary Discussions (July – October 1921) Part II: Delegations & Negotiations in London (October –

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Presentation on theme: "Anglo – Irish Treaty Negotiations 1921. Part I: Preliminary Discussions (July – October 1921) Part II: Delegations & Negotiations in London (October –"— Presentation transcript:

1 Anglo – Irish Treaty Negotiations 1921

2 Part I: Preliminary Discussions (July – October 1921) Part II: Delegations & Negotiations in London (October – December 1921) Part III: Dáil Debates & Vote on Treaty (December 1921 – January 1922)

3 The Leaders Dáil Eireann British Government

4 Part I: Preliminary Discussions DeValera & Lloyd George (July – October 1921)

5 Background to Negotiations Escalating political and social unrest in Ireland throughout 1920 & 1921: British Government losing control of Ireland, politically & militarily Truce and offer of negotiations made by British Government in July 1921 Truce comes into effect on 11 th July, 1921 Between July & October 1921, DeValera & Lloyd George meet and correspond with each other in an attempt to resolve key issues between British Government & Sinn Féin.

6 DeValera’s Talks with L. George (1920) In 1920, DeValera held a series of discussions with Lloyd George about a possible settlement even while the War of Independence was raging throughout the country. The most persistent idea that deValera espoused was that of ‘External Association’, whereby an independent Ireland would be choose to be ‘externally associated’ with Britain: thereby accommodating Unionists in the north of Ireland


8 Key Issues Sovereignty The Proclamation of the Irish Republic (1916) and the Declaration of Independence (1919) were the Republican movement’s key manifestos. In these, Republicans committed themselves to a fully-sovereign, independent, united Ireland Achieving an independent, unified Ireland Partition The Government of Ireland Act (1920) remained Britain’s final compromise towards the situation in Ireland. In this provision, Ireland would be divided, north & south, to protect Unionist membership of the UK and keep all of Ireland within the British Empire Protecting the integrity of the British Empire

9 ‘External Association’ DeValera’s key concept which envisaged an independent, united Ireland, ‘externally associated’ to Britain. This external association was conceived as an attempt to placate Unionists’ fears of an Catholic-dominated, independent Ireland and in some way, to placate British imperialists’ fears of a ‘domino effect’ on their other colonies.

10 Choosing a Delegation: Controversy & Confusion DeValera’s decision to remain in Dublin: How would External Association be argued convincingly if its author was not present? DeValera’s qualification of ‘Envoys Plenipotentiaries’: ‘a main question’ or ‘the complete text of the draft treaty about to be signed’ (Refer back to Dublin) To what extent did this secret instruction diminish the Sinn Féin delegation’s ability to achieve their objectives in negotiation?

11 Instructions to Irish Delegation British Proposals & Representatives ‘Draft Treaty A’ = External Association DeValera’s qualification of ‘Envoys Plenipotentiaries’: ‘a main question’ or ‘the complete text of the draft treaty about to be signed’ (Refer back to Dublin) DeValera’s insistence at remaining at home during negotiations. (To distance the office of President of Dáil Eireann from unacceptable proposals & create time-lapse to control direction of negotiations) Northern Ireland already established: therefore ‘off the table’ Integrity of British Commonwealth to be maintained Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Chamberlain & Lord Birkenhead to form front-line negotiation team. Prelude to Negotiations

12 Government of Ireland Act (1920) -In response to the escalating situation throughout most of the country, northern Unionists moved to cement their position within the United Kingdom. -The result of these talks between Craig & Lloyd George was the Government of Ireland Act (1920), whereby the north of Ireland would remain part of the UK as long they wished. -When the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, one of the key agreements was that the north of Ireland could ‘opt out’ of the new Irish Free State if they wished. They did so, two days after the foundation of the Irish Free State on December 8 th, 1921.

13 ` Government of Ireland Act (1920) Lloyd George hoped to bring about a ‘Home Rule all Round’ solution to Ireland, thereby placating both Republicans & Unionists as well as international opinion. Unionists demanded simple majority, but PR was inserted into the Bill as the voting method. Unionists argued in favour of a 6- county Northern Ireland, rather than a 9-county Northern Ireland, thereby ensuring their majority in the new state. Provisions of the Act: - A ‘Northern State’ of six counties & a ‘Southern State’ of 26 counties - Bicameral Parliaments, North & South (Commons & Senate) Each State would elect a government & a Prime Minister -Both states would share a common Viceroy to the King of England -Westminster would retain ‘Imperial Powers’ over both states -A ‘Council of Ireland’ would be set up to create a platform for discussion, interaction & agreement between both states.

