The Prime Minister's Reply to Mr.
de Valera's Letter of
September 19, 1921.
Gairloeh, September 29, 1921.
His Majesty's Government have given close and earnest consideration to the correspondence which has passed between us since their invitation to you to send delegates to a conference at Inverness.
In spite of their sincere desire for peace, and in spite of the more conciliatory tone of your last communication, they cannot enter a conference upon the basis of this correspondence.
Notwithstanding your personal assurance to the contrary, which they much appreciate, it might be argued in future that the acceptance of a conference on this basis had involved them in a recognition which no British.
Government can accord.
On this point they must guard themselves against any possible doubt.
There is no purpose to be served by any further interchange of explanatory and argumentative communications upon this subject.
The position taken up by His Majesty's Government is fundamental to the existence of the British Empire, and they cannot alter it.
My colleagues and I remain, however, keenly anxious to make, in co-operation with your delegates, another determined effort to explore every possibility of settlement by personal discussion.
The proposals which we have already made have been taken by the whole world as proof that our endeavours for reconciliation and settlement are no empty form; and we feel that conference, not correspondence, is the most practical and hopeful way to an understanding such as we ardently desire to achieve.
We therefore send herewith a fresh invitation to a conference in London on the 11th October, where we can meet your delegates as spokesmen of the people whom you represent, with a view to ascertaining how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire may best be reconciled with Irish national aspirations.
1 am, Sir,
Yours faithfully, (Signed)
Reply received from Mr.
de Valera, September 30, 1921.
Sirj Dublin, September 30, 1921.
We have received your letter of invitation to a conference in London on the 11th October, " with a view to ascertaining how the association oi JLrelanci wi^ the community of nations known as the British Empire may best be reconeneu with Irish national aspirations."
Our respective positions have been stated and are understood, and we agre that conference, not correspondence, is the most practical and hopeful wajw au understanding.
We accept the invitation and our delegates will meet you London on the date mentioned " to explore every possibility of settlement Â»y
Faithfully yours, (Signed) EAMON DE VALERA.