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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

198____________------------------------------------------------
that Customs Duties may be levied in certain events which are
specified therein.
" I would like to give the House some idea of the general
considerations which were present in the minds of the Govern-
ment in conducting their discussions with Mr. de Valera and
his colleagues and I think that the vast majority of the people
of this country have regretted very deeply the long differences
and disputes which have separated us from the people of what
was formerly the Irish Free State. Those of us who can carry
back our memories to the discussions on Home Rule in 1886
and 1893 remember the bitterness of the feelings which were
aroused at that time and the devastating and disruptive
effects which they had on English politics. Later on were
the unhappy episodes which preceded and followed the Great
War. When the Treaty of 1921 was signed many of us who
accepted that treaty with some misgiving and reluctance
nevertheless hoped that at any rate it had settled the Irish
question. But those hopes were doomed to disappointment,
and the withholding of the Land Annuities which were
due under that agreement, and the changes in the Irish
Constitution seemed to leave the Irish question as unsolved
and insoluble as ever.
" The conference which was held in 1932 between Mr.
de Valera and some of his colleagues and British Ministers led
to no result, and indeed it was not until the first Coal-Cattle
Agreement was made that there seemed to be any approach
towards more amicable relations. But in those circumstances
my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Dominions
began very cautiously and carefully to prepare the way by
establishing personal relations with the Irish High Commis-
sioner, and later on with Mr. de Valera himself, and I have no
hesitation in saying that we could never even have begun
the conversations which have just terminated so successfully
if it had not been for my right hon. Friend's inexhaustible
patience and sympathy. At length the time arrived when it
seemed possible to establish personal contacts with the Irish
Ministers. We determined that we would make the scope of
these discussions as wide as possible, because it was quite
evident that if we could obtain anything in the nature of a
general settlement, that would justify concessions fat more