14 Negotiations Begin October 11 th – December 6 th 1921

15 Sinn Féin Delegation British Delegation Anglo – Irish Treaty Negotiations 1921 Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, George Gavin Duffy, Eamon Duggan, Erskine Childers. Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Lord Birkenhead, Austen Chamberlain

16 Issues of Contention Offer of negotiation from British Government to Dáil Eireann in July 1921. Truce declared on July 11 th 1921. Plenipotentiaries: Who should negotiate & what powers should they be granted? “..negotiate and conclude … a treaty or treaties of settlement, association and accommodation between Ireland and the community of nations known as the British Commonwealth..” ‘Dominion Status’ v. ‘External Association’ : What was the ultimate aim of the Sinn Féin delegation? Partition, Unionism & Government of Ireland Act (1920): How would the Sinn Féin delegation overcome the already-established Northern Ireland State?

17 Sinn Féin Delegation Passionate but inexperienced Removed from support of Dáil Éireann & Dáil Cabinet (London) Made up of moderates & extremists Confusion over power of plenipotentiaries

18 British Delegation Highly experienced (Paris Peace Settlement, 1919) Diplomatic craft of P.M. Lloyd George – The ‘Welsh Wizard’ Situated in London, psychological advantage Government of Ireland Act (1920) already in place with Northern Ireland state already founded

19 Goodwill Message Strikes a Nerve Pope Benedict XV (to King of England) “We rejoice at the resumption of the Anglo-Irish negotiations and pray to the Lord with all our heart that He may bless them and grant to Your Majesty the great joy and imperishable glory of bringing to an end the age-long dissension.” DeValera (Public reply to Pope’s message) “…They (people of Ireland) are confident that the ambiguities in the reply sent in the name of King George will not mislead you into believing that the troubles are in Ireland, or that the people of Ireland owe allegiance to the British King. “

20 Negotiations: Opening Plenary Sessions 11 th – 24 th October: The Early Opening Rounds British delegation outline strong proposals and reinforce their aim to maintain the integrity of British Commonwealth. Sinn Féin delegation refute British claim over Ireland & offer considered clarifications & responses. Little discussion or progress made on key issues. However, some tension was eased by British delegation’s assurance that nothing would be done to prevent Ireland’s economic development. Between 11 th & 24 th October, seven plenary sessions were held. Trade & finance appeared to present little obstacle to agreement. However, a message sent by Pope Benedict XV to the King od England expressing goodwill and a hope for a peaceful settlement drew a strong response from DeValera in his public message to the Pope (see previous slide)

21 Negotiations: Draft Treaty ‘A’ & Recognition of the Crown 24 th October: ‘Draft Treaty A’ Griffith & Collins present the first draft of Irish proposals – ‘Draft Treaty A’. The term ‘Republic’ is not used in this draft, and discussions focus primarily on issue of defense. 2 nd – 8 th November: Discussions on Recognition of the Crown Collins & Griffith meet with Lloyd George, Birkenhead & Chamberlain Griffith & Collins continue to struggle with ‘External Association’ concept, with the previous discussions and notes having moved the position more towards ‘Dominion Status’.

22 Negotiations: Griffith’s Letter & “Essential Unity” 2 nd November: Griffith, under pressure from Lloyd George, who was himself under pressure from the House of Commons, wrote a letter assuring them that he would recommend Ireland’s membership of the British Commonwealth in return for “essential Unity” of Ireland: “I assured you in reply that, provided I was so satisfied, I was prepared to recommend a free partnership of Ireland with the other States associated within the British Commonwealth, the formula defining the partnership to be arrived at in later discussion. I was, on the same condition, prepared to recommend that Ireland should consent to a recognition of the Crown as head of the proposed association of free States.” - Arthur Griffith

23 Negotiations: Tom Jones & The Boundary Commission 8 th November: Tom Jones, Lloyd George’s secretary proposed the setting up of a ‘Boundary Commission’ to look at the border between a future Irish State (26 counties) & Northern Ireland (established by Govt. of Ireland Act 1920) in return for Sinn Féin’s acceptance of a partitioned Ireland. 10 th November: Lloyd George meets with James Craig, representing the Unionists of Ulster. Craig explicitly rejects any involvement in an all-Ireland Parlieament. The potential threat of a Boundary Commission did not sway him either. Lloyd George needed the support of Conservatives in his government and Craig knew the Conservatives would support his position.

24 Negotiations: Lloyd George & Griffith 12 th November: Meeting between Lloyd George & Griffith where the concept of a Boundary Commission is discussed officially for the first time. The next day, following Griffith’s recommendation, the Dáil Cabinet would agree reluctantly to the idea of a Boundary Commission. *Griffith was assured that the work of the Boundary Commission would benefit nationalists far more than Unionists. However, details or written assurances to this effect were neither sought nor offered.*

25 Negotiations: 22 nd November – 30 th November Discussion now moved to the issue of Soveriegnty. External Association V. Dominion Status 22 nd November: Sinn Féin delegation submit their memorandum, repeating their deman for External Association, while guaranteeing Ireland’s non-alignment with any enemies of Britain. On the 24 th November, the British reject any proposal of External Association that does not include a role for the British Crown in Ireland. The British offered ‘Dominion Status’, arguing that this would mean complete freedom from interference. The Sinn Féin delegation countered that Britain could still interfere legally in a dominion’s internal affairs. The British argued that dominions enjoyed total freedom from interference, citing Canada as a domion who would object to any interference in any dominion. Sinn Féin rejected the comparison with Canada, arguing that an Irish Army and Navy could be interfered with/ opposed by the British.

26 Negotiations: Britain’s Final Draft & Dáil’s Rejection 1 st December Lloyd George presented the Sinn Féin delegation with Britain’s final draft of the Treaty: ‘Irish Free State’ would be a dominion of the British Empire All TDs to Dáil Eireann would have to swear an oath to the King as he would be the Head of State. Northern Ireland could ‘opt out’ of the Irish Free State. 3 rd December After returning to Dublin with Britain’s offer, divisions appear in Dáil. Dominion Status was rejected, while the Boundary Commission was accepted. Griffith wanted DeValera to go to London if it was to be rejected, but eventually agreed to return himself. DeValera wrote instructions about a change in the wording of the oath to the King.

27 Negotiations: “War. Immediate & Terrible” 4 th December Sinn Féin delegation re-writes draft Treaty based on DeValera’s instructions and divisions erupt within the delegation itself. When presented to the British delegation, they reject it outright. Talks break off again. 5 th December Private meeting between Collins & Lloyd George, where the British Prime Minister assured Collins of the effectiveness of the Boundary Commission and agreed to revisit the wording of the oath of allegiance. Collins agreed to a final round of negotiations. At this, Lloyd George threatened war if he did not get a definitive acceptance to the Draft Treaty, as he had to inform Craig and the Ulster Unionists on the 6 th December. He used the analogy of two envelopes, one of which would be sent by Imperial messenger to Craig. War or Peace?

28 Anglo-Irish Treaty 6 th December 1921 When Griffith hesitated, demanding to know Craig’s position, Lloyd George produced Griffith’s letter of assurance to accept the Boundary Commission in return for essential unity. A final, subtle alteration to the Oath of Allegiance (whereby TDs would swear “true faith & allegiance” to their own Constitution and to be “faithful” to the King) seemed to offer an important, symbolic concession by the British. After much delaying by some of the Sinn Féin delegation, they all signed the Treaty at 2:10 a.m. on 6 th December 1921. The formation of the Irish Free State had been agreed in principle.

29 Anglo-Irish Treaty Articles 1 & 2: Irish Free State recognised as a dominion of the British Commonwealth. Articles 3 & 4: The King of England would be represented in Ireland by a Governor- General and that all TDs in Dáil Eireann would have to swear an oath of allegiance to the King. Article 5: The Irish Free State would pay a share of the UK war debt. Articles 6 – 9: The ‘Treaty Ports’: British Navy would have access to Cobh, Berehaven & Lough Swilly. Articles 11 – 15: Northern Ireland & its right to ‘opt out’ of Irish Free State Article 12: The Boundary Commission to be set up to determine the border between North & South, if the Northern Parliament (Stormont) opted out of the Irish Free State.

30 Dáil Debates & Vote on Treaty December 8 th 1921 – January 7 th 1922

31 M. Collins (Pro-Treaty) E. deValera (Anti-Treaty) Freedom to achieve freedom Control of Internal Affairs Removal of British forces from Ireland Oath of Allegiance Partition Dominion Status Dáil Debates Anglo-Irish Treaty

32 Dáil Vote on Anglo-Irish Treaty 7 th January 1922 Republican Ideal Partition unacceptable Oath of Allegiance unacceptable Irish Free State: “freedom to achieve freedom” Boundary Commission to examine Partition Border


